Whether you’re selling a book or a widget, marketing, promotions and public relations play a very important role in getting products to move. One of the latest buzzwords toward that goal getting solid attention is “content marketing.”
I attended a great conference recently, organized by the Southwest Valley Writers. Former journalist Drew Eastmead, who now works for VerticalMeasures.com, discussed the topic. This is the first of a two-part blog on what content marketing is, how it works for authors, companies and various industries and about the “wealth of opportunities” for writers of content marketing.
In his “Content Marketing 101,” Eastmead explains that content marketing is to provide “relevant useful content without interrupting or selling” people, saying relationships are created through information, not sales people.
“Sales teams don’t have as much power and influence as before, because people do their own research,” he says. “They go to different review sites like Yelp, Trip Advisor, or company websites. Instead of pitching, delivering information makes customers more informed, and long-term customers reward businesses with their loyalty.”
Yes, this means content marketers provide “a lot of stuff for free without any return,” but Eastmead says the businesses that are committed to genuinely trying to be helpful will be paid off in the long-term.
But content marketing is not a campaign, Eastmead says. Rather, it’s a philosophy, approach, a mindset. He says it can take six months of consistent writing to see an uptick in a company’s website analytics.
In content marketing the emphasis is on:
– you, the customer
– being helpful
– learn, learn, learn
– providing content across many topics
– addressing customer questions
Of the 100 billion Internet searches a month, 64% are on Google, 20% on Bing and 13% on Yahoo. During the summer of 2015, the mobile searches surpassed desktop searches on Google.
Some other statistics:
- 90% of buyers click on organic links vs. sponsored ads, as the organic ad appears based on its own merit
- 86% of searchers conduct non-branded queries.
- 89% of consumers use a search prior to making a purchase
What kind of content?
Because buyers will usually search for information on their own to help them make an informed decision, Eastmead recommends “blowing out each FAQ page” on a company website.
He says companies that blog 15 times or more a month, which means they’re adding new fresh content, get five times more traffic than companies that don’t blog.
Images, captions, Facebook posts, Twitter feeds and blogs are all considered “content” for marketing purposes, but to rank highest on Google, focus on informational website pages with continual fresh content.
But don’t duplicate the same content in different areas, as Google specifically looks for and can penalize those who do.
Goals for content marketing
Good content marketers can generate more leads, see increased revenue,
increased traffic, improved SEO, or search engine optimization, and find new markets.
However, big budgets are not needed to play “content moneyball” according to Eastmead.
“Try to hit singles, not home runs, and get on base consistently.”
Determine who you are writing for, whether it’s for the information gatherer or someone ready to purchase.
Search for what people are looking for, and don’t create content no one is searching for.
Like a magazine or newspaper publisher, plan content three to six to nine months in advance, and have a calendar for product launches, seasonal topics, deadlines, etc.
Determine the tone and voice of your content. Is it helpful? Humorous? Entertaining? Research driven? Know your customers’ intent, mindset, needs and desires. Prepare content for their initial research vs. when they’re ready to buy.
Writers needed for content marketing
Businesses are “absolutely looking for writers” to help with consistent content, Eastmead says, adding there is a “wealth of opportunities for writers.”
Writers need to know what niche a company has and who their competitors are. While it may take a couple of months, results can be measured even with small tests of content.
Compensation may be by the word or the project. He says VerticalMeasures.com pays $.10-.25 cents per word.
“Marketing yourself as a content writer can help you write better for yourself,” he adds. “Or team up with company who needs writers.”
More details next month.