Tag Archives: Content Marketing

4 attributes that make your content marketing successful

4-attributes-of-content-marketing-success

Successful content marketing rests on 4 attributes

  1. Alignment with your organizational goals: What exactly do you want to achieve through content marketing?
  2. Team collaboration: All the people who are responsible for content marketing use the same tools, use the same language and communicate the same message. They also know what are the success metrics.
  3. Content distribution: Content publishing should always be complemented with content distribution so that your target audience can access your content and respond accordingly. If there is no method of content distribution, your job is half done.
  4. Ongoing analytics: Always know what you’re doing and what you are achieving, and this can be best done by analyzing your effort and results.

How do you keep track of these four attributes for successful content marketing?

You need a documented content marketing strategy.

The word “strategy” may seem like a highfalutin word, but it is not. In the realms of content marketing it means

1
Clearly articulating, in writing, the overall aim of your content marketing. What do you want to achieve ultimately? In how much time?

2.
Whom are you going to target? This is very important. For whom are you going to publish and distribute your content. How should they react? What should they do after getting exposed to your content?

3.
What sort of content you want to create? Do you want to establish yourself as an expert or an authority figure? Do you want to become an information hub? Do you want to educate people? Do you want to make people aware of a new technology or a better way of doing something? Do you want to provide better support to your existing customers and clients?

4.
What content format your audience prefers? Does your audience prefer blog posts? Infographics? LinkedIn? Slides? Videos? E-books? White papers and case studies? Email newsletters?

It is very important to know where to focus your energies otherwise you will be wasting lots of time on creating content that people are not interested in, or don’t want to access simply because they don’t like the format.

5.
Content creation process and scope. In many organizations, especially larger organizations, individual employees are supposed to create content and take care of it. In some organizations there are dedicated content teams.

In multi-layered content marketing teams there are content creators, content editors, content publishers and content distributors. Assign the right people to the right jobs for successful content marketing.

6.
Editorial calendar. Once you set your content marketing in motion you will need to stick to a schedule. Publishing consistency is very important. If you publish two blog posts every week, you must publish two blog posts every week. If you publish one infographic every 15 days, you must publish one infographic every 15 days.

An editorial calendar also allows you to prepare a list of topics that you can cover in the coming days, weeks and months. This way you are never at a loss. You always have something to publish.

7.
Content distribution. The high-quality content that you are publishing needs to reach the right audience to be effective. You have to proactively promote and distribute your content. You can use your social networking profiles. You can make sure that your content is search engine optimized so that people can easily find it on Google and other search engines.

8.
Tracking ROI and analytics. This is one of the most important aspects of a documented content marketing strategy. You need to constantly track your ROI and analytics.

Is your content marketing helping you achieve your goals? Are you attracting the right traffic? Are people doing the right thing when they are on your website or blog? Is the level of engagement fruitful on social media and social networking websites?

The good thing about tracking constantly is that if some structural and directional changes need to be made, they can be made in a timely manner.

So, these are the eight vital components of a documented content marketing strategy that can ensure the success of your content marketing.

Collaborative Content Marketing And Its Benefits for Your Business

collaborative-content-marketing

Here is a nice Forbes blog post on the concept of collaborative content marketing.

Whenever multiple people or multiple teams are working on a campaign or a project, collaboration is required.

These days collaboration is easier due to the availability of various online tools. From working on a Google Docs document to managing communication among thousands of employees using a tool like Slack or Microsoft Teams, collaboration among teams placed all over the world is a norm these days.

Any big content marketing team needs to collaborate. So, yes, collaborative content marketing would mean a big team working on your content marketing.

Does a small business require collaborative content marketing? It depends. If a single person is working on your content marketing (someone from your office, or yourself), there is little scope for collaboration. But if there are multiple team members then some sort of collaboration is bound to happen. Here at Credible Content we often use Asana to collaborate with different writers from different parts of the world.

The above blog post talks about why collaboration is better and what sort of content can be created and published using a team of content writers, graphic designers, SEO experts and marketers.

There are three benefits, according to the author, of collaborative content marketing, viz.,

  1. Sharing of resources: When a bigger team works on your content marketing, resources can be shared. Expertise can be exchanged. Individual team members can contribute individual skills. Someone might be good at research. Someone might be good at creating infographics. Someone might be a good writer. They can all come together and create a formidable brand presence for you.
  2. Availability of different perspectives: When a single person works on your content marketing there is a danger of a skewed perspective based on the knowledge, wisdom and biases of the person carrying out your content marketing. In collaborative content marketing on the other hand, different perspectives can give you a varied representation and your content becomes more authoritative.
  3. Broadening of your audience: This is assuming your individual content marketing team members have their own followers and contacts on social networking websites. Suppose one of your team members has a strong presence on LinkedIn and another has a strong presence on Twitter. When they help you with your content marketing, they can use their respective social networking profiles to give you an edge. It depends.

