You know you need a website.
You know you want to get more people visiting your website. The kind of people you'd like to work with and would be a great fit for your services.
But, how do you do that?
In recent years folks have become more aware of SEO. They talk about how important it is, how they want to build their website to be good for SEO, and they ask what they can do to boost their search engine results. It's actually one of the top things that clients ask me about.
But here's the thing: over the last year or so, there has been a shift away from the more 'standard' keyword optimization methods and towards rewarding websites that have useful, informative content. I've written about this before. You can also read about this direct from Google.
Publishing useful, informative content to attract people to your website is called content marketing. Basically, it is a way to let people know about your services and everything you have to offer without using 'hard sell' sales tactics. Most small biz folks I know aren't super comfortable with sales, but they are smart people who are good at what they do. If you're reading this, you're probably one of those people! This is a way to leverage that knowledge to show your potential clients you are an expert in your field.
"But how does it work?", you might ask. "How will people find this content that I create?"
Have you noticed that a lot of people have a really short attention span these days? We've really created a society that expects things immediately, doesn't read things as closely as they should, and skips commercials because they'd just rather be doing something else. We don't pay attention to anything unless it is something we're actually interested in.
With the usual sales tactics, you are talking at people, not to them, and showing them information that they didn't ask for and probably don't care about. But with content marketing, you are giving them content they do care about and presenting it to them when they ask for it. Unlike a postcard in the mail, an ad in the newspaper, or a cold call (ugh), content marketing is only shown to people if they actually want to read it. This might be because they searched Google with a question and hey, you wrote a blog post about exactly that topic, and there it is in the search results! Or it might be because they opted in to your newsletter because they were interested in what you had to offer. Or, because you did your research, you've been doing a short weekly podcast with topics your clients like, and people have been referring their friends to it because they like the content so much.
But how do you make sure they'll actually be interested?
Your goal with content marketing is to think like your clients. What sorts of questions are they asking you? What do they struggle with that you can help them with? What would be interesting to them? If you don't know the answer to these questions, ask some of your clients, or ask people in the target group you'd like to work with.
Once you know what they'd like to hear, you can start to build your website content around this. In this way, you're shaping your website around what your clients want to hear. And since your website will then have the information they're looking for, they will return to it again and again to read. Not only will they be getting valuable information from your website, they'll be far more likely to take that next step and purchase your services or buy your product.
It's probably pretty clear, but that's why you should care about content marketing!