“Content marketing is the only marketing left.” – Seth Godin
Have you heard about all the amazing benefits of content marketing, but don’t know exactly how to implement or maximize your program?
Did you start blogging but have yet to get all of your content marketing plans in motion to really see the big impact?
It’s true that implementing a content marketing strategy can be time-consuming and overwhelming, so let’s remind you why you started, and what great things are to come.
In part two, we’ll address where you are in the development of your content marketing program and talk about how to quickly get better results and gain the momentum to scale your operation.
In my experience, from years of content marketing management, I’ve been able to gain initial traction with content without all of the strategy built out, I hope to help you do the same.
MEGA Benefit to Content Marketing- Make More Money
“Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about 3 times as many leads.” (DemandMetric)
Here are the major benefits that allow you to save money and increase revenue.
Increased revenue– Your website is full of the information people need to make a purchase decision. It is working 24/7 and shortens the time to a sale. When this all works together effectively, you’ll increase traffic, see more sales prospects and convert more people to buyers, meaning more revenue.
Easier conversions– Since you have the information available, many people come to the sales decision on their own, and are thoroughly educated by the time they are ready to buy. One aspect of content marketing that excites people is how easy it is to sell. Once a visitor does decide to purchase, much of the work is already done.
“Best way to sell something: Don’t sell anything. Earn the awareness, respect, and trust of those who might buy.” Rand Fishkin, Co-founder, Moz
Faster sales– Your sales team doesn’t have to spend nearly as much time converting prospects.
Smaller investment– If you can write, you can start content marketing. Yes, you should put a lot more strategy and thought into the process, but begin writing on your blog immediately and adjust it over time as you perfect your process.
Opportunity for virality– Great information on your website will be shared by those who appreciate it. As this happens it introduces a viral aspect to your content marketing, meaning more traffic, and exposure to your offers.
Take care of customers
Empower visitors– Content marketing allows you to educate your visitors by giving them the information they want when they want it (assuming they find you through social media, email, or search). It puts the power in their hands. As you know, today’s consumers want things NOW, and they want control. Give it to them and they’ll be a fan forever.
In this post by the NYT Marcus Sheridan, a content marketing expert, discusses the benefits of answering customer questions on your site. By educating his website visitors, he was able to turn his pool business into the powerhouse it is today.
Less support needed– By adding the most commonly asked questions to your site, and making it easy to find, you’ll get fewer support tickets and emails. You can also link to FAQs when answering support for those who may have missed your available answers.
As the only support person at Inbound.org, I got several of the same support requests everyday. I finally set up a FAQ section so that people could find the answers by searching the site. It not only cut back on support requests, but I was able to put links to each topic in my canned responses to answers those who still came to support.
Show honesty– By answering the questions that no one else does, you show honesty and build trust with your readers. As you do this, when your readers question something important in your industry they will turn to you.
Build A Stronger Brand
As more content represents your brand, people will recognize it; they’ll learn to associate your brand with the quality, values, and offers you have, that’s one of the overarching benefits of content marketing.
Social content– A brand with a lot of content has an opportunity to share it on social media. Use the content to make images to share, quotes from experts, and links to popular articles on your site. As you build your social media presence, you will get others who want to share for you and your exposure to the market will grow.
Be a resource– The content that you accumulate over time will be a treasure chest of helpful information on your topic. This will make your brand a household name in your chosen field as the go-to-place for education since you have so much expertise.
Counter negative reviews– Even with great customer support, there will occasionally be negative reviews about your products or services. However, when you use content like positive reviews and blog posts to respond to negative reviews, you can combat negative publicity about your company.
“If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell six friends. If you make customers unhappy on the Internet, they can each tell 6,000 friends.” – Jeff Bezos
Display Expertise & Thought Leadership– When you impress someone with your intelligence and expertise they will listen to more of what you say. Use content to show off how much you know about your topic and readers will come back for more. You’ll get more requests to speak, or share your expertise, and your brand will gain prestige.
Increase Search Engine Traffic
Happier Google– More content for your website makes Google happy, because they want to show the most up-to-date and relevant content, so they will keep visiting to check for new content. People want to know what’s going on NOW, and Google wants to show them.
“Focus on providing better answers for your audience: know that Google wants to have ‘answers’ for your audience, not just a lot of information.” – Cyrus Shepard
Higher SEO Rankings– The increase in search traffic will likely come from being ranked higher for certain keywords, based on your domain authority and other elements of SEO. Higher rankings mean more exposure, and consequently capturing a share of traffic your competitors once had.
