In recent years, the way that we do business and the way that we reach customers has changed dramatically. We’re no longer dependant on bricks and mortar if we want to set up a business and we reach customer in hugely different ways than we did ten years ago. Social media has conspired to shift the balance of power between consumers and businesses. When it comes to advertising, print is out and online is in; however, PPC can be expensive for smaller companies and doesn’t allow for relationships to be fostered.
The best thing about this brave new world of business, is that it needn’t cost a fortune to implement marketing that really works. Growth hacking has risen as a discipline that goes some way to proving this. Rather than rely on expensive means of advertising, growth hacking looks at product-market fit and leveraging social media and other online means to enable a successful business.
Content Mills are Out
We’ve seen changes take place when it comes to search engine marketing too. Where once companies gamed the system in order to appear higher in the ranking using black hat tactics, now algorithm changes are forcing businesses to create good content in order to rank well. The use of content mills and other poor-quality writing services has reduced dramatically as algorithms have changed so that bad spelling and grammar are picked up and sites penalised.
The upshot of all of this is that businesses that seriously want to compete online now have to look for less traditional means of reaching customers. Not only this, but these means have to be carried out in line with search engine rules. Many companies now produce a company blog, but don’t always go about it in the right way.
This is usually because they are unfamiliar with content marketing and don’t understand the necessity to build online followings and relationships. Content marketing is not a new discipline, but it’s seen a huge resurgence of interest in the last couple of years. It requires a business to create content including blogs, articles, imagery, videos, whitepapers and ebooks.
However, this content must also be tailored towards the audience and shouldn’t focus on being self-promotional, but instead look to inform the reader and be useful to them. It should be crafted in such a way that it’s clear that the business is expert in its industry subject matter. This builds trust in the audience, drives traffic to the business’s website and boosts search engine ranking.
Hire a Content Marketing Expert
It’s often the case that business owners – especially when it comes to small companies – attempt to carry out their own content marketing. This is inadvisable purely because the majority of small business owners simply don’t have the time to commit to creating the content and strategies on a regular basis. And it is necessary to create a strategy when it comes to content marketing as research has shown that those that do, are more likely to be more successful in their efforts and be able to prove ROI.
For this reason, it’s advisable for businesses to invest in content marketing experts so that the most can be gained from it. These should carry out the necessary writing services and work to distribute the content across various platforms online, such as,
- Social media
- Press release distribution sites
- Discussion groups and communities
- Ebook stores
The content that’s created should address the pain points felt by the target audience and look to solve them. This allows for discussion to be created around the content which in turn builds trust between the business and the audience. This should be backed by good website design that also boosts trust through its UX (user experience).
Create Viral Content
It’s also desirable to create viral content where possible. Video is currently the best opportunity that a business has to do this since it’s hugely popular with pretty much every audience. The introduction of native video into the Facebook newsfeed has been wildly successful thus far and it tends to gain lots of engagement in terms of shares, which extends organic reach (which is pretty difficult to gain these days on the site).
Social media advertising shouldn’t be discounted either. Facebook for example has one of the most powerful targeting systems to be found online and is the world’s most popular social media site by far. This means that if you discount the site as a part of your content marketing, then you’re doing your business a disservice. Google has always indexed G+ content and this shows up in search results. Twitter has also recently made a deal with Google to have its content show up in search. This means that your content can potentially be picked up on several different platforms when someone enters a relevant search term.
Don’t Discount the Power of Content Marketing
So content marketing is something that every business owner, regardless of the size of the company, should consider. It’s powerful in that it allows you to connect with customers in a way that’s useful to them and it allows you to boost your site’s reputation and search ranking. Downloadable content such as whitepapers, ebooks, case studies and cheat sheets can also help a business to grow its list quickly so that potential customers can be reached via newsletters and other promotional email.
It should be done properly however, with a clear content strategy in place, in order to get the most from it.
Need content? Get in touch to see what we can do to supercharge your business’s online presence today.