What kind of content can be created by collaborative content marketing team members?

Basically, the usual content formats. I wouldn’t like to rewrite the entire post so if you are really interested in knowing more about collaborative content marketing, go to the original Forbes blog post.

Can content marketing work for a very small business?

can-content-marketing-work-for-a-very-small-businessToday someone left the following question on my contact form: Can content marketing work for a very small business?

It might be unnerving to read about big companies like Coca-Cola, IBM and American Express putting all their energies into content marketing – this must make you wonder, if such big companies are using content marketing, does content marketing work for a very small business too?

My answer is, the smaller the business, the better content marketing is for you.

Content marketing can definitely work for a very small business because

  • The cost of content marketing can be easily scaled according to the size of your business.
  • Even if you are a very small business, you can start content marketing today, right this very moment.
  • As a small business, you can do content marketing yourself, if you have the time, and if you have some budget, you can even hire someone to do content marketing for you. You may like to read Hire a professional content writer for your business.
  • Most of the tools needed for content marketing are available for free or on trial basis. Read 14 tools you can use to optimize content marketing.
  • If you can write, much better for your very small business because then you can kick start your content marketing at this very moment.
  • For content marketing to work for a very small business all you need is a blog and the right social networking accounts. Read Why your business needs a blog (20 reasons).

There is all the more reason for a very small business to use content market instead of conventional advertising. These days people skip most of the ads. Just imagine, you are spending all that hard-earned money on ads people don’t even see. When was it the last time you voluntarily saw an ad unless it was irresistible? A very big reason why Netflix and Hulu are popular because people don’t want to see ads.

As a very small business you simply cannot afford to lose so much money on advertisements and the best option for you is content marketing where you can rest assured the investment that you make is going to get you more business. Read Why content marketing is important for your business.

Why content marketing works for very small businesses?

I think content marketing is ideal for very small businesses who don’t have very big budgets for advertising and marketing. If you use something like AdWords you pay for every click. So, if you have to pay, let’s suppose, $0.50 for every click for multiple keywords, for every hundred clicks you are paying $50 to Google. This will definitely get you instant traffic provided you know how to manage a PPC campaign.

PPC advertising is a marketing branch in itself and there are companies specifically helping businesses optimize their PPC campaigns. So, for a very small business, online advertising may work and may not work. If you want to be sure that it works, you will need to work with the search marketing company which means, aside from spending money on every click that you get, you will also have to pay the search marketing company.

Plus, there is always your competition. Since there is always going to be someone who is ready to spend more money than you, you will have to go on increasing your ad budget. This can lead to your very small business to ruin.

Content marketing on the other hand – assuming you do it the right way – always works no matter what small business you are running.

This is because no matter how much content there is on the Internet, your business is unique so your content is also going to be unique. There is always going to be some factor that will distinguish your content from your competitor’s content, and this gives you an edge, and this is why content marketing can work for a very small business.

If you are wondering what’s content marketing, you may like to read What is content marketing? Explained in detail.

The advantage that a very small business has is that you can be very flexible. You can quickly create content needed by your target audience. You can be very specific.

Unlike big businesses, a very small business has a very narrow market, so you don’t have to put a lot of effort in carrying out your content marketing strategy. You need to generate content catering to only a small audience. You can also easily find out which social platform your target customers and clients prefer: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or LinkedIn (contemporary platforms, at the time of reading this, there might be many more).

Benefits of content marketing for a very small business

  • Content marketing improves your SEO: If you are a very small business that depends on search engine traffic then an improved SEO would help, right? You will get more traffic without paying for every click. The nature of content marketing is such that it automatically improves your SEO. Read Can content marketing improve your SEO?
  • Content marketing can help you build a reputation as an industry leader: Reputation in business always helps. When people know you and they respect you for your knowledge, they feel more eager to do business with you. And it has a cascading effect: you get more business with your reputation and since you get more business, your reputation increases and because your reputation increases, you get more business. This can easily be achieved with targeted content marketing. As a very small business since you have a deep knowledge of your customers and clients, you can create highly targeted content for them, sharing your wisdom and knowledge and answering their questions.
  • Content marketing reduces your marketing budget: With content marketing, you don’t have to spend on traditional marketing. You get so much visibility on the Internet that people come to your website rather than you interrupting them at odd moments. Once you create a search engine and social media presence for yourself you won’t have to pay for every click. On their own people will be coming to your website.
  • Content marketing helps you build a loyal customer base: When you continuously publish helpful content, people begin to like you and feel good about associating with you. They tend to share your content more among their friends and colleagues. They also tend to recommend your business because they trust you. Having a loyal customer base is far better than targeting people with advertisements.
  • Content marketing helps you engage people continuously: Interesting content encourages people to share your content and talk about it with each other. You never know which piece of content may go viral and millions of people come to know of it within a few hours. Yes, this has happened to many businesses.
  • Content marketing helps you build your own mailing list: A mailing list that you have built on the strength of your own content is one of the best business assets you can ever develop. These are the people who have subscribed to your mailing list on their own. They are open to getting messages from you on a regular basis. They like to hear from you. If you keep sending them helpful content they will always know that when they need that particular service or product, you are there to provide. It doesn’t matter to them that you are a very small business; provided you provide them with great content they’re always going to do business with you.

