Folks – it’s time to get wordy. Using content marketing strategies to gain new leads is in. Thin content should be treated like a zombie invasion and shot on sight.
The internet is finally heading in the right direction and shedding content spammers like the mealy mouthed opportunists they are. You know the type of content I mean; a couple of paragraphs of text that exist purely for self promotion or a thinly veiled, grammatically incorrect back link for SEO reasons. We’re now talking manual actions from Google that penalise websites using this approach. There’s even a term for it – Thin Content.
Sadly, even though it’s made a huge ripple through the marketing community, it’s not a new thing by any stretch of the imagination; Google was warning about this years ago.
Think on this: if your content is ‘vapourware’, is it helping your business? If a visitor chanced over one of these misbegotten write ups and spotted your name, how does that improve your image or encourage that visitor to click through and become a potential lead? Did you hire an SEO company to place back links for you? I’d think long and hard about this approach and consider disavowing every piece of thin content pointed both at your website and ON your website.
Content Marketing Is Becoming A Level Playing Field
Once the detritus of degenerate spammers is thinned out, it leaves everyone else clear to write content that SHINES. By shine, I mean informed, researched, original content that does the following….
1) Provide value to your visitors and puts them first
Your potential lead is a fabulous golden statue on top a plinth. Think of it as worshipping a sun god with a Schrodinger wallet. It exists in two states at the same time, both open and closed. Only when observed, can you ascertain its true state. Until this potential lead/sun god is converted, you have no clue so it’s fair to say you should be wooing it by producing content that establishes you as a leader in your field.
Three dodgy paragraphs isn’t going to make them reach for the company budget. An in-depth article that takes a concept and breaks it down into an easily digestible, beautifully elegant piece of content is, because you’ve just gone and proven yourself as a knowledge base par excellence.
2) Create content marketing strategies with a plan in mind
If your content marketing strategies are off the cuff creation because you ‘felt like writing that day’, allow me to reach around and apply your brakes. You need to form a firm plan of what you need to achieve, otherwise it’s just mindless babblings that aren’t targeting anyone.
Lets use mine as an example!
What sector do you want to attract? – web design studios, SEO companies and social media marketers: allows me to attract outsource work by proving my knowledge. At the same time, the chief topic – ‘web design and marketing your small business’ appeals to the small business owner looking to make an impact on the web.
What services bring in the most revenue? – for myself, it’s web design and marketing. Content creation is an important part of marketing in 2014, therefore it’s important that my blog (a.k.a. ‘Knowledge base’) reflects that. After all, the first point of contact with a potential lead is often your blog – leverage it.
What are the editorial guidelines? – quite informal, little bit of humour. In other words, another lesson; write as yourself and let your personality shine through. If your writing style is that of a cat loving spinster with bi-polar disorder, maybe seek treatment before firing up WordPress. I could quite easily switch to ‘Legalise’ speech but it would come across as false and potentially lose readers.
What are the business brand considerations? – ‘pay monthly websites that allow small businesses to get online without a huge outlay’ ‘Helping small businesses towards online exposure with SEO, social media management and social media marketing’. This also gives me a rough idea of what I’m going to be writing about and the leads I’m looking to develop.
Goals – what (in an ideal world) would your visitor do when finished? It doesn’t have to be an instant dash for the contact form; wouldn’t it be great if that visitor left an informed comment that you could reply to and nurture a conversation? Visitors can become potential leads but far more often if you interact in a meaningful way.
3) Content marketing strategies can’t exist without analysis.
If you aren’t measuring them, they’re not content marketing strategies. A strategy is a measurable outcome and if you have no idea of how a particular piece of content performed you might as well of not bothered in the first place. Go slump on the sofa and watch daytime TV and stop wasting valuable calories.
There is a whole fleet of analysis tools out there, covering all aspects from SEO to social media, visitor numbers, demographics and enough other data to turn your brain into a sludgy ear trickle. Use what you are most comfortable with. At the very least, Google Analytics (and Webmaster Tools) should be embedded.
When you assess performance, you’ll more often than not discover that certain content types and subjects work better for your business model than others. Check analytics for engagement; if you discover that what you thought was stunning is being skipped after thirty seconds, rethink (or re-write!). Content shouldn’t be static; by all means revise and update. Jay Milner wrote a great piece about content metrics that matter and you really should go read it – after finishing here, naturally.
4) Write your own content (where possible!)
This doesn’t have to mean ‘you’ you, but wherever possible, make it a company role to produce content on a regular basis. Make it sticky, readable, shareable word-love; you’re better off writing one great piece a week than five days of filler. Keep it consistent and make it a rule that the content is regular. Never let it peter out and keep the ball rolling.
Someone who has a vested interest in your business, such as staff that love the company will produce a work of art far more often than some random fivver.com article sweatshop who has nothing to gain except a few dollars.
5) Identify common issues in your industry and provide an answer
Search engines are here to provide answers to problems. Whether that problem is a task that needs learning or information that has to be found, people are looking for answers to questions. Be the person that answers it.
Here’s a FANTASTIC example: a blocked loo. This little nightmare happened to me last year and I still have weepy dreams about it. With a simple ‘how do I unblock a loo’ I found this gem waiting for me on youtube. And what do you know – the guy’s a plumber. Fact fans – all you need is a mop and a plastic bag.
Not written content, but a video; if I was in Wolverhampton, UK and I’d searched how to do this, that plumbers name would stick.
Before we go – getting your content marketed.
Two words for you – Social Media. Build your followers and never stop building. Each and every follower (if you’ve built followers the intelligent way) is a source for sharing and dissemination of your masterpiece. It all takes time, but this is an incredibly rich, organic method of gaining communicating your brand.
We’ve written a fair few pieces on the uses of social media management for building audience and reputation as well as how to generate a brand and you’ll find some more on this hallowed blog – happy hunting!
Everything I’ve written here about using content marketing strategies to gain new leads stands, be it written, pictorial or video content; help others, be altruistic, target your content tightly and reap the rewards.
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