Tag Archives: Content Marketing

10 different ways content marketing benefits your business

10 different ways a business can benefit from content marketing

10 different ways a business can benefit from content marketing.

It is always good to revisit our blessings. We all know the benefits of content marketing and I have written multiple times on my blog how you can gain from content marketing.

I came across this blog post – Top 10 business benefits of content marketing – on Search Engine Journal, and thought of sharing it here.

Some years ago, I published this YouTube video on 6 advantages of content marketing.

 

Content is everywhere on the Internet. You visit a website and you read its web page or blog post, it is content.

You visit a social media or social networking website, and you go through your timeline, it is content.

You watch a YouTube video, it is content.

Through content, you build your platform. When you regularly publish blog posts on your blog, people visit your blog regularly. They pay attention to what you have published. It becomes your broadcasting platform.

The beauty of content marketing is that people are drawn to your website or blog on their own. You do not need to tell them to visit your website.

Why is content marketing so effective?

Because instead of promoting your product or service, you are providing useful information to people. You help them solve problems. You make them feel informed and intelligent.

It is like TV channels. Only, TV channels do not usually sell products (some do). They entertain you. They inform you. They show your content you love to watch. While you are watching that content, they show you advertisements. They make money off those advertisements. They have built platforms. They have built audiences. They make use of those audiences. The same thing applies to content marketing.

When you provide them useful information, on an ongoing basis, they begin to respect you. They want to keep track of what you are publishing. They will go to extra lengths to subscribe to your email updates or follow you on social media, or make sure they visit your website or blog regularly.

I provide content writing services. When people visit my blog, even if they are reading blog posts on the various aspects of content writing, even when I am not asking them to hire me as their content writer, they know that I write professional content.

It is because my website and my blog are branded in such a manner that you cannot help but notice that I provide professional content writing services.

But I am not forcing anyone. I get repeat visitors because of my content marketing efforts and over a period, they begin to remember that I provide professional content writing services and I share lots of information on the subject.

The Search Engine Journal author has mentioned the following benefits of content marketing in the above-linked blog post…

  1. Content marketing increases your organic search engine rankings because you publish authoritative content.
  2. Consequently, you get more organic traffic from search engines.
  3. Since your rankings improve, it becomes easier for influencers and blog publishers to find your content and link to it, therefore, sending more referral traffic your way.
  4. More social engagement is facilitated through content marketing as, when you publish useful and relevant content, people talk about it on their social media timelines, or at least, interact with you on your own social media timelines.
  5. You publish targeted content to make customer journey meaningful, engaging, and informative.
  6. You begin to enjoy higher conversion rate because you get more targeted traffic from search engines, social media platforms, as well as other referral websites.
  7. Content marketing inspires you to publish multiformat content. This does not just get your content found through multiple means, it also makes it easier for people to consume your content in their preferred formats.
  8. The content that you publish for your content marketing campaigns is usually evergreen content. If it is relevant today, it is also going to be relevant after a couple of years.
  9. Content marketing also prompts you to use original research data.
  10. There is long-term cost saving. Content marketing costs you much less compared to traditional marketing and advertising.

I always tell my clients that content marketing (also content writing) is not a one-off affair. It is an ongoing effort. Why is it an ongoing effort?

Huge quantities of content are constantly being added and then being crawled by search engines and being displayed by social media platforms. If you think that you can publish content for a few weeks and then go on with what you are doing without publishing new content, your content is soon taken over by people who are publishing content more aggressively, and with a stringent routine.

Hence, content marketing certainly has its benefits, but just like any other marketing effort, it requires persistence and strategy.

5 reasons why you should start a blog for your e-commerce store

5 benefits of publishing an e-commerce blog
5 benefits of publishing an e-commerce blog

Want to improve search engine rankings of your e-commerce store? Want to supercharge your conversion rate? You must start an e-commerce blog.

If you’re wondering why you should start an e-commerce blog, you will find your answer here.

The e-commerce space is quite crowded. With websites like Shopify and Rackspace it’s even easier to start an e-commerce website within a few days without knowledge of programming or HTML.

