Inbound Marketing Content Strategy: Create Winning Content for Your Business Blog
“In order to do inbound marketing, you need to “do” content.” – Hubspot
This week, for our 4th Inbound Marketing blog, we’ll be discussing tactics to create content for your website. As we mentioned a few posts ago, content is the most important piece of your Inbound Marketing strategy. No matter what business you’re in, your company should be creating original, fresh content on a consistent basis in order to generate leads. One of the most effective ways to generate content for your website is to blog about topics that relate to your industry and share them with applicable audiences on the web. If your website does not have a blog, we urge you to go back to our last post, developing a blog for your business site. Next we’ll outline the blogging basics so you can build and execute a successful Inbound Marketing Content Strategy. A successful content marketing strategy relies on sharing a consistent stream of relevant, quality content, and producing this takes a considerable investment (time & money) and creative thought. Keep in mind that that content marketing alone won’t transform your business into an overnight success. However, content marketing as a part of an organized and uniquely-tailored Inbound Marketing Plan is a powerful component of a long-term online marketing strategy.
What Is Content?
According to Dictionary.com, “Content” is:
“Something that is to be expressed through some medium, as speech, writing, or any of various arts.”
Essentially, content is anything that fills your site with relevant and useful information. Content can be visual, auditory, or written and basically includes everything from blog posts, articles, website copy, letters to customers, and social media posts, to podcasts, recorded interviews, infographics, photos, and videos.
Why Does Content Matter So Much?
The purpose of content marketing as a part of an Inbound Marketing Plan is to help your business build quality relationships, create loyal customers and brand advocates who will continue to engage and interact for years to come. Content marketing builds valuable relationships with your audience and, ultimately, leads to sales. When it’s done well, a content marketing strategy entertains your audience and helps engender trust and credibility. In order to begin developing content that generates ongoing and scalable success, your Inbound marketing content strategy should consist of the following points:
Target Your Audience
Before you start creating content to drive your inbound marketing campaign, you need to stop and think about your audience. Your audience could be anyone but in order to write compelling content you must focus on the specific individual that your words will resonate with. Is it a specific group or is it a more general audience? Younger? Older? Gender? Boat owners? After you have defined your audience, you need to create a persona to work with. A buyer persona is basically just a detailed description of a typical buyer. Buyer personas can vary, but you’ll want to include some of the following defining characteristics: gender, age, income, job description, hobbies, habits, geographical location, their needs, their goals, how sophisticated are they in terms of technical terms, jargon and industry knowledge, etc. For more helpful tips on building a buyer persona, check out this article from Social Media Today. Once you figure out exactly who you are writing to and what sort of problems those people are dealing with, it’s time to actually start writing your content:
Make The Headline or Title POP!
Your blogs title or headline is almost as important as the story because it will be visible in search engines, RSS readers, email newsletters and social shares. Good headlines are like short summaries of the article but free of jargon – the reader should be able to guess what the article is all about just from the headline itself. Here’s one of our favorite articles from LKR about creating “superhuman” headlines. Use the inverted pyramid approach to catch people’s attention on the web. Put the most important parts of the story at the top of the blog so they can be seen without using the scroll bar.
Some Tips For Writing The Best Posts, Ever.
Eye-tracking studies suggest that people don’t read web pages, they scan pages in an F-Pattern. This means that it’s just as important to think about how you will present the content you are going to write. Some ideas are to:
- add a table of contents if you have a long article
- use headings and sub-headings (like h2, h3, etc.)
- add captions to images
- use italics or bold text to emphasize important points
- use short paragraphs that only convey one idea
Use Five Ws, a proven journalistic technique, to get the complete story on a subject. When you are writing about a product, a service or maybe a restaurant where you had dinner last night, try to put yourself in the shoes of the reader and think what additional questions they may have related to that topic. Your content should answer all of them. Your aim should be create a page that is the best resource on the web for that topic. Make sure that all information in your content is accurate and comes from trusted sources. If you are using facts in your content – like stating the average number of business owners that use content marketing to promote their brands – you should cite credible and authoritative sources to support that fact.
Give It A Call-To-Action (CTA)
Remember when we told you last week that it’s important to tell your prospect exactly what you want him or her to do while he or she is on your page? Good examples of CTA’s you could employ on your blog could be: subscribing to your content via email exchange, offering a free consultation or program evaluation by filling out a quick form or even offering a coupon or discount on products or services in exchange for more information. For more great examples and CTA inspiration, check out this article from Hongkiat.com.
Make It Enticing With A Graphic or Image
The first image and the thumbnail image of your story, or the image that your have specified inside the OpenGraph tags, should be clear, high-quality and predictable. That’s because these images will appear when your stories are shared on social networks like Pinterest, Tumblr, Facebook and Google+. Your headline and article might be awesome, but if the attached image thumbnail isn’t eye-catching and bold, the story can sometimes go unnoticed. Another reason your content should contain images is that they “pause” a reader when he or she is scanning your content. Here are some tips for including images in your blog posts:
- Use the right image format depending on the type of the image you’re using – for instance, images that have text are best served as PNG files.
- Avoid a potential lawsuit by not using images that are copyrighted. Instead, create your own image using a site like canva or picmonkey, use public domain images like Death to the Stock Photo, Unsplash, or morgueFile OR search for images that have Creative Commons licenses on search.creativecommons.org.
- Use the ‘Similar Images’ option in Google Images to determine how popular a “stock image” is and if it returns too many results, don’t use that image.
Don’t ignore video. Although it takes some effort to produce videos, it’s well worth the effort. YouTube just happens to be owned by the world’s largest search engine (Google) and if you have the means to create and produce video clips, you could gain considerable traffic to your website from it. Video is a great opportunity to create several basic types of corporate videos such as webinars, testimonial videos, brand stories, case studies, product videos and FAQ videos.
A Word About SEO
SEO and blogging go together like a TV and a remote control, essentially, a TV could work without a remote, but we can all admit that it works a lot better when we use the remote to navigate through the channels. A blog is quite similar, you could have a blog with no on-page SEO, but your blog will greatly benefit from some simple meta tags and alt text on each of your posts. This starter guide [PDF] from Google covers nearly everything that you need to do to make your good content more search friendly. Use good headlines, the content should be scannable, use good-quality images with captions, have an easy to navigate site structure and use sitemaps to help search bots discover your content.
You might think that it’s possible to be an overnight success in the web world, but really, it isn’t. Look at any successful blogger or YouTube broadcaster, and you’ll likely find that they were creating and sharing content regularly for a long time before they attained success. This will also be true of your business. Be prepared to stay motivated and keep going, even if it feels like no one is paying attention at first. Over time, the more useful information you can publish, the more traffic your site will get from search engines and social media referrals. Content marketing is a long term strategy for positive growth, not a get-quick-rich scheme! Keep engaging your audience with quality content, and you’ll see the benefits. At Executionists, we can strategize create and manage your content marketing strategy. Let us help you grow your business and tune in next week when we unveil the best tips and industry practices to get search engines (like Google) to fall in love with your blog!