For today’s post, I’ve invited Patsi Krakoff of Writing On the Web to contribute a few thoughts on an issue near and dear to her heart: content marketing. A true pioneer in the field, Patsi offers a welcome — and very necessary — strategic perspective on the relationship between new media content and traditional marketing objectives.
You’ve heard the buzz about content marketing. Maybe you’re not quite clear what that means for you and your business.
If you’re a small business owner, especially someone who provides services, you’re probably already writing content in order to market your professional services and products. Content marketing is just plain common sense. Or is it?
What Is Content Marketing? (And why should you care?)
Your newsletter articles, blog posts, every page on your website, photos of people in your company, what you say on Twitter & Facebook, your video clips on YouTube, podcasts, everything is considered Web content. The question is, does it do a good job of marketing for you and your business?
Some people are just hard-wired to write good content. Some hate it, but most people are resigned to the fact they must write and create content and publish on the Web if they want to get found. But what kind of content works best? What should you be writing about?
Even when a prospect has already found you, perhaps offline, most are going to research your company and your name. What will they find when they Google you?
If you’ve got any kind of business today you’re going to have to learn a few things about creating content that works for marketing on the Internet, no way around it.
I’d like to share a few principles about content marketing so you can make the right decisions for your web content, no matter what business you’re in. Your needs may be different, you may be special (I’m sure you are!) Most of the clients I sit down with for a content marketing review, are surprised by how many opportunities they’re missing for creating effective content on the Web.
Here are some general principles all professionals need to understand if they want to do business in the 21st century. The first is this:
Content Marketing Matters
Take a few minutes to focus on these 5 reasons you must publish content on the Web to grow your business.
1. People are looking for solutions to their problems on the Internet. The #1 reason people use the Internet is for entertainment, the 2nd reason is to find information. The question is, if they have a problem you can solve really well, will they find you?
2. The next question is, is your content both entertaining AND educational? Or is your idea of web content similar to a magazine ad? There’s a lot of information on the Internet, and unless you can make your messages real, interesting, human, dramatic, authentic, and honest… you’re not going to capture anyone’s attention, let alone their hearts and minds.
3. There are over 1 billion people connected to the World Wide Web. How many of them do you need to find you in order for your business to thrive? Who’s your targeted audience, who are your ideal clients? If you go after everybody, you’ll probably miss the boat and not attract anybody.
The more you can specifically attract a similar audience, and build a community, a tribe, the easier it will be to write content designed to meet their needs. Segment your sites, segment your database, and create conversations that build communities. Make it clear in the blink of an eye who your products and services are for. And start a conversation.
4. Are you visible everywhere? Do you deliver content in multiple forms, audio, visual, text, graphic images? Do you appeal to a variety of learning styles, not just with written text? Do you have content on various sites, easy to find, with consistent branding and messages? You’ll have more results if you pick several sites, blogs, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and create a consistent presence in more than one place.
5. Do you have a personality? (Or, does your content show one?) Companies, especially large ones, are finding more success with the use of personas and spokespeople because people prefer to buy from other people, not from large, anonymous brands. Small business owners can no longer afford to hide behind a fancy logo, nor should they act like a large corporation.
Every company site should dedicate pages to the people who work there. Your written content should reflect the personality of the author, rather than being anonymous company copy. Does your content build your KLT Factor (Know, Like and Trust)?
There are probably other key principles for creating good content that markets your business, and I’m probably missing some that are important for you in your niche, in your field. Feel free to let me know, leave a comment. In today’s interactive Web-world, we can continually strive to improve thanks to audience participation.
Here’s a recap:
1. Solve a problem
2. Educate and entertain
3. Build a community
4. Be visible everywhere you can
5. Be a real person
What’s missing from this list of 5 principles to strive for with content marketing for your business?
About Patsi Krakoff, Psy.D.
Patsi Krakoff is a newsletter, blog, and content marketing expert who co-founded The Blog Squad. She provides advanced training and coaching for professionals who want to beef up their blog for marketing optimization. She was trained as a journalist with a doctorate in psychology, and ten years experience online. She lived and worked in Paris 20 years and now lives in Ajijic, Mexico, where she’s an avid tennis player. Patsi’s writing her first novel about life in Paris.