Even though content marketing has been alive and well for many, many years now, there’s still a lot of companies saying that 2014 and 2015 was/is their first year taking the dive into it. In some studies, 32% of companies polled plan to increase their digital marketing budgets as much as 15%.
As you put together your digital strategy, remember that content marketing is still very important, but the mindset needs to change for some of us. As Google pushes “user experience and intent” more and more, we need to make sure it’s quality over quantity.
It seems like that should be a no-brainer, but do a search for any relatively competitive topic, and you’ll have to wade through massive amounts of “filler” blog posts. Posts written for “SEO”, and not the user. As is mentioned in the link above, Google is working on this though, and if you want to be included in their search results in any sort of competitive position, you’ve got to have the user in mind.
When working on content, instead of rushing a bunch of articles out next month, seriously slow down and spend another hour or two on each of those articles. Do more research. Have you looked at other niche related articles out there? What’s missing in those articles? Is there a gap you can fill? What does your product or service “fix” for your potential customers?
“Your readers (customers and prospects) will gravitate towards content that independently provides value.” “What are your customer’s issues?” “What do they need help with, right now?” “That’s the content that will spread like wildfire for you.”
Show them how you’ll fix their pain points with the best, unique content they’ve ever seen in your niche. Make sure it’s so good and different, that they can’t help to share it with others. Get them excited about your product, make them WANT TO take action immediately. The excitement won’t just happen on it’s own, like Gregory Ciotti mentions in one of his Help Scout blog posts:
“Marketing is enthusiasm transferred to the customer. Expecting customers to get excited about your product without your help is expecting too much.”
Here’s What You Do Now:
1) What’s your niche? What are you selling? What services do you offer? Write down 10-20 important keywords and phrases related to it.
2) Go to UberSuggest and enter those keywords into their tool. Add the best ones to your list as well, then whittle that list down to about 10 keywords and phrases that you feel best represents your niche.
3) Integrate questions in with your keyword list: “How do I….”, “What is the best way….”, “Where to get….” If you sell software for contractors for example, users might be asking: “how to manage clients for contractors”, or “what is the best billing software for contractors”.
4) Head over to your favorite search engine and put those keywords and questions in to see what sort of content shows up on the first page. Examine their content and see where you may be able to provide greater insights or more of a unique perspective. (QUICK TIP: If you want to narrow your search for a specific website, enter this: “billing software for contractors site:reddit.com” – without the quotation marks. I highly recommend that you use Reddit.com as a place to find potential customers talking about problems they’re facing. Examining their lexicon and lingo used can help you with important keywords and phrases to place in your content as well.)
VIDEO MARKETING CAMPAIGNS
More companies will add video to their marketing campaigns in 2015. You’ve got Instagram, Vine and Twitter all competing for our supposed short attention spans. And now Facebook is a serious competitor to Youtube with stats like 1 BILLION video views A DAY!
There’s plenty of options for your video content’s exposure, but my advice is to NOT try and dominate them all though. Do research on other businesses in your niche. Do they look to be doing it right? Does it look like they’re getting interaction from users? If so, you’ll have to decide if you want to do it better and compete with them on that platform, or pick another place where they might not have as good of a presence. Of course this also heavily depends on where your main customer base is at online too!
Our attention spans may be short when it comes to reading content, but not too short for videos according to Google’s great Ads Rewind article:
“The top 10 ads on YouTube in 2014 averaged three minutes in length.”
Create compelling videos that reach right to your ideal customer’s emotions, and they’ll not only watch them, but your videos will be shared too. Deliver them stories that they get caught up in. Don’t try and sell yourself right away. Keep it subtle. In Carla Marshall’s ReelSEO article, “11 Guaranteed Reasons Why No-One Is Watching Your Video Content“, she says:
“You know the type of branded content that works really, REALLY well? It’s the type that doesn’t smack the viewer around the chops with a straight-up sales pitch.”
Maybe the story itself, on the surface, doesn’t look to correlate with your business, but the story you’re telling was just so good that it sticks with people. The following video from Bell’s Whisky is an amazing example:
If you’d rather go with a story that more closely matches up with your brand and what you do, then I suggest that you go back to the pain points angle again. What constantly holds them back from accomplishing their work and goals? What do they wake up everyday dreading? In your actionable items list above, I had you start researching pain points, and Ryan Battles goes into even more detail here on finding pain points. Once you’ve figured it out, use it in your videos. Make them feel that for a moment, but then show them a better outcome with your product or services.
Here’s What You Do Now:
1) Again, thinking about your keywords and phrases list from above, start searching through Youtube, Vimeo, Facebook, Vine, and even Instagram. Identify your top 5 competitors, analyze each of their channel pages, and watch their videos.
2) Decide your angle after researching the video content that’s out there already. Is your niche too serious? Maybe you can come at it with a funny vibe instead. Are any competitors truly doing a good job of showing the annoying pains your customers go through?
3) Setup your account. Don’t skip getting nicely designed header images and logos done for your video channel. Start interacting with users. Have conversations, give advice when you can.
4) Read over all the great articles at ReelSEO.com. This should get you started out on the right foot!
RESPONSIVE DESIGN FOR MARKETING TO MOBILE USERS
If you’ve been neglecting it, you’ve probably lost leads and revenue already. Now is the time to jump in! Responsive web design actually isn’t new, but it became big once smart phones started to become more of the norm. To put it very simply: just think of how an accordion expands and contracts. A responsive website does just that. All it’s content expands and contracts depending on what type and size device the user is viewing it with. View this website on your desktop, and then view it on your tablet or smartphone for a good example. (Transforming existing websites into responsive ones is one part of my Optimize service, by the way.)
According to some 2014 studies, over 30% of all US internet traffic came from mobile users. Email open rates are now over 50% on mobile devices. If you have the budget, go all in and begin your plan for a brand new, responsive website. Here’s 5 quick case studies on companies who redesigned, and how this affected their revenue and leads.
If your budget is tight right now, I recommend at-least having a few responsive landing pages designed/developed specifically for your PPC (pay-per-click, paid ad) traffic. If you’re not actively running any PPC campaigns, find out what your best converting pages are: (The pages that organic traffic is landing on, and converting to leads and customers.) Have your top 3 to 5 best pages redesigned to be responsive. If you happen to have more of a simple WordPress website, here are some quick fix plugins you can try in order to get by temporarily. These don’t always work for everyone, and I certainly don’t recommend these as your main plan to go responsive though.
No matter what, organic or PPC, give them a great user experience for small screens. Even if it’s not the full content, get them intrigued enough to leave their email address.
Use a message like: “We know you’re on the go, so let us email you the full version to read at home, later.”
Here’s What You Do Now:
1) If you’ve got a decent budget, seriously don’t wait any longer. Get started with a new design today! Get your designer on the phone. Email me to put together a correct strategy for your new design.
1a) If money is tight find out what your 5 most-valuable pages are. Have them redesigned to be responsive. It may be a little weird having only a portion of your site responsive, but remember that it’s only temporary until you’ve got the budget for a full redesign.
1b) If your current site isn’t too complex, and it’s built with WordPress, you might be able to “hack together” a responsive design with a plugin. Milage will vary on this. Don’t expect outstanding results.
To close this out I’d say that the most important piece of advice to remember for your digital marketing campaigns going forward, is to ALWAYS have the user in mind. Always write for your users. Think about what you’d like to find if you were searching for what you’re writing about.