Some people think that the sole purpose of content marketing is to improve your search engine rankings and consequently, cover as many keywords as possible. This is not a totally misplaced notion and your content must cater to the parameters the search engines need in order to crawl, index and rank your website according to the language you have used vis-a-vis the search terms their users are using. But this is just a small part of content marketing. The most important purpose of creating and publishing content on your website is to engage your readers. If you can engage them, they become your customers and clients, or at least, your subscribers.
What exactly is engagement?
To an uninitiated person this may seem like an alien concept. Engagement means people can relate to your message and in some manner they want to respond to it. They can respond to it in many ways:
- They can leave comments on your website
- They can share your link on Facebook, Twitter or Google+
- They can leave comments under your social media profiles when you post your links over there
- They can subscribe to your newsletter updates or RSS feeds
- They can write articles and blog posts in response to what you have written
- They can make connections with you on social media and social networking websites
- They can link back to you from their own websites and blogs
Higher search engine rankings don’t matter much if your content doesn’t engage your readers. It is active engagement that makes an impression, that helps them remember you when they actually have to purchase something that you offer or to recommend you if their friends and colleagues need something that you can offer.
What makes your content effective?
It differs from audience to audience. Some people are looking for information so that they can decide if they can buy your product or service or not. Some people have already bought what you are offering and they need further information in order to utilize it better. Some people merely want to learn more or want to share some good content on their social media and social networking profiles. Some people are looking for entertainment.
The basic idea is providing what your target audience is looking for and then providing it non-stop, with unmitigated quality.
How to encourage engagement with effective content marketing?
Content marketing is different from just publishing content on your website. It means not only publishing content on your website, but also spreading it around the web so that it is easily found for the right search terms and the right places. People should be aware of the existence of your content. You cannot hope to engage people with effective content marketing if you’re just publishing content – no matter how great your content is – while paying scant regard on marketing and publicity.
Marketing and publicity doesn’t mean that you need to hire a PR agency in order to promote your content; it simply means you create your own presence by constantly engaging people on social media websites, online forums, blogs and websites so that when you share your own links they respond actively.
Anyway, the best way to engage your readers is to provide something stimulating in a conversational tone so that people can relate to you. They should feel like talking to you and responding to your questions and queries. Your content doesn’t have to be perfect, it just needs to be informative, direct, non-misleading and sincere. And of course, regular.