Yes. And no.
Marketers are still saying that content is king, and they aren’t wrong, but there has been a shift in what this really means. Creating content in isolation might feel like the right thing to do, but what is happening to that content. Is it being used to drive traffic, sales enquiries, new customers, engaging with lapsed customers, increasing orders or average order spend? Content alone won’t achieve these goals; content is only king when linked to effective search engine optimisation.
To those ‘in the know’ it’s obvious, but for many business owners; especially small businesses and non-marketers, all this talk about content and SEO, could be a foreign language, and these companies are struggling to compete in their marketplace.
What is Content Marketing?
So, firstly what does the word ‘content’ mean in marketing terms. Content is any written, graphical, animation, video, or photographic communication to a given audience. It must be said that any content created needs to be great content. It needs research, knowledge, validation and importantly it should be professionally copywritten and designed where applicable. This communication could be created and disseminated through many digital channels.
What can I create Content for?
TLA’s top 10 digital channels
- Press Releases
- Website Landing Pages
- Pitch Decks
- Social Media
The best performing blogs are highly informative around the given subject, it educates and stimulates interest, it provides food for thought and can include links to other authoritative articles on the topic. It will include key words and key phrases aligned to the topic, without over-using them. A good blog will never be ‘salesy’, otherwise it will be seen as such and the ‘trust’ element plummets. Blogs however can be written in a more informal style than in a report, press release or article.
Written and disseminated to key on-line magazines and trade journals and can also be used for print editions. It is worth noting that ‘announcements’ of a new product, key member of staff, or a new branch or division opening can be generic, but if you are submitting a lengthy article (as opposed to a snippet) then make sure it is written in a manner bespoke to the audience of the magazine or journal. Explain how your product or service will benefit this audience/make their lives faster, easier or less expensive. These are also great way to obtaining backlinks to your website – if you have a good relationship with the publication.
If your product or service is complex, then simply announcing it may not be enough to gain traction. There may be a need to ‘educate’ the market of the benefits of using the generic ‘widget’, then to create the desire for such a product, and finally to tell your audience why your ‘widget’ is the one to buy. Educating a naïve audience is a huge task, so don’t underestimate the amount of work needed.
Website landing pages
These are dedicated pages tailored to a specific part of your product or service offering. For instance, you could engineer fabrications (general) but if you make stainless steel fabrications suitable for the food industry, then you should have a specific page dedicated solely to stainless steel fabrications for the food industry. The benefit of this is for people searching for this precise term will be directed straight onto this dedicated landing page to answer their question, and not to a generic home page which is a poor strategy to adopt.
An easy to produce and great little marketing tool to use for capturing prospect details. Effectively e-books are how to articles on any given subject, and generally they contain text and graphical elements, images, perhaps some templates, a glossary of terms, and some practical examples. If we relate this to our example of stainless-steel fabrications for the food industry noted above, the title of our e-book could be 10 definitive steps you must take when buying stainless steel fabrications for the food industry. The content of the ‘book’ will be ‘wrapped’ in a suitably designed cover so that it looks like a book. – this could also be a Whitepaper, or they are usually advertised as such or as Guides
A great tool to firmly position your company as an authority on a given subject. A white paper report provides concise information about a complex issue. Content should cover every aspect of the subject with references to higher authorities such as a Government body, Government statistics, University publication or paper written by a leading independent authority. It is most definitely not a sales document, but should help the reader to understand the issue, how to solve a problem or make an informed decision.
A brief presentation, usually created in PowerPoint, Keynote, Prezi or other presentation tool which presents the customer or client problem, the solution, some market validation statistics, perhaps some data on competitors, market size, an overview of product or service you are selling and how it overcomes the problem. A marketing plan could be included and a conclusion as to why you are the best people for the job. These can be as simply or as elaborately designed as you wish, but design should not detract from the content.
It’s easy for companies – especially those in the manufacturing and engineering space to assume “it’s not for us” and we understand this thinking. Much of what we consume in our own social media feeds is related to our friends, families and personal interests – that’s why it’s called ‘social’. However, it does have a role to play within any marketing strategy. Using the most appropriate platforms, appropriately designed and professionally written social media for business works! It has the power to make contact with the people you want to do business with, encourage them to engage with what you are saying, provide links to the pages of your website you want them to visit, ask questions, join a conversation and grow to know, like and trust your company. Social media copywriting is different to most other media, so make sure your writers know what they are doing. 45 million people in the UK use social media and of these 39% are consuming content on a mobile device. Astonishingly, a UK social media user spends 110 minutes (1 hour 50 minutes) per day on social media platforms. Dismiss this audience at your peril.
