Content is king. Content makes the world of internet, go around. Everyone knows that fact. After all, if there was no content, what would users search for and why would they come to your site. But, internet is loaded with content. There is tons and tons of content, related to your area, topic and your niche topic. So why would user come to your site to access the content that you created? What is so special about your content that a reader will spend his time reading your content, instead of your competitors? Before that, how will the reader reach your content? No website has all the links to all the blogs, graphics, videos etc right on it’s homepage. Websites are organized and the content is buried at least at a level 2 or level 3 of that organization. The marketing content, the blogs, the whitepapers, the e-books, are all placed at second or third level of the website organization. So, if it’s a new person who has landed on your site, he will have no clue what lies beneath level 1 (the home page) of your site, unless he decides to dig deeper, and that’s rarely the case with any new user. So how do you get the user to go to your content? Well, marketers already know the answer. Get other sites to link to your content and make your content appear in a user’s search (aka make your content appear on Google). This is where the whole online content marketing focus lies. Getting as many quality links to your content, as possible and make sure your content appears at the top of the list when user searches for it, i.e. it is search engine optimized (SEO). But how does one get to do these?
Know your target audience: Who are you targeting? Is it a technically adept person who understands the technical complexities and makes sense out of jargons quickly or is it the buyer who pays and focus on results rather than the technical mumbo jumbo? Are they operations oriented in their thought process or functions oriented? Are they at manager level with orientation towards the detail or at CXO level with no time to go into details and just want to get to the point. The key to success of content is in knowing who the target audience for the content is. ‘My content is for everyone’ is a myth. Be specific, have a target persona and then be as exact as possible to meet the needs of that persona. An engineer loves to see numbers and graphs in his content, but a humanities person prefers to read what those numbers mean. Use the key word accordingly in your content. A marketer may be interested in knowing ‘market share’ and an operations guy may be interested in knowing revenue growth while they both are talking about increase in business.
Build the content right: There are only a few key things to keep in mind while building the content.
- Relevant, interesting, concise. These three are the key to a great content. Research the topic before the content creation is done. Get the right ideas that will be elaborated in your content. Structure the content properly. It should be easy on the eye and easy on the mind while reading. And it must be the right length. This point cannot be stressed enough. Most marketers believe that longer the content, better the result. It should be exactly the opposite. You don’t want your readers to abandon the article halfway before they reach your main point. No one has time to read through heaps of jargons before they get to the point. If you have to have longer content, break it, make it a secondary content and link it to your primary content. Those who want to, will click on the link. More importantly, those who want to skip the details, will continue with your primary article. Stay focused on quality, not quantity. People love those who stay quiet when they have nothing to say instead of those who just blabber.
- Use relevant keywords. Make a list of all the keywords. The keywords should be relevant to the audience and to your company. Build your content around them. Make sure they are spread across the content. The placement of the keywords should be relevant to the flow of the ideas. The user must not abandon the article halfway just because it is chaotic.
- Evaluate the competition. Always evaluate the competition. Create something which is different than your competitor. To do that you must understand how your competitor is fairing with the users, what is the content they are using and how are they positioning it. Most importantly, can you add something which they haven’t and customers would value? However, refrain from making it a content war. Stay focused on gaining the market not beating the competition.
Format your content right: Once you know what you want to say and who you want to say it to, you must format your content appropriately. Formatting your content is as important as building the content. The content may become meaningless if your target doesn’t absorb the idea because it’s not presented in the way they are used to absorbing information. Research on which format works best for your target and the content topic. You can begin by experimenting with these formats
- How to guides: These tell the user how to achieve a certain task. Pretty much like, how to increase the traffic to your site! 😉 How to guides make user engage with your content. These are considered best as they solve an actual problem for the user and hence most preferred by users.
- Infographics: The graphical presentation of information is easy on the eye, concise and fastest form of content presentation. The information flow is more than 100 times faster in graphical presentation as opposed to textual presentation.
- List posts: These are simple flow text presentation format. Easy to create and easy to represent. Here by choosing the right words, you as a creator can control the exact meaning of the information that is passed. Many other format leave it to the user to interpret the information provided, unless it is presented very skilfully.
- Reviews: In an online world where content is generated professionally by the company itself, user generated content is prized possession, especially if they are positive reviews. As they are generated by users themselves, online reviews are considered at par with personal recommendation and word of mouth publicity. That’s why marketers hate it when they get bad reviews online.
- Videos and podcasts: Videos and podcast involve some of the most engaging senses viz eyes and the ears. They usually command complete attention from the user. Because of this very reason it is critical that they created with perfection. We all know what we do with YouTube ads right?
Online content has become the tricky business. There is the heap of content out there and unless done right, your content may be like a needle is a haystack. It can stand out with a great marketing headline, but after that, it is up to the quality of the content to keep the user engaged. The objective of the content marketing is not to just land user on the page, but make him go through all the content, before he moves on.