If you've been following along with Elle & Company for the past 5 months, you've probably noticed a shift in my blog.
It happened when my husband, Jake, came alongside me in my business this past summer. Since then, he's spent hours on weeknights helping me brainstorm new content, he checks business blogs and articles like most people check Instagram and he's become my biggest supporter. While my name and photo is on the "about" page on this site, you can guarantee that Jake is behind the scenes helping me and reading every post before I hit "publish."
Jake is awesome when it comes to marketing and strategizing for my business. So today he's taking the keypad and sharing about one of his favorite topics: content marketing. I might be a little biased, but he knocked this one out of the park! I hope his perspective pushes you to bump up your content and helps you grow your business, just like it has mine.
To call content marketing a catch-phrase would be an understatement. If you have been blogging for any amount of time you've probably come across someone talking about "content marketing." But what is content marketing? The Content Marketing Institute defines it as:
"...a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience - with the objective of driving profitable customer action."
I prefer to explain things a bit more simply. My definition of content marketing is connecting your audience with useful content in order to earn the opportunity to sell something. Here are 5 takeaways about content marketing that will help improve your blog.
1 | Content marketing connects your audience with useful content
People are selfish. I mean that in the least offensive way possible, but whenever you get on a website you either want to learn something, be entertained, or connect with people. You are looking for something.
Odds are your audience doesn't care about what you did last weekend. Every Internet user knows this on a subconscious level and if you are consistently posting content about yourself, you're going to have a very difficult time growing your blog. Understanding why people get on the Internet to begin with will help you create better content. Leverage people's selfishness by giving your readers information that only you have.
I once heard someone say that if you want to make a million dollars, start thinking of ways to help a million people. The best bloggers understand that providing their readers with information that will help them succeed is mutually beneficial. Also, useful content keeps your audience coming back. The best content marketers know their audience is the most important aspect of their blog.
Here are three diagnostic questions to consider when you're brainstorming your next blog post:
- What do I know that could potentially benefit my audience?
- Did I write this for my readers?
- What is the takeaway from this post for my readers?
2 | Content marketing allows you to earn promotional opportunities
Everyone has been spammed at some point. Spam is annoying because it is an unwarranted, pushy sale forced on you. In fact, it's the exact opposite of content marketing. (Another word you might hear for content marketing is inbound marketing. Outbound marketing is the opposite. Think TV commercials, telemarketing calls and billboards on the highway).
So what if you did the exact opposite of that by giving away tons of free, useful content and rarely promoting your products? Answer: People will be more interested in reading about your promotions. Constant promotions on your blog aren't useful. Can your product solve a problem that your readers are facing? Promotional opportunities emerge when you give away helpful content.
You earn the opportunities to promote by following the 80/20 rule. The 80/20 rule is giving away content 80% of the time and promoting products 20% of the time. If you're just starting out as a blogging business owner, you may want to consider something more like a 90/10 rule. Either way your valuable content must be given away significantly more than your promotional content.
3 | Content marketing improves your SEO
Lauren mentioned this in a previous post, but it is worth mentioning again, especially considering all of the misinformation out there about Search Engine Optimization (SEO). There's nothing like getting information about SEO straight from the horse's mouth. Google's SEO Optimization Starter Guide says:
Creating compelling and useful content will likely influence your website more than any other factor. Users know good content when they see it and will likely want to direct other users to it. Organic or word-of-mouth buzz is what helps build your site's reputation with both users and Google, and it rarely comes without quality content.
The quality and usefulness of your content has the most influence over your website's SEO. Those are Google's words, not mine. Search engine algorithms are getting more complex and keeping it simple is probably the best course of action. Poor quality content means bad Google rankings. Great content means great Google rankings.
4 | Content marketing increases website traffic
The traffic will come once you start producing quality, useful content. People recognize good content when they see it. An increase in traffic is a natural byproduct of great content. Although your traffic may not come instantly, consistently creating quality content will eventually increase your traffic.
5 | Content marketing positions you as an expert
Content marketing will also position you as an expert in your blogging niche. High quality content will earn the respect of others, and rightfully so. Hard work, education, and research are what make a person an expert in a given field, so don't feel like you need to convince anyone of your expertise. Your expertise will be recognized by others in due time.
There is no reason why you should not use content marketing for your blog; it will benefit your business in almost every desirable way. The hardest part of content marketing is putting in the time that it requires, but it is beneficial for those who have a business by providing them with opportunities to sell. By implementing a content marketing strategy, your blog and business will certainly grow and improve.