According to the Content Marketing Institute, “Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
Content marketing isn’t anything new, but it is a term bandied about a lot in marketing circles. Those who have always got involved in the traditional kind of marketing would argue that they use content to advertise. But this is the crux of the matter and where the differences lie.
Traditional marketing vs Content marketing
Larger businesses will typically use traditional marketing as it is the kind of content that is pushed into the view of the public. For example, TV commercials, radio ads, print ads, brochures etc. You will see traditional marketing everywhere; on billboards, sides of buses, the ad breaks in the cinema, but they are all high end marketing which require a big budget to reach that large audience.
For the small business, content marketing is the way to go; it involves having a content marketing strategy, which comprises of all types of content being created and then published online in multiple locations. Instead of forcing your content on the public, your content will sit online forever, with the end goal of attracting your ideal audience or customer.
Content marketing is also different in that it doesn’t concentrate on just advertising your products or services, it’s about drawing your audience in by providing useful information that is helpful and solves problems. Your readers can follow you on social media to read more of your content, or follow your blog, in order to find out more. This helps you gain a loyal audience who trust you…and ultimately, will sign up to your email list in return for some kind of offer…be that a newsletter or a freebie checklist or e-book.
What kind of content can I share online?
When your audience find your content useful, their connection to you and your brand is strengthened. They will share your content, so that your audience widens further. So, what kind of content can you share?
- Your website copy (this is everything you write about on your business website)
- Your Blog
- Social Media posts (status updates, tweets etc.)
- Guest posts on other websites
To make your content work, it needs to be optimised for your target audience and it needs to be relevant to the niche you are in.
How do you market your valuable content?
Now you have your content online, what do you need to do to market it?
If you have a website for your business, you can add a blog to it, so you are creating content that people will see when they visit your website.
Do you have a ‘subscribe to email’ button on your website? If not, do it! When you have subscribers, you can send them a monthly email as a newsletter. You can include:
- Links to any blogs you’ve written
- Details of new products or services
- Special offers
- Send links to videos you’ve produced on YouTube
- Links to any podcasts your record
- Links to any articles, news or videos you think they might be interested in (not ones that you’ve done)
- Generally talk about new trends in the marketplace, a little bit about you and what you’ve been up to, ask questions make them feel like part of an exclusive ‘club’.
- You can also enable buttons so that your audience can follow you on your social media channels
Share your content to all your social media pages. You will have different audiences on Facebook to those you have on LinkedIn for example, and again different to those you connect to on Instagram.
- You can schedule your posts, so you’re not constantly on social media (and therefore getting distracted by other things!).
- Share the link to your blog in your profiles on social media.
- Ask questions linked to your content and respond to anyone who makes a comment. In fact, respond to any comment you get and thank people through messenger or private DM for following you.
- Share you blog posts as soon as you publish them. The more immediate responses, likes and shares you get, the more credibility your post gets.
- Share your blog posts more than once…share again the next day, with a different caption and image. And again a week later. This way, you will pick up people you have missed, or who didn’t see your original post.
- If you notice that an old blog post went well and got lots of engagement, then share that again…not all of your posts, just the ones that had great stats.
- Posts with images get better engagement, so really think about the images you use to entice your audience in. There are lots of free image sites out there (such as Pixabay, Pexel, Unsplash and Canva) that you can download licensed images for commercial use. DON’T just google images and use one as you could be fined for copyright.
- Join groups on social media and participate in group discussions, giving advice, answering questions etc. This helps get your name known and helps you get seen as an expert in your niche. They also have ‘share your blog post/business page’ type events, which help get your content in front of a different audience.
- Use hashtags, which categorise your content for your audience.
- You can also pay to boost your reach on social media.
- Write a guest post for someone else’s website or blog – you then tap into their audience.
- Make sure your blog/website has social media sharing buttons, so your audience can click to go look at your social media sites.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Choosing the right keywords will help your content get seen.
- Google’s keyword planner will help you pick the right keywords and help you brainstorm ideas.
Log into the Google Ads platform with your account, then choose ‘Tools and Settings’, ‘Schedule’ and then ‘Keyword Scheduler Tool’.
- Write a long, compelling blog post and use your keyword(s) and variations of it throughout the blog.
- Optimise your whole post for the keyword you decide on. Include your keyword in…
– your title
– your Meta description
– your main headline (H1)
– use the keyword frequently throughout your blog post, without stuffing it anywhere – it has to make sense! And you don’t want Google to think you are being spammy!
– Use related keywords in subheadings and in the first 100 words of your main body of text.
– use your keyword in your URL slug
– use keyword and related keywords in your tags and categories
Internal links: A good way to get your content noticed is to build internal links into your blog post. This simply means that you link to previous posts you’ve written. For example, in this article, you will see highlighted phrases or words – these are links to articles I’ve written about that subject before, so my audience can take a look at those.
Revisit your older blogs from time to time and add internal links to newer blogs that you’ve written.
External links: where other people link to your blog post.
- If you send out a newsletter email, ask your customers to share a link to your blog posts.
- When you publish your blog on social media pages, ask your audience to share.
- If you publish entertaining or educating blogs that capture your audience’s attention, they are more likely to share.
A headline really matters – the ones that seem to get the most traffic are lists, how to, or a question. Also, headlines that contain numbers, e.g. 101 ways to …….
Emotional headlines also seem to hit the mark too, as well as a bit controversial headlines!
Using great images can help market your content. Images don’t just have to be photos; it can be GIFs, infographics, graphics or video. These help capture and keep the attention of your audience.
If you have a Pinterest account, make sure your images can be pinned (shared) by other Pinterest users.
If appropriate, also put a caption on any image as this helps with search engines – images alone won’t necessarily be picked up by search engines, but if there is text, they will be.
Revisit and repurpose your content
Revisit your old posts and content regularly. Revisiting content means you can update it with new information, add new images/infographics and maybe add a short video you’ve made on the subject.
You can also repurpose posts into e-books, video or a podcast. You can also use ideas from them to make social media posts.
I’ve shared loads of different ways to market your content. But the most important thing to keep in mind when marketing is to always have your customer/target audience at the heart of everything you do. Do it for them, aim it at them, and make sure it’s something you know that they will be interested in.
Keep your brand in mind and write in your own particular style – don’t try and copy anyone else. Keep your content original and engaging. Remember, content should always entertain, educate and engage your audience.
If you found this post valuable, please share on your social media site. And if you have any further ideas as to how to market content, please leave a note in the comments box.
Happy content writing and please get in touch if you need help with your content!
Great post – really informative and well written!
Thank you Catherine. Glad you liked it. Look out for my next article on the 7 Cs of Marketing.
Hi Cindy! Content is always used to get attention from the customers. For small businesses, content marketing is a way to go. Hence marketing content can provide various leads or customers. Thanks for sharing your wonderful thoughts on content marketing with us.
Thank you. Content marketing is so important for getting to your target audience and perfect for that all important engagement!
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