At Social Boom 2012, we heard Gary Vaynerchuck talk about the speed at which content is now being created. The world is creating more content every 72 hours than we previously did in spans of hundreds of years! Hard to believe!
What does that mean for us? It means that our target audience is being bombarded by content on a daily basis — Instagram photos, links to blogs on Twitter, Facebook posts and inspirational messages. If we are going to use content marketing effectively, we need to BE SEEN!
The Content Marketing Institute released a report last year that claimed that 90 percent of organizations now use some form of content marketing to reach their audiences. If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, none of this will come as a surprise. You already know that content marketing and well-optimized SEO copy are critical to maintaining a presence online.
But sometimes, it's easy to get lost in the details. It's easy to forget why you should prioritize content in the first place.
Content Marketing 101: What Types Of Content Should You Create?
A lot of marketers think of content in a very limited way. They might write small articles for distribution with the hopes of generating links back to their sites. They might also maintain a blog, more to promote their products than to provide valuable information on a regular basis.
But content can, and should, be so much more. You can create white papers, case studies, tutorials, courses, infographics, videos, podcasts, email sequences, newsletters, and blog posts. You can use each type of content you produce to connect with different segments of your audience. Some people dislike reading long guides, but love to watch video tutorials. Others prefer to listen to podcasts while working out at the gym. Still others enjoy reading blogs since doing so give them a chance to share their thoughts and interact with business owners.
The point is to produce content in different formats to bring people to your site. Imagine numerous small streams of water that empty into a raging river. That's how content marketing works. Each type of content you create represents a stream of targeted traffic.
Planting The Seed Of Success By Giving Away The Farm
The companies that have had the most success with their content marketing have learned to abide by a single overriding principle: give a lot and promote a little. In other words, rather than constantly blaring your promotional horn, provide a lot of helpful content and weave in occasional promotions.
This could mean blogging once a day, writing meaty posts that add value to whatever your audience is interested in doing. A good example is the blog at seobook.com.
It could mean creating a heap of helpful articles and case studies your customers can use to improve their own businesses and lives. For example, take a look at postcardmania.com. Notice how the site's owners use content to win fans and promote their services.
It might also mean publishing an email newsletter that delivers useful tips and ideas on a regular schedule. Kim Garst's newsletter is a great example!
In each case, an enormous amount of useful content is given freely to anyone who wants to take advantage of it. The underlying purpose, of course, is to promote the authors' products and services.
Also, notice how the content in each of the three examples above can be repurposed into other formats. For example, the blog posts at seobook.com can be turned into mini-guides, case studies, and white papers on topics such as PPC, tracking, and domaining. The articles at postcardmania.com can be reformatted into short instructional videos. Past issues of Nielsen's Alertbox can be repurposed into podcasts and special reports. This is a great strategy for increasing the amount of mileage you get from your content.
How To Create Content And SEO Copy That Attracts Fans
So far, we've covered the types of content you should create, and why it's important to do so. Let's now focus on how to produce material your audience loves. Here are 3 quick tips you can put into action immediately.
1. Make It Meaty
"Meaty" doesn't necessarily mean long. It means useful. If you deliver value to your audience in 800 words, there's no need to write 5,000 words to cover the same thing. The internet is already filled with longwinded claptrap. Make your content meaty; make it concise.
2. Do Some Reconnaissance
An easy way to uncover topics that interest your market is to explore the sites they visit. Are there popular blogs that cover your niche? If so, take a look at the posts that attract the most comments. Are certain subjects being talked about on Facebook and Twitter? That's a good sign your customers want to know more about it.
3. Give A Lot And Promote A Little
Being a marketer doesn't mean acting like a carnival barker. There's no need to promote your products and services with every breath. Instead, provide a lot of value by giving your audience useful content they can use to improve their lives. You'll find that doing so generates considerable goodwill and trust, both of which contribute to long-term customers.
As we've mentioned in the past, content marketing will become increasingly important in the future. Not only does it attract customers to your business, but Google has been putting more emphasis on top-notch content in its ranking algorithm. And that alone is enough reason to dig in!
How are you currently leveraging your content to promote your sites? Have you experimented with creating different types of content, such as infographics and white papers, and repurposing them through other formats? Do you have creative ways to use content that have generated surprising results? Share your experiences in the comments!
About the author: Tara Geissinger works behind the scenes for high profile marketing and SEO firms, has partnered with Fortune 500 companies like Macy's for content creation and is Co-Founder of Online PR Media, an SEO friendly press release distribution website with over 100k registered users.
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