Content marketing is the latest buzzword in the digital marketer’s vocabulary, but the focus behind it – providing value to consumers – has been present in business strategy for years. In fact, deciding whether a product adds value to consumers is one of the most important factors companies must consider before introducing a new product.
Does content marketing provide enough value to justify the investment? In a recent interview with Think Glink Media, software analyst Ashley Verrill talked about content marketing, why businesses should invest in it and how it can increase traffic to your website. Ashley Verrill works at Software Advice and has spent the last six years reporting and writing business news and strategy features.
Think Glink Media: Why should a brand invest in content marketing?
Ashley Verrill: Primarily because it is one of the strongest tools in the inbound marketer’s tool belt. Buyers are paying less and less attention these days to more traditional “interruption” forms of marketing. They have the world of information at their fingertips, plus a huge social network of friends, family and acquaintances they trust. So instead of telling your target customer what you want them to hear, content marketing enables customers to proactively choose to engage with you by way of searching for answers and finding content you’ve created.
TGM: How can blogging increase traffic to a website?
AV: Blogging allows you to write articles about topics that people are actively searching for answers to. This gives you the opportunity to attract people who might not have otherwise found you because they weren’t searching for terms that directly align with content on your home page and other pages of your website.
Additionally, they give you a tool for enticing potential customers back to your website if they don’t convert the first time. If they really like the blog that brought them to your website, they might sign up for your newsletter. This gives you the chance to send them more content and drive them back to your website again and again.
Then, maybe one day during one of those visits they respond to a call to action, giving you the opportunity to reach out and engage with them directly. In order to do this effectively, however, you need to ensure that you write content around keywords that are relevant to your business and actually have search traffic.
TGM: What specific tips do you have for writing and optimizing content?
AV: A good start is to look at the keywords visitors used to find your website. Pay particular attention to those terms with the highest conversion rates. Then you can use Adwords, Ubersuggest and other tools to brainstorm other terms in the same category. Once you have a good bucket of keywords, you can start devising article ideas that could be crafted around those keywords.
I’ll give you an example. One of the markets I write for is help desk. So I did some research and discovered that the term “free help desk software” generates about 590 monthly searches. That’s a little too competitive; it’s not likely your article would ever rank for that term unless it’s on a really high other media site. Digging a little deeper, though, I found out that comparable terms such as “free help desk ticketing software” and “best free help desk software,” generate about 46 and 28 monthly searches, respectively. This is a little more practical. So I came up with an idea to write an article about “How to find the best free help desk software.”
Ideally you want the keyword to be as close to the front of the headline as possible, but you also want it to make sense. Don’t force it, otherwise it starts to look spammy.
TGM: Can guest posting on different blogs also increase traffic to your site?
AV: Potentially. It has to be the right topic, on the right blog.
One tactic I’ve used to find candidates for building links that drive traffic is to see which websites’ blogs rank highest for my most important keywords. These websites will likely require a lot more specialized outreach to secure a guest post (because these are likely very high authoritative websites with strict editorial guidelines), but they are arguably the most valuable kind of links you can get. From there, follow the same practices I talked about in the previous question about finding your subject and optimizing your article.
For outside blogs, however, you’ll likely have to choose a topic that is less aligned with your business model. In other words, I wouldn’t pitch TechCrunch on “how to find the best software” because that is my company’s business model; they would see right through that and likely ignore me. Instead, go for something that’s more of an industry trend.
TGM: How do you know your blogging is increasing traffic?
AV: We use Google Analytics. It has dashboards that show traffic sources by landing page. These are great because you can see which articles drive the most traffic and focus on writing more articles in those topic areas. The same works for your traffic driving guest articles. These dashboards show “traffic sources,” so you can see whether another website is actively driving traffic through your blog link.
With so many brands in the digital sphere fighting for attention, it’s more important than ever for companies to build credibility and trust with consumers. Providing buyers with helpful content they can use and share creates an informative and entertaining community that will not only attract and convert new customers but also keep existing customers interested. What are you waiting for?