A discerning web user will discover ways to ignore, block out, or dismiss blatant advertising. Simply putting up an ad with your company’s logo and catch phrase isn’t enough to garner sales anymore. If you really want to get your message across, your message must be engaging. Your audience wants content. They want information they can take away from the internet for other uses and they want that information to be presented in a way that makes it interesting and easy to comprehend.
This desire led to blogs and content creation and marketing otherwise known as content marketing. Content marketing is an integral part of digital marketing with its ability to attract and sell. Not all content is the same and the digital world is not a level playing field, so you have to do whatever you can to make sure your content shines. Here are 7 rules of content marketing:
1. Spark Interest With A Killer Title
This sounds like a no brainer but it’s harder to execute than you might think. Your content should be memorable to find a place in your reader’s mind. This begins with a winning title or headline. This is where you engage your reader from the start and encourage them to read more.
2. Keep Content Focused And To The Point
Businesses that succeed know their customers, they know their problems, their wants and needs. Your content should pivot around those issues and how to alleviate them.
Your content should be delivered in the most concise manner possible while still answering the customer’s questions. Don’t promise your audience content (such as an answer to a question) and proceed to string them along throughout several paragraphs of ‘fluff’ content that has no point and doesn’t give them any useful information.
The questions “does my audience need to know this?”, “will my audience find this interesting?” and “how will this benefit my audience?” should be at the forefront of your mind when creating content for your business.
3. Structure Your Content Coherently
Most people are operating under a time crunch and the members of your audience is no different. They are inundated with information from all sides and the challenge is which to read first, if at all.
To make sure your content gets into the ‘read’ queue, structure the content in a way, your customer can assimilate the information quickly. Use shorter paragraphs with clear headers so your customer can jump to the information they are looking for.
4. Make Your Content Shareable
“Sharing is caring” is something we always tell our children, but it also applies to content, leading to additional sales. The more eyes your content gets in front of, the more potential clients for your business.
Always include ways to share your content, such as ‘email to a friend’, ‘Like on Facebook’, ‘Tweet This’, or ‘Pin It’ buttons (just to name a few) that can be used on every piece of content you post.
5. Optimise Your Content
While it’s great your content is liked on Facebook or tweeted about on Twitter, if your target audience can’t find your content on Google then you need to change that ASAP!
Search engines like Google are a huge resource that can help you secure more readers and appeal to more customers. Why would you ignore that?
If the idea of optimising all of your content is too overwhelming, tackle it in smaller sections until you have optimised everything and keep your content up to date (and up to par) to avoid any future heartache.
6. Make Your Content Visually Stimulating
We’ve all heard a picture is worth a thousand words and with the rise in popularity of social sites and apps like Pinterest, YouTube, tumblr and Instagram we know this to be true. Make your content interesting and stimulate a reaction from your audience by incorporating all kinds of media, particularly images and video, into the content you post.
7. Give Your Readers Something To Do
If you’ve structured your content correctly, you’ve kept your reader in engaged then this is the perfect time to give them a Call To Action (CTA).
It might be as simple as asking them a question regarding the content and asking them to comment. You could also encourage them to click on links to view more of your content. You could encourage them to ‘Like’ your Facebook page, follow you on Twitter or Pinterest. You might also like to encourage them to contact you for a free quote or consultation.
These 7 rules are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to content marketing, but are the first steps in establishing an effective content marketing strategy that can move your business forward.