Content Marketing Importance & Ethics
Just after New Years’ early this past spring I did a post over on my WordPress blog about Content Marketing. And as the year moves on, unsurprisingly, Content Marketing is just getting to be more and more of a discussion for online businesses everywhere. And something that is considered by pretty much every expert internet marketer in the world to be an essential part of any modern business marketing strategy.
Of course, content has always been important, even before the internet came along. But in the online world, what we call “Content Marketing” has been on the rise for the past few years. And it’s been getting a massive amount of attention for a good reason.
It’s not just that Google has changed its algorithms, and it’s not just because Content Marketing is free (for the most part). There are literally tons of reasons why it’s a big deal, and organic traffic doesn’t cover it all by far.
Why Content Marketing?
There is the fact that consumers have become “banner blind”, tired of seeing ads so they just click them off, hit the backspace button, or flat out ignore them. And then there is the opportunity to attract visitors into joining your valuable mailing lists by enticing them with free downloadable goodies that add value, and you can create tons of content around. There are all kinds of places on the web where you can post your content for backlinks (which ARE still highly important to your traffic when the links are of high quality). And regularly networking with your social media followers about your content is a great way to get attention too.
But for ethical businesses who really want to help their audiences, visitors, customers and clients, there is a reason that overshadows all of this. For one thing, Content Marketing gives you the chance to create value beyond just what you sell. It also gives you the opportunity to reach out and help others in a conversational way that makes connections that are important everyone; connections that last. It gives you the opportunity to be REAL, with REAL people who appreciate it. And it gives you a chance to make a difference all of the time, not just when you are coaching a client, or someone buys your product or takes your training course.
Plus, the words you place online are there every minute of the day and night for others to see. The value is always there as well, right where you left it for everyone to find and benefit from.
Someone can visit your site or blog, read your post or watch your Youtube video at 1am on Christmas Eve if they want. They don’t have to buy something from you or schedule an appointment with you to get that value. And all of this makes content so much more important that it has ever been, perhaps, in a world where consumers are more readily informed than ever before.
Yes, Content Marketing will make you an authority in your niche or particular business field if you do it right. And for those who take that job seriously, it’s priceless in more ways than one.
Content Marketing, Trust & Responsibility
Just remember, with authority comes the “R” word: RESPONSIBILITY. Because when you are an authority you are (or should be anyway) responsible for providing the most accurate, beneficial information, training, and help you can offer. Do the very best you can do, only that which you can be proud of.
Do that, and your followers, audience, customers and clients will trust you. Trust you to deliver on your promises, trust you to give them only the best you can give, regardless of what it is. And sure, if you do it right you’ll make money. But someday far down the road, you will be able to look back, and feel a sense of accomplishment that you have done something that truly contributed to the lives of others, in whatever way you specifically can. No matter how small or large.
Maybe you just showed people how to relax for 10 minutes a day. Maybe you pointed them towards a great web host and saved them money on quality services. Maybe you helped them learn how to cook a healthy meal on a budget, or a gourmet meal for a memorable family gathering. Maybe you showed brides how to shop for their cherished wedding gown, or taught someone to crochet a baby blanket for their first grandchild. The point is you helped people, and that means something. Something very special, especially to those people you were able to help.
And you can do all of this through content. Quality content that will also attract traffic to your offers, so you can help more people with more quality content. Even sell them on your products that will just add more value to what you have to say.
Or maybe you’ll just sell them that thing they so desperately desire or need right now. It doesn’t matter, as long as it’s what they needed, what they wanted. The thing that solved their problem or fulfilled their expectations and performed as advertised. And you brought it to them, you helped solve the problem, or helped them find that thing they were after.
Give Only Your Best
Think about it this way, if you have kids you do whatever you can to make them happy, right? You want to give them the best; the best emotional support, the best care, the best education, the best guidance and direction…even the best Christmas presents.
While guidance, direction, support, education, and care are definitely serious necessities for children, those Christmas presents are just frills. After all, if you are providing the important things, your kids probably don’t care about awesome Christmas presents as much. They would love you even if you had a lean Christmas. Even if all they got was a candy cane.
So why do we do these things, why try so hard for our kids? Because we care about them.
Well, it should be the same for our customers and clients, even our audience and visitors. After all, they are the ones that make that wonderful life you want to give your kids possible. They are the ones footing the bill. And therefore, they mean that life for your and your family. Don’t they deserve that same level of care, that same loyalty respectively?
You bet they do. Because they basically make your life possible.
