For most growing businesses, it’s expensive to increase sales by relying on paid channels alone. Worse yet, smart consumers are often hostile to marketing, and many of them have so thoroughly integrated adblockers into their internet experience that they’ll never see your ad. To succeed in this market, you need a different approach: content marketing.
Your best chance to reach customers is when they’re researching a topic related to your core competencies. At that moment, you can position your company as a thought leader by sharing your subject matter expertise in a way that doesn’t feel like an advertisement, which builds trust and increases your relevancy in customers’ minds.
This is the essence of content marketing, which is a cost-effective way to promote your business via blogging and search tools without irritating consumers who hate it when you market to them. Content marketing is a great tool for businesses, but it takes skill, patience, and planning to make it work for you.
Making Good Content
It might seem obvious, but you won’t benefit from this strategy if you don’t create content that your customers want to read. The best content is relevant to your customers’ interests, solves their problems, and is easy for them to read or scan quickly.
If you’re a solo entrepreneur or you run an extremely small business, it’s worth thinking about the time commitment necessary to constantly schedule, create, and update information. While you might be an expert on the products or services you provide, marketing and content creation are different skillsets, and spending time on running a company blog can eat into the hours you have left for running your business. Hiring a web content writer versed in researching, editing, and authoring quality material is a good choice for business owners with little time to spare for intensive marketing efforts.
Planning Your Content
Whether you hire someone to create content or keep your efforts in-house, you’ll still be in charge of developing a strategy for your marketing efforts. Even the best content isn’t useful to you or your prospective customers if it doesn’t turn up in search, so a great place to start planning is search engine optimization. With this approach, you’ll generate topics for which you want your business’s offerings to be a top result and fine-tune your approach by deciding what keywords and search patterns you want to target.
For instance, if you run an ecommerce business that sells sustainable dog toys, you might want your site to appear when customers search for “eco-friendly dog toys,” “durable dog toys,” or even just “best dog toys.”
With those keywords in mind, think about what your customer is most likely looking for when they enter those terms into search. Where are they in the customer journey, and how can your content meet the needs they currently have? If your search analysis reveals that customers are looking for a shoppable list of dog toys, don’t post an article about how your company makes sustainable choices; it won’t answer their question. Investigating these questions ahead of time will prevent you from investing time and money in content that doesn’t position you as an expert.
Understanding Search Engines
Once you select a set of topics as a focal point for your content writing efforts, it’s time to think about how you can format your articles best for search results. Particularly with Google’s new ability to cull the most important paragraph from a lengthy page and post it at the top of a list of results, you’ll want to be confident that your writing isn’t just customer-friendly, but algorithm-friendly. Fortunately, recent updates to search engine AI ensures that there’s plenty of overlap. Humans and search algorithms both like content that:
- Is concise, organized, and relevant
- Breaks apart long paragraphs and blocks of text with headers
- Uses structured information that features lists, numbers, and data
Bonus: As your content is featured more by search engines, it’s increasingly likely to appear as a snippet or recommended result!
Content writing is a great way for businesses to position themselves as allies to customers in the purchasing process. Although good content requires skills and planning, it’s still often the single most cost-effective tool available to growing ventures.