Starting an online business is never easy. Aside from numerous established competitions, you also have to deal with how you can make yourself known in the online world. The creation of a website is really important and a quality website is great when it comes to content marketing.
So what is content marketing?
Content Marketing is creating and sharing valuable free content to attract and convert prospects into customers, and customers into repeat buyers. The type of content you will create is dependent on your niche and target audience. It is a calculated marketing strategy that, when used properly, will help you:
- introducing your business to new customers
- building relationships with your customers online
- building online influence in your niche
Content Marketing is a great approach to introducing your business online. Your business belongs to a specific niche market and you should be focused on creating content that will entice your target audience into trying out and buying the products and services that you are offering. Your aim doesn’t end there. Your ultimate goal is to make your audience your repeat customers for a sustainable business.
In Ben Francia’s article, Content Marketing is the most effective strategy in building relationships with your customers on the net. This is great in ensuring that you are keeping your customers in the loop when it comes to updates regarding your business. Providing your customers with information and solutions is better than doing hard selling of the products and services to them.
No matter what business you are in, chances are, there are influential marketers already ahead of you in the supply chain. That’s the reason why it is very important for you to do quality content marketing that will make any audience with discerning taste take notice of you and give your business a chance. With so many businesses of the same niche, getting the audience’s first attention is extremely difficult.
With the advent of internet marketing, traditional marketing is already overused and not as effective as before. Reasons why traditional marketing does not work anymore are:
- It is stagnant
- It is very expensive
- It is too vague
In 2016, 46% of the world’s population has access to the internet which made traditional marketing obsolete. It is stagnant because traditional marketing relies heavily on print advertising such as newspapers, magazines, billboards, radio ads and TV commercials. It is expensive. Launching your products or services traditionally means investing in thousands of dollars for your campaign. Billboards and newspapers do not come cheap. Most of all, its reach is too broad as it encompasses all audiences unlike with digital marketing where you can set your campaign to reach specific audiences.
Because of the developments of the World Wide Web, more and more people are using the internet to promote their businesses. In Kissmetric’s article: The Beginner’s Guide To Content Marketing, it listed the advantages of content marketing over traditional marketing as follows:
- Content marketing provides value to customers while traditional marketing do not
- It educates customers to want to purchase your product
- It attracts customers to your brand for free
- It creates shareable content
- It has SEO benefits
- It helps drive traffic to your site
- It is highly targeted
The role of content marketing is not to do a hard sell of your products and services but to advertise and let the world know what you are doing.
Content Marketing is an essential part of branding and vice versa. Branding- is the process of creating an identity uniquely for your product in the consumers’ mind through different advertising campaigns with an identical theme. It aims to originate an important and distinct presence in the niche market which will appeal to and retain repeat consumers.
Branding is creating your business’s own identity that will make you stand out from the rest. It creates awareness on your customer’s mind. For example, Coca-Cola did a wonderful job coz when you talk about soft drinks; it’s Coke that always comes to mind to most people all around the world.
Success in content marketing might not come overnight but these tips will surely help:
#1. Research and understand your chosen niche thoroughly.
This will be your business and if you overcome obstacles, you’re in it for the long haul. This is why it is very important for you to understand your business thoroughly. The logic here is before you can sell your products to someone else, be sure you have your own buy-in. That way, it won’t be difficult for you to convince other people to try whatever you are selling to them.
Also, it is very important for you to know what are the needs and wants of your target audience.
#2. Purchase your own domain
Having your own domain means you are establishing your brand. One of your business’s most important investments should be in the creation of your own website. It is very necessary to purchase your own domain instead of just taking advantage of the free website creation tools you see online.
What’s the rationale behind this? Branding.
What are the advantages of having your own domain?
- Easier brand recall as having your own domain means it would be easier for your website to be remembered.
- It’s shorter too. For example, www.contentmaven.com takes less space than www.contentmaven.wordpress.com.
- SEO wise, it is an advantage to have a personal domain since search engines prefer custom domains.
- It lends your business an air of respectability and credibility.
- Also having your own domain would mean having your own customized email server. Having both gives the impression that you are serious about your business and have plans to make it long term.
- It’s difficult to misspell your website
It is advisable to choose a domain that’s short and simple. Also, avoid using keywords that are too common in your chosen niche. If budget is not a problem, purchase your domain in other popular suffixes, that way no one else can have a website with your chosen name. So like in this case, you purchased www.contentmaven.com, try purchasing the .org, .net and .co as well if budget allows. This is to ensure that other people won’t be able to create similarly named website like yours.
If budget is rather limited while starting up, you can use free website creation tools like WordPress or Blogger.com BUT purchase your domain as soon as you can. Always check the availability of your desired domain first.
#3. Have a kick ass logo
Your logo is your company’s trademark. This provides you the visual branding component necessary for your business.
