Cream of the Crop features a rotating panel from the Harvest Group, a landscape business consulting company.
Whether you’re building or re-designing your company website, there’s more to the project than meets the eye. A shiny new home page, flashy photos and clever headlines are the wrapping paper to your website. However, the “content” found on your home page and linked areas of your website represent the prized gift. And it will be coveted as the gift that keeps on giving as long as you care for it.
Keeping your website relevant and current is a never-ending challenge. It requires long-term thinking, and, contrary to popular belief, there’s no silver bullet. It takes creativity, attention to detail, consistency and substance. It’s called content marketing.
Content marketing includes the creation and sharing of online content or stories such as videos, blogs, and social media posts.
It does not explicitly promote your company brand; rather, it’s intended to stimulate interest in your products or services. Useful content to attract and retain your target audience should be a core essential of your company’s marketing efforts.
Ultimately, you’re providing information to help your prospects and customers solve issues or fill needs.
What is and isn’t content marketing?
Content marketing is:
- Educational. It’s not about the products the company sells, coupons, etc.
- About your audience…what do they care about?
Content marketing is not:
- Product brochure and/or product descriptions.
- Focused on making sales.
Content not only reinforces your company’s message and demonstrates your expertise to current and potential clients, but it can also deliver additional benefits.
- Content can give you a recruiting edge
- Content can help boost company morale
- Content opens up lines of communication
- Content fosters trust
7 keys for effective content marketing
1. Create a plan for a targeted audience: Rather than leaping in feet first, take time to identify your target audience. Is your company focused on residential, commercial or both? What do you want your prospects and customers to know about your business? How are you solving problems for your audience? Before you begin, create an editorial calendar with a list of topics and where and when you will post them.
2. Learn where and when to post: Building your website content takes priority over social media content. Your first priority is to make sure your website reflects your story and your “why.” That’s because all of your marketing efforts should drive leads back to your website.
3. Quality over quantity: It’s not a numbers game. Perhaps you’ll start with one to two new website posts a week to give you experience and confidence then grow from there. The more good content that appears on your website, the more you’ll have to work with for your social media posts.
4. Experiment and mix up your social media content: Spice it up. Studies show that people frequent social media to be entertained. Even when posting about topics that seem less than exciting, you can still make them stand out. Use photos, videos, links, surveys, polls and questions. Engagement is an ongoing task. You can’t post 1 or 2 items and expect to have success. Make it a priority.
5. Focus on people, not search engines: Often, businesses spend too much time trying to beat the search engine algorithms. Focus your time and energy on creating intelligent content that appeals to your customers.
6. Optimize your content with key words: Key words are those that you identify internally and through research as the best key words to drive traffic to your site. Using these words consistently but not excessively will help your website gain more attention and click throughs.
7. Test, analyze and improve: Measure your contents’ success against business drivers; things that matter to the success of your business. Create something people like and click on and they’ll want more.
Remember, it takes time, attention and dedication. Don’t continue to think you can get by without a content marketing strategy. It’s clearly needed in today’s marketing world.