This article has been contributed by Carmelo Hannity.
You are in business to make sales and generate profit, right? And you know that content marketing is the single most important method to bring in traffic, to get leads and, ultimately, to make sales.
But how much do you really know about content marketing and what makes is successful? Content marketing is not hard, but it does have to be strategic. If you are not getting the traffic you want, then you may be missing one of these key elements.
1. Know & Set Achievable Goals
For a lot of people, goal setting is a little vague. It`s nice to set goals, but are they really concrete or do they just sit out there in the "ethers" never to be looked at again? Instead of talking about goals of content marketing, talk about its purpose and get specific.
The big purpose of content marketing, of course, is to get more sales. But how do you intend to do that?
Suppose you are selling career clothing for women. Do you want your content marketing to result in immediate sales? Probably not going to happen. Do you want your content marketing to spread your brand so that women actually know you exist and "drop in" to see what you have to offer? Probably more doable.Having goals will drive the type of content you produce, where it will be published, and where it will be distributed after publication.
2. Know Your Customer
If you have not yet developed a persona of your typical customer, then you can`t write and distribute content correctly.
Let`s say your typical customer is a college graduate, between the ages of 23 - 35, a younger career professional, and part of the millennial generation. She doesn`t have much time to shop, so she makes a lot of online purchases. She relies on her friends to recommend clothing retailers to her, and she wants to do business with a company she can trust and that will respond with good customer service when she has an issue; she hangs out on Facebook and Twitter; she is socially responsible and likes it when companies are too. We`ll call her Megan.
3. Develop a clear message
Most of your content has to be geared to Megan a.k.a the ideal buyer persona. You know what your purpose is, and your mission is to provide quality, reasonably priced clothing to Megan - clothing that fits her lifestyle.
Your big message to Megan is "Hey, we have the clothing you want at the prices you want, and we will treat you well. And, by the way, we donate 1.5% of all of our sales to a "Heat Up for Winter" Charity that provides warm coats to kids.
Now think of all of the potential content you have to work with. And it`s not just about clothing. You can have sub-content related to careers, survival in the workplace, new trends and workplace concepts, updates on your favorite charity - those things that are meaningful to Megan.
4. Getting The Content Out
One of the most important ways to improve your SEO rankings is to be very consistent with your content publishing. Search engines want to see new stuff being published on a regular basis. If there are "breaks in service," they kick you to the back of the bus.
So if you are going to do content marketing, it`s absolutely necessary to commit to a consistent schedule and always continue to learn and keep up-to-date with current trends. Here is the minimum you must do:
Have a pool of blog topics in advance. If you are running low on topic ideas, do some research, check out your competitors` sites, get on forums related to your business and see what people are talking about.
Have a publishing calendar and know who is responsible for each piece of content.
If you and your team can`t do it all yourselves, hire some of it out.
5. Place Internal Links in Your Content
Here`s a brilliantly simple tip I`ve gotten better at over the years, always add additional value to the post by interlinking it with other content on your website.
When people read your post and click on those internal links, search engines count them. So, you want your readers to go other places on your site. Spread good content all over the place, the deeper into your navigation, the better.
6. Use Media
Some content must be in words. But a lot of it can be in images, infographics, short videos, etc. If you cannot do these things yourself, there are people who do this very reasonably.
But, given the new tools and apps for media, you`ll be surprised how easy it is. You can use stock photos with a Shutterstock account (very cheap), or go to Pexels and get them free. Take screen shots; publish photos of you your team. With a little bit of research and a bit of practice, you can add a lot of engagement to your content with visual marketing.
7. Use Keywords - Long-Tail Variety
Hopefully, you know that you cannot just "stuff" keywords into your content, hoping some will "stick." You`ll be penalized.
Instead of just using "women`s clothing" (thousands of competitors with this one), use long-tail SEO terms. Do some research on keyword terms for women`s career clothing and come up with longer terms that relate to Megan. Maybe “warm womens clothing for charity”.
8. Content Promotion
Most complain that content promotion is the hardest part of content marketing but it really isn`t.
You know Megan well and you know where she hangs out. So you know that you have to promote on Facebook and Twitter. Get those sharing buttons on every piece of content you produce. Make sure your content is useful, entertaining, or inspiring; get a great, engaging title to entire readership - you want others to read it and do the sharing for you! There are lot of great tips for promoting your content on social media all over the Internet. Do some research.
9. Use Different Formats of Content
A blog is important and driving people to your posts is important. But you can also have videos, infographics, etc., on your website, and on your social media pages. Get variety into your content - as much as possible. You may also want to perform a competitive analysis to see what`s working for them. Megan might be interested in reading an e-book about long-term career trends for her generation.
10. Offer Freebies & Incentives
One way to increase traffic through content is to offer free stuff. A post on Facebook that gives Megan 20% off of everything she purchases in the next two weeks is a pretty big incentive. And Megan will share that with her audience who will share with their audiences. Let others spread your brand for you.
So, there are 10 things you can do right away but let me know your strategies in the comments below!