Content marketing is the process of creating high quality website content that is so compelling that it attracts attention from your target market. Although content marketing is often used to maintain and nurture business relationships with existing customers, today I’ll be talking about how businesses are using content marketing to find new customers and build new relationships.
Let’s think for a moment about the ways that people find your website right now. Your website gets visitors who click through from a link on another website, visitors who type in your website address directly, and visitors who find your website by conducting a search using a search engine. That’s pretty much it. Visitors who click through from another website or find you through the search engines are often discovering your website and your business for the first time. From a marketing standpoint these are very important visitors because they represent opportunities for your business to build new relationships and sell your products or services.
So, since 1) other websites that link to you and 2) the search engines are such an important source of new prospective customers for your business, how do you get more traffic from them? Ask yourself the question, if I were in control of another website, why would I link to my website? Or, if I were the search engines, why would I send a visitor to my website? The answer for both is quality content. Quality content means web pages with high quality text and images that are focused on a relevant topic.
There are a few important steps to creating content that is compelling enough that it will convince other website owners and the search engines to send visitors your way.
High quality content means text that is written by a proficient writer with some level of expertise on the topic on which they are writing. High quality content is proofread, is free of mistakes in spelling and grammar, and is easy to read and understand. The best content contains a good introduction, descriptive headings, bullet points or lists for organization, and a clear conclusion. Good content contains high quality (high resolution) images that directly support the text content.
Nothing here is rocket science, just write something that you would want to read, and obey fifth grade level writing rules.
The search engines determine the topic of a web page by mathematically analyzing the words it finds on the page. You can think about these important words within your content, a consistent list of words that all describe a single topic, as keywords. After you create a new page on your website the search engines will perform their relevancy analyses and will place the page into their search index within the topic area where it applies. Use a technology like sitemaps to immediately alert the search engines when you change the content on your website.
Other website owners evaluate your web page content based on headlines at the beginning or within the text or even simply based on recommendations from people they trust. This is where social networking can be a great asset to your business. After you create a new page of high quality content on your website, post its title and website address to your social network on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. People who control content on other websites will find your content through their social network and if they find your content relevant to their interests they will link to it from their website.
The best way to attract attention to your content is to have a clear message on a single topic. Content that contains information about a wide variety of disassociated topics is harder to understand and is generally understood to be less authoritative on any single topic. Focus each page of your website on a single topic and avoid the tendency to add extra information that isn’t relevant. This is primarily what the process of on-page search engine optimization is all about. On-page optimization involves aligning the words within a piece of content to ensure that they are focused on a list of keywords that all support a single concept.
By defining a list of keywords on a single topic for each page of your website and using an on-page optimization tool to increase the focus of the page you will create highly focused content that is seen as highly authoritative on a clear topic.
So that’s all there is to it. Everyone wants to be associated with the experts. Add high quality content to your website and you’ll find that other website owners and the search engines will soon be sending visitors your way because they look good when they help their visitors find your high quality, relevant, and focused content.
Adding high quality content to your website is the single most cost effective marketing investment you can make in your business. As you add more content to your website your total traffic will increase over time. Compare this to paid search engine marketing like cost-per-click ads where you pay for every new visitor and when you stop paying you stop getting visitors. Instead, with content marketing, your one-time investment in creating a piece of high quality content will yield years and years of free traffic from other websites and the search engines.