Referral Traffic– With all of the traffic coming from social media, email, and other sources, you’ll earn links from other sites, as well. People will include links to your content in their own blog posts and podcasts when your content delivers exceptional value.
Phase 1: Benefits of Content Marketing- Simple Steps to Success Phase
“Content marketing is a commitment, not a campaign.” – Jon Buscall
It doesn’t have to be difficult to start seeing the benefits of content marketing. While it can get very in-depth, the truth is, you can implement content marketing slowly, and prove its value to yourself and your boss without making a huge investment up front.
The following is a plan to help you get started without breaking the bank, while building some content and seeing initial results. This plan will assume you have some kind of assets already in place, or at least a certain amount of budget for your plan. But it can be changed if needed, so let’s get started.
Start producing content, right NOW– Start answering the questions you are normally asked by prospects. Just build a blog post around each question. If you can’t write well, take out your tape recorder or a make a video on your iphone. You can have a freelancer turn it into a blog post, like Steli Efti explains in a post on Inbound.org about producing content in 10 minutes a day. It does not have to be perfect, it just has to help your readers/fans/visitors.
Make it clear how to learn more– If you have a contact page, link to it from every blog post or video. Put it in your sidebar if you can, and draw some attention to it. Explain what happens when they contact you through your form, and how you’ll be in touch.
Promote the content– Here is where you’ll need some assets. You may have social media fans, email subscribers, connections on Linkedin, or some other community to share your content. You must get your content out there, even if it isn’t perfect. You can easily share any content on Quuu.co for $25 each.
It will take multiple pieces of content to begin seeing a measurable response, so get it out there as fast as you can. Though I do recommend 2-3 pieces a week at most, to start ramping up, anything more than this will be too difficult to promote effectively. Expect to write 10-15 posts for this phase.
Phase 2: Advance the Benefits of Content Marketing
By now you should see some proof that content is working to drive traffic or get leads. It’s time to get to work escalating this plan.
Set up tracking and reporting– You need to see what is working and what isn’t. Set up Google Analytics and take a course on how to use it best. Add tracking parameters to your URLs, and use a short links service like Bit.ly to make social sharing easier.
Your first landing page and download– A contact page won’t work as well as a landing page, for capturing leads. It’s time to build your first landing page. You can follow this guide from HubSpot, or check out all of the resources at Unbounce, they also offer a testing platform for your landing page.
You’ll need a download for your landing page. This can be a longer recording about something important in your industry, or an ebook about a relevant topic. What is something your followers and buyers would highly appreciate- write or record based on that.
Content for your campaign– Your landing page is part of your first campaign. A campaign is an effort to bring awareness to a certain idea, or piece of work. For instance, an ebook that you’ve written to help your users improve sales results.
You need blog posts, or other content to support your campaign. Write about related topics, and guide people to the landing page through calls to action in your posts. Write another 10-15 posts related to this campaign.
Phase 3: Perfect the Plan and Optimize the Benefits of Content Marketing
With a successful campaign and leads coming in, you should be able to get the buy-in from your boss or department, to move forward. Here’s what is next:
Six campaigns for 12 months– This is the point where you should implement personas, and build out campaigns for them. You’ll want to work on 6-12 campaigns for the next year, but first you’ll have to plan them out and have a strategy to work from.
Plan all content– As you plan your campaigns, you’ll need to come up with blog post ideas to drive traffic to your landing pages. There are plenty of ways to come up with blog ideas, many of which you can find on this blog, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention that Oz helps you identify blog post ideas that will perform well. Add a link to an Oz post or landing page here.
Since you have so many content opportunities now, you can start to add other types of blog posts, such as thought leadership, expert interviews, and posts written to drive virality.
Work with data– You already set up tracking and reporting and now you need to put that information to work. What posts are getting a lot of traffic? Which are converting the most visitors? How can you change the landing page to improve conversions? Visit a site like Unbounce or ConversionXL to learn how to make the most of the information you’ve collected.
“We must move from numbers keeping score to number driving actions.” David Walmsley, Director at Marks and Spencer
You only get the benefits of content marketing once you put the plans in motion. Unfortunately, a lot of the information about implementing content marketing is time intensive and requires a large upfront investment.
But this doesn’t have to be the case. By following the plan laid out here you can begin to benefit from content marketing quickly, while actually seeing some results.
Start writing content, or read The Secrets of Creating Viral Content where you’ll learn how to put your content to work for viral traffic, and get loads of exposure for your company.