In order to reap the benefits of content marketing, you need to have SEO, and vice versa. The two compliment each other, and neither is optimal without the other. You can think of SEO as the skeleton, and content marketing as the muscle. (If we’re going to keep the metaphor going, then website design is, almost literally, the skin.) For this post, however, the focus is on the most important aspect of content marketing: Creating Content. More specifically, creating content for your business website. So fasten your seatbelt, grab some coffee, and let’s take a crash course on content creation for your company’s site.
Step 1: The Basics
Who is your audience?
If you’re not completely sure, then take a moment to check out this handy article from Forbes that offers excellent guidance on determining your target audience. For those of you that already know your audience, write it down or make a record of it, if you haven’t done so already. The description of your target audience is your “guiding light,” if you will. Before you write, record, or create any content for your business, it doesn’t hurt to do a quick scan of your audience’s characteristics to get yourself in the right mindset.
What is the purpose of your company’s website?
Note that the question isn’t referring to the purpose of your company, although that certainly plays a part in your web content. Rather, it pertains to the specific goal of your site, which is not the same. Essentially, you have three strategic options for your site:
- Sell products and/or services
- Generate leads
- Establish credentials
For further explanation and analysis on those categories, click here. Ultimately, you should be able to define your site’s goal in one or two sentences. Keep your purpose concise and clear. If you’re going to stay on target, it helps if you haven’t given yourself a dozen targets to hit.
Does your website have a blog?
Nowadays, blogs are critical for enhancing the web presence of businesses large and small. Roper Public Affairs reported that “80% of business decision-makers said they prefer to get information via articles, not ads.” If you’re still not convinced that a blog is worth the time and effort, consider the fact that “B2B marketers who use blogs generate 67% more leads than those that do not.” Without a blog, your business is missing out on the opportunity to attract valuable web traffic that could turn into customers or clients.
Step 2: The Heart of The Matter
What value can you offer your audience?
You know your audience and you know your company. Now, what valuable information can you offer them? Consider what problems they have. Of those problems, which ones can your business solve? If you’re in the service industry, perhaps you can discuss a specific element of your process or methods. If you offer a product, try highlighting the capabilities of a single feature. If you can, add nuances regarding your business that a person may not be aware of, share a success story, etc. People love getting the inside scoop.
Can you write with authority about the subject(s) your audience finds valuable?
So you’ve got an audience to which you think you can be of some value, but make sure that you or someone in the company can articulate that value. People may argue about short articles versus long articles, but what really matters is the quality of the content. If you truly can communicate from a place of authority on a subject, then it should be evident in the quality of your copy. Don’t produce sub-par content just to “get it out there.” SEO algorithms are continuously updated to become smarter and weed out weak copy. It’s survival of the fittest, and your copy needs to adapt in order to remain relevant on the search engine radar.
What unique viewpoint can you offer?
Explaining why your business is unique and speaking from a unique viewpoint are two different things. Keep that in mind when you’re crafting content. Depending on your audience, your unique viewpoint will vary in terms of style and approach. This is where you need to be creative. There are lots of businesses talking about similar things within their industry, but you can set yourself apart by changing how you talk about those things. Your goal should be to offer a new perspective. Even if it’s not earth shattering, try to present things in a different way. Try relating aspects of what your business does to seemingly unrelated things, or talk to someone who has no idea what you do and write from their perspective. Don’t be afraid to experiment a little bit, within reason, of course.
Step 3: Fine-Tuning
Is your content compelling?
This can easily be the most elusive element of your content. In entertainment, it’s often referred to as the “it factor.” Where’s the spark? Your audience may find you based on information they dumped into Google, but they’ll stick around (and, ideally, come back for more) if that info is presented in a well-organized, entertaining manner. If your readership is of a more corporate nature, perhaps you entice them with a wide array of facts and figures that center on business success. Or maybe you’re on the other end of the spectrum, and need to offer your audience bite-sized, edgy editorial that grabs the attention of even the most distracted millennial. Whatever the case, be sure you figure out what holds the attention of your audience.
What do the analytics and feedback say?
Don’t forget to check on how you’re doing. This information is critical to honing in on what content works best, and what you should drop. Granted, it can be easy to get overwhelmed by data or procrastinate looking at the numbers if you’re worried about what they might tell you. But like any elephant-sized problem, this one should be eaten one bite at a time. Break up your analytics-analysis routine into manageable chunks, set a schedule for yourself, and then stick to it. Still overwhelmed? Here’s a helpful guide on what metrics to check and when. It is, by no means, an all-encompassing rulebook that you should follow, but it definitely provides you with a good start to staying on top of checking your analytics.
Hopefully, this article has been helpful, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg. Keep researching methods of content creation. Follow blogs or read books on topics that are related to your company’s industry—in today’s media-consuming culture, it’s important to stay as fresh and informed as possible. The key thing to remember, though, is that your content is an extension of your business. If you don’t have something of value to say, or the ability to say it well, then it’s probably best if you don’t say anything at all. Poorly constructed content can hurt your business as much, sometimes more, than no content at all.
All that being said… you may still find yourself struggling to create quality content for your business website. Whether you lack the time, manpower, or you just don’t want to deal with it, feel free to contact Wenzel for assistance. We’ll be standing by, ready to optimize the content of your company’s site.