According to this UNCTAD report, Covid-19 has led to a surge in e-commerce business. Due to multiple lockdowns all over the world, almost everyone ordered from home. Even those who were reluctant to purchase stuff online, started doing their shopping from online retail stores. The share of e-commerce in the global retail trade rose from 14% in 2019 to 17% in 2020, according to the same UNCTAD link.

Starting an e-commerce blog enables you to carve a space for yourself on this crowded terra firma.

Data from IBM’s US retail index shows that the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the shift towards digital shopping roughly by 5 years. The non-essential purchases in the conventional, brick-and-mortar department stores declined by 75% in the second quarter of 2020.

It is not just the big e-commerce websites like Amazon.com, JD.com or Walmart e-commerce that have taken a huge proportion of the e-commerce business. There have been thousands of startups all over the world in the wake of not just the Covid-19 pandemic, but also to leverage the fast-changing consumer dynamics. I was recently reading about a new startup called Dukaan (colloquial for a neighborhood shop in India) that came up during the Covid-19 lockdown when the founders realized that the local shopkeepers were no longer able to sell their products even to the traditional customer base. Hence, they built a platform for traditional shop owners to sell their products using the platform. There are hundreds of such examples.

Naturally, the competition has increased. Whereas the bigger e-commerce websites don’t rest on their laurels and spend millions of dollars to maintain their visibility and push their products in front of their customers, smaller e-commerce websites need to rely on search engine optimization, content marketing, and social media marketing to get their share of the pie that is already being shared by thousands of others.

E-commerce blogging can be a big weapon in your arsenal.

There are multiple benefits or advantages of starting an e-commerce blog.

Why do you buy from Amazon.com? It is a known brand. You have already purchased from it scores of times, in my case, even hundreds of times. You know it’s return policy. More or less, you have had a good experience when it comes to addressing your grievances and you know that you can rely on the company in case you don’t receive the product you have ordered or if you have received a faulty product.

Amazon.com doesn’t have to convince you. You are already convinced. It has been on the landscape of e-commerce for more than 20 years. It doesn’t need to win your trust.

But if you’re a small e-commerce website people hardly know, you need to win their trust. All the attributes that are assumed about Amazon.com, you need to establish them.

You need to convince people that not just their money is safe with you, in case they face a problem, you’re going to be there for them. Lack of trust is a big problem among the prospective e-commerce customers because they don’t know you yet. They don’t know whether it is safe to spend their money on your website.

Recently my wife purchased a kurti from an unknown online retail store that sells women’s garments.  The piece of clothing cost double than what such a piece of clothing would cost on Amazon, but my wife liked it so much, that she bought from this website. It was a complete set containing upper and lower garments.

They sent the wrong color. They sent just the upper garment. When we called them, no one picked up the phone. Our email to their support elicited no response. We found that there are lots of negative reviews and feedback on Twitter about the company.

Such companies make it harder even for those e-commerce websites that mean to serve their customers well. This is an unnecessary hurdle created on the way of the well-meaning companies.

Blogging can fill this gap. It can familiarize people to your presence. It can establish a space of trust. Being a small e-commerce website, through your blog, it is easier to engage your customers at a personal level.

This Hubspot report says that e-commerce websites that publish a blog get 55% more traffic than those that don’t. Further, e-commerce websites that publish blogs get 97% more inbound links, and have 434% more pages indexed by Google.

Listed below are 5 reasons why as an e-commerce website you should publish a blog.

1. Blogging improves search engine rankings of your e-commerce website

Although a major part of your business comes from repeat customers (a universal trend among e-commerce websites) if you are an e-commerce store, in the beginning, you need to be found on major search engines like Google and Bing.

Before buying people look for information. For that they use a search engine like Google. They want to read about the product. They look for reviews. They look for opinions. They try to find the ratings.

In terms of improving your search engine rankings through an e-commerce blog, think about your own e-commerce store. It may be unique. It may be quite different from a bigger retail store like Amazon.com. Maybe you’re selling just 10 to 15 items, or even less. You need to educate people about the benefits of purchasing those items from your website. This you can achieve through regular blogging.

Blogging in itself is search engine friendly. Assuming that you update your blog regularly (1-5 times every week) Google crawls and indexes your e-commerce website with greater regularity because it expects to find fresh content. The Google crawler is engineered in a manner that it is constantly looking for fresh content, and even the Google ranking algorithm prefers fresh content over comparatively older content.