It is also wise to use only one type of logo. Once you have already selected your company’s logo, no other variation of that logo should ever be released that’s why you have to be 100% sure of your logo’s design before releasing it in any form.
#4. Have a professional looking website
People nowadays are using the internet to look for information before purchasing anything. This is the reason why you have to invest a little more in having a well-designed website.
The web is full of free templates that you can use on your website however it is best if you have your own customized design. Your website should stand out. Your website, just like the logo, must have a unique identity.
Seth Rand mentioned in an article in Social Media Today, the following are just some of the things you also need to consider when creating your website:
- Captcha tests
- Compatibility with different browsers
- Customer Testimonials
- Effective Security
- Integration to Social Media
- Mobile Ready
- Offsite reviews
- Short Loading Times
Aside from a clean customized design, your website’s color schemes and combinations are also some of the things you need to consider when having your website done. You can either have someone develop the front and back end of your site or use the services of your hosting provider.
#5. Start Blogging
One of the webpages that your website must have is the Blog page. This is the place where you will be posting articles to your site. To maintain relevance of your site, post articles that have something to do with your chosen niche. Avoid getting off topic.
Exert effort in creating quality content for your website. At the start, blog as often as you can but never sacrifice quality for quantity.
When creating articles for your website, you need to consider the following:
- Customer’s wants
- Customer’s needs
- What you can offer
Again, avoid hard selling of your products and services. Nothing turns off a customer faster than receiving offers from a website before they can fully grasp what your website is all about. Promote your business in a subtle and professional way.
One thing you can try is to highlight the benefits customers can get when they purchase from your business.
#6. Create different social media accounts
Every savvy entrepreneur knows that promoting the business can be done using various social media accounts. To date, there are more than 80 social media platforms available. Listed below are just some of the social media sites that you must use to promote your content.
One social media networking site that you should take advantage of is Facebook. Facebook has recorded 1.71B monthly active users, as of September 2016. You can use your own Facebook account to promote your business. However, it would be more practical to create your business’s own FB page.
Another networking site that you should not ignore is Twitter. Though Twitter is considered the simplest platform with its 140 character limit, its popularity cannot be denied. In September 2016, Twitter had an average of 313M active users.
The world’s largest professional network, LinkedIn, has a total of 106M monthly active users as of September 2016. This is one of the few networking sites geared towards professionals and businesses.
Instagram is a photo-sharing social media platform that you can use to promote your blog. Instagram works by posting and sharing images. It has an estimated 500M active users as of Sept. 2016.
Different social media networking sites have one goal in mind- to reach as many people as possible. They only differ in the specific target audience as well as demographic preferences so your use of these social networking sites may vary.
Other noteworthy social media platforms you can try are Pinterest, Google+ and Tumblr.
There’s a better time when you could do the actual posting on these social media sites. This article entitled Best Times to Post in Social Media in CoSchedule Blog listed the best times to post on social media based on studies.
Facebook‘s best time to post is between 1-4PM from Thursday to Sunday. Unlike with your own blog post which you can only publish once, social media sites will allow you multiple posts for the same topic.
Twitter’s best time to tweet is during lunch (noon to 3 pm) and between 5-6PM on weekdays. LinkedIn, on the other hand, is best during midweek especially Tuesdays around 5-6PM though business owners would likely check their LinkedIn profiles in the mornings. For Google+, it’s weekdays (Wednesday is the most preferred day) between the hours of 9-11AM. Instagram can be used at any time of the day except the hours between 3-4PM and on any day except on Sunday.
#7. Reply to comments on your blog
Your reader took the time to leave a comment on your post. The least that you can do is to acknowledge that you have read their comments, regardless if it was a positive or negative feedback and give them something with value in return.
Commenting allows back-links and it also increases traffic to your site. As this is the case, try to reply with comments that have more essence than the mundane “Thank you for the feedback” canned script that you seem to have. This is one way to encourage your other readers to comment. Commenting will give you and your business credibility as experts of your chosen niche. Furthermore, it is proof that you care about the opinions of your audience.
You can also visit other blogger’s websites and try to comment on their posts. Choose post where you can comment and add your URL. Replying to comments is one way you can do search engine optimization for your blog.
#8. Join niche forums and communities
A niche community or forum is an online group for like-minded people to share their articles, ideas and innovations regarding the same niche. Joining these communities is one way for you to syndicate your content, establish an identity for your site and meet other entrepreneurs with a passion similar to yours.
This is the perfect place for discussions of ideas. You can answer questions and join in the discussions. This is the avenue where you can introduce your business to the online community. However, this is also the place where it is very easy to create misunderstanding among people.
The quality of your content is not enough to make Content Marketing work. You need to work hard on it in and use the best practices. Success doesn’t come overnight but if you do it the right way then there is no doubt that content marketing will do wonders for your business.
How about you? Are there any content marketing business practices you would like to share?