Businesses of all sizes and industries have had a lot of success generating more traffic and sales with something called content marketing. Google trends shows that curiosity around this topic has increased by over 1,700% as business owners and marketing professionals try to figure out what content marketing is and how they can make it work for them.
So, what is content marketing? Well – it is actually quite simple. Content marketing is creating content, in the form of blogs, photos, videos, social media posts (including on sites like snapchat and Instagram), or stories of any kind through any publication, and delivering that content to an audience in order to market your business and the things your business is doing while growing your customer base.
The key part of that last sentence is that you are showcasing the things your business is doing. This means that companies that are getting out there and doing more interesting things are able to produce more content and generate more interest from their audience. According to Curata.com, “70% of marketers lack a consistent or integrated content strategy.”
How to Produce Better Content
As mentioned above, it is the businesses that are doing more interesting things that usually see better results with their content marketing. It is also the businesses that keep their content industry related that see more actions or conversions from the content they produce. Businesses who post frequently on a schedule tend to see steadier interactions long term as well.
So how can you make your content more watchable, likeable, shareable, etc.? The first thing to consider is quality – and I mean that in more ways than one. Your content will likely contain images/video and text, and so the quality of those images/video and the quality of the text need to be high. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 85% of businesses who have seen an improvement in content marketing success attribute that success to creating better quality content.
Invest in Better Technology or Creative Employees
Better quality starts with better technology and better equipment. That means investing in better photo or video technology – like buying a DSLR camera or something that shoots in high resolution for both photo and video. If you’ve got a little more money to play with, we recommend something like the Canon 5D. If you’re on a budget, go with a Canon t5i.
It also means investing in better photo and video editing software – like Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Premiere Pro (both of which come with Adobe Creative Cloud). Finally, if none of your employees are any good at taking or editing photos/videos, then hire a creative employee or creative agency who is good at it.
When it comes to blog posts or articles, we recommend reading Hubspot’s “How to Write a Blog Post” article for general writing tips. In short, you’ll want to be informative, avoid grammatical mistakes, keep polarizing personal opinions to yourself (unless you are writing for a political blog or Op Ed), and make sure you are using keywords that people are searching for within the article. We recommend either contracting out a good creative writer (tap into your local colleges for great writers at a reasonable rate) or hiring someone who is passionate about business writing.
Collaborate with Other Businesses or Creatives
Teaming up with other local companies can help you double your marketing or PR efforts as you are adding another stakeholder with vested interest in the content. If you team up with another company for an event, for example, then that company is going to use its promotional channels to spread the word about the event. Or, if you write a blog post highlighting the “10 Best Marketers in Denver,” then those companies you mention in the article are going to want to share the news to their followers that they made the list.
It is especially effective if you are able to get original photos or videos of those businesses to use, for example, in an article that mentions specific businesses or people. Visitors are more likely to stay on a site page longer when there is a corresponding image/video with the content. And businesses love being showcased in some form of shareable rich content.
This same strategy applies to YouTube videos. We recommend contacting a fellow YouTube creator that may appeal to your audience and request that they make a guest appearance in your video (or vice versa). You typically want to approach someone who has a YouTube channel about the same size as yours. By collaborating on a video, you are accessing their subscriber or viewer base as they will want to share the new video on their channel.
Video is the King of Content and a Necessity for Your Marketing
Post About Your Community
This advice may be better for those of you operating a business where we operate (the RiNo district in Denver, CO – one of the hottest areas in the country right now). However, I think this piece of advice will still hold true no matter where you operate. Posting about your community, or events happening within your community, can be very beneficial for a variety of reasons.
For one, people typically enjoy the communities they live or work in. If your business is doing something to improve the community or help spread a good word about the community, then people will come to appreciate your business. They may even start to see it as a staple or thought leader in the community.
On the other hand, you may be hosting or attending events in your community. By having a local follower base, you can improve your chances of getting more people to come out to your event or wanting to read about the event recap. Just ensure that your event or the events you are posting about make sense for your area given the demographics and types of businesses found in the area.
For example, Denver Startup Week is an event put together for Denver startups and entrepreneurs, and in recent years it has been a huge success. Not only were there thousands of attendees, there was also lots of content generated around the event by attendees. If someone attempted an Albuquerque Startup Week, they may not see quite the same success. (Albuquerque was named one of the 10 worst cities for startups).
Using Analytics to Determine the Best Time to Post Content
Not sure when to post content on your website or social media? The answer is that you should be posting frequently and consistently. However, you shouldn’t be posting aimlessly.
What I mean by that last sentence is that you should always have a content mission and/or a content strategy. You should know exactly who your ideal audience is and why what you are posting is relevant or interesting to them. You should also know when your ideal audience is online at the delivery point of your content. In other words, when are your ideal followers on Twitter to help you get more tweet interactions?
It is going to take experimenting to figure out the sweet spot for all the places you are posting your content in terms of getting the most interaction and views.
For social media, post at various times throughout the day on every day of the week. After a month (minimum), determine what days and times typically received the most views and interactions. You can see all of your post and page data within the analytics platform that is likely built into the social media site you are using (Facebook and Twitter have easily accessible analytics). Also take note of the type of posts people interacted with the most. You’ll likely notice that posts that contain photos or videos saw a bump in views over posts containing plain text.
From here, you can start to put together a strategy of what to post, where to post, and when to post it in order to get the most out of your content delivery.
Where is Content Posted?
There are many popular, and oftentimes free, places to post your business’s content. You can post articles, photos and video directly on your website (on your blog or on web pages dedicated to the content). Just make sure you are keeping all of the content professional and relevant to your industry. For making a website with a blog, we highly recommend WordPress over site builders like Squarespace or Wix.
YouTube is a great resource for posting video content – our YouTube channel has received over 1 million views and 10,000 subscribers over the years, which helps promote our business and earn ad revenue. Vimeo is another free and reliable option for those looking to avoid having content overlaid on top of the video. YouTube tends to place a lot more ads, annotations, and other channel or advertising related text on top of users’ videos. As a result, Vimeo can sometimes look cleaner when embedding videos on your website or sharing on social media.
Social media sites are great for showing snippets of content with the goal of directing users to the full story on your site or channel. They are also perfect for posting content in real-time during an event to give your audience a glimpse into the action. You can also interact with attendees directly through some social media apps with a hashtag or “geofilters”.
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A geofilter is found in Snapchat and allows you to purchase a sponsored filter that only works within a specified geographical location at a specified time. For example, if you are hosting an event on December 5th at Union Station, you can purchase a custom geofilter with your event’s name or your branding that snapchat users can add to their snaps during the event.
Take Content Marketing Seriously
There are a ton of companies engaging in content marketing. In order to stand out, you have to take content marketing seriously and figure out how to generate quality, interesting and original content that people actually want to engage with. Take the time to make content that answers peoples’ questions, tugs on their heart strings, or gives them insight into something they wouldn’t otherwise have access to. By posting new content daily or weekly, your business will start to notice bumps in web traffic and online mentions, which will ultimately lead to more online conversions and sales.
Need content marketing for your small business? Check out Davies Media Design.