What sort of content marketing can a very small business do?

As a very small business you have multiple content marketing channels available to you that you can start using right now. Some of these channels I am describing below:

  • Start a blog: This is the best content marketing step a very small business can take immediately. If you already have a website all you have to do is go to WordPress.com, download the installation files and set up a blog in a separate directory (something like yourdomain.com/blog/). If you don’t want to do it yourself, every web host these days has this “one click” feature that allows you to install contemporary content management systems in a jiffy.
  • Create a list of keywords relevant to your very small business: You don’t need to start publishing blog posts the moment you set up a blog. Do some keyword research. You don’t have to target very small keywords because they will be very competitive. Instead, focus on longtail keywords. Here is a blog post you may like to read: 11 essential ingredients for creating great blog posts.
  • Create a list of questions and queries your target customers and clients may have about your business: People these days use questions and queries on search engines. If you have a flower shop people won’t simply search for “flower shop”. They will probably search for “is there an online flower shop in my area?” or “is there an online flower shop that can deliver fresh roses immediately?” List down all possible questions your target customers and clients may have before they decide to do business with you.
  • Start creating blog posts out of the questions and queries you have compiled: This is a very good way of creating relevant content as a very small business. By the time you have covered all the questions (the question is the title and the blog content is the answer) you will be having lots of blog posts on your blog and you will have covered lots of keywords relevant to your business.
  • Share your updates on your preferred social networking platforms: You can post your links on multiple platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat. You can use a service like Hootsuite or Buffer App to post your content across multiple social networking platforms in one go. Even a very small business can afford to use these services.

Is content marketing a quick fix work for a very small business?

Not at all. Just because lots of things on the Internet are free and easily available, it doesn’t mean content marketing is one of those things. It’s a legitimate form of marketing. Whether you are a very small business or a very big business content marketing requires effort. Being a very small business, may be the effort won’t be very big and hence you may be able to manage your content marketing on your own, but effort WILL be required.

If you don’t have time for that effort, you will need to hire someone who can take care of basic content marketing like creating and publishing fresh and relevant content and then distributing your content using your social networking platforms. Good content writers are easily available. You may like to read 20 benefits of hiring professional content writing services.

As your very small business transitions into a small business and then a medium-sized business and then a large business, your content marketing will also evolve. Just like you have to continuously promote your business using conventional advertising and marketing, you will need to employ content marketing to keep yourself in the race.

Can content marketing improve your SEO?

can-content-marketing-improve-your-SEOMany businesses are attracted towards content marketing because they think that it will improve their SEO. Is it true? Does content marketing really improve your SEO?

Yes, it does. Strategic content marketing definitely improves your SEO.

Better SEO is a byproduct of efficient and persistent content marketing.

What do you do when you use content marketing to promote your business?

  • You publish content that helps your visitors.
  • Your content provides answers to questions your customers and clients seek.
  • You are continuously providing content to search engine crawlers to crawl, index and rank.
  • By promoting your content using all available channels you earn social validation for your website (which is used by search engines to rank your website).
  • You are continuously using your keywords and key phrases to generate content.
  • The more quality content you publish the greater are the chances that other websites will link back to you.

If you notice, all these content marketing tactics are exactly the things you need to do to improve your SEO.

How content marketing improves your SEO

Search engines like Google and Bing are all about content. When people use these search engines your landing pages and the main website rarely show up. It’s your content pages and blog posts that show up in the search results. The entire process of content marketing is such that it automatically improves your SEO.

Take for example Google. What does Google consider to rank your individual webpages?

  • The overall quality and relevance of your content.
  • The keyword and key phrases that you have used in the title, in the body text and in the headlines.
  • The contextual analysis of your content.
  • The number of external websites linking to your content.
  • The number of social shares of your content.
  • The overall quality and quantity of your website or blog.

