(How Do I get My Message Out?)
There is no denying that today the internet has become a major source of customers for almost all businesses. It is hard to even find a company that does not have a website and a large number of these are ecommerce sites that have replaced brick and mortar stores. Internet Live Stats reports that in 2011 the number of website was just over 346 million and just 3 years later at the end of 2014 it has exceeded 1 billion and growing steadily. In the United States alone there were over 110,000 ecommerce websites reported in mid-2014 and that number continues to grow. With all of those sites competing for your attention and your business how can one site stand out to attract and convert those readers?
Content marketing serves the following purpose:
- It answers your reader’s questions or solves their problem
- It establishes your business as an expert in the field
- It helps to improve your search engine ranking to attract organic traffic
Whatever the main goal of your site is, whether it is to make a little extra cash each month or be the main hub of your business, your content conveys your message, establishes your brand, and converts potential customers into sales. A recent report in the Definitive Guide to Content Marketing indicated that 85% of customers trust solutions that take the time to walk them through the decisions process by providing valuable information to help them reach an answer. Simply writing great articles to provide that information is not enough today, you must get it out to where your customers are on the web. You need to put that information where it will attract and engage your customers but it only qualifies as content marketing if it drives them to action.
True content marketing should meet the following criteria:
- It attracts and engages
- It is mapped to your buyers stages
- It provides information necessary to assist in their decision process
- It is structured for your channels; website, social media, email, etc
- It has a clear purpose and call to action
- It is measurable
- It does not sacrifice quality
- It provide value
Your content can take on many forms: text, video, images, infographics but is should be developed for a specific audience and platform. More importantly though is that your content should target a community. Communities are connected, they follow each other and they share among them to distribute your content. By developing quality content and distributing it to a community targeted to your product or service you ensure that it reaches potential customers. Distribution to the right community is the most important aspect of content marketing. Producing quality content for your business is wasted effort if it does not reach potential customers so ensure that this aspect is addressed if you wish to be successful in your content marketing!