Content Marketing: Tips and Tools to Create Compelling Content To Attract Prospects And Search EnginesAnya CiecierskiDirector of Marketing, CAL Business SolutionsCo-Founder, ERP/CRM Software Blogs What is Content Marketing?
Content Marketing means creating and freely sharing informative content as a means of finding and converting prospects into customers.
Today people are not waiting for you to find them. They are not going to call you as their first step. They are actively researching and educating themselves. And the main place they look for this education is online.
By the time they contact us they are generally much more educated and further in the process than they used to be. Those are the prospects we want and that close faster.
Content you and I can provide includes white papers, infographics, videos, podcasts, webinars, case studies, blog posts and articles, website content, microsites, newsletters and more. And in my opinion places like Twitter, Facebook, Linked In are all important places to promote that content.
Todays MarketerThink of it this way.
Sometimes we have heard that some folks in sales and marketing are farmers, slowly nurturing their crop of prospects and some are hunters, interested in the quick sale.I think another analogy that fits todays marketers is the fisherman. And the bait we use today is CONTENT.
Like white papers, infographics, blog posts
And today we have TWO audiences we are trying to attract prospects AND search engines. Because where the search engine goes, the prospects follow.
Bait:Blog PostsWhite PapersCase StudiesInfographicsVideosPodcastsNewsletterseBooksWebcastsPress Releases
So today I am going to share my experience with some of the bait that I am using to attract prospects AND search engines.
Like fisherman, we put our content out there and then often times we wait. But if that bait is good, it will attract a nice big prospect that we can reel in. And what is nice for us is that we can use that same bait over and over again and can attract people we may never have expected. This is much different than a direct mail piece.
I believe there is different types of content that is effectively for different stages in the buying cycle. But today I am going to primarily focus on attracting new leads, that initial contact.
Another nice thing is the cost Cost?
120 Marketing Stats Charts & Graphs (PDF)
But does it really work? Does it Work?CAL Business Solutions Facts: FY09 vs FY12Website Traffic up 175% (avg. 3,500 visitors a month)117% increase in search engine traffic (74% of total)85% increase in referral link traffic 4,692 referral links from ERPSoftwareBlog.com since FY09
Yeah But I Want LEADS!!
285% increase in leads from website59% increase in closed deals from website
CAL Business Solutions is a Connecticut based Microsoft Dynamics GP partner. CAL has 19 employees, focuses on local clients and works with a very limited marketing budget. In the past CAL focused their efforts on traditional outbound marketing, but in FY09 started to focus on SEO and group blogging. CAL has seen dramatic results and now focuses almost exclusively on inbound marketing.
Content marketing is cheap. High in time and low in cost. Patience pays off. Can use over and over again.
The GoalCreate unique, engaging, quality information people want to read
What can you say that will make people think:
This company is honestThis company really knows their stuffThey are easy to understandThis really makes senseThat sounds just like my business issueThis is someone I can trustThey could help meThis is a company I want to work with!They sound smartNot promotional, not salesy, not boring
Content worth reading usually:Appears under a headline that attracts and pulls in the audience, andIs genuinely useful, focusing on problems readers actually care about, andIs formatted to engage and hold attention, andIs at least moderately entertaining.
What are you good at?What do you cover with new prospects over and over again?Cover industry trends and news - subscribe to Google Alerts/blogsAnswer a common question - browse Dynamics Community, Linked InFocus on vertical marketsGet your company involvedReach out to partners
Interview successful people in your industry How to tips (blog posts and videos)Repurpose old content (newsletters)Dynamics white papers (stats, quotes)Summarize/give your opinionTell what NOT to do Curate a listPress Pass for eventsCustom features/projectsLocal news
I Have Nothing To SayKeep an ideas file
I dont have time. Ok, I get that. Not everyone can churn out content all the time. You can choose to make it a priority yourself, see if you can hire help or outsource. But if not then this is my advice: Cornerstone content. Cornerstone ContentInvest time and resources to create at least one piece of timeless QUALITY content that is your GO TO call to action, anytime.
Example: CAL White Paper: 30 Questions Every CFO Must Ask About the Cost of Accounting Software www.calszone.com/30questions
Does every piece you create need to be amazing? No! Many of the blog posts I write are nothing amazing, I just do it for search engine optimization and backlinks. BUT I intersperse that with content that I really work hard on.
We created this white paper several years ago but it is still valuable. I can drive traffic there anytime. Use it as a standard call to action when I have nothing specific.
The more I use it the more SEO value it has. Page has authority.
Thousands of downloads Copywriting TipsWrite the way you speak
We will articulate how social technologies fit into Microsofts vision and strategy for proactive, agile and forward-looking business solutions that facilitate people getting the right things done while delivering better customer experiences.It is also important to note a social strategy is contingent on culturally embracing the concepts in conjunction with the software tools themselves. Business professionals need to become more productive in order to achieve their desired performance levels. As such, they are constantly trying to evaluate which actions will drive successful business outcomes.
Dont bore your audienceThere is so much content out there so competitive. Competing for attention, you need to grab it and hold it. Copywriting TipsWrite the way you speakInject personalityCut in halfKill the jargon and acronymsRecord/TranscribeProofreadOutsource
Profl Proofreader: email@example.com
Hubspot Training Guides
Write the way you speakInject personalityCut in halfKill the jargon and acronymsRecord/TranscribeProofread - like making a good first impression - you may not get a second chance. Using poor grammer makes someone seem less intelligent - even if they speak 5 languages and have a Phd.
Optimize Your ContentHeadlinesKeywordsLinks
You can have great bait but if nobody can find you, you wont get any fish. So you need to be where the fish are. You need to get FOUND.Great content will naturally attract readers, clicks and backlinks. But you want more than that. You want to attract the search engines.
In this session we are focusing on how to get your content found online. So you need to get found by the search engines, so they can bring the fish to you.
A basic overview of how a search engine works is this. 1.Crawling - Youve likely heard of search engine spiders that crawl around the web looking for content. These are actually bits of computer code that find information on a web page, read it, and then tirelessly continue along their journey by following links from your page to other pages. The spider periodically returns looking for changes to the original page, which means there are always opportunities to modify the way a search engine sees and evaluates your content down the road. If for any reason the spider cant see your content, or doesnt understand what its about, your page cant be indexed and ranked. 2. Indexing - The spider is not just casually browsing content, its storing it in a giant database. This is called indexing . The spiders goal is to save every bit of content it crawls for the future benefit of searchers . Its also gauging how relevant that content is to the words that searchers use when they want to find an answer to something. 3. Ranking - The final critical aspect of search technology is the way the engine decides to deliver the most relevant results to searchers. This is based on a complex set of rules. Spoonfeed the Search Engine
Brian Clark Founder of Copyblogger said: Search engines have come a long way since the early days of the web, but theyre not as sophisticated as you might think. Its not that search engines are dumb; its more like theyre bright little toddlers who need information delivered to them in a way that works for them. Think of it this way. You wouldnt set a bone- in ribeye and steak knife in front of a 4 -year -old and expect him to have at it. Youd present the food in easily chewable bite- sized chunks with appropriate utensils. Likewise, you might write an article about accounting software using metaphors, entertaining analogies, and smart synonyms. You know youre writing about accounting software, and most reasonably intelligent people know it too. But if you dont use the words accounting software in certain locations and frequencies along with other SEO copywriting best practices, both you and the search engines are out of luck. The toddler goes hungry and youre frustrated and likely dealing with a mess. Thats not to say you want to serve up keyword stuffed crap.On the contrary, you must create that r