Category Archives: content marketing tips

two businessman looking at well promote website content on smartphones

BIG Ways You’re Not Promoting Your Website Content

By now, businesses should know that adding regular and relevant content to a website is a proven way to get found online. Unfortunately, what many businesses don’t realize is that creating and adding content is only half of the equation. Promoting website content is just as vital for online marketing success.

Content promotion is all about getting the most bang for a business’ buck. It’s about using the content to reach the maximum amount of members in the business’ target audience and attracts search engines’ attention.

Unfortunately, many businesses take the outdated stance that website content can be found without promotion. While the old, “if we build it, they will come” content strategy worked years ago, today the amount of data added to the internet is in the quintillions (no, that’s not a misprint). It’s time for businesses to not only add quality content but to reap the rewards of a well-executed website content promotion strategy.

Types of Website Content

Before getting into proven promotion tactics (that many businesses are not using), these types of website content can be produced (in-house or via content marketing experts) as part of an online marketing schedule:

  • Blog post
  • Graphics
  • Video
  • E-books, docs, and whitepapers

To be clear, website content that gets results is not necessarily filled with “buy, buy, buy!” messages. Instead, content should be produced with a clear goal to provide value to customers. This can be accomplished with valuable information and quality call-to-actions.

Ways to Promote Content

Email

A connection with a customer is an invaluable part of a marketing strategy. When an e-mail owner chooses to receive marketing e-mails, they show an interest in the business; this sets e-mail marketing apart from “cold calling” tactics. There are several ways to build an e-mail list with users interested in receiving communications from a business.

In an e-mail, businesses can promote many pieces of website content or focus on a particular piece of content. Businesses can choose the option that is relevant to its promotion strategy. The topics included in the e-mail should resonate with the customer and can even including offers and discounts. For example, a business selling ski products should produce content and include them in e-mails prior to the slope season.

Almost as important as the content is the subject line. The subject line is a business’ chance to pique e-mail owner’s interest. Effective call-to-actions in the e-mail drive a customer to act. Both elements should be a key part of every marketing e-mail.

In addition to the topic, businesses need to set an e-mail schedule that appeals to customers without annoying them. Too many e-mails are going to drive customers to immediate hit delete and drive down click rates. On the opposite side, businesses that don’t take advantage of this tactic are missing out on marketing results.

Social Media

There are multiple ways businesses can promote website content on social media. The first step is to choose the social media site(s) that the target audience uses. The next step is to look for opportunities to promote website content on the social media site (or outsource the effort to marketing pros).

Typically, there are three different ways to promote website content. All three tactics are dependent on social media monitoring. Businesses should invest in social media monitoring software to find out what followers are talking about—and what they are saying about the business.

The first social media promotion tactic is to maintain a solid social media profile with regular posts. If not done correctly, this can feel like a shout in a tunnel with only an echo of acknowledgement. A social media profile should be maintained with posts relevant to the audience and in line with other marketing materials.

The second website content promotion tactic is a paid option: social media ads. This tactic involves drafting an attention-grabbing ad targeted at the audience demographic interested in the business. The crux of this strategy is to choose content that is relevant to the audience and that they want to click on.

If social media monitoring is done correctly, the last tactic is to use content to help users solving a problem relevant to the business. This can be done by adding share buttons to content, so other readers can share the content or respond to comments with helpful information. Businesses can also monitor groups centered around relevant topics (or create a group) and respond to users who are asking for information.

QR Codes

QR codes are an effective way to direct users to content from a printed marketing piece. This marketing tactic can be included on mail pieces, event marketing materials, in programs, and even in packages sent to customers. QR codes may seem traditional, but customers need a smartphone to scan the code and be directed to the content or business app.

5 Elements of GREAT Content Marketing that Stands Out From the Crowd

content marketing pro trying to make her content stand out in a crowd
Make your content stand out in the crowd

There are so many benefits of content marketing, and it seems almost every business—small and large—is pumping out content, both visual and text, both good and bad.  If you’re one of those businesses, or want to be, one of the biggest challenges is to make your content stand out from the crowd—to produce good content that is as good, or better, than the best.

So how do you produce quality content?  What qualifies as “good” content marketing that people want to click on, and search engines want to deliver on the search engine results page (SERP)?  While you can find dozens of articles with complex explanations, here is the recipe for a solid content marketing strategy in straightforward terms that you can use to produce solid content.

Plan

You wouldn’t go on a road trip without a GPS or map, would you?  Use that same attitude when approaching your content marketing trip.  Before you start, plan out your trip: who you’re writing to, what they want, and how you can drive them to your goal.

This is where a one-size-fits-all approach won’t work (and an approach that too many businesses take).  Instead, customize your content, in the voice you use, choice of headlines, and the topics you cover, to your audience for optimal results.

Research

This comes in two forms: relevancy for your target audience (who you’re writing for) and the search engines.  What does your audience want?  What problems do they need to solve?  What entertains them?  Remember you’re trying to reach your audience and not turn them off, so try to avoid creating content that sounds like a blaring radio advertisement (at least not all them time).  If you can reach the first group with good content, the secondary audience (search engines) follows—if you write about relevant topics and use significant keywords and images.