And again, responsibility. I know it’s not widely associated with business these days. With all the false promises, products that prove to be nothing like what was promised, customer support that you’re better off without, and stuff that doesn’t stand up to the overinflated hype surrounding it, it’s as if businesses don’t appreciate their customers any more. And consumers feel that. Boy, do they feel it. So much so that they find it hard to trust anyone anymore.
When you are an influence to others, you have the responsibility to influence honestly and wisely, and in the best interest of those people you influence. You should take the trust they instill in you seriously, and not lead them astray. Or at least that’s how it should be.
And it’s not that hard. When you do things for the right reasons it just comes naturally.
It’s a two-way street; you take care of them, and they will take care of you. Appreciate them, and they will appreciate you for it. Everyone is happy.
Okay, sure, you can’t make everyone happy all the time. I’ve covered this before somewhere here on the site. There will be times when a customer just cannot be made happy. Things that are out of your control will go wrong. That’s just to be expected. But when you strive to live up to your promises, take the responsibility to be honest and ethical about your business, be honest about those things that do go wrong and do your best to fix it, those times will be few and far between.
And your best opportunity to lower the chances of mishaps or hard feelings right from the start is good communication. That content you use to inform, educate, and add value. On your website, in your product listings, social networking, freebies, your email marketing; it doesn’t matter.
Communicate well, provide value, and do what you say you’re going to do.
So you see, that content is very important; to you, your business, and your audience. And in all honesty, it always will be. Because effective, honest communication makes strong connections and relationships that last.
By now I’m sure you get the point. But I just cannot stress the importance of all of this enough.
Regardless, we’ll move on, because want to give you the shortened, condensed version of my Content Marketing Express Checklist. This is the basic foundation for a good Content Marketing Strategy that most any business needs. I know it will help you out a lot if you are just getting started with your business online, or if you have neglected your Content Marketing. So here we go…
Content Marketing Checklist
- Set Your Goals
- Traffic – Set clear, reasonable goals for your traffic volume. Assess your traffic regularly so you can adjust your Content Marketing Strategy accordingly.
- Sales – Set clear, reasonable goals for your sales. Start with the goal of getting or increasing sales by an achievable amount. Assess on a regular basis and adjust your Content Marketing Strategy as needed.
- Search – Go for as much search traffic (organic traffic) as you can get; after all, it is free.
- Shares & Engagements –Your goal here is to get your content shared as much as possible; monitor your content for engagement and create more around content that you notice working best.
- Understand How Google Indexes & Ranks Content
- You don’t have to be a Google search expert, but you should be sure to have a good, basic understanding of how Google indexes, sorts & serves content.
- Familiarize yourself with the current algorithms so you can produce content that has the best chances of ranking well, and working for you the hardest. Stay on top of what Google is looking for by using Google Keyword Planner, and watching the content your top-ranking competitors are serving up to their audiences across their web presences.
- Most importantly, remember that Google demands “unique, conversational” content, so make sure you don’t have duplicate content, and create content that speaks to your audience like you would talk to them in person. Aim to connect with your audience, gain their trust, show them that you are an honest authority in your niche or industry by sharing accurate, relevant, important information with them. And when they are engaged, sharing, commenting etc. on your content, be sure to respond back with timely, professional, courteous, helpful, and most of all, grateful replies!
- Logo & Specific Platform Imagery & Graphics
- Make sure that you have all imagery and graphics required for each marketing platform ready.
- You will need a well-designed, professional logo; one that accurately represents your business, and will give your visitors, customers and clients a memorable impression of your business. Your logo should be clear, uncluttered, easy to see and read. (If you need a logo, be sure to check Video Graphics Edge collection of logo PSD Templates you can download instantly, and use to create a professional looking logo in just minutes!)
- Be sure to maintain congruity throughout all branding materials and across all platforms; anywhere your audience and customers encounter your brand so that your brand is quickly and easily identified.
- Website/Blog Tagline
- Have a short, effective tagline, or slogan, that clearly communicates your company’s message.
- Basic Information About Your Company
- Make sure you have all your basic company information included on your website or blog.
- Basic company information includes:
- Physical Address
- Phone #
- Contact Info; Email Address, Phone # etc.
- Web Address
- Other Company Contact Info; Social Media, etc.
- Hours of Operation
- Policies, Terms of Service, Disclosures, Guarantee/Warranty Info, etc.
- Payment Processing & Security & Site Security Features (SSL, other)
- Team Info
- Make sure your NAPS are listed and accurate on top online directories (name, address, phone # -LinkedIn, Yellow pages etc.)
- By now you are starting to get a lot of information, research and imagery collected, and you need to organize it to ensure that it is safely stored and easy to find.
