Have you been debating whether or not creating content is important to your business? If you’re a marketer or business owner who answered yes, it’s time to stop debating and start strategizing because the days of traditional advertising are long over. In fact, 70 percent of internet users prefer to learn about products through content instead of seeing traditional advertisements.
Content marketing, creating online materials that don’t promote a brand but instead educate customers and generate interest, has become an effective tool to connect with prospective customers. If you don’t currently have a content strategy for your business, you’re missing out on a valuable lead-generation tool.
Even if you are publishing original content regularly, there’s a good chance you could stand to improve your approach. That’s because online trends are constantly changing. Something that worked well a few months ago can become instantly outdated with one Google algorithm update.
When you learn how to use content marketing effectively and adapt to trend shifts, the results will pay off. Here are some tips for how to create content that builds leads in 2019.
Use the right keywords
Before you start creating, find out what your intended audience is looking for. This is called keyword research, and it pulls double-duty—you learn how to reach the right audience and get ideas for topics to cover.
Using a tool, such as Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, MOZ, or Keywords Everywhere, you can see the top keywords your target audience uses in their Google searches and where your competitors rank on those terms. This will help you determine which keywords you might be able to outperform your competitors on, making it possible for your content to get more visibility in Google search results.
If you’re a smaller business in an industry with common key search terms, it’s unlikely you’ll win on broad keywords. Instead, learn which terms your specific customers are most likely to search.
For example, a Baltimore-based remodeling company might not rank on Google’s first page results for “kitchen remodel,” but, with a good content marketing strategy, the firm’s blog posts could rank in the top search results for the key phrases “kitchen remodel cost Baltimore” or “kitchen remodeling Columbia Md.”
Build a relationship with prospective customers
While keywords are important, your content can’t stand on those alone. Quality matters. If your content doesn’t provide value to the customer, they won’t keep coming back to read or view it. A 2019 Stackla survey found that 90 percent of customers believe authenticity matters when it comes to brands customers support. When you supply information that’s helpful, you start to gain trust.
Creating good content can help you build ongoing relationships with customers and prospects. For example, someone might return to a company’s website or social media channel for answers to questions, to connect with other customers, or to watch a video tutorial. That customer is now looking to the brand as a trusted source.
Drive traffic to your website content with social media
Social media platforms have become some of the most used methods of communications and entertainment, so chances are that’s where your customers are, too. Many large brands have even moved their customer support to social media.
Use social media to engage with your customers and introduce them to your longer-form content. A well-written social post with the right image and hashtags can get customer attention and drive them back to your website to read or watch more.
Reach a broader audience with video or podcasts
Content isn’t limited to writing. People access information in different ways, and some prefer to watch video or listen to a podcast or webinar instead of reading. Meeting your audience at their preferred medium increases your chance of reaching them.
Video is one of the best ways to reach people in 2019, and the demand for it is only increasing. According to Social Media Today, a publication that covers the social media industry, video is the best performing type of content on Facebook, Tweets with videos get 10 times more engagement than those without them, and LinkedIn users are 20 times more likely to share a video than any other type of post.
There are two types of videos the Digital Marketing Institute reports that customers find useful: testimonials and tutorials. Testimonials demonstrate your product or service through an existing customer’s user review. Tutorials can be educational and users may find them especially helpful if they’re trying to learn how to do something new.
When it comes to podcasts, you don’t necessarily have to start your own. You can get benefits from appearing as a guest on an existing podcast that your audience follows.
Developing a solid content marketing strategy takes time and research, but when it’s done right, it can build leads and brand awareness. Overall, keep in mind that today’s customers can tell when they’re being sold to, and it’s a turn-off. No matter what medium you’re creating content on, be sure to put the customer’s needs first and steer clear of aggressive advertising.