You’ve likely been told time and again (and again) that effective content marketing is essential to building your online presence. That’s genuinely helpful advice—until you consider that many people don’t know what content marketing is exactly.
Or how you define “effective” content.
The good news is that if you’ve ever looked up a recipe, followed a social media account, or watched a how-to video on getting toothpaste out of your hair (don’t ask), then you’ve interacted with successful content. All you need now is the right know-how to start creating lead-winning content for your own business.
What makes content “king?”
If you’re new to the marketing game, you might wonder why content is “king” over, say, advertising. After all, catchy jingles and memorable commercials have worked for businesses for years, right?
Well, yes. But when it comes to attracting online leads, there’s one very important distinction to keep in mind:
Ads find people. People find content.
Content marketing vs. advertising
What’s the difference between a piece of “content” and an ad, anyway? Aren’t they both kinds of marketing material? While there’s overlap between the two in terms of their physical characteristics (i.e., both use words and/or images), there’s an important distinction in how they’re used and distributed. Ads are paid media—you have to give someone money to place an ad somewhere, such as on a billboard or at the top of a search engine results page. Content marketing is an organic strategy, meaning it shows up in unpaid media channels such as blogs and search engine results beneath the ads.
People are constantly on the hunt for answers to the countless questions that fill their daily lives. They watch videos on sink repair; they read blogs filled with legal advice; they download ebooks about lead generation. Content marketing has the power to help your business connect with prospects at little to no cost because these potential customers or clients actively seek your content out.
But content marketing isn’t just a more cost-effective way to attract and engage with more leads. It’s also your key to building better connections with them. That’s because your content is wholly, completely, 100% yours to own.
Your website and social channels aren’t just platforms to share and re-share surface-level information online. They’re springboards for unique insights, one-of-a-kind stories, and helpful tips—all of which serve to educate and empower your audience. Your business has valuable knowledge that no one else does, and sharing it with the people you serve is one of the best ways to generate relational currency with them while guiding the conversation around your business.
How to create high-converting content
Driving traffic to your website and social media channels isn’t easy. Winning the hearts and minds of each visitor is even harder. And while there’s no surefire way to create Pulitzer Prize-winning content, there are a few tips that can help your business’s online presence rise above the noise.
1. Be bold.
You need to know the rules to break them. That said, when it comes to online content, there are no rules.
Break them anyway!
Too many businesses phone things in by following templates and formulas that make their lives easier—but do little to keep their audience’s attention. According to a 2019 survey, 52% of people think that most content is overly commercial, and 48% feel that it’s too long, boring, and basic.
Your customers or clients appreciate when you invest time and effort into your work. Content is no different. You can bet that when you take risks and put your heart into everything you publish, your audience will take notice.
2. Make it accessible.
Authenticity is in short supply across most online channels. Relying on stock photos and images can end up making your content feel even more intangible and hard to connect with. In fact, only 9% of marketers report stock visuals as having helped them meet their goals.
Instead of using images and photos that people will scroll past, try giving visitors and followers a peek behind the scenes of your business. Never miss an opportunity to snap a holiday photo of your team or a project you’ve been working on. Peppering these images throughout your content adds an important human element and works much better at resonating with potential customers or clients.
3. Find your niche.
There’s no reason to be a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to content. You don’t need to be a brilliant writer and photographer and video editor and dance choreographer. In fact, it’s better not to be.
Start by playing with different formats and platforms to figure out what’s working (and what’s not.) Once you’ve identified the areas where your content shines, it won’t be too long before people will see you as the go-to resource to whatever it is that your business specializes in.
4. Inspire action.
We live in an age of keyword stuffing and digital fluff. Too many businesses create content designed to capture web traffic and not much else. They write long blog posts that don’t contain any helpful information and publish white papers that simply direct readers to pay for their products or services.
In other words, they say a lot without really saying anything at all. And trust us, audiences can see through this almost immediately.
Instead of churning out massive amounts of low-quality content, take your time to provide your audience with interesting and actionable information that leaves a strong impression. Remember, the goal should always be for people to bookmark (or ideally, share) your content!
5. Be aware of your limits.
Remember the whole no rules thing we mentioned earlier? Well, there’s no reason why you have to publish a new blog post three times a week. Or have a new social media post go live every single day. Excellent content takes time to craft, so make sure you’re setting aside enough time to prioritize quality over quantity.
Knowing what effective content marketing looks like is half the battle. Actually, it’s probably a bit more. I’d say 3/4 at least—but then again, I’m a content marketer.
And that’s an important point—for as powerful as content marketing can be, keep in mind that it’s just one lead generation strategy among many. Let’s take a look at some more, so you can determine what works best for your specific industry and how to execute your lead generation goals successfully.
1 BLUE FOUNTAIN MEDIA, 2019
2 VENNGAGE, 2021