Everyone expects a free lunch these days. The idea that you should pay to listen to music, read an article or see a piece of art, is almost anathema to some audiences. If you want people to view your website, you must offer something for nothing; for if you don’t, rest assured – there’s plenty of people out there who will. Get your content marketing strategies right from the outset and you can be well on your way to a very successful web business.
‘Content marketing’ is the subtle skill of giving your audience just enough information, in the form of posts, blogs etc, to make viewers feel they’ve obtained something worth having. Ideally, it will be entertaining and witty while delivering information about your product (and the tantalising prospect of what else might be delivered, in exchange for actual money).
Before launching into your initial post, consider the following ten common mistakes. (Avoid all these and you’ll be well on the way to a perfect marketing strategy.)
Top Ten Howlers
- Don’t plunge in without a goal! Think – what do you want your website to achieve? Do you want to win a steady stream of repeat custom, or achieve a lot of one-off sales? Whatever it is, your goal should inform your entire approach, so have it defined clearly in your mind.
- Don’t create a website just for the sake of it. Content marketing should prod potential customers towards your product. There’s no point in marketing fresh air.
- Don’t post content on article directories specifically to generate backlinks. Google has already blacklisted a number of article directories, so getting backlinks from directories that publish almost any kind of content can do you more harm than good. Instead, look for high-ranking blogs that fit your market, and ask the bloggers if they’d be interested in publishing a guest blog. Hopefully they say yes! – you can then either write a blog yourself or pay a professional to do it. This is a great way to gain relevant backlinks.
- Don’t pen a lecture; tell a story. You can use logic and facts to beat people over the head, but they may not like it. But everyone loves a story, especially one they can identify with. If you supply a lot of info, make it seem more manageable by showing how it fits into everyday life – preferably your own.
- Don’t write a sales pitch. Most net-savvy web-hoppers can spot a pitch masquerading as a blog in an instant. The three rules are: be engaging; provide links; encourage discussion.
- Don’t try to reach an audience through someone else’s website. In brief – it’s a waste of time. Target your own audience.
- Don’t succumb to techno fear! Embrace innovation. It might be a pain wrapping your head around it all, but the fact is that putting infographics, videos, audio tracks and other gizmos on your website can increase your hit rate dramatically. If you don’t feel up to it, take a class, ask a friend to show you how, or pay someone to do it. If you fall too far behind, it will eventually become obvious in your website – and that’s not going to reassure customers that you know what you’re doing.
- Don’t limit yourself to a website and a blog. Get onto Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest et al. All these platforms will bring viewers trundling to your website. Double-check that every item you post has a Share button beneath it; fingers crossed – you might go viral.
- Don’t over-use SEO techniques (key words and similar). They’re necessary to attract an audience, but if you stuff articles with key words, the writing will lose its natural ‘flow.’ Most viewers can tell the difference between themselves and a search engine – and they want something written for them.
- Don’t re-post content that you, or someone else, has already published (no matter how good you think it is). Every post should be fresh and original.
Something For Something
The internet is constantly evolving. Your content must evolve with it. This may sound like a tall order but it has to be done: people are inundated with material these days, so content has to be succinct and attractive, to stand any chance of getting noticed. And, despite what we said at the beginning – your viewers aren’t really getting something for nothing. They’re paying you with the time they spend on your website, because, these days, time is money – in a way it’s never been before. Good luck.