All these can only be achieved through content marketing.

This is how content marketing improves your SEO

  • You publish relevant content that solves your customers’ and clients’ problems.
  • You publish content on an ongoing basis so that you are constantly feeding the search engines with good quality content (this alone improves your SEO).
  • Strategic content marketing makes you create content around your relevant keywords and key phrases consistently, increasing your overall website keyword density.
  • Since you are creating valuable content, it is often shared on social networking websites, providing validation, which further improves your SEO.
  • When you publish quality content that is relevant and helps people, other websites and blogs link to your content, again contributing to your SEO.
  • Improved SEO makes it easier for people to find your content, link to it, share it and talk about it, further improving your SEO.

Your average SEO agency may beg to differ, good content marketing automatically leads to an improved SEO.

Are there times when content marketing doesn’t improve your SEO?

Although I repeatedly stress on my website that good content marketing always improves your SEO there can be instances when content marketing does not improve your SEO.

To understand why sometimes content marketing may not lead to improved SEO you first need to understand what is content marketing and what is SEO.

What is content marketing?

In layman’s terms, content marketing is publishing lots of useful, relevant content that helps your customers and clients so that they begin to trust you and readily do business with you. Content marketing includes

  • Publishing quality content on a consistent basis.
  • Using social networking channels to distribute your content.
  • Publishing content on all available channels so that it becomes easier to come across your business name, brand or your own name.

This is the basic crux of content marketing. Read more on What is content marketing? Explained in detail.

What is SEO?

Search engine optimization. The concept is as old as search engines themselves. SEO means creating content so that it’s easier for search engines to

  • Find it
  • Crawl it
  • Index it
  • Rank it higher compared to other links for your desired keywords

The last point is the most important to people who are trying to improve their SEO. They want their content to be found, on the first page, for their preferred keywords. Keywords and key phrases are the most important when it comes to improving your SEO. If your content is being found for all the wrong reasons, it doesn’t help you.

This is very important: your content needs to be found for the right keywords and search terms. Read more on What is Organic SEO?

Content marketing can exist without giving you SEO benefits

This is because you can create quality content without using your keywords. You can use heavy images and complicated JavaScript on your website so that it’s very difficult for the search engine crawlers to crawl your content despite the content being of exceptional quality.

For an improved SEO the source code of your website matters a lot. The source code of your website should be in such a way that it makes it easier for search engines to access your content as soon as possible. The crawlers shouldn’t have to sift through a ton of gibberish before it can reach your main content.

When you don’t use proper tags, when you don’t hyperlink to your relevant pages using the right anchor text, when you don’t have a site map, when the other websites linking to your content don’t use the right anchor text, you don’t get much SEO benefit from your content marketing.

When does content marketing improve your SEO?

Your content marketing can be exceptional but you also need to help search engines crawl, index and rank your content, either from your own website, or external websites.

Here are a few things to keep in mind in order to help your content marketing improve your SEO:

  • Do comprehensive keyword research – create a long list of keywords and key phrases that your customers and clients are likely to use when trying to look for your service.
  • Without overdoing it, use your keywords and key phrases while creating and publishing your content.
  • People these days normally use questions on the search engines, so provide answers to these questions.
  • Don’t use lots of JavaScript, at least in the beginning of your webpages and blog posts. If using JavaScript is unavoidable, use it in such a manner that you include the JavaScript code at the end of your webpages and blog posts.
  • Try to follow W3C guidelines to create an accessible website because an accessible website automatically improves your SEO on the technical side.
  • Use proper tags like h1, h2, h3, ul, li, etc. to organize your content.
  • Get quality back links to your website on the strength of your quality content.

Although quality content marketing in itself improves your SEO, you just saw above that good content marketing can exist without giving you any SEO benefits. But if you maintain a website or blog that doesn’t stop the search engine crawlers from accessing your main content as early as possible, then persistent content marketing definitely improves your SEO.

Simple content marketing for a small business

simple-content-marketing-for-small-businessContent marketing isn’t just for big businesses having deep pockets. In fact, small businesses are in a better position to leverage content marketing due to the flexibility and abundance of creativity small business owners enjoy compared to highly bureaucratic and red-tape-tangled big businesses.

Yes, it takes efforts. I’m not saying content marketing is a quick-reward tactic. It’s a mistake to call it a tactic, it’s a prolonged strategy with long lasting results. You have to build it brick by brick. You will even have to pay content writers and content creators if you cannot create content on your own. It’s just like any other business asset that requires investment and effort.

