There is quite a bit of confusion and misunderstanding when it comes to content marketing.
The problem is that content marketing seems very simple. Content marketing simply means posting to a website regularly so that there is content for people to read and so that Google will find the content right?
As long as you post regularly, it doesn’t really matter what the content you share is. Once someone reads your posts and sees they’re posting regularly, they may start to follow your site.
Hopefully, you can already see the problem here when you say it out loud! In reality, this is how content marketing actually works…
Content Marketing – Posting: Go Slow and Steady
Contrary to popular belief, people don’t get wowed by your website on the first visit for the most part. Normally, we are on the web because we need some information quickly, or we seek out some entertainment.
So, we search Google or we click a link our friend shared. We scroll down the page, dismissing the pop up asking us to fill in our email and we read. Rarely do we even notice the logo at the top of the page?
Things only start to click into place if we then visit that site again. And again. When we start to see the same brand/name crop up a few times, we start to recognize it.
It’s finally at this point that we then make a mental note of the site and think of it as the one we trust and one we’d like to hear more from.
And now, instead of searching for ‘how to lose weight’, we search for ‘how to lose weight burning muscle’. Because that’s our ‘go to’ site for that kind of information and we want to know what they might have something interesting to say.
Eventually, if they keep on informing us, then we might go on to start reading their regular posts, or we might just subscribe to their feed. And only then, do we start to get to know the person behind the content, start to know and trust them, and consider subscribing to their email list and maybe even start buying from them.
Writing Sharable Content
Content makes the web go round. If you want more traffic, if you want more loyal visitors and if you want better search rankings, then you need content.
But this is even truer on social media. Sharing your own content is perhaps the best social media strategy and if other people share it with their networks too? Even better. This can result in potentially exponential gains that massively accelerate your growth. But how do you write content in such a way that people will want to share it?
Make it Specific
The single most powerful tip I can possibly share on this topic is to aim your content at someone specific. That means that it should be tailored for your ‘persona’ – the demographic that you think will want to read your content.
This works because it leverages the communicative nature of social media. Generally, we share content with someone to show that we are thinking of them or we share it generally because it in some way reflects our personality.
For either of these things to work, you first need to write your content in such a way that it will specifically appeal to that certain type of person.
Another tip is to facilitate discussion or to make your post something that can be used as part of the discussion. Making your post something that asks a challenging question and takes a potentially controversial stance is one way to do that. A safer way is to make a post that can explain a topic or back up an argument, thereby making it something that people can share with their friends or people in online communities when they’re having discussions.
Choose the Right Images
The right images go a long way to making your content more sharable and engaging. Did you know that a lot of the time, people click ‘like’ or ‘share’ before they’ve even read the content? In that case, they’re going off of the title and the image alone. So make sure your image says something and really jumps out.
Choose the Right Title
And so with that in mind, you of course also need the right title. What is a good title for social media?
Clickbait titles work very well but are frowned upon for being spammy. So learn from them, don’t copy them. Make your titles emotionally resonant, unique and interesting while having some meat to deliver on when people click!
What About Your Older Content
One of the most upsetting things about seeing slow progress on your website is what happens to your content.
You probably work hard on all the posts you upload to your site. Each time you add something new, that probably involves research, planning and a lot of time sitting down just writing.
Sometimes you’ll feel a little uninspired. Other times you’ll create posts that you’re truly proud of and that you can’t wait for the world to see. You upload them and they get… 10 views.
Then you do it all again.
Yes, this is a pretty crushing feeling but there are a few reasons that you shouldn’t feel so bad. And in fact, this can be turned into a strength. Read on!
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Content Marketing And The Power of Old Content
The first thing to recognize is that just because old content isn’t getting read, it is still providing value to you. First, it is building up your SEO and it’s helping you to gain traction and attract bots. Over time, doing this will help your newer content to actually get seen.
What’s more, is that it looks good for viewers. When someone visits a site and finds it completely empty, they’ll often just leave and think it’s amateurish. But if your site is filled with old content, it looks established and important.
What’s more, is that while some posts won’t get read, if they contribute to your mission statement and they serve an important purpose, they can still add a lot of value that way by establishing your authority.
What to do With It
The other important thing to consider is that if your content is ‘evergreen’ (meaning that it isn’t time-dependent like news), then you can simply re-share it later on. Just post that old content out on Twitter or Facebook again and remind your audience why it’s so good.
Once you’re big, your old content can work wonders for you and gain thousands of views that it never got the first time around!
Better yet, why not frequently update and improve your old posts? If something is somewhat time-dependent (like a roundup of old phones) then you can come back to it year-on-year to improve it and make sure that it’s still relevant.
Not only is this good for your site’s accuracy and reliability, but it’s also something that Google loves to see and that can be great for your SEO!
The conclusion? Content marketing isn’t a magic bullet, it is work, and it is only effective if you consistently put out excellent quality content.