Content Marketing 101: How to Build Your Business With Great Content
I'm going to make a bold statement: If you are a marketer or owner of a small business, content marketing should be the foundation of your online marketing strategy.
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing simply refers to the use of content (such as whitepapers, ebooks, buying guides, blogs, articles, free reports, videos, podcasts, infographics, research reports, case studies & customer testimonials, reviews, tools and kits) to steer potential customers to your web site via search engines, educate them, and nurture them until they are ready to either purchase or talk to a sales rep. With the strategic use of pertinent keywords and phrases (long tail keywords), you will be able to get in front of and get noticed by individuals who browse the internet searching for the specific product or service your company provides. But in order to do this, it is absolutely essential that you are consistently producing good, keyword optimized content.
Why is this so important? Why should my business use content for marketing?
Good question. The reason is because the internet is the vehicle through which a growing segment of the population receives its information, identifies potential sources of products and services and makes its purchasing decisions. The majority of searches for products and services begins online.
Now, you as a local marketer are no longer limited to your local area- the whole world is a potential customer thanks to consumers' growing use of the Internet to shop and buy. And when they shop- particulary if they are buying a service or an expensiver item- they want information about your products or services. And not just your standard information about its features and its prices. They want information about how it makes their lives better, solves their problems... how it performs and compares to other options... what they should consider when purchasing it, etc.
The strategic use of online content has now transcended the role that was once filled by your local yellow pages phone book. Those old phone books are now getting more use as paper weights and booster seats than they are as business directories. And in some cases the information provided online is now replacing information consumers could only get by talking to a sales rep. - which many consumers are hesitant to do (and many hate to do!).
Using content to build your business is no longer an option -- it is a necessity. With that in mind, here are some useful guidelines for developing content for your web site. The content should be:
- Compelling. The content should be well-written and engage the reader. It should tell a story, drawing the reader in so he/she will continue.
- Informational. The content should provide useful information to the potential customer.
- Accurate. The content should be factually accurate and
- Easy to understand. The content should be written for a lay person, not a rocket scientist or a doctoral candidate.
- Actionable. The purpose of your web site's content is to, ultimately, lead the reader to take action -- to either communicate with you via e-mail, call customer service or make an online purchase.
Still skeptical about how content can grow a small business? Here are a couple of real world examples to consider:
Tri-State Home Services, an HVAC firm based in Frederick, Maryland, uses content marketing via its online blogs to drive traffic to its web site. By providing useful tips on preventive maintenance and energy-saving options, Tri-State is able to attract potential clients, many of whom later opt to use the company's services.
You may also want to check out other companies that have used content as part of their inbound marketing strategy by reading case studies and viewing customer testimonials on Hubspot's website: Hubspot Customer Case Studies
As you build, expand or re-design your company's web site or internet presence, content marketing should be the linchpin of your online marketing strategy.
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