Need to know what’s content marketing? You may like to read What is content marketing? Explained in detail.

Why a small business should embrace content marketing?

Here are some reasons why content marketing benefits your small business:

  • Conventional advertising is expensive and unscientific
  • PPC (pay-per-click) campaigns can totally blow up your budget
  • Content marketing makes people trust you
  • Content marketing helps you build your own media platform
  • Content marketing increases your visibility on search engines as well as social networking websites
  • You don’t have to pay for every click
  • The visibility that you create with content marketing is long-lasting
  • Once you have created a presence for yourself through content marketing, you no longer have to depend on search engines
  • Frankly, there is no other way, whether you realize it now, or later

Simple content marketing for a small business

The entry barrier to content marketing is very low. It is not as formidable as it may initially seem. In fact, you can formulate a content marketing strategy right now and start implementing it within the next one hour (first complete reading this). Here are a few simple things you can do to start your own content marketing campaign for your small business:

  1. Define your purpose: Content marketing is very precise and it is advisable that you clearly define your purpose right in the beginning of launching your content marketing strategy.What do you intend to achieve with content marketing?

    Of course, every business wants to get more customers and clients and this goes without saying, but what should be your key performance indicators (KPIs)? Are you looking for brand visibility on social networking websites like LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook? Do you want more subscribers for your business newsletter? Do you want more customers (duh!)? Read 12 most important KPIs of content marketing.

  2. Do keyword research: Keyword research is not as simple as it may seem in the beginning. You have to think how your typical customer or client would think when he or she needs to find your business. Don’t assume what keywords and search terms they should be using. There are many good keywords tools available (you can begin with this Google keyword tool).Keyword research isn’t just for better search engine rankings, it also helps you keep yourself focused and create the most appropriate content using the most appropriate language that your prospective customers and clients use. Keyword research gives you a direction.
  3. Create content topics: These are the blog posts and webpages that you are going to write or create content for. Remember that you need to create your topics keeping in mind what sort of traffic you want to get to your website or blog.If I want to get more clients for my content writing and content marketing services I write content that shows how much I know as well as how interested I am in getting your business.

    If you provide a consulting service than you want to tell people how much you know and how you help your clients. If you sell a product you would like to describe what are the benefits of those products in every possible way.

  4. Set up a domain account in Google Analytics and Google’s Webmasters Tools: These will help you monitor what sort of traffic your content is attracting. You will have to combine both of them to get a better insight.These tools will tell you what keywords people use to find your content. They will also tell you from where you get your traffic the most. Here is a good blog post on how to use Google Search Analytics to enhance your content marketing. If you find it difficult to understand, stay tuned, one of these days I will create a simplified version of how to use these tools to improve your content marketing efforts.
  5. Start publishing blog posts: Publishing blog posts is the easiest form of content marketing. Although, I repeatedly say that simply publishing blog posts on your blog isn’t exactly content marketing, it is your base. Without having quality content, there is nothing to market. So, everything starts with quality content that you publish under your domain name. Publish posts based on the topics you have created, based on the keywords you have researched.
  6. Use social channels to share your content: If you have a LinkedIn account (better for B2B businesses) start sharing the links of the blog posts you have started publishing. Use Twitter, use Facebook, use whatever social networking channel you prefer and where you would like to build your audience. This will bring visibility to your newly-created content.
  7. Monitor performance using Google Analytics and Google’s Webmasters Tools: You will need to be patient. These tools won’t get data initially. Google won’t even index your new content in the beginning if your domain is new. It may take a couple of months before you begin to see some data in Google Analytics and Google’s Webmasters Tools. Be persistent without worrying – every small business or big business goes through this process.
  8. Curate content from other sources: You don’t always have to create content from scratch. Awesome content is being created every minute on other websites and blogs. You can curate content from these sources from time to time and share it on your social networking timelines. You can also create smaller blog posts with your unique point of view with the help of curated content. Read Can you use content curation as a viable content marketing tool?
  9. Repurpose your popular content: If you observe that particular blog posts are getting more attention you can re-purpose their content. You can pick up the main points and create slides and then share the slides on a platform like Slideshare.com. If your blog post contains data, you can create an infographic and share it again on social networking platforms. If possible, you can create a small YouTube video, upload it on YouTube, and then share it again. There are many ways you can re-purpose your existing content. You may like to read How to repurpose old content.

These are a few simple ways a small business can use content marketing. As I mentioned in the beginning, just like any other business activity, it takes effort, consistency, a bit of creativity, and persistence. It’s not a shortcut. It’s an alternative, a way better alternative to conventional advertising and promotion. Revisit the above point: Why a small business should embrace content marketing.