Content Marketing: What Is It and Why Do You Need It?

Content marketing is fast becoming one of the most effective ways to market your business. It’s a strategy that is gaining momentum, and is something every business should consider. Let’s have a look at what content marketing is all about, and how it can help your business.

What is Content Marketing?

There’s a good chance that you’ve encountered hundreds of examples of content marketing, probably without even knowing it. It is content on your website that adds value for your readers. It doesn’t promote a product or service (unlike your PR press releases) and it doesn’t sell you something (unlike advertising).

Content marketing promotes your business or product by providing value to your users. Your content may educate, inform, entertain or enlighten your audience. In other words, it gives them something of value. Because of this, they become return visitors, and they start to trust you (and your business or product). And this means they’re more likely to purchase your product or employ your services.

Content marketing also goes hand-in-hand with Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Search engines are looking to provide users with content that is useful to them. So good content, which uses keywords sparingly but effectively, can often do well in search rankings. This is especially true for content that is useful, relevant and which focuses on the audience.

Content Types

When we think of website content, we often just think of webpages or blogs. Of course, these are both great examples of content, but they’re certainly not the only way you can use content to market your product or business.

eBooks or online courses are an excellent form of content. They are something that your reader can take away from your website, in the form of a download. And this means that users will be engaging with your content on an ongoing basis.

Infographics, images and videos are also valuable. They provide an alternative way to view and understand the concept you’re discussing, while engaging readers on a different level. They also make for interesting visual content – ideal for sharing on social platforms. You might even consider using a podcast to reach a wider audience.

If you have a wide variety or interesting and stimulating content, there is a greater opportunity to reach a wider audience. More consistent content means that you keep your audience engaged and coming back for more. This allows you to build on your relationship with them. And if you can establish yourself as an authority, your audience will trust your content and your product.

Why You Should Be Using Content Marketing

You may very well be asking whether this marketing strategy is right for you. You may be wondering whether it is more effective than traditional advertising. Or perhaps you’re thinking that product-punting would be a better option.

But content marketing does work. For one thing, it doesn’t cost as much as your regular advertising avenues. You may hire a professional writer, or you may do your content creation in-house. Either way, generating good content will still be more cost effective than advertising.

Blogs that offer value, or infographics that explain a key concept are also going to last longer, compounding your ROI. Your content will stay on your website, ensuring new and return users can read and engage with it. This is helped along by SEO, with good content leading to a potentially increased visibility in search engines.

As you add to your online content, you increase the potential for traffic and backlinks, you can establish your expertise and build on relationships, and ultimately, you can increase your conversions. Simply put, more valuable content creates a potential for more traffic which means a higher chance of someone buying your product.

Content marketing benefits

Of course, the emphasis is on offering something of value to your readers. So punting a product isn’t going to work. But you can still add a call to action, or tactfully mention your business or product. The key is to practice integrity and give your customers honest, useful information.

Wrapping up…

The online marketplace is busy. And with everyone trying to sell something, it makes it difficult for your business to stand out. But content marketing is an effective way of offering something more to your customers and readers.

Take the opportunity to provide information, or educate someone. Give your users something worthwhile to read (or view). This will set you apart from the competition and your users will remember this. They’ll grow to trust your brand and value your opinion. And when it comes to crunch time, they’ll choose your product or service.

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Awesome Ideas for Generating Blog Content

Blog content isn’t always easy to come by. If you’re trying to generate new content every week, or more often, finding good ideas for fresh content can be a struggle. But not if you know where to look.

Here are some ways to generate awesome ideas for your blog content.

Google It

One of the best places to start is online. There are a significant number of people online, all looking for the answers to their questions. So starting here will give you an idea of what people are looking for and how to tailor this to suit your needs. There are several ways you can get this sort of information.

Google Search

This is a simple way to start looking for ideas. Simply type in one of your focus areas and see what pops up. If you have a specific keyword or key phrase around which you’re trying to create content, you can use this.

You’ll then see what else is available on the topic, along with more specific ideas that can help give your blog a bit more focus. The focus of each blog shouldn’t be too broad, so you can use the search results to figure out how to narrow down your topic.

You can also use the Related Searches, at the bottom of the page, to generate ideas. Say for example, you sell board games. If you plug this into the search bar you’ll find game shops, types of games, reviews and so on. This is already a good place to start. But scroll down to the bottom of the screen and you’ll get even more ideas from the Related Searches.

Blog content generated from related searches

Google Trends

If you want to delve a little deeper into what is trending on Google, have a look at Google Trends. This is a free tool that you can use to see just what people are looking for online. It’s also a great tool for refining your keywords to help with your SEO.

If you search on Google Trends for board games, you’ll see that this is a fairly popular search term. Especially compared to some of the related searches. But this also means its a very broad term. If you look at a few of the related search terms, though, you can see which work, and when. Christmas is the most popular time, with ‘best board games 2017’ doing just a little bit better than family board games.

Google trends shows popularity of search terms

As you can also see, if you click on your search term, you’ll get even more suggestions. You can further explore your keywords by refining your location, time span and categories.

Google Alerts

Another good way to stay up to date is by setting up Google Alerts. With this tool, Google sends you an email with new content every day or week. You enter a key phrase or subject in which you are interested, and Google then sends an email to you with relevant articles and links.

You can use this to understand how others are approaching the topic and generate ideas for your own blog content. As with any of these, if you see a gap that hasn’t been filled, or a topic that hasn’t been addressed, write about it.

Customer Support

Your clients, customers and readers are going to have issues. Or they’ll make comments. Or they might ask you questions. Addressing these in a blog post is a great way to generate content that your users want to read.

If someone has a question about how to place an order, for example, it means that they couldn’t find the answer easily on your site. They might think the order process is flawed, and complain about it on social media. Or they simply have a suggestion for you. This is a good opportunity to provide your customers with the information they need.

This sort of communication may not always fall into your lap though. If someone has a problem, they may take to Facebook to complain about your service. So you need to keep an eye on what people are saying about you on different channels.

Social Communication

Social channels are also a great way to get to know your consumers and readership. Through these channels you can understand what your audience is looking for. And if it isn’t obvious, you can ask them. Find out what information they want, or ask them to suggest content that they’d like to see on your site.

You can also use your social channels to share new content. This way you not only drive traffic to your site but can also gauge people’s reactions to your blog content. This can help you understand what’s working, what you need more of, and what to avoid.

Wrapping up

There are plenty of ways to look for blog content ideas. If all else fails, read up on your area of interest, explore the topic and learn what you can. Write down your questions and answer them in a blog post. Or find a focus area that hasn’t been dealt with and tackle this – this will also help you stand out as an expert and authority in your field.

Listen to what people are saying and asking. Stay up to date with what’s happening in your field. Your blog posts should be topical, current and focused. If you generate these sort of ideas, your content is sure to draw traffic and increase your readership.

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