5 Ways (FREE) to Make Sure Your Content Produces Results for Your Business
“Content is King!” – most self-proclaimed SEO gurus.
While they are right (I built my agency from the ground up using content marketing), they fail to mention one thing, and that is content alone won’t attract exposure, links, or business. You could write blog post after blog post, updating your blog several times a day, and you will see zero results without a strategy designed to get people to see your content.
The same applies to all forms of content. You might post something that provide heaps of value on social media, but if nobody sees it, how are they going to know you are the resident expert on a particular subject matter? Or, you might publish an amazing infographic, but if nobody visits your blog that piece of content will never produce any sort of results for your business.
You might be a great writer or you might have someone with excellent communication skills writing for your blog, but unless your audience sees it and engages with it, all you are doing is wasting time and money.
There is a SH#T Load of Content Out There
Through 2014, Google has indexed more than 30 TRILLION pages. That is a number so large it’s almost hard to comprehend. The competition you are going up against is increasing daily, as every business is now online and everyone hears that content is the way to go.
Is most of the content thin and essentially worthless in terms of value? Yes.
Compare the current state of content available online to a diamond mine. You have to dig and dig in order to find something valuable. There is so much crap out there, so in order to make your content shine (like a diamond) you need to take some steps, and they don’t all require huge budgets.
You Don’t Have to Go Broke Creating Worthwhile Content
There are some promotion methods that are going to require money, like content distribution networks and paid social media promotion. If you want to compete and get eyes on your content, you will need to spend money.
But, there are ways to make your content more appealing for free that will help you get many more social shares, links, and sales. After all, that is the entire point of content marketing. These strategies will require a little extra effort on your part, but the end result is content that will turn into long-term marketing assets that you can leverage down the road to continue to draw interest and business.
Let’s jump right into this and review the five ways you can help your content produce the results you desire.
1. Write About the Hottest News & Trends Within Your Industry
When you are mapping out your content strategy and publication schedule, you need to come up with topics that are going to draw interest. If your topic and title don’t immediately attract attention you will not see a high click-through rate.
So, how do you improve the odds that your content gets the attention of your audience? It’s simple really. Write about the current trends and hot topics within your industry.
Why do you think websites like TMZ do so well? They are covering breaking news related to celebrities, so when word gets out that something happened, people jump online and search for stories related to that breaking news. Since TMZ has such high website authority, their content naturally ranks on top.
Now, if they had that same authority, but they were writing about topics that were irrelevant and nobody was searching for them, they would be a failure. They are capitalizing on the hot news and trends within their niche. You want to be the TMZ of your niche.
One of the easiest ways to stay on top of trends and breaking news is to be connected to Twitter. While it might not be the most popular social network for regular communication, it’s a great source for news.
You should be following the authority news outlets within your niche on Twitter and when you see something trending or being talked about frequently you will know it’s a topic you will want to write about.
Writing about popular breaking news and hot industry topics will help you get more social shares and it will help pull clicks from people that land on your blog, but it will REALLY kick your content marketing into high gear as your website builds more authority. This is why things like SEO and link building go hand in hand with content marketing. Building authority links strengthens your website, which then helps you rank your content in the organic results.
2. Publish Your Own Research & Case Studies
If you want to stand out from the thousands of similar blog post topics, you need to provide something truly unique that can’t be found anywhere else online, and a great way to ensure that is by publishing case studies and results or research that your company provides.
Imagine if you owned an SEO agency and you were thinking of writing a blog post about how authority links can increase your referral traffic. What blog post do you think would receive more reads and social shares?
“Why Authority Links Help You Get More Referral Traffic”
“How Our Referral Traffic Grew 579% by Building Authority Links”
The post that has real data and will break down an actual strategy that shows results will always perform better. This will result in more exposure for your business, it will help build credibility, and it will get more social shares and people linking to it.
We all want to get links to our content, but many fail to realize that they need to publish something worthy of linking to. No other website is going to link to your content just for the sake of linking to it. It needs to provide value and offer something that isn’t available elsewhere.
Case studies with piles of data always draw attention. Blog posts that include graphs, charts and custom images are also more desirable. Remember, the entire point of content marketing is to help grow your business.
Many business owners don’t want to publish their own data for fear of competitors seeing it and using it. Guess what? Most are far too lazy to copy you, and the upside in terms of the attention you will receive and the positive impact it will have on your business far exceeds any downside.
