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What is Content Marketing And Why Should You Do It?

Did you know that content marketing is a very effective part of an overall marketing strategy?

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Sadly, many people not only aren’t using this strategy to help grow their business, but don’t even know what it is. Or worse … they spend hard-earned money and time on content marketing but are doing it wrong!

Here’s a run-down on the basics of content marketing, what it is and how it can help you grow your business.

What Is It?

Content marketing is simply the act of providing valuable information to customers and potential customers. You can provide content marketing via your website, publications, social media, pictures, audio, podcasts, webinars and video.

The idea behind content marketing is simple. You provide knowledge and information to people who might be interested in the product or service you provide, without this content being directly sales related.

Content marketing helps to establish you as an authority in your field of expertise, which in turn has many benefits. One major benefit is that it gives people confidence to trust and buy from you. In addition, you make it easy for others to want to share links to your content and recommend you to their contacts. In turn, this may boost your site in the search engine rankings too.

A simple example of content marketing is a plant and seed website that provides articles on their site explaining how to grow vegetables and flowers. If you have questions about how to grow tomatoes, for example, and a website answers those questions and sells tomato plants, you are more likely to buy your tomato plants from that site.

That’s a very basic, straight-forward example, but there’s so much more you can do too.

Good content marketing is not an advertisement for people to buy your products. It is separate from advertising or sales calls to action you might create. Rather, it is helpful information that would appeal to a likely customer of yours.

Getting Started
content marketing

If you have a website, content marketing is easy to start. Creating a blog on your website or a section for “how to” articles or tips is a great way to begin. If you don’t have a website, creating a customer newsletter is another way to begin. (But you should still get a website up-and-running a.s.a.p.!)

To begin, make a list of ideas of topics that might be of interest to people who use your product or service, whether or not they currently buy from you. If you’re struggling to come up with ideas, begin by thinking of the most common topics you get questions about. (Relevant to your niche, of course).

Then create your content. If you don’t feel comfortable or don’t have time to write the content yourself – or if good writing is simply not your forte – don’t do it yourself. It’s easy to find a professional content writer who can write the content for you. The cost of good content and a great strategy are usually outweighed by the benefits and higher profits you’ll experience.

Different Types of Content

There are essentially two types of content. The first is “forever” content, meaning that it never gets old or needs to be removed. Those articles on how to grow tomatoes are a good example of forever content. New people will continue to seek out that information. Okay, so they may not last “forever” … but the information within them doesn’t change too much over time.

The second type of content is the type that needs to constantly be “fresh”. This content includes seasonal information and tips as well as articles that might be related to items in the news that are of interest to your target market. Since this content goes stale it must be replaced regularly.

You can choose to use one or both types on your site. Just keep in mind that if you choose to use content that goes stale, it is important to update it regularly. A mix of the two types of content works well for most businesses and is my preferred style.

Let People Know It’s There

social media iconsOnce you’ve got your content ready, it’s important for people to know it’s out there. Post links to blogs or articles via social media to drive traffic to your site. Also, make use of keyword rich content to increase your rankings in the search engines. Announce your blog or articles via any correspondence with current customers or advertisements.

Next, encourage your customers, subscribers, social media contacts, colleagues and team members to share links to your content too.

Content marketing allows you to provide valuable information to people who are likely to use products and services. It is also one of the most inexpensive and valuable marketing tools in your toolbox. So if you don’t already use strategy this within your small business, make sure you get onto it soon.

 

 

 

Using Pinterest To Effectively Market Your Business

Pinterest is one of the hottest social networking sites which has been growing in popularity in the last few months. Today it’s making rapid strides in the world of social networking and is giving great competition to big names like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkendIn.

Being a bit different from many other social networking sites, Pinterest and its exciting features have been well accepted among millions of users from around the world. You can share and discover new interests on this social networking site on a visual basis.

This social networking site places emphasis on posting images and videos to share information. You can either post images from your computer or images that you find on the internet by using the Pin It button or Pinterest bookmarklet.

Pinterest can be a great tool to market your business and reach out to your target customers on a global platform.

Here are some of the key benefits of using Pinterest within your business marketing strategy:

1) Traffic

Today many businesses have a website where they share information about their products and services. Pinterest can be of great help to drive traffic to your business website and increase sales and profit. Many social networking experts believe that this platform is actually a much more effective way to drive traffic compared to other social networking sites like Facebook and Google+, although this will depend on how effectively you’re using these sites and on individual businesses.

2) Building Links

Pinterest can also help to build links for your website thereby contributing to traffic generation. You can use the Pin It button on all your website pages as each of the pins include a link back to your site.

These links are no follow links and have no direct impact on the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) of your site. However it is still a valuable marketing strategy as people can reach your website just by clicking on any one of your pins.

3) Social Sharing

Pinterest allows its users to log in using their other social networking profiles like that of Facebook or Twitter. Connectivity is an important part of success with any social media site and Pinterest has made sure that its users can easily stay connected.

Tips to use Pinterest for marketing your business:

1) Attractive Visual Content

Pinterest is a social network that works on images and so you need to post great visual content on your pinboard to get the best results for your business. More and more, companies are realizing that featuring visual content online is a powerful marketing strategy and Pinterest is an excellent platform on which to do this.

2) User-Generated Pinboard

You can create a user-generated pinboard which encourages other users to post their own pins to your Pinboards. This involves fans and customers in your marketing campaign which can be highly beneficial for your business. The more you can involve others, the better.

You could even utilize customer testimonials in an innovative way by encouraging users to pin images to show how your brand has impacted their lifestyle.

3) Get Information About Buyers

Pinterest is a great marketing tool which can be used to gain insight into the interests and needs of your potential customers. You can read their pinboards to know about their interests and needs which can help to grow your business.

If you haven’t yet started using Pinterest, sign up and start testing it soon to see how effective it can be in marketing your business.

The Wants And Needs Of Your Customers

Small Business MarketingAre you trying to sell your customers what they need? Or what they want?

These may be two entirely different things and it’s so important to understand the difference.

You see, quite often, people are hesitant to buy what they need, unless they really want it too, or not having it is causing major problems for them. But they will often go out of their way to overcome lack of funds or time and so forth for what they really desire.

Think about it … how many times do you know someone who needs a minor (or perhaps major!) repair on their car or home, but they are reluctant to get it done and so keep putting it off. Or perhaps they need a filling or some other type of check-up, but until it’s causing them major pain or other problems they ignore it. Maybe you can think of times you’ve done that yourself. You know something needs to be done, but you continue to put it off for as long as possible. Often your excuse is that you don’t have the money or you don’t have the time.

But if it was for something your really, really wanted perhaps you could find the money somehow. Or you could make time for it.

Understanding this human trait is important when marketing your services or products. As a business owner, there are bound to be times when you’re scratching your head … you know someone needs your product or service, but they’re just not buying.

So stop and think about what you’re offering. And make sure you know what your customers and potential customers really want. If you aren’t sure, ask them.

Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean you stop providing services or products that people need, even though they may not have a strong desire for them. But being aware of this can make a big difference to your marketing strategies.

How can you offer your (potential) customers what they want as well as what they need? Or can you encourage customers to actually want your products or services as well as needing them?

Of course, there will still be times when some customers need AND want what you’re offering but still don’t or can’t purchase for one reason or another, or they go to one of your competitors instead. And this article is very general in nature – there are bound to be differences and exceptions for certain industries. But by applying your understanding of this topic to your business’ marketing, in many cases you will likely see an improvement in your marketing results.