Learn how to be an authority in your field
I can hear it ruminating around your head right now, that dirty, dirty 'C' word...CONTENT. It's enough to make the small business owner run and hide under that virtual pillow.
Content is a strategy that you can't dismiss if you're going to have a healthy, robust marketing strategy.
It needs to be the cornerstone of your strategy.
In today's virtual business world, content is the only way to get ranked organically in searches online. It's also the best dollar ROI (return on investment) for marketing you can get. So let's jump on the proverbial bandwagon, sharpen the pencils, and start ratcheting up your content game!
Let's start with your content strategy.
You're an expert in your field - that's why your current clients come to you. However, potential clients need to be able to find you too. They'll be searching online on Google, Bing and social media search engines like Pinterest and YouTube. Getting found online is a tough challenge for any business owner, notably if you're not versed in this digital thing.
Did you know that there were 1,518,207,412 websites on the internet in January 2019?
Knowing how clients are searching for your business, is where the gold is at. To get you started, we'll begin with content your website and business needs, so that you can break through the noise of the search engine rankings.
Pillar Content aka Cornerstone Content
These are pages on your website that provide authoritative and comprehensive content about your business niche. Everything your potential client could ever want to know about your brand or business will be encased in these pages. This is also content that your SEO guru will use to get your web pages ranked (in case you're a bit more advanced and have one of those).
The pages should include all the significant themes, technical elements and search words that your ideal audience are typing into Google. It quite literally is the foundation or cornerstone of your business identity.
Let's call it your 'source of truth'.
Just to be clear, these pages don't necessarily sit on your navigation menu - they can, but they don't have to. They can be pages that you link to from your main navigation menu pages, from emails or even blog posts. They elaborate on topics that you may not cover off on from these other areas. Google likes you to have internal linking wherever possible, as it can help give users more information - so big tick there!
From your pillar content, you'll also create unique content over time. Break one topic into 10 blog posts, pull out quotes and snippets for social media, create podcast episode topics - the options are endless.
Evergreen Content vs Seasonal
Here's another buzzword you'll hear about a lot in the content milieu. Evergreen content refers to content that never ages or dates. It's written with a more solid foundation of information versus newest technologies, language and memes. It'll appear fresh and updated at all times. That's going to require a bit of ongoing work, but generally once a year should be more than enough if it's been written to be timely and ageless.
This contrasts with seasonal content, which will be more topical to current happenings, industry news, updates in your business and...well...seasonal stuff. Some ideas might be:
- Talking about how to save the most on your taxes at the end of the year
- Share picnic ideas during Summer
- Create a 'new beginnings' or clean-out challenge in Spring
This is a great way to strategise and tone your blogs and writing over your annual marketing calendar. Pick a theme each year and write seasonally about it. It creates more relevant and timely content and gets more attention.
Long Form (1000-3000 words)
Get into the thick of it. Guides, tutorials and in-depth research can be excellent content for getting shared. It can command authority when done well, and it also gives you more content to break into blog posts and social content.
Blog Posts (300-1000 words)
This is a little easier to tackle in your content strategy. You can use current and contemporary information and ideas and share easily with your channels. Due to its shorter nature, it's a bite-sized chunk of information to take in and drive traffic towards the longer pillar content pieces you have on your website.
Ebooks and Other Lead Magnets
These are a great way to engage your clients immediately. People are after valuable information - this can be a great way you can build trust. What better way than to share your intimate knowledge, tips, tricks and information, which will give real honest value to your readers. Generally, this type of content will be used as a lead-in to further offers down the line - services, products, events.
Images and Infographics
Images and videos are an instant hit with content. On their own or embedded in your posts, they're the first thing a visitor will see - an immediate attention grabber. Posts with images and videos get longer eye time and get shared WAY more - also helps with your bounce rate with Google. Use images. Always.
The revolution will not be televised - but you might hear about it on a podcast. Did you know that 51% of the US population has listened to a podcast? How's that for an audience opportunity! If you haven't considered it yet, podcasts are a HUGE market opportunity to get yourself into. And you can repurpose the hell out of the content - splinter it into many different marketing pieces. They're a segment that you really shouldn't be ignoring.
Want to know how to create, learn or pick up a new skill? Where do you head? YouTube. Creating great videos that inform, entertain and convert for your sales funnel are a great way to get traction. Videos can come in all different styles too - explainer videos, on camera, screen share, testimonials and many more. Whatever method you choose, it's a great way to share content with your audience and deepen your relationship. Just start simple and grow, as it can be overwhelming if you start comparing yourself to others.
Video includes webinars too. They're an excellent tool to take an audience, teach them a concept while growing trust, then send that warm traffic through to offers and services. Always consider having your videos transcribed, it's great for SEO purposes and reusing that content in written form. Just another quick way to repurpose content.
Newsletters, EDM's and Inbound
Inbound is the new black of marketing. It's estimated that the average consumer needs 7-12 contact points before they're willing to buy from you AND consumers are so much savvier now. They smell a hard sell coming at them a mile away and will bounce out of your email faster than you can get a 'but, wait' out. The new way of doing this is a slow process of building trust by drip-feeding information. Give before you receive. Tease them with the delights of your product and don't go in for the kill, because direct sales are dead.
But how do you get the juices flowing and start turning out incredible attention-grabbing copy?
- Start off easy. Pick a subject that you really like and know a metric tonne about. Break it into some smaller, bite-sized topics and start with 300 hundred words - that's 2 paragraphs. Link it back to your main Cornerstone content as you write - have fun and try to write how you speak. Be colloquial, be technical and let your vast knowledge flow. Remember, you want to provide great information in bite-sized chunks that are easily readable on the tram, on the way to get coffee or while cruising the interwebs.
- Tell a Story. Human beings are wired to react to a story. It's a great way to engage with your creative tales - be it an actual business case or metaphorical. Start with a problem, massage and agitate why it was a problem and finish up with a solution.
- Keep your tone of voice consistent. Whether it's you or your hired gun copywriters, make sure your voice is on brand and consistent across your material.
- Use facts and research. Data and numbers don't lie, but they can be misleading. Make sure you're proving credibility and results, by using data you can back-up as accurate. Numbers are proof and can be a persuading factor for potential clients.
- Finish strong. This could be a Call-to-Action, information about next steps or links to more information. You lead the reader to what their next step should be.
- Always add value. Always be conscious of how you are adding value in your story, copy, blog or posts. All of our time is precious, and you will gain more followers if you are providing them with something of value every time.
The pointy end of your copywriting and content is to attract more visitors by increasing your page rank, organic search ranking and getting seen. Use great engaging stories, provide value to your readers, and you'll have them begging for more.