Now doubt you’ve heard the phrase “content is king.” Why? Because no matter what type of business you’re in the content you provide to your consumers will be at the core of your marketing plan because it’s what builds credibility and loyalty. This series of 2 articles aims to provide you with a guide to providing valuable content.
Businesses aren’t built on first-time visitors. Companies like Coke don’t make most of their money from people drinking just one soda.
They make money from people who drank a Coke and then decided it was good enough that they either want to purchase again and again and again. If the business had to get a new customer every time in order to get paid, they’d all have gone under by now.
Yet many people approach their business that way. Instead of focusing on repeat visitors, they focus on optimizing for search engines so they get more new customers.
At the end of the day, however, the famous and successful blogs like Huffington Post or TechCrunch ultimately still get most of their traffic from repeat visitors. Yes, search engines love them, but their businesses would be a fraction of what they are today if they didn’t have great content.
– Search Engines
For many years, Google and other search engines have worked towards making their search results pull up better and better results. They want people who search on their engines to find the best content possible in relationship to what they’re looking for.
As search engines get smarter, marketers who focus primarily on marketing tactics rather than actual content will consistently lose ground to competitors who understand the importance of creating a consistent flow of quality content for their consumers.
Google has proven this repeatedly by continually downgrading the importance of low-quality links and upgrading the importance of usage statistics and other metrics to measure the content of a website.
If you build your website around great content while having a decent understanding of basic SEO, your site will grow. If you put all your attention on SEO and don’t pay much attention to your content, you’ll always be trying to stay one step ahead of the search engines.
Now let’s go over the different forms of content that you can use to grow your business.
There are four main types of content: text, graphics, audio and video. Each of these has its own benefits and will appeal to different types audiences.
– Text based
This is by far the most common type of content used on the internet. Just about every webpage you see is based on text content. One of the biggest benefits of text-based content is that it’s very search engine friendly. Search engines can’t understand videos or audios as well, but they can understand text, so if you’re publishing text-based content you stand a good chance of ranking.
– Graphic based
This is visual based content like social memes, banners and infographics that are easily shared on sites like Pinterest, Instagram and paid advertising platforms like Google Adwords. These are essentially graphics that contain information that appeals to your target audience. One of the biggest benefits of graphic based content is that it’s often more entertaining and informative than just plain text.
– Audio based
Audio content, especially in the form of podcasts and audio books is extremely popular. People can listen to audios anywhere they go. In the car, on the bus, while walking, at lunch, etc. It saves time and is extremely convenient. Audio content works well for many businesses, so don’t underestimate it.
– Video based
Video content is one of the most dynamic methods of distributing content on the internet. You can put funny content, informational content, interesting content, high tech content, personal content – just about anything you can think of.
It also has some of the strongest “share culture.” It’s very easy to share video content with friends on Facebook for example. A video has a much higher chance of going viral than say an audio podcast.
The only downside to video content is that it does take more effort to produce. You need to shoot the video, edit the video and finally render the video. The whole process could take many hours, rather than just 30 minutes to write an article.
Which content format is right for you and your business?
It really depends on what kind of content you’re creating and who your market is. The best way to find out is to test and track your results. You can also try a combination of different types of content to see what your audience responds the best to.
When you read content by someone who’s found their voice, there’s a distinct ring to it. You can tell they’re passionate and really know what they’re talking about.
People are moved by those who speak with their real voice. Yet what most people don’t realize is that almost everyone who’s found their voice had to put in a lot of work to find that voice. It doesn’t usually come naturally.
So how do you find your voice as a content marketer?
– Start with what you’re most passionate about
If you love sports get into that sports field. If internet marketing is your thing write about that. If you love crafting, target that niche. What’s a topic that you could talk about for hours on end? What would you talk about and obsess about even if you weren’t getting paid?
What’s something that really lights you up in life and gets you excited?
While not every passion can be turned into an occupation, you’d be surprised at how many people do manage to turn their passions into money, even in very obscure niches.
When you create content around a topic that you love it’ll come through in your voice.
– Be self-expressive
Try to write without censorship. Don’t worry too much about political correctness or the proper grammar. I’m not saying be sloppy, just focus more on the message you’re trying to convey. If you’re speaking from your real voice, you’re probably going to turn some people off. However, you’ll also really attract the kinds of people that will be more likely to make a purchase from you.
People who have strong voices stand out. Some people like them, others might hate them. But that’s how real followings are built. Rarely is a following built from people who try to please everyone.
When you’re creating content, try to write as if you were speaking one on one to a friend. Write naturally, in a casual yet self-expressed and passionate manner.
– Focus on the impact you want to make
Can you tell the difference between someone who’s written something and really cares if you succeed, versus someone who’s just writing the content to write the content? Most likely, you can tell that the former has a completely different feel to it. Naturally, it’s the people who really want to help us that we feel drawn to.
When you’re writing content, ask yourself: Who are you trying to help with this content? How would you like their life to change because of this content for them?
If you really want to help people, they can sense it. It comes through in your writing and your voice. It creates loyalty.
Your voice isn’t “one thing” that people can point to and say whether it’s good or not. It’s more of the overall vibe of your content, how everything you say is presented. A great voice will create a sense of community, loyalty and following, while a weak voice will turn people away from your content.
Keep a look out for Issue 2 on this subject coming soon.
While you wait for Issue 2, if you consider yourself to have valuable content that you could share with others, you could look into creating your own online business sharing your content and building a business you love. This is the route I chose and my mentors provided me with the training, tools, resources and support I needed to build a successful online presence.