When search engines began punishing online marketers for things like keyword-stuffing and back-link farming, content marketing went to the head of the class of online marketing.
Publishing original content in some ways became the new search engine optimization. Jamming in a bunch of keywords and going crazy with backlinks began to give way to attracting traffic organically by populating websites with useful, relevant information for consumers.
The trend continues. Online marketers seem to know they need to create content. But how many do so just because they know they should? How many actually do anything with the content they create, in a way that helps their business? Merely creating content doesn’t make someone a content marketer. It just makes them a content creator.
Here are five things businesses should be doing with their marketing content:
1. Publish it consistently – How many content marketing campaigns start off strong and then just fizzle out? Search engines like fresh content on sites that have historically delivered great content. Good historic content only gets you so far. New, continually published content keeps a site search-engine friendly.
2. Integrate SEO – Search Engine Optimization has evolved over the years, but it’s still a thing. A business’s content should still include keywords, metadata, and internal links. Yes, search engines will punish content that overdoes it, but SEO tactics smoothly integrated into the content that attracts an audience will drive search-engine rank upward.
3. Promote it – Writing a great blog post and being done with it after you hit “publish” can be a death wish. The greatest content in the world does nothing if nobody reads it. That means promoting posts on sales sites, on social media, and through email. Use visuals and write great headlines, and you might even find that your database and followers will share great content for you. How does it get better than that when you’re trying to generate leads with content?
4. Generate leads with content – Content marketing without the marketing is just content. If you use calls-to-action, your content can generate leads. If one of your Twitter followers, for example, shares a post that gets a new visitor to your site, there should probably be a way for them to opt-in to receive more content or a sales offer. They’re interested enough to go there, which means they are a potential new lead to be captured. Opt-in pop-ups and “Subscribe” buttons are a content marketer’s friends.
5. Address your actual audience – A marketer can do all the keyword research they want, but if they don’t create content around it that appeals to the prospect they want to attract, it won’t help. Content creators tend to create content with the idea that “thousands of people could be reading this,” when maybe the more useful approach might be to personify their business’s current clients or customers and just create content with them in mind. For example, try writing your blog post to your best customer/client, not to the entire world.
Content marketing, or “inbound” marketing as it’s sometimes called, can be a great tool for a business. Search-engine rankings are still important, and content drives that. Great content is also a way to establish trust, prove expertise, generate two-way interaction, and let people get to know you or the business.
But content alone isn’t content marketing. You have to do some things with the content for it to be considered that.