Whether you realize it or not, everyone who publishes online is doing content marketing. If you are a blogger, small business, or large company, content marketing is at the heart of your success.
The problem is that not everyone does it the right way.
The majority of any successful online business knows the importance of content marketing to their profitability.
Contrast that with many bloggers who throw blog posts out there hoping one will stick.
It doesn’t work that way.
As a long-term strategy, content marketing matters to building a sustainable blog or any business online. This post will help you understand the importance of content marketing and best practices for success.
How Does Content Marketing Work?
The Content Marketing Institute said it best: “Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
That’s what you want, right?
There are many ways to implement a content marketing strategy. Blog content is just one aspect of that. Other methods include YouTube videos, downloadable eBooks, social media promotions, and email marketing newletters.
Developing trust with your audience is one of the key ways that content marketing helps you build your business. To inspire your target audience to take action, they need to trust you.
Why Content Marketing Matters
Content marketing matters because it has become a primary way to market for businesses. I know what you are thinking: “I’m a blogger, not a business.”
If you are a blogger who wants to monetize and earn money, you have a business.
Soon after the inception of the Internet, banner advertisements were all the rage. That was the main online marketing method.
Today, ads get very little attention and most people don’t see them anymore. In fact the average click through rate for ads is 2.1% [HubSpot].
It’s no surprise that 70% of people would prefer to learn about a company through articles and not advertisements.
You can expect these types of results with the right content marketing strategy in place:
- Keep your reader’s attention
- Increase your brand awareness and loyalty
- Get subscribers to grow your email list
- Increase sales
In my experience, I can tell you that when your content is focused on your audience needs, you will gain the trust and loyalty that later converts your leads into customers. don’t underestimate the importance of content marketing to your blogging success.
Demand Metric did a recent study that showed 70% of consumers feel closer to a company as a result of content marketing [Infographic].
How to Create a Content Marketing Strategy
I’ve actually heard bloggers say that paying attention to content marketing strategy is not important since they get all their traffic from social media channels like Pinterest.
That is completely wrong.
Content marketing is the most important part of your online business. It involves creating helpful content to attract the right target audience to your blog.
Even if you get traffic from a social media network ask yourself what percent of that traffic:
- Stays engaged on your website
- Joins your email list
- Is a repeat visitor
- Leaves a comment
- Takes action on your directives
I can’t stress the importance of content marketing to driving profitable consumer action on your blog. That is how content marketing helps build your business.
Use this as a content marketing checklist each time you create a post.
Let’s dig in.
1. Why are you Creating Blog Content?
Knowing why you create content is the foundation of everything else you do online. You started a blog for a reason. What was it?
If you don’t know, it will be difficult to create a strategy for success. For example, every piece of content you create should be aimed at providing value to your audience.
How can you define your target audience if you don’t know why you started a blog?
For example, let’s say you started blogging because you are passionate about weight loss and want to help others do the same.
That’s a great reason!
You can easily define your target market and do the research to understand what type of content will be helpful to them.
All the pieces fall into place only when you know exactly why you started and why you create content.
2. Know your Target Audience
Who are you delivering your content messaging to? Everyone in the world?
That doesn’t work. Everyone is not your audience.
Once you understand why you create content, you can easily know exactly who your content marketing audience is by doing some research into their interests.
Without a properly defined target audience, how will you know what to write? You may be tempted to write whatever you feel like writing. I can almost guarantee you won’t attract visitors to your blog using that method.
If you know your content marketing personas, you can create relevant content that is helpful to your audience. That is the way to attract people to you online.
Many times I see bloggers in groups asking others what they should write about. That’s not the most strategic way to go about it.
Getting insights about your target audience not only helps you write content they want, but helps you take them through the process of making a purchase.
3. Do Your Keyword Research
Are you writing blog posts about whatever you want? Serious content marketers would never do such a thing.
Keyword research is the foundation of every piece of content. It’s creating content with a purpose.
I’ve never written a piece of content without doing keyword research first (well, maybe when I first started blogging and it was a big flop.) It tells me exactly what my audience is searching for.
You can learn which keyword phrases are being searched for the most so you can write your blog post to provide the best value to your audience.