Make sure you choose the appropriate blog post titles that include the names of your products and their features. For example, if you sell ladies garments, you can publish something like “How to choose the best evening gown for the upcoming spring ball?” Or something like, “How we can help you if you’re not satisfied with our delivery”.

If you regularly publish a blog, people come to your website regularly. Research has shown that before buying, people need to come to your website for at least 4-5 times.

Regular blogging also gets you back links which are important for your SEO as well as wider visibility. Other bloggers and online publishers may link to useful posts from your blog. Also, blog posts are shared on social media with greater regularity.

2. Regular blogging establishes you as a thought leader

Trust matters a lot when it comes to shopping on an e-commerce website. Trust, coupled with familiarity. Familiarity comes from regular visibility. Trust comes from regular exposure to your knowledge, experience, and good advice.

Remember that having an e-commerce website doesn’t always mean having an online retail store where you list scores of products. Even if you’re selling one e-book, it is an e-commerce website, and to make people buy your e-book from your e-commerce website, you need to establish your presence among them as an authority figure.

3. Build a community of loyal customers around your e-commerce blog

The very nature of a blog makes you attract people who are interested in reading what you have to say. If you publish interesting and useful content on your e-commerce blog, they keep track of your blog. They leave comments. They respond to other visitors’ comments. They feel connected to your community. When they feel connected, they show their connectedness by following the footsteps of the community. If many of your community members buy from your e-commerce websites, the others will too.

4. Publishing targeted content is cheaper than advertising

Organic search engine rankings don’t just increase your search engine visibility, they also reduce your reliance on online advertising.

A problem with online advertising, especially when you are spending money on a PPC campaign, is that you pay for every click. Whenever someone clicks your link on Google, for example, and if the link is not a part of organic search results, you pay for that click. Whether the person buys from your website or not, you spend money on the person for visiting your website.

Being an e-commerce website with multiple items in your catalog, you may need to bid on multiple keywords. For example, if you want to draw traffic for, let’s say, 50 items in your e-commerce catalog, you will need to pay for individual clicks for all those 50 items. On an ongoing basis. You can easily guess how much money you will end up spending.

With blogging, the only money you’re spending is the money that you pay to your content writer. If your listings begin to appear in organic search results, whether you get 100 clicks or 1 million clicks, you don’t pay anything. All the traffic is free.

Also, inbound traffic – people coming to your website when they come across your content on Google and other websites – always converts better than the traffic that you get through advertising. This is because when people come across your relevant content, they decide on their own to come to your website. Knowingly or unknowingly, they are aware of why they are coming to your website. This makes it easier for them to decide in your favor when they need to buy something, and you offer it.

5. An e-commerce blog builds you are broadcasting platform

What is a broadcasting platform? It is a place where people come to read about your views, get to know about your products, and display interest in your ideas and opinion. With regular blogging for your e-commerce website, you can generate massive amounts of traffic within a couple of years. Something to the tune of 2-3000 visitors every day.

This gives you the ability to broadcast your side of the story in case some dispute happens. You will have a ready-made audience with you. You won’t have to depend on other websites to tell your side of the story. In case something tarnishes your image on the Internet, you can immediately take corrective measures by publishing an explanatory blog post on your e-commerce blog.

Should you publish an e-commerce blog on your own website or use third-party blogging platforms?

I strongly suggest that you publish a blog under your own e-commerce website. This way you completely own your content. All the traffic that you generate comes to your own e-commerce website.

There are certainly some benefits of publishing your e-commerce blog on a high traffic website like Medium (or LinkedIn), but then you will be diluting your traffic as well as search engine benefits. You may start an e-commerce blog on Medium, and you may get visibility faster, but most of the visibility belongs to the Medium platform. Whereas, from the beginning itself if you start publishing your blog on your own e-commerce website, it may take a while to build traffic and presence, but by the time you have built an audience, you will have your own strong presence.

 

What is content syndication and how does it help you in content marketing?

How content syndication helps content marketing
How content syndication helps content marketing

Content syndication can take place in two directions: you syndicate your content, or you publish syndicated content on your website or blog.

