The idea behind inbound marketing is simple: use your web presence to pull people in rather than traditional advertising to push something out on them. Perhaps nowhere does this ring truer than in content marketing, which is all about identifying what customers want and crafting content that helps them find what they’re looking for. If your company is not consistently generating new content in the form of blog posts, whitepapers or some other media, you’re missing out on an opportunity to generate inbound leads.
Content marketing expert Tony Murdock recently put together a comprehensive guide to content marketing complete with fancy infographics and in-depth instructions over on SEOmoz, which we highly recommend. If you’re looking for a quicker, lighter guide, check out our version after the jump.
- Identify a goal. Producing content is great and all, but if you’re not doing it with a greater goal in mind, you’re not maximizing its value. Things to consider when forming a goal: who you are trying to attract, what they are looking for, how can you give it to them and, most importantly, how do you turn this process into business.
- Assemble a team of writers. If you’re a small business owner who wants to make a commitment to content marketing, you’re going to need some help. Let me repeat myself: no matter how ambitious you’re feeling about content production, you cannot do it alone. Churning out blog post after blog post is tedious work that’s easy to put off if you don’t have a team of talented writers (even if they’re outsourced) on a posting schedule.
- Figure out what you’ll be writing about. When you’re posting fresh content three or more times a week, running out of ideas becomes a problem fairly quickly. Murdock offers two smart solutions. You can use social media to find out what people in your field are talking about and construct timely content based on that or make it a habit to identify problems your customers have and write about that.
- Create the content. Ideally, you should be writing your content to draw readers in with writing that is both compelling and search engine optimized. Your content should not be an advertisement for your product, but a tool used to draw in customers and to demonstrate your expertise.
- Maximize your content’s visibility. There are plenty of ways to increase your content’s visibility. Obviously, optimizing your content for search engines is the logical starting point, but you can also use social media (especially by interacting with influential followers, syndicate your blog content with other blogs and offer to guest post.
- Analyze the success of your content. After you’ve got a large enough sample of content to work with, start measuring its succes. Are you meeting your goals? Are you successfully converting readers to leads to sales? Learn as much as you can and make the necessary adjustments.