That’s how you attract and keep their attention.
Include those long-tail keywords into your content marketing strategy. These are specific and targeted phrases of four, five or more words. They also have low search volume and low competition.
Keep in mind that keywords aren’t meant to be sprinkled about in your blog post (although they may be used.) Create content that satisfies the intent of a user query and has a high relevance to their search.
I spend a great deal of time on keyword research. It helps me understand what to write. If I left it up to myself, who knows what would appear on these pages!
Keyword research plays an important part in content marketing.
4. Include a Call to Action
Do you include a call to action (CTA) in your blog posts? How will your readers know what to do?
If you want to create a profitable blog, you must move people to take action. A CTA is important to content marketing because it helps readers know what to do next.
This is where you move them through a process that eventually converts them into a buyer.
A well-written CTA either moves your reader to take action or causes them to leave your website without doing anything.
What do you want your visitor to do?
Create a CTA that is clear so your reader understands exactly what you want them to do. Check out these examples of CTAs that work and some that don’t.
5. Create High-Quality Content
How helpful is your blog content? Quality is an important aspect of content marketing.
People are on the Internet all day and night looking for answers. Are you giving them what they need so they don’t have to look any further?
In addition to writing helpful articles, creating long-form content that benefits your audience in some way. Remember, it’s not about you.
This is how content marketing builds trust with your audience. When you give them what they want and need, they will keep coming back for more.
It’s not a race to see how many blog posts you can pump out each week. There is enough mediocre junk out on the Internet. Don’t contribute to it.
Here’s an interesting article from Inc. about why you should take time to produce less content. That may seem odd at first.
It is simply a matter of quality over quantity.
Build a quality content marketing plan to create a loyal following that keeps coming back for more.
6. Share Your Content in Social Media
Your content marketing strategy checklist should include sharing to social media. This is where you purposefully distribute your blog posts to various social media networks.
You can also increase the sharing of your content by including social sharing buttons on your blog.
Why is content marketing important in social media? The more social shares you get, the more exposure and traffic you can get to your website.
The key to social sharing is making sure you have great content to share! I already mentioned mediocre content. Who wants to share that?
The importance of content marketing in social media is a powerful combination. Some people prefer to find content in social media channels. This is reason enough not to depend on SEO organic search results alone.
When posting in social media, throwing links out there just doesn’t work. Add some information about why a person should read it. Compell them to click your link.
When I see a random link, I don’t even bother. Unless there is a compelling reason why I need to read further, there is no point.
Here’s an example of how one line of text can get a person to click to read more. I love this guy! I read most of his posts because he knows his audience and knows how to catch their interest.
7. Structure your Blog Posts to Maximize Conversions
Serious content marketers are strategic about every aspect of creating blog posts. That includes the structure of your post itself. You have a purpose for your post, that is to get traffic and drive conversions.
In addition to the above best practices, create posts that are easy to navigate and read. Most people read on mobile devices these day. Keep that in mind.
Although there are many ways to structure a post, use these as a guide to content marketing success:
- Use shorter paragraph. The days of big blocks of text that go on and on are gone. Keep paragraphs short. One line up and up to five.
- Use navigational elements. Break down your post with subheading, bullet and numbered lists. This helps a reader to quickly scan your content to find out if they want to read a particular section. Content marketing means helping your reader get the most out of your content.
- Use imagery. Whether it’s a still image or video, imagery helps keep the attention of your reader. It also gives them various media to get the information. Best of all, it keeps readers on your website longer.
- Make it readable. I visited a blog the other day with a weird colored background and light blue font. I couldn’t read a thing. Enough said.
Content marketing is a purposeful approach to your online business. Everything you do should contribute to your ultimate goal.
Final Thoughts on the Importance of Content Marketing
We’ve all heard the phrase “content is king.” It couldn’t be more true in 2017! I can’t stress the importance of content marketing to your success with blogging enough!
Content marketing is the foundation of success online. Taking a strategic approach to your blogging will help you create the type of content that your audience is attracted to, so you can move them through the process of becoming a buyer.
If you found this post helpful, do share in social media.