One thing that hasn’t changed much in the last few years in digital marketing is that Content is still King.
- If you want to drive more potential clients to your website, you need to create content.
- If you want to grow your following on social media, you have to share both your and other people’s relevant content.
- If you want to increase conversions (sales), you need to write the right content.
Good, quality content is the main building block of today’s successful, digital marketing strategies. Whether it’s written, visual (video and graphics) or podcasts -- if you don’t create content, you might as well close up shop.
- Yes, it’s time consuming.
- Yes, it takes planning.
- Yes, it takes some creativity.
However, in this article, I’ll tell you about a bevy of free tools and content marketing strategies to help you generate your content, be more productive and in turn, generate quality leads.
Content Marketing Strategies to Incorporate and Invest in for 2019
- Create content that your target market(s) wants. So that you know what interests your target audience you first need to clearly define them. Consider age, gender, income level, occupation, likes, dislikes, habits and other demographics.
- Then you need to do some research. Luckily there are a lot of free online resources to help you get as much information as possible. Find out what type of content they like. Which social networks do they frequent? For instance, if you’re trying to reach Millennials – they’re a hot market – you need to think mobile, short videos, podcasts and Instagram.
- Think of your potential customer’s buyer’s journey. Your content should walk a potential customer exactly where you want them to go. Will they buy or convert right away or do they need to be educated some more. SCORE offers regular classes on writing copy that sells. Check out the schedule here.
- Decide what you’re good at and what type of content you’re capable of creating. Blogs – you have to be a decent writer; video – it’s easy with the cameras on mobile devices and laptops, but what about editing? Then there’s graphics and pictures. Here’s my recap on how to go visual in 2019. Create original, relevant content. Not click-bate.
- Keep in mind that all the content you produce is part of your Brand Image. Make sure you put out good, quality content. If blogging, proofread it. Good grammar counts even for SEO. Videos and graphics can never be fuzzy. There are free editing tools – see below.
- Keep up your passion. Create content about what you know and what you feel comfortable doing. If you feel you’re not a good speaker, then video won’t work because you’re going to stop doing it because it’s hard. You might want to outsource your content creation if you have the budget. Research your options to make sure you will get someone who will create content that will enhance your company brand image.
- Get your social media act together. Social media plays an important part in how you promote and distribute your content. SCORE offers several social media classes. Click here for the full schedule.
- Write out a strategic plan. Start with SMART goals on what you want to accomplish with your marketing. The strategic plan is how you’re going to accomplish those goals. Include the data from your research. Based on your research, how often do you need to blog? How often will you record a video or podcast? Then the tactical plan is detailing how you’re going to implement the strategy. Related: Start 2019 on the Right Foot: 14-Day Goal Setting for Success
- Be consistent and persistent. This is a marathon, not a sprint. If you stop creating content, Google will forget you. If you stop posting on social media, people will think you’re closed.
- Include Email Marketing Automation in your plan. The content on your site along with social media will draw visitors to your website. You then need to convert that visitor in to a lead by offering a free download – ebook – yes, more content, webinar or video or a coupon or special offer. You want to capture their name and email and ask them some qualifying questions to be able to segment your email list. Then set-up a marketing automation system. A couple of days after the download, send them an email with a video. If they watch the video, they then get another email. If they don’t watch the video in 3 days, they get a different email. They idea is to nurture the lead into a sale.
- Make sure your website is optimized for the search engines. You want your target to find you, right? Do some keyword research to determine what people are searching for regarding what you have to offer. The Google Keyword tool, which is part of Google Ads is free to use, but you need have a Google Ads account. Look for keywords and phrases with high monthly search volume and low to medium competition.
- Make sure your analytics are set up properly on your website. You need to track where your visitors are coming from: Google or the other search engines, social media, email, etc. This will tell you what’s working and not working. Each social network has it’s own insights or analytics which will tell you which posts did well and the reach that you’ve attained.
- Write your blogs for the human reader, but with the search engine in mind. Your articles should be keyword-centric. In fact, your website and social media profiles should be also. This is all part of your search engine optimization (SEO).
If you’re local, here are local content examples to boost your local search results.
- Make sure your content is voice-search ready. The folks at Social Media Explorer offer this advice:
With the popularity of Amazon’s Alexa increasing it’s now more important than ever to make sure your content is accessible via voice search.
Searching with voice is the easiest and most convenient option for many online users but the main problem companies face with this is that only the top results are given as answers. You need to aim to be one of those top results.
Optimize your digital strategy locally to ensure locations are picked up by voice search devices. Geotagging your business on social media and your website will also work in your favor to boost local page views.
Create location specific material to attract nearby customers and consider investing in social media advertisements. These will boil down an audience to the people who will be most interested in your content and show it to them, rather than wasting a lot of money of ads aimed at people who do not care.
