Let’s start by dispelling any thoughts that you may have around content marketing being something you can shortcut. Imagine you do the following to generate business:

  • Start a blog on your website
  • Write a few posts about your product, service or industry
  • Share those posts on your Facebook and Twitter page
  • Sit back and wait for the leads to start flowing in

If you do this and get no results, then should you argue that content marketing doesn’t work? You won’t be surprised to hear me tell you I wouldn’t expect much from that approach either.

Almost all businesses have a great opportunity to create content that will bring them and their audiences value. The trick is understanding what that content should be, why people will want to consume it, and how you get it in front of your audience.

See content as an opportunity to answer your customers questions and needs. If you are talking about their problems with authority, then they are likely to assume you have the answer too.

It’s a bit like a content marketing agency writing about the principles of content marketing….huh.

Where to start

There is so much fluff on the internet that has been created just because people think this is what they should be doing. However, give yourself a clear persona to target, topics you wish to be known for, and questions you might be answering and you’ll stand a much better chance.

Ask yourself is your content:

  • Helpful?
  • Valuable?
  • Unique?
  • Better than the competition?

According to Sumo.com who carried out an extensive survey of blog posts:

  • 23% of traffic was brought to these popular blogs from “how to…” posts
  • A further 16 % of traffic came from list posts (e.g. The top 10 ways to…)
  • And 14% from explanatory posts

So if you aren’t doing anything like this on your site, it may be a good place to start as you could be missing out on 50% of your traffic!

Having a goal

It is important to have a goal. Define those goals in Google analytics so you can see if it has worked.

What are you trying to do? Attract search traffic? Perhaps collect email addresses?

If you are trying to sell a high-value item through content, it is unlikely a blog post will convert a sale directly. So perhaps your goal could be to collect an email address. Someone may have found a blog post that has led them to your brand, but they need to get to know you first before committing to such a big purchase.

Look at it like dating. You are unlikely to get married after meeting someone in a bar. But you may hope to get their number.

Be patient

“But I’ve written 10 blogs and they aren’t bringing me any business” I hear you say.

Well, that is not unusual. It is in fact very hard to predict which pieces of content will do well and which won’t. Could we have predicted that the top blog post for one of our clients would have over 1m hits? In reality, probably not over any of the others in that list.

Strategy for finding content topics to talk about

There are a ton of tools out there to help you come up with ideas, but here are a few to get you started on that journey and help justify your decisions:

1) Keyword research

Google has a keyword planner in its Adwords platform. This is great to tell you how many searches a month certain phrases have. However, it may be useful to see what sort of results you get when you type in the same topics you are considering writing about.

This may give you a list of your competitors. From here you can do two things:

  1. Look at their blog posts and see what you could do better
  2. Add their site to a tool like SEMrush to see what sort of terms their site is attracting traffic for

2) Other research tools

Use websites like Reddit, Quora, Ask The Nation and Buzzsumo are a great way to get a feel for if your ideas have legs. Type in topics you want to talk about and look at how popular they are, then look at the websites creating them. How can you improve on what they have done? What makes the content so shareable?

Within Quora try the following: Type in your question, for example “how to edit video”

Click on a link, then look for the related questions down the right hand side.

Also click on the topic above the title, then look for the FAQ’s – this is going to give you a host of ideas for your content plan. 

3) Make your content specific and comprehensive.

Google is very good at understanding people’s intent and wants to deliver the user the best answer as quickly as possible. So if it is sending you to a generic piece of content that only answers questions in a half-baked sort of way, then the user will have a poor experience.

However, if you ensure your content is detailed and answers people’s questions better than anyone else, Google is likely to send people to that content.

Whilst you could argue people won’t read all the detail you write about, that may not be the goal. I’m impressed if you have gotten this far in this blog post! However, if you have found this through a search engine, then it has served its purpose and has been ranked as blog post that answers the question you asked.

But don’t just cram your article or blog with everything you can think of, instead make sure all of the content has value to your audience.

Make it visual

Make sure you have something to break the text up. That may be some pull out quotes, charts or visuals.

Most people will scan at least part of your article, so pull key quotes, charts and visuals out.

Perhaps even offer up a video explaining your blog post, or a downloadable resource for reading later.

  • Use bullet points to help break content up
  • Make sure the text isn’t too wide ideally 40-55 characters
  • Use lists rather than massive blocks of text
  • Add in images
  • Get lots of information across in charts
  • Make calls to action clear, for example:

Want to learn more about content marketing, come to one of our free Sessions in London and Kings Lynn

Consider where people are consuming your content

What device is your audience using? You will be able to check this in analytics.

Long form content isn’t always ideal on mobile, a video may be too long to stream over a data connection. Is the content you’ve created responsive? If not, it is unlikely to be a great experience on mobile.

Timeless or Timely

This is one from our co-founder David Wilson, one of the partners of To The End. He advises to make your content either evergreen, (timeless), so it can bring you traffic for sustained periods of time or make it timely, so it will attract a relevant audience to a topic that is trending in your industry or in the news.

“The greatest Tour de France riders from the last 100 years”  – would be timeless.

“Unbelievable tech from Eurobike 2018” – would be timely.

The trick is to make sure you then update the content that does well so you can gain further traffic the following year.

What I haven’t covered here is how we then distribute, share, and gain valuable back-links for SEO. This is a whole other blog post but for now, if you need more help or want to delve deeper into content marketing, we’d love to talk. Contact us here to arrange a meeting.

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