Thursday, 8 August 2013

Content Thirsty? Content Marketing for 2013

The reality is customers don't care about you, your products, or your services. Sorry! What they really care about is themselves, their wants and their needs.
Content marketing is about creating interesting information your customers are passionate about, appealing to their wants and needs. It is the creation and distribution of relevant, valuable and engaging content with the purpose of increasing brand recognition and engagement. Great content marketing strikes a fine balance of communicating with your customers without selling products or services.
Content Marketing Is Set To Be Huge In 2013
But why is it going to be so important this upcoming year? For starters, the increasing amount of time that people are spending online and searching for information has placed more emphasis on the importance of content marketing, especially as search engines look to provide their users with the highest quality results. A recent survey conducted by Econsultancy states that more than 90% of survey respondents believe content marketing will become more important over the next 12 months. In addition, nearly three quarters (73%) of digital marketers agree that 'brands are becoming publishers'.
Source: Content Marketing Survey Report By Econsultancy, October 2012
How to Write Great Content
Content marketing essentially takes the form of written, visual and audio format. And although there are many variations, written content is by far the most popular method currently used. Everything from social posts and email newsletters to feature articles and press releases require great written content. Here's how to do it:
• Before creating content, you need to prepare. Think about your tone, style and general outline of content.
• Do something new. What is topical and relevant to your company? For instance, you could write a comprehensive article on an area that is very current in your industry.
• Great content needs personality. It's also good to add humour or take a provocative stance. Consider the popularity of your views and whether they will attract media coverage. Ideally, your opinions should be bold and popular.
• What does your audience want? Most likely valuable information, so give them what they want. Content marketing needs to offer practical advice that people can use.
• Content marketing is about mastering the art of storytelling therefore captivate your audience with characters that they truly connect with. Telling a story that will provoke ideas and conversations.
• Great content should be persuasive. Do this by providing informative, well researched content that generates interest. Include statistics to add credibility and have a clear call to action.
• And don't forget the KILLER headline to spark interest.
Ideally, you want your readers to engage with your content whether that is to comment, share, Tweet or Like... simply because it's amazing!
When words are no longer enough
Add visuals! Content is no longer entirely text focused, great content marketing should be multi-faceted using videos, infographics and internet memes.
2013 is set to be the year of visuals with growing popularity of visual social media channel such as Youtube, Pinterest, Instagram and SlideShare. Visual appeal will rule content creation and curation. To create maximum engagement, include creative graphics, photos, and videos in your written content to capture imagination and encourage social shares.
40% of people respond better to visual information than plain text (Source: Zabisco) therefore powerful online imagery will capture attention, spark imagination and drive engagement.
Great video content should aim to provoke, inspire or excite. It lends itself to social sharing and not only tells a story and conveys information, but can also trigger an emotional response.
How do I apply SEO?
Content Marketing may well be the new buzz word of the moment but it's important not to forget about correctly optimising your content for Google's search engines. Google is always thirsty for more content and you can take advantage of this by following these simple Search Engine Optimisation tactics when publishing content online;
• Frequently uploading new, topical content not only keeps your customer interested in your site but it keeps Google interested! If Google sees a site that has become stagnant with no new content, it will stop feeding it into its search engine results pages. Adding a blog/news section to your website can help with this. Even if it is only updated once every 2 weeks, your site will still reach the approval of Google!
• Google's Webmaster Guidelines recommend publishing content of a high quality stating the following 'Provide high-quality content on your pages, especially your homepage. This is the single-most important thing to do'. Recent Algorithm updates by Google penalises worthless content and rewards highly relevant, meaningful and trustworthy content.
• Ensure the content is original! Not a copy and paste job from some other source on the internet. Duplicate content is penalised heavily by Google search engines and Google is putting immense pressure on producing original, high quality content.
• Make Google's job easier! Don't neglect the SEO basics - Complete meta descriptions, title tags, and image alt tags. All of these help Google read and process your content with ease. This in turn will be rewarded in the search rankings.
• Write naturally sounding content targeted to humans and not search engines. And forget the old SEO tactics of keyword stuffing.
• Increase web traffic by directing any external content back to your website and ensure that your website content is worth reading when they get there

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