Syndication means when your content is republished by a third-party website. Content that can be syndicated includes blog posts, infographics, videos and articles.

Just as someone may be interested in publishing your content, you may also publish someone else’s content.

Many news websites use content syndication. For example, many newspapers syndicate content from Reuters and Associated Press. These are independent news gathering services. Newspapers and magazines pay them a fixed fee and based on the agreement, they get a certain number of news items or images that they can syndicate from the agencies.

Content syndication can also be a good content marketing tool.

What is the difference between guest blogging and content syndication?

You must be wondering, if your content is being published on another website or blog, how is it different from guest blogging? After all, in both the cases you should be getting backlinks or getting your content exposed to a different audience.

Guest blogging is when you write a blog post or an article, preferably exclusively, for another online publication. This blog post or article shouldn’t be published elsewhere, not even on your own blog or website.

Syndication on the other hand allows you to publish your content on multiple websites and blogs. In most of the cases, an API/RSS/XML connection is used to distribute the content.

If someone uses your RSS feed or an XML link to extract content from your website (based on your permission) and then publishes the content with due attribution, it is syndication. The content exists on your website. It also exists on other websites.

You can syndicate product reviews, movie reviews, authority blog posts, or even social media feeds. Syndication can be paid or free, depending on your agreement with the publishers.

Doesn’t content syndication create Google-related content duplication problem?

The basic idea behind content syndication is that your content appears on multiple websites. Doesn’t it create lots of duplicate content?

Yes it does?

Does Google penalize you for having duplicate content scattered all over the web?

Google says no.

But you need to take care that the websites and blogs publishing your content link back to your website or blog with attribution. You should also advise them to use the canonical link (that tells Google that the original content belongs to your URL).

Most of the content syndication tools automatically insert link to the original website. Content syndication is supposed to be automatic anyway. For example, if someone uses your RSS feed to extract content, whatever script is used to extract content also extracts the original URL and then links back to it.

The benefits of content syndication

There are many. You can promote your best performing content on bigger websites if they are ready to syndicate your content because of its quality and relevance.

Your old content, if it is still relevant and useful, can be repurposed and syndicated.

You generate backlinks automatically sometimes, which in turn benefits your SEO.

You can also use professional content syndication platforms such as Taboola and Outbrain to spread your content on other websites and blogs.

How to find content syndication partners

You can search on Google. You may use the following phrases when searching Google:

    • “published from”

    • “originally published in”

    • “original source credited to”

    • “republished with permission from”

You can also combine these phrases with the niche you’re looking for. For example, you can search for [“originally published in” “content writing tips”]

I have used [] just to club the two phrases together, you don’t need to use these brackets. The above combination should bring up websites that have published on the topics of content writing tips and somewhere they also contain the phrase “originally published in”, which indicates that they may have syndicated the content from somewhere else.

How to effectively pitch for a guest post?

Effective way of pitching for guest posts
Effective way of pitching for guest posts

I have never pitched for guest blogging. If I ever did, I have forgotten – maybe in the late 2000s. But I definitely get pitched on a regular basis.

Mine is a decently successful blog. Therefore, every day I get at least one guest posting pitch. I mostly ignore them not because I don’t want to publish guest posts. I need to regularly publish content on my blog and if I’m getting free content, why not? Especially if it is well written and provides value to my readers.

Why do I ignore most of the guest blog posting pitches? Because they are not directly written to me. They are template pieces. They sometimes don’t even refer to my website properly.

Here is what I recently posted on Twitter:

They don’t even sometimes take enough trouble to go through the blog and try to find out what sort of content I publish.

Hence, even if I don’t pitch for guest blogs, I certainly know how not to pitch. Here are a few things you can do to get a positive response from a blog publisher.

Carefully go through the blog you’re pitching to

Not knowing what sort of content the blogger is publishing and despite that pitching for a guest post can be quite annoying.

People send me pitches for beauty products, cloud-based software, gaming mobile apps, search engine optimization, web design and all sorts of professional fields. Rarely do they go through my blog and send me an appropriate pitch for a blog post title that would be appropriate to my niche – content writing, copywriting, blog writing, email writing, and to an extent, content marketing.

