Content marketing is an interesting type of marketing that requires a lot of work, but yields a high reward.
Many people in the digital marketing community use a phrase: “content is king”. After all, you can have a website but if there is no content then there’s no reason to visit the site.
All successful internet marketing campaigns begin with having good content. If you don’t have good content, you don’t have anything to share on social media. You don’t have anything to optimize for the search engines. Everything begins with content.
But, content marketing itself is a thing.
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is when you create content in various forms and share it out with the world to increase visibility of your brand. When people think of web content, they often think of the text on the page. This is certainly one type of content, but any audio, video, images, or other media can be a form of content as well.
Use all of that content for marketing.
The purpose of content marketing is to share information in a way that engages the viewer. The idea is that they learn something, and then share the content. This leads people back to you.
You also need content for search engine optimization. The more quality SEOptimized content you have out there, the more ways people can discover you.
Page content is really where it all starts.
There are some pages you will need to have. You need to have an About page. Pages dedicated to your services are also important. Your website also needs a contact page so people can get ahold of you.
Once you write and optimize these pages, they’re generally static. You won’t do much except update them or tweak for SEO every once in a while.
After you’ve got your static web pages built out and optimized for the search engines, there are other types of content to be created:
- Blog posts
- Images / Infographics
- Audio / Podcasts
- And others.
It’s not important which one of these you start with other than you should start with the one that is easiest for you to start creating on a consistent basis. You also don’t need to create all of these right off the bat.
For example, if your firm already does a lot of video work, it may be easier for you to create video content on a weekly basis than it is for you to create infographics, a podcast, or even just writing blog posts.
For many, it’s easier to just write a blog post once a week. The main thing is that you at least have some form of content going out every week. It doesn’t even have to be the same form of content. You could do a blog post one week and a video the next.
And of course, consistency is the key, as we’ve mentioned before in older posts. You’ll need to be creating and sharing content regularly if you want to gain any traction. A minimum of one piece of content per week is recommended. Of course, more is better.
Most people start with blog posts.
Blog posts are a great way to start because it’s pretty easy to just sit down and start typing. Don’t worry if you suck at writing. First of all, you probably don’t. Second of all, you’ll get better. It’s more important that you’re creating informative content on a regular basis than it is important that you use the right their/there/they’re.
Of course, do plan on improving and fixing mistakes in the future. But, don’t let it hold you back from getting started today.
Regular blog posts are actually really great for SEO, too. Every blog post is a new page for the search engines to index, which means it’s another door that leads to your website. Plus all that text content can and should be optimized for a keyword. This gets you out there organically in ways that other content formats won’t.
Images are the next easiest content to create.
Most if not all computers come with basic image editing software on them. If not, you can get it for cheap or free. Plus, you most likely have a camera in your pocket (in your phone).
Posts with images convert much better than posts without, so image creation as a form of content is important. Next time you’re looking around social media, think about what kind of images are being shared.
They’re usually funny or informative. One could be a web comic. Maybe a picture of food with recipe text overlay. Possibly an infographic.
Check out your competitors and see what kind of images they post, and how they do. You can learn from others’ successes and failures.
Infographics do particularly well in the right industries, but take a lot of work to create. Not only do you have to find the information and statistic for the image, but then you need to create graphics that coincide with the statistics.
Many companies just hire someone to do this every once in a while. It’s a good investment.
And of course images can and will be indexed by search engines. I’ve seen blog posts take off because of images being optimized well. They brought in the initial traffic from the image section of Google, but the text content was well written. People shared it once they stopped to look at the article.
Video content is harder to create, but it’s currently doing really well.
The thing about video is that it’s a lot of work and to create quality video, requires a level of investment in hardware for filming and software for editing. That’s not even taking in account the amount of time.
But, good video content that is optimized for search engines tends to do really well. Videos on YouTube especially do well because they can best be optimized, plus they’re able to be shared and spread around easily. You can host the video there and post it out to any pages and social media you need. People who enjoy the videos can then grab the embed codes and place them where they want to.
Plus, video is highly engaging.
The biggest issue with video is the barrier of entry. Like I said, it requires hardware, software, and time. Plus some skill.
Audio content is quickly growing in popularity.
Podcasts are becoming pretty big. If 2016 wasn’t the year of the podcast, 2017 will be. Lots of small businesses are seeing huge growth in traffic to their website after creating a podcast.
While many people see a podcast as a way to make money through selling advertising during the podcast, if you already have a business with products or services (such as selling and/or designing house plans), I don’t recommend you advertise someone else within your podcast.
By all means, tell people about your products and/or services, but don’t make it sound like an advertisement.
Focus on providing value for the listener and then at the end, casually mention that if people need what you sell, they should go check out your website.
Slideshows are an underutilized form of content marketing.
A slideshow is basically just a PowerPoint presentation that you upload to a site like SlideShare (owned by LinkedIn). Featured slideshows on SlideShare often get hundreds of thousands of views.
A good slideshow will not any audio to go with it. There is no video format; it’s just a series of images (the slides). Because of that, you’ll want to make sure that each slide stands on its own and is understandable to someone who reads it.
It’s not a great idea to just take a PowerPoint presentation you gave at a conference and upload it as is. What you should do is modify it to stand alone without your speech to go with it, and upload that.
You should also send your content out to your email list.
If you don’t have an email list that you’re regularly sending content to, you should. Email marketing is a post all in its own, and we’ll get to that in the future, so join our mailing list to get notified of when that post comes out. We’ll also discuss another type of content, lead magnets, in that post.
If you do already have an email list, you should regularly send them content to keep your brand on their mind.
When coming up with content ideas, you shouldn’t be afraid to say the same thing twice.
A lot of times people run out of content ideas because they’re afraid of talking about the same subject twice. This is the wrong way to look at it.
First of all, most people aren’t going to see it twice unless they’re really following you closely. Those people won’t mind seeing it twice.
I’m not saying you should just copy and paste the content, though. And you should space it out. It should be a while before you write about the same subject again.
When you do write about something you’ve previously written, add some new stuff in. You don’t want it to be the same exact thing, and since you’ve given some time, you may have learned something new or otherwise have something fresh to bring to the subject.
We also listed out quite a few mediums of content you can create, so make sure to be repurposing content across mediums as well. Something that was a blog post five months ago could be turned into a video today.
But before you can repurpose a content idea, you need to have ideas for content.
The best way to do this is to teach what you know to other people.
If you draw by hand, talk about drawing techniques, what tools you use, or whatever else you know about drawing. Or maybe your business is doing well, talk about different aspects of business. If you sell home plans online full time, talk about how you do that.
You know a lot of stuff, and the world could use it.
This sets you up as an authority in your profession. When people see that you know what you’re talking about, they’re more likely to buy from you. The content builds trust.
The people that you’re teaching aren’t going to become your competition. You’re just now teaching these things, but you’ve been doing them for a while. They’re just now learning these things. It will take them a while to catch up, and in that time you will have gotten better.
With all of this information you can get started with content marketing today.
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Garrett Mickley is the Communications Director for AIBD and has over eight years experience working in digital marketing.
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