Don’t get us wrong; we’re not telling you to stuff your content full of keywords.  Keyword stuffing can get your website penalized.  Instead, ask yourself what your audience wants to know and what relevant keywords your audience would use.  This is a fine art (writing relevant, optimized content); you can’t write so much for search engines that you turn off your primary audience and vice versa.  There’s no shame or blame in outsourcing this skill to the pros; companies often use marketing agencies for all their content or supplementary content that complements their marketing efforts.

Timing

A strong content marketing plan is built with relevant content published on a regular basis.  This is where many content writers go wrong; they plan an ambitious calendar of posts but don’t keep up with regular, relevant content.  You can find evidence of this on company blogs throughout the internet: blogs started with regular content, then abandoned because of a lack of time and knowledge (if the latter is true, it’s time to consider outsourcing your content marketing).

We’ve seen this firsthand as well; some of our clients started blogs with good intentions, but couldn’t keep up or wrote sales-focused posts that didn’t yield results.  At a loss for time and expertise, they contacted us to continue their content marketing efforts.  Now, they contact us on a regular basis with information about their customers, business, and sales cycle—and reap the benefits of regular, relevant content.

Images

Content marketing without an image or video is only half a full content marketing effort; statistics have consistently shown that content marketing promotion without images and video perform worse than blog and social media posts with.  Simply put, you’re not putting all the ammunition in your content marketing cannon.

To clarify, your video and images don’t always need to be taken by a professional photographer; when appropriate, a video taken on your phone or a candid snapshot can give your content marketing an advantage.  These images (again, if appropriate for your brand) can give you the opportunity to tell a story and establish yourself as an authority/professional in your field.

Promotion

Good content that isn’t promoted is like a really good secret that no one can hear—and is not going to get your company results.  Ensure that your content is sharable, mobile-friendly, and part of a good content promotion plan.  The last step of any solid content marketing plan is to promote your content (more about content promotion here), coordinate it into your digital marketing plan, and integrate your online and offline marketing.

What makes a good, quality blog post?

blog at center of targetMarketers throw the term “good, quality content” around in content marketing conversations and articles because it’s the center of a solid online marketing strategy—and flippantly, like it’s the easiest thing to achieve (you just write a great post, right? ha!).  Most often, that content is written for a blog, one of the most common content marketing tactics in online marketing today.  But what actually classifies a blog post as good, quality content?

This is where we issue a disclaimer: there is no hard-and-fast rule for a great blog post.  Just as everyone is looking for a different version of the “perfect house,” when house hunting, the same goes for a blog post.  That being said, there are some basic elements that should be included in every good, quality blog post.

Relevant Subject

Start every blog post with a subject and a goal—and know that both might change as you write.  That’s fine as long as you write a post with purpose.  Choose a subject that fits your target audience; for good content marketing ideas, use common questions from your customers, hot industry topics, calendar or seasonal ideas, or related search engine query phrases (we’ve given you a few content marketing ideas in a recent post).

With regards to search engines, a good blog post with keyword phrases is worth its weight in gold.  However, keep your posts human-focused, not keyword-focused.  The days of keyword stuffing are over; the top search engine optimization experts deliver optimized content for humans and search engines.  Don’t hesitate to use their expertise to get quality content for your blog—and to keep getting quality content on a regular basis (the key to content marketing success); we’ve said it before: there’s no shame or blame in outsourcing.

Strong Headline

A strong headline grabs your readers’ attention (higher click through rates!) and a good intro keeps them reading. A good headline draws a reader into the post and is TRUTHFUL. Avoid click bait headlines; you may see an increase in traffic, but you’ll also see an increase in bounce rates. Good headlines include questions (How can I fix this?), lists (5 Ways to fix your problem), or strong words (5 Horrible Mistakes You’re Making Fixing Your Problem).

(Good) Images

We never publish a blog post without an image, and there’s a good reason why.  Images enhance a blog post, giving the piece an essential visual element and breaking up a big block of text.  When choosing a good image, be selective; your image should be high quality, relevant, and free to use (no stealing…you can’t use just any image you find on the internet).  Note the first criteria listed: high quality.  The days of posting a blog post with a sub-par image are over.

“Teacher-Approved” Content Your Audience Can Read

Write a blog post your high school English teacher can be proud of: with proper grammar, perfect spelling, and correct sentence structure.  Any mistakes or typos are an instant turn-off to readers.  Don’t just write; edit and re-edit until your blog post is ready to be published error-free.

Call to Action

Once your audience is done reading, what do you want them to do?  Make this crystal clear when you write, and realize that the answer is not always “buy our product!!!”  A call to action can be “for more information…,” “get regular updates,” or “learn more…”  The goal of content marketing is to build trust.  You’re not going to build trust if every blog post is a screaming, high pressure sales pitch.

Share Buttons

What good is a quality blog post if it can’t be shared?  Make it easy for your audience to share your blog post via social media and email—and that you set a strong promotion plan so your content is read.  After all, you don’t want to write a good, quality blog post only to have it end up like the proverbial tree in the forest that fell with no one around to hear it.