Mention in the subject why you are writing

I won’t pretend that I get a ton of email and one needs to be specific to be noticed. I notice almost every email that arrives in my inbox.

Nonetheless, if you are writing to a very busy blogger, clearly mention in the subject that you are proposing a guest blog post. If possible, even suggest the title although, in the subject line it may be a bit difficult.

Describe why the blog post will be useful to the blog’s audience

Every blogger publishes content for his or her audience. Hence, while talking about the subject you have chosen, describe how the subject is going to help the visitors of the blog and what value it is going to add.

Include samples of your previous writing, preferably published

It doesn’t matter to me, but it may matter to some bloggers. When I find a good guest post idea, I don’t worry much about samples. I simply tell the person to send me the draft along with the author profile. If I like the draft, I publish it, if I don’t like it, I either request the person to revise it, or simply refuse to publish.

Ask if a blogger has a preferred format

I have a particular way of publishing blog posts and even writing them in MS Word or Google Docs. I have a style sheet defined. For example, for the main name of the blog post, I use the title tag. Then for all the headings and subheadings, I use the <h2> and <h3> tags (in MS Word, these can be simply H2 and H3).

I don’t like long, convoluted sentences. I keep the paragraphs preferably short although, longer paragraphs are fine too if they maintain a flow. Up till six months ago I was publishing paragraphs that were just one sentence long. Since then, I have abandoned the practice because it sounded quite phony and just catering to the search engines.

Main points should be described in bulleted points.

Anyway, if you ask for a preferred style, it shows that you care about the blogger’s time and you’re going to send a blog post that will be easier to publish.

These are the basic points. My main gripe is that most of the people pitching for guest posts send a mass email. This is not a good way of approaching a blog publisher, especially someone who works hard at creating focused, quality content.

It hardly takes a few minutes to go through a blog and get the gist of what type of content is being published. Prepare a direct, personal messages. Address the blogger by his or her name. Give an example of the blog post – from his or her blog – you have really liked to strike up a conversation. Again, let it be known that you’re specifically writing to that particular blog and you’re not sending the template message.

Should you write content based on keywords or customer needs?

Should you write content for visitors or keywords?
Should you write content for visitors or keywords?

We don’t live in an ideal world. In an ideal world, one would solely write content for the visitors. In the non-ideal world that we live in, aside from writing content for the visitors and customers, one also needs to write content to generate search engine traffic.

In fact, most of the clients who approach me, want to prioritize getting traffic from search engines over writing content that would help their own customers and clients. Somehow, they believe that if they get people to their websites, they will magically convert.

The problem with this approach is two-pronged: by the time you realize there’s a problem it’s often too late, and it’s a self-defeating exercise.

You are achieving nothing when you are completely focusing on the keywords. The keywords are not some magical enchantments that will open the floodgates of riches and affluence. They are simply queries that people use to find information they are looking for.

Am I saying that you should completely ignore keywords? I’m not saying that you should completely ignore them but let them be an integral part of your content. For example, if you select the right topic and then you focus on the topic and you focus on delivering the value, you are automatically going to cover the main keyword associated with the topic.

The problem arises when in order to cover as many keywords as possible in a single blog post or web page, we end up cramming too much content and needless actions.

Content publishing on an ongoing basis is simply unavoidable. Whether you realize it or not, or you realize it when it’s too late, or maybe you never realize it, there is no escape from regular content publishing.

The simple logic behind this is, just like you want to increase your visibility and draw people to your website, there are hundreds of other businesses having the same objective, or nearly about the same objective (if they don’t provide exactly the same business as yours, but more or less the same).

This means they are constantly pumping new content into the web. Whether your prospective customers and clients are trying to find you on Google or on social media, your content is going to have to compete with thousands of other web pages and blog posts. Thousands of pieces of content are constantly being added on a daily basis. Hence, if you don’t update your website or blog with new content, with fresh content, your website is going to get buried under a ton of new content.

Therefore, don’t worry much about creating and writing content around keywords. Let keywords be covered automatically when you write lots of content to help your visitors. Write and publish lots of valuable content. Your keywords are taken care of automatically.