Since the dawn of the search engine, internet users have been on a quest for information in the Brave New World of Content Marketing.
The idea is simple really!!
Consumers want to know more before they buy. They want answers to their questions, solutions to their problems. They want to be engaged, informed and entertained. Back in the day, if I can use that well worn phrase, the on line sources of the information were often in other cities, even other countries. They were the corporations and institutions with the money to spend developing an on line presence. Thank them because they made all the mistakes as they evolved so you can begin where they left off. The critical difference in today’s internet world is that consumers are searching for retail businesses and services that live where they live, shop where they shop.
Local is once again key to success. Just having a website is no longer enough. It is now vital for businesses to have a content strategy where the goals are:
1. “to be found” by both current and potential customers
2. to build a relationship with users
In addition to content strategy, the website design must include the carefully managed process of search engine optimization. Of course, the most desirable result is face to face conversation. The customer who found you on line comes to your office or store to buy what you have to sell. Because of content marketing and purposeful website design, the user already knows you, your reputation, the quality of your work, the reliability of your products, your phone number, email address and a map showing where to find your office or your store. They know you because of the stories you tell and the information you share. Content marketing is a magical world. To emphasize the obvious, one of the best and most efficient marketing investments a business can make is a website and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. It’s not as daunting as many business owners believe. Old, tired or out of date websites damage the reputations of any retail outlet or service. Not having a website at all guarantees limited or no growth. A website must be dynamic and useful. It must be properly designed and robust enough to achieve the goals. The clincher is that the business owner must commit the time personally or have the budget set aside specifically to create and maintain the required content. Make your website valuable to your customers by offering reasons to come back again and again and it will become the heartbeat of your marketing. Are you ready to explore content marketing? Here are five common questions. How do I get started?
- Seek advice
- There are many companies in the business of providing solutions for the problems of businesses
- Find the people you trust and engage their services. Use a search engine just like your customers
- Discover for yourself why content marketing and search engine optimization are so important
- An expert will understand your needs, work with you to describe your goals, assess an existing website if you already have one, work with you on the development of a new web presence, provide ideas and solutions and help you devise your content strategy along with the systems required to achieve desired results
- You must have a realistic goal, a defined strategy and a workable routine in order for content marketing to be the critical weapon in your business building arsenal
- Discover what your customers want to know and develop that as your content
- Be entertaining and educational. For example, if your category is natural foods, how can you provide recipes and or content around making healthy choices?
- Learn how best to educate your users. Identify their problems and provide solutions
- Bring your brand to life with content and personality
- Use the on line tools that suit your budget and your time
- Look for topicality in current events every day. How can you capitalize on the Canucks run to the Stanley Cup or the return of NHL hockey to Winnipeg or a new product or innovation in your particular content category? How can these events inspire your content?
- Content must be engaging, sticky, relevant, useable, entertaining, educational
- A blog with photos and/or video whenever possible
- A forum for the presentation of related content through re-purposing in-the-news items, related articles, research studies and papers from other bloggers, re-post relevant YouTube videos
- Video may include interviews with experts, staff talking about their expertise, visual examples of your products in action, vodcasting how-to tutorials
- The creation of video content is determined by your personal ability to shoot and edit or your ability to hire someone to do it for you
- Create an online community for your customers to share their knowledge and experiences
- Create an interactive module for users to ask questions and get expert answers
- Make it easy to share your content. You want your users to re-post, re-tweet, email to their networks
- It is important to understand and employ the big three, Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin
- Use permission marketing by having users register to receive a weekly or monthly newsletter via email
- Users have to know, like and trust you before they will tolerate a sales pitch
- Your call to action is vital as you convince readers, viewers, visitors to take the next step in your marketing process
- Afterall, when you users need what you have to offer, you want them to buy