In the SCORE online workshop, “Content is King,” Rieva Lesonsky, columnist and CEO of SmallBizDaily, highlights the growing importance of content marketing. She offers tips on creating high-quality content to increase website traffic and engage more customers.
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is the technique of creating content such as articles, videos, podcasts, whitepapers, e-books, blogs, and webinars to attract an audience. Content creation is now the most effective search engine optimization (SEO) technique. In 2013, businesses spent $118+ billion on content marketing, video marketing and social media.
Create content by blogging
A blog is the most common way to create content, but you must post consistently. When you add new material, your website gets indexed by Google. The more your site gets indexed, the higher your search rankings. Blogs give websites 434% more indexed pages.
Besides increasing web traffic and search engine rankings, blogs offer these advantages:
- Awareness. A blog is an effective communication tool, so you can develop close relationships with customers and foster loyalty. As your site jumps in search rankings, it will attract a larger audience. Companies with active blogs receive 97% more leads.
- Credibility. When you write about your industry, your small business seems more legitimate and knowledgeable. Updated, relevant content shows you’re engaged with the industry. Readers will regard your small business blog as a resource to keep up on trends. 81% of online customers trust information and advice from blogs.
Writing content may seem like a stressful endeavor, but ideas for material are all around you. Focus on your specific industry. If you own a restaurant, you can write about your favorite recipe. If you’re an accountant, you can give tax tips. You can also write about seasons and holidays that relate to your business. If you are a florist, you can offer bouquet ideas for Mother’s Day and show off photos of your work. Here are Rieva’s suggested posts for any small business:
- Educate with how-to’s
- Use lists. Odd numbers tend to receive higher views.
- Special offers or promotions
- Product reviews. If you own an auto parts store, you can compare different tire brands.
- “Customer of the week or month”
- Guest blogs. Ask vendors, industry specialists, trade association members or other outside sources to write a post.
- Compile your website FAQ’s and write a blog post on each.
Rieva explains that writing for the internet is not like writing an essay for English class. Write conversationally and use “you” to connect with audience. Use short paragraphs and break up content with subheadings. You only have a few seconds to grab the reader’s eye, so create attention getting headlines.
Incorporating visuals is another technique to lure the reader. Articles with images receive 94% more views, and Facebook posts with images get 67% more clicks. An image in an article is like a store window. The visual advertises the content before even reading a word or entering a store. To create more interest, use videos or the fastest growing content marketing technique—infographics.
Once you’ve written one piece of content, you can recycle it in different forms. You can turn a blog post into an e-book, whitepaper, podcast or video and vice versa—you can turn an e-book, whitepaper, podcast or video into a blog post. Promote all content on social media and e-newsletters. Add social share buttons to your blog posts, so visitors can share your content on their social media accounts.
Content marketing is here to stay, and the internet provides marketing opportunities for free. You can promote one piece of content in several ways without spending money on advertisements.
Watch the entire SCORE online workshop, “Content is King” for more tips. A SCORE mentor can offer content marketing techniques tailored for your business. Read these online resources so you can create content with ease.