Of all the ways you can market your product or service online, content marketing is one of the most effective. Providing real value for readers who are looking for answers – or even just a little bit of entertainment – can bring people to your site and let them know what you are all about. There is only one caveat: don’t fall into the trap of turning your blog into a sales platform. Content should be informative and compelling; sales belong on a different section of your website.
When content marketing is done right, it can generate sales while remaining relatively inexpensive. PPC and other types of online advertising can be hugely expensive ($2K-$10K/month) and SEO can be prohibitive as well ($800-$2K/month) if you hire professionals. Writing good content can either be done by someone in-house who knows the niche and has good writing skills, or by an outsourced professional writer (shameless plug). In either case, it is not crazy expensive.
Content marketing is unique in that it allows smaller businesses to compete on a level field with larger companies (with accompanying large budgets). Your content can be just as good or better than the “biggies” in your field and therefore attract the same potential customers. Take full advantage of your original content by recycling one blog post into a slideshow, e-book and video. Link from one post to another and write blogs that springboard from each other. This will further reduce costs and make it easier to compete with the “big boys.”
Articles on interesting topics and answers to common questions can bring in customers who had never heard of your company until they Googled their question. Providing them with the information they were looking for establishes you as a thought leader in the niche and increases trust in your brand.
It’s hard to distinguish yourself from the competition just by building a website. Customers have so many choices that they don’t know how to decide – unless you connect with them on a personal level. Talk about yourself, your company culture, your thoughts and what motivates you. Your readers will start to feel that they know you, and this builds trust and increases sales since, ultimately, we buy from people we trust. If your content is interesting, thought provoking, unique or entertaining, you will start to see interactions on your blog and social media channels. This gives you the opportunity to get to know and interact directly with your potential customers.
Content marketing is a great way to build a loyal audience. Let readers know they can stay updated with new content through your social media channels and newsletter. When you launch a new product, run a contest or publish a really exciting article, this audience is connected to you on multiple channels and can easily help you spread the word. Once they trust you, they’ll become not only your fan, but your advocate.
Creating your own content on a regular basis is also great for SEO and reputation management. Although you can’t stop people from posting negative reviews, you can help the content you control appear on the front page of Google by regularly updating your site and social media channels.
So, what are you waiting for? Start thinking about what kind of valuable content you can produce for your customers and potential customers. What are their problems? What are they interested in? How can you educate and entertain them? Give your customers a reason to like you, and a reason to buy from you.
Submitted by Hadassah