- Make backups/copies of all of these valuable materials so you won’t lose them and have to start all over again if something goes wrong.
Social Media Setup
Determine the Social Networks that best support your niche or industry..
- Facebook – Great for any business, Facebook is a wonderful way to spread the word about your business, and can even be monetized with eCommerce solutions like Shopify so your customers can buy your products directly off Facebook. Perform proper setup with a Fanpage, join groups and post regularly-but watch for specific group rules & regs so you don’t get into trouble. For Facebook training, be sure to review the FB training materials they provide for free.
- Twitter – A great Social platform for most businesses. Set it up and Tweet regularly. Make the most of your words here, Tweets allow few characters. Include images and/or videos with your Tweets whenever possible, shorten your urls, and don’t forget to use hashtags (#). *Another Social Network you can sell products from Shopify on!
- Pinterest – This platform is one that may or may not work for all businesses, depending on your niche. Pinterest still attracts a predominantly female demographic, and is highly visual in nature. Surround your business, product or service pins with niche or industry relevant pins from all over the internet.
- Instagram – Instagram is great if you have a lot of visual content and video to work with, and caters to 20 somethings and younger demographics so it may not work to the best advantage for every business. *You must use a mobile devise to set up and use Instagram.
- Google+ –Share content, images, video, recommended links, etc.
- Automate your Social Networking to make the most of your efforts in less time with a Social Automation Tool like Mass Planner.
- Note: Always use Social Media Best Practices.
Your Website and/or Blog
- Integrate Your Website W/Social Platforms
- Properly integrating your site with all of your active social media accounts for further automation is essential. It will save you loads of time and make your efforts more effective. *I provide instructions for integrating your WordPress site with social networks here
- Content for Static Pages
- Blogs & Posts/Articles
- A blog should be part of your content marketing strategy.
- Set yourself a schedule for writing articles/posts for your blog regularly.
- Be sure to included sufficient visual imagery throughout the content of your posts.
- In each post, include at least 1 text or anchor link to another relevant area of your website.
- Make sure to “Drip Feed” your content.
- On Page SEO
- Still highly recommended and beneficial Check out my blog post detailing the process here>>
- SSL stands for “Secure Sockets Layer”; it essentially creates an encrypted connection between the user’s web browser and the server, so that all information transferred between the two stays safe, private, and secure. Make sure to have an SSL installed on your website or blog – sites with this security feature are now preferred in Google search over those without!
- Mobile Responsive
- Your website/blog must display well on all devices!
- Test your site on Google Mobile-Friendly Test tool, or me
- WordPress makes it easy to have a mobile responsive site, especially with WP Bakery Page Builder Plugin. Most eCommerce solutions like Shopify (which I highly recommend as an eCommerce solution) and the like are already mobile responsive or offer apps to make your store responsive. Be sure to use these tools, test your site and make sure it looks good on all devices. Make adjustments if it doesn’t display well. (If you would like to learn how to make your pages mobile responsive with VC Composer, or create a Shopify store, Join Me in the new Web Genesis Nation Membership Suite here on my site. You can get an email invitation here and I’ll reach out to you when the Members Suite goes live!)
- Email Marketing
- Get an effective autoresponder, like GetResponse to build an email marketing list.
- Set up newsletters, don’t pitch products too often, give value!
- YouTube could very well turn into a major source of traffic to your site…and it’s free! Your videos can even be monetized –just don’t try to monetize anything that may be considered controversial or offensive.
- Observe Youtube best practices for posting videos as well as metadata for the views possible.
- If you prefer not to get involved with YouTube, you still have the option of creating awesome videos and loading them to video hosting platforms like Amazon S3, or Vimeo, and then embedding them in your site for all to see!
- Be aware of the top video types; Explainer & real footage type videos.
- Use software like Explaindio Video Creator to create eye-catching explainer videos, and other marketing video.
So that’s the basics for a good foundation in Content Marketing. You should set all applicable elements above up and attend to them regularly. Of course, there is a lot more to it. If you want more information about Content Marketing I that for you too; you can get comprehensive Content Marketing information in my Content Marketing Crash Course eBook here>>
I’ll be posting more great information as time permits. Remember, I’m focusing my efforts over at Video Graphics Edge, setting up to provide affordable, quality graphics for your video and video marketing projects. And there are also static graphics for your Branding, website, blog and more, so be sure to join me over there too!
I hope you found this post helpful and informative. And I hope it helps you come away with a better understanding of Content Marketing Importance & Ethics. I’ll have new information for you at least weekly, so be sure to join me for my newsletter, and visit the blog again soon!