Content marketing is a multi-pronged solution to using content along with the power of Google and social media to draw in business. In your launch of a new content marketing campaign, you want to include the following three angles:
- Creating great content that offers value to readers in your niche
- Amplifying that content to people who want to see it
- Capturing those potential customers and earning their trust
We’re going to lay out the basics of how to do that below, but first, we’d like to offer a quick rundown on why you want to do this:
Oberlo noted that more than 2.14 billion people will make an online purchase in 2020. Unlike traditional media, where the ads you see in a specific publication, television show, or paper are placed there directly because that outlet targets the people likely to spend money on what is being offered, the internet doesn’t niche itself down into target audiences automatically.
You have to do it yourself — but it’s actually quite simple and straightforward to do so. To get your piece of the digital economy pie, you need to put your product or service in front of the right people — and there’s no better way to do so than with content marketing.
Let’s get started.
Develop a strategy
There are trillions of pages on the internet. Even in your specific niche, there are likely thousands or even millions. As such, simply writing a blog post or creating a video for YouTube isn’t going to do much to bring in traffic or business.
You have to actually get that piece of content out to the masses, and this is where it can get tricky.
In order to ensure a successful content marketing campaign, it’s important to have two things in mind: a target audience, and an action. In other words, who do you want to see your content, and what do you want them to do?
Let’s take a common scenario as an example. A purveyor of online language lessons wants to increase his reach online because he doesn’t have an actual storefront. As such, traditional forms of advertising like newspapers, magazines, or a television likely aren’t going to do much for him. So he decides to create content that will offer a bit of value to his target customers in the hopes that they might sign up for lessons with his company.
First, he heads to answerthepublic.com to figure out what people want to know about language learning. Then, he uses a keyword research tool such as Ahrefs or SEMRUSH to develop keywords to build blog articles around. Then, he writes those articles following basic SEO blogging guidelines and posts one per week on his blog.
He does the same on YouTube, creating one video per week.
Create the content
The most common form of content on the web are blogs and videos. Blogs are easy to launch and offer the benefit of
A quick note on blogging: formatting and writing hints
The formatting of a blog post is, as far as Google is concerned, as important as the content itself. You want to keep the post easy to scan and easy to read. The best way to do this is to keep sentences less than 20 words, and paragraphs no more than 2-3 sentences.
Paragraphs consisting of only one sentence are perfectly acceptable, providing that the sentence is an important one, or serves as a hard stop (meaning a call to action or the final summation of the main point that the article is making.)
This is where the template idea comes in handy — each article can be formatted in much the same way.
Write in active voice whenever possible instead of passive voice. The copy should come across as though you are narrating a story to the reader as it happens, as opposed to recounting something that already happened or that might potentially happen.
When it makes grammatical sense, avoid words like is, were, could, and was. For example:
The half sandwich leftover in the fridge was eaten by John. After he ate it, he felt like he should go to the store to get a soda to wash it down.
Mike ate the leftover sandwich in the fridge. He then went to the store to get a soda to wash them down.
Outreach and amplify the content
Now that you have a series of video, audio, and/or written content, it’s time to get it in front of the people who want to see it. There are a few ways to do this.
The first, as we noted above, is to make sure your content is built around the proper SEO guidelines (we recommend signing up for the MOZ Top 10 newsletter for current tips on how to do this).
Next, you need to build backlinks to your content by sending it to websites that feature content like yours. This takes a lot of time and tedious work, but it can pay off big in the long run. If you have the budget, you may wish to hire someone to take care of this outreach and link building for you. If not, you can research and reach out to other websites in your space and ask them to link to your content or share it, take advantage of message boards like Reddit and Quora, and research other ways to get your content linked to.
Another strong option is to sponsor your posts on social media. Modern social channels allow you to get incredibly specific with your ad targeting, ensuring that the people you want to see the post are going to be the ones that see it.
Let’s go back to the language learning school example from above. The website owner has spent six months creating solid blog content and posting an article each week. Even though he has more content in the pipeline, he decides to undergo an outreach campaign to get backlinks to his content using a paid service. And, he takes a quick Udemy course on social media marketing basics and launches both Facebook and Twitter ads towards people who are in his demographic.
And because the people seeing his posts are the same people who want to learn a language online, the click-through rate is high, and so is his sign up rate.
Capture email addresses
Let’s say you’ve followed all of the above steps, but few people are actually paying for your product or service. This is likely because they don’t trust you yet — they’ve come to your website, but they aren’t buying anything. It’s like they are window shopping.
You need to build trust in order to get people to open their wallets. The best way for an online business to do this is to get those same visitors to your website to sign up for your newsletter and send them even more great content to their email inbox. Add a pop-up or opt-in box on your blog posts, and offer an incentive — say, discount code, or a free e-book for those who sign up.
After someone has been on your email for a short while and you’ve provided them with enough value that they know you are an authority in your niche, they are much more likely to buy.
Thom Jackson is a freelance writer from Idaho who contributes to the blog at Live Lingua and a number of other sites around the web.