Traditional marketing, where you pay to get your message out in front of the masses, is horribly inefficient. The new conventional wisdom is that the most efficient way to attract customers is through Inbound Marketing, where great content is the foundation that leads to being discovered by potential customers. A basic website isn’t sufficient to get visibility above the 50 million other new websites created every year – your content has to be great.
I recently reviewed a new book on content marketing, Accelerate! by an expert and friend in this space, Arnie Kuenn, which offers guidance and examples on new and modern approaches for the rest of us:
- Build a blog. According to Hubspot, websites that have blogs get twice as many inbound links, 400 percent more indexed pages, and a more than 50 percent increase in traffic, compared to websites without blogs. Search engines and people love blogs these days.
- Join the conversation with Community Forums. A forum is a discussion site on a relevant subject, hosted and moderated by you, which adds authority, content, and traffic to your website. The registration process to join can give you a very targeted email list.
- Curation, the most efficient content. Curation is humanly aggregating, filtering, and re-posting the best-of-the-best content on the web, relative to your product or service area. This shows your knowledge and positions your company as a thought leader.
- Win with engaging contests. Not a new idea, but when used creatively, can entice new prospect traffic and backlinks to your site. People these days love to submit stories, vote on other entries, and receive the recognition of even small prizes or product rewards.
- Traditional publishing out, self-publishing in with eBooks. You don’t need a real book as a base for electronic books, as people now prefer something akin to a “white paper” on steroids. It’s just another way to demonstrate credibility and attract traffic.
- Keep them engaged with eNewsletters. These are regular updates, usually monthly, via website and email that help with customer retention, and again remind your customers that you are the expert in your industry. Supplement text here with video and audio.
- Widgets and badges. A widget is a mini-app that displays or updates data either locally or on the web – to share something of value and interest. A badge is a simple graphic designed for fun, to show support, or promote certain standards online. All highlight you.
- Look like an expert with Interviews. Here we are talking about interviewing industry experts. By having frequent conversations with experts in your industry, you rank yourself among the top, and show you are connected. You are the company you keep.
- Videos, stories in motion. Simple videos, less than five minutes in length, you can do yourself and upload to YouTube for display on your website, can turn a blasé idea into a winner. Keep the atmosphere relaxed and fun, to increase traffic, and maybe even go viral.
- Provide convenience through podcasts. A podcast is basically a non-streaming webcast, usually audio only, for those who want the convenience of downloading and listening via iPod or mobile phone while commuting or working out at the gym. It’s cool.
There are a lot more items of content that could be on this list. But don’t let the number overwhelm you. You don’t need to tackle them all – just pick a few that you think you can do well, and consistently. The key is new content on a regular basis to attract the attention of search engines and new customers.
Most importantly, don’t wait until you have perfect content. Start creating content today. The more you create, the more momentum you build, and better you will get.