Time-Saving Tools for Content Marketing
Here are some great tools to share your content, grow your following, expand your reach, boost SEO, build credibility and trust.
Quora – popular Q&A site: Yes, it takes some time, but the more questions you answer, the more you get known as an expert in your field.
- Setup your profile completely.
- Put links to your Quora profile on your website and LinkedIn profiles
- Follow questions from your topic(s) of expertise
- Respond quickly to questions so you’re one of the first to answer.
- If someone else beat you to it and they answered correctly – in other words, you couldn’t have written it better yourself – then up-vote their answer. It’s like liking it.
- Share your answers on Twitter.
- Put links to pertinent blog articles on site and your free download. This helps grow your email list and increases traffic to your website.
After a month of answering questions on Quora with this strategy, check your website analytics (make sure they’re setup correctly) and see how many folks came from Quora. (On my site Quora comes up 3rd behind the search engines and Facebook.
Paper.li – Free Online Newspaper: This is one that you can set-up and forget it and it will automatically post to Twitter and help with your reach, exposure and growing a following.
- The best way to optimize the content on your Paper.li is to use a Twitter list. In your Twitter account, click on lists and then create list. Make it public. Search for and find sources of relevant content and add them to the list. Make sure they are not direct competitors. Make sure to add your own Twitter account to the list so your posts are included.
- Once your list is setup, go to Paper.li and set up an account. Choose a catching title.
- Under “Content” connect to your Twitter list.
- Set how often you want to publish: Daily, Weekly or Twice a day. This depends on your sources and how often they publish. I had a client once who had some much news that it warranted to do twice a day. Another client, a landscaper, I set up weekly on Saturday mornings with “Desert Gardening Tips”. Mine goes out daily around 2 pm so it catches anything that was published in the morning.
Feedly – Your online newsstand: You have to subscribe to dozens of blogs and online magazine to be able to keep up with your industry, competition and find relevant content from trusted sources to share with your social media followers. You don’t need 100 emails daily. That’s where Feedly comes in. I use it daily to find content for my clients. I use the Feeldy mobile app on my tablet and use Buffer or HootSuite to share to my clients’ accounts.
- Set up folders to save content you want to deal with later.
- Search for relevant content and look for quality sources.
- Watch for bloggers who post more than daily. If it’s too much, just unfollow.
- When you find a good article, share it on your social networks using either Buffer or HootSuite. (See below)
Dlvr.it – automate posting content to social networks. Free to a point. Don’t pick content publisher who publish a lot of content daily.
LinkedIn – Publish your blog on your website first to give it content authority with Google. Share it to your LinkedIn personal profile as well as your company business page (use one of the automation tools to do this). Then in a few days, publish it on LinkedIn, but add a link to the original article at the bottom saying that this article originally appeared on your website. Make sure you have a call-to-action at the end. This will help with SEO, brand awareness, trust and credibility.
WordPress.org & free plugins – I recommend WordPress for your website and blog. It combines both and there are tons of free themes and plugins. If you’re not ready for your own hosted website, start at WordPress.com which is free to a point, but it’s inexpensive to add a domain name. You’ll also start using the new Gutenberg block editor that is having problems on hosted websites.
Must-have free WordPress plugins:
- SEO by Yoast
- Google Analytics by MonsterInsights
Podcasting: Chirp (formerly LookWide) – this is a new, free app that makes it easy to do a quick podcast between 10 seconds to 2 minutes and show off your expertise.
Buffer – I use buffer to share content to several social networks at a time. They have a mobile app, which goes will with the Feedly mobile app. It’s free to a point. But if you want to manage up to 10 accounts, it’s just $10/m.
HootSuite – This is a great tool for monitoring social networks – something Buffer doesn’t. For free you can monitor 3 networks and you get 2 automatic RSS feeds. There you can automate your blog articles to post to your LinkedIn business page which WordPress’ JetPack doesn’t connect to.
Free Video Editing Tools – If you’re on a Mac, you have iMovie. If you’re on a PC, you have Movie Maker. And YouTube also has an editing tool as well as free-use music.
Co-schedule – they have a free headline analyzer. Try to get a score of 70 or above. They offer a content scheduler for $20-40/m.
Medium – Yet another place to publish your written content – and get paid! I just joined their “Partner Program”. It’s free to join. However, they have strict rules about having calls-to-action in links or graphics as well as ads. You can put one in your profile bio, but you only have 160 characters. My strategy here is to repurpose posts from my blog. This is similar to LinkedIn’s blog, but on LI, there are no restrictions.
One thing’s for sure, we can’t predict what new tool will come out, what features a social network will add, what will be popular, and what will be trending. You need to be ready to adapt to the changes. Follow SCORE on social media as we share the latest information for your small business.