Although there are inherent problems with email marketing such as deliverability and the ability to get noticed and read, it can play an important role in marketing communications. However, building a successful email marketing campaign can be a minefield. Should it include images or text only, how important is the headline? Should it include links, a timed offer, should it be generic or personal? Should I use humour? What is a good open rate, why do some bounce? Email marketing is an art, and our advice is to work with experts in this field and expect to pay for their expertise. In the long run it will save time, money and a lot of frustration.
WOW! The use of video has exploded beyond belief. Why? Because we can. Even the most basic of smartphones has a video function, so it’s really easy to take a 3-4-minute video of someone doing something, or a machine making something, or someone explaining a theory, or demonstrating how something works. The sky really is the limit for this medium. And it’s FREE! If your production process produces something unique or better than your competitors, or produces it faster or less costly, then shoot that product coming off the end of the production line, highlight in words why it’s better, cheaper, faster or one-of-a-kind and upload this video to YouTube. Upload it to your own website – preferably on the home page, upload it onto your social media platforms, provide a link to it in your email marketing, send a link to customers or prospects. More video is consumed today than any other marketing medium – ignore it at your peril!
Linking Good Content Marketing with Effective Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
The very heart and basis of effective SEO is right there in your website. If it was badly structured from the outset with poor content that isn’t optimised, it will need remedial work which can be time-consuming and costly. Your best bet may be to ditch the site and start again, working with an agency that has expertise in building many different types of website across different industries – thereby having the knowledge and skills to answer specific needs, and importantly one that can prove its expertise. A word of warning. If you work with a pure web designer/developer they will most likely be competent in producing a good-looking website, but they probably won’t be marketing experts. Therefore, however good your website looks, if it’s not designed and built with performance in mind, it won’t perform. It won’t be fully optimised to attract traffic, drive enquiries, engage with customers and prospects, build authority with Google and other search engines. In other words, it won’t be the lean, mean, sales-attracting website you hoped for!
Your website should be at the heart of any sales attraction strategy as a repository of key information relating to your industry, industry news and statistics. Your product or service information should be easily found, and if you work across many industries, then these industries should be represented as ‘silos’ of information. Your website should be highly active with news or new blogs, dedicated landing pages, easy-to-make contact forms on every page, calls to action, infographics, correctly labelled images (Image ALT tags), video snips and transcripts etc. Every piece of content should contain the keywords and key phrases for which you want to be found by Google, or the words and phrases that people are using when looking for information on the products or services your company provides. Make sure that your copywriting is website optimised. Copywriting for SEO is a sought-after and valuable skill, so it’s worth paying experts to get this right.
What are the benefits of good content?
Google ‘rewards’ relevant, authoritative content – and yes it does ‘read’ content, but its algorithm is made up of hundreds of different aspects such as page load speed, site activity, quantity and quality of content, use of video. So, if you want to increase website engagement, you need a website that is designed and built to engage.
At The Lunn Agency we don’t just write good content, we write great content. We can do this because we understand our clients’ businesses, their audiences and their objectives, so we create rapier-like, precise content that will engage and stimulate the audience and build bonds. Our team of highly experienced and talented copywriters understand that one-size doesn’t fit all. That’s why we write imaginative, unique and creative copy in blogs, emails, press releases, whitepapers, web pages, education pieces and presentations. We think outside the box when it comes to content to deliver relevant, authoritative pieces across all media, and we do this because we understand our market. We write authoritatively for manufacturing and engineering clients, architectural and building products manufacturers, on-line retailers and B2B companies, because we understand the needs of their audiences.
Why use TLA for your content requirements?
We provide a first-class content marketing service for many clients to drive traffic (through search engine optimisation) and improve the quality of leads and enquiries (through great content) to persuade and stimulate action. We always say that in every piece of communication we produce we aim to convince the head and warm the heart. Ask us how we can do this for you. We have affordable content marketing packages tailored precisely to individual needs and objectives.