3. Share Content Between 5X and 10X the First Week
This is probably the easiest “problem” to fix. So many people spend time and money to publish amazing pieces of content and they quickly share them on social media at the time of publication and then never again.
When you post it once, only a very small percentage of your audience is going to see that post and engage with it. This strategy will never work. You need to make sure you share all of your new content aggressively the first week it’s published. I would share it no less than 5 to 10 times that first week, at different times of the day.
Think about it for a minute. If you are promoting a course for starting an online business, your audience might be located all over the world. Each person that follows you on social media is active at different times. They aren’t going to scroll through previous days of timelines, so you need to place it right in front of them.
Then, even after the initial first week of aggressive sharing, you need to continue to share your content. The easiest way to do this without it completely sucking up your time every day is to use a post scheduling tool like Hootsuite.
Every time you have a new post, login and schedule it for multiple times the first week and then schedule it over the next 6 to 12 months. Then you can essentially set it and forget it. Your content then becomes an automated marketing machine for your business.
I would also suggest using URL parameters, which will make it much easier to see where the majority of your social sharing traffic is coming from. For example, if you realize that Facebook is producing 70%, while everything else is combining for 30%, you will want to scale up your Facebook effort, increasing post frequency. Then, you will want to test each additional network in more detail to see how you can optimize the traffic from each social source.
4. Pull the “Favor Card” on Every Influencer & Expert in Your Industry
As a business owner, you should always be networking with people involved and connected to your industry. Before, you would have to go to conferences and travel all over in order to network. Today, social media makes it possible to network at home or from your office.
It’s possible to build valuable relationships that you can leverage for content promotion simply by being active on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and various industry online communities.
It will take some time to build meaningful relationships, but they can benefit you and your business far more than just in terms of helping your content, so don’t be afraid of putting in the time.
You have to be willing to provide value before you ever expect to ask for a favor, so determine what you can offer that would benefit the other person. If it’s a blogger or journalist, offer them your expertise and let them know they can contact you anytime that they need a quote or some insight. Or, offer to create them an infographic that they can use exclusively. If it’s a fellow business owner in your industry, see if there are any introductions you can make that would help them out.
There really isn’t a playbook for networking. I can’t tell you how many pitch requests I receive each week and they are all the same template. The best way to make connections is by being genuine and approaching each one differently. Blanket copy and paste emails will not help you make worthwhile connections.
Once you have meaningful relationships you can ask these connections to share your content, whether directly, or by sharing your social media posts that contain links to the content. You will see that once you have mutually beneficial relationships established you will not have to ask for the favor, as they will happen automatically.
5. Write Long-Form “How to” Guides
I have blogged in the past about the benefits of long-form content, in the form of posts that are at least 2,000 words. This is taking it a step further.
I see many people writing amazing eBooks that are packed full of information, but once someone downloads that eBook they can easily unsubscribe from your email list and then you lose that connection. Also, eBooks are hard to share, so every download is good for that one prospect only. They are not likely to send it off to a friend.
So, rather than publishing eBooks, turn those ideas or assets into massive “How to” guides, published directly on your website. Imagine if you compiled an amazing guide related to your industry that was 20,000 words and packed with data points that would be of interest to other websites in your industry.
This approach makes you look like a leader, and it also gives other websites a great reason to link to the post on your website. There are so many benefits of keeping the content on your website rather than offering a download. Don’t let people walk off with your valuable info. Make them stay on your site and come back when they want to access it again.
If you are worried about losing email subscribers by taking away eBooks, just gate half of the guide, requiring an email address to unlock the rest. If you allow them to read half of it they will get wrapped up in it and gladly hand of an email to continue. It all comes down to value. Just put the email request right before an important piece of data.
If you follow the suggestions above, you will create content that gets placed in front of a larger percentage of your audience. You can’t simply write content for the sake of posting because everyone says it’s a must-do in terms of online marketing.
Making your content interesting and providing your readers value is the only way you are going to stand out in a sea of trillions of indexed web pages. And I get it, not every business has unlimited funds to go 100 mph with their content, which is why I wanted to touch on the strategies above, as they can be done without any cost. As a business owner, you need to be willing to “pay” for results with your time and knowledge.
Do you have any questions about content marketing? I’m not some wannabe guru that is preaching the latest and greatest marketing method. I have experienced the success of proper content marketing, using it to build a business that does 7-figures a year. If I can answer any questions you may have, drop them in the comments below.
I’d also love to hear from other business owners and marketers that have experienced success with content marketing. Please share your stories in the comments section as well.