How to Use Content Marketing to Drive Traffic to a Website
“Doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what you are doing, but nobody else does.” Steuart Britt
With so much emphasis on quality content for search engine placement, content marketing is now a key strategy to generate web traffic. But a lot of questions still remain with regard to creating an effective content marketing strategy. Retired Baby Boomers wonder what is involved in content marketing.
Here is a strategy that focuses on the three main concerns of content marketing:
Previous SEO strategies included keyword stuffing and keyword density, but those strategies do not work anymore. Indeed, they will get your site penalized in the search engines. The best way to create search engine friendly content is with a combination of the following methods.
- Create High Quality Content
There are several factors to be taken into consideration in order to create quality content. The content must be directed toward a specific audience and address a concern they may have. The information included in the article must be detailed and perhaps even present a new or unique solution to the problem. Ask your friends to review the content and ask for their opinion. If they get lost, you need to improve the “call to action” on your blog.
- Use Relevant Keywords
Is the content you are creating informational or transactional? Know what kind of keywords searchers use when looking for this type of information and use them in your content. The content should provide an answer to the search phrase.
For example, the search phrase “how to grow greener lawns,” should have an answer to the “how to” question. The search engine will pick up the answer according to relevancy and freshness.
- Create Meaningful Interactions
Once a user has clicked through to your site from the search engine, how do they interact with the page? Content that answers the search query will grab the visitor’s attention and keep them on the site for a while. If the visitor doesn’t immediately see what they are looking for, they are likely to hit the back button, which is called a “bounce.”
- Stay Fresh
It’s important to add new high quality content. Search engines love to see new content on a site and new content will bring viewers back to consume your new content.
Visitors who find your content useful, insightful, unique, or funny are going to be more likely to share your content with others. When others share your content, it not only helps generate traffic and increase your search placements, it builds trust in you.
But just what makes content share-worthy? According to the NY Times study, “The Psychology of Sharing,” the key factors that influence sharing include:
- People need to trust the accuracy of your content in order to want to share it
- Simple content is more likely to be shared
- Things that are funny, convey urgency, or connect people to a cause are thought to be share-worthy.
The study also revealed a few motivations that people have for sharing:
- To bring valuable or entertaining content to others
- To define themselves to others (by sharing things that reinforce an image they would like to present)
- To connect to other people who share their interests
- To get feedback and interact with others
- To get the word out about a cause or brand
Keep these key factors and motivations in mind when creating content. Spark people’s interests by providing a different take on the subject or offering an opposing point of view. Bring new issues to the forefront and share new tools and resources.
The most important part of share-ability is to make it easy to share. Don’t forget to include share buttons for all the major social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, etc.
You can create great content that gets shared or even goes viral, but all the views in the world will not do you much good if the content doesn’t convert. Whether you want to make a sale or gain another subscriber for your list, if your content isn’t compelling readers to take some kind of action, your content isn’t working.
- Know Your Audience:
The first step in creating content that converts is to know your audience. Create profiles of kinds of people to visit your site and consume your content. What are their needs and desires?
2. What do you want your audience to do?
You must guide your audience carefully through the buying process. Provide clear direction and move the reader forward carefully so they don’t get lost in the process.
3. Create Quality Content That Converts to a Sale:
Don’t fall into to a “hard sale” mode of writing. People are searching for answers and will make their own decision. Just provide information like your would to your close friend and respect their intelligence to make the right decision.
Good writers find this type of content writing a challenge to master. We are used to the “hard sale” approach to marketing. But the web is changing the buying habits of people. They want answers to their problem, not shrill “buy now or perish” content. Here is a good book to help you develop your content writing skills:
Key Resource: Content Strategy for the Web, by Kistina Halverson and Melissa Rach. This book is packed with information for every element that is essential to write good content for the web. Each chapter is a simple step for you to take action and master the instructions. I like this approach because it is a lesson you can work on at your own pace. When you are comfortable with the lesson, you can move on to the next step. You continue this course until you master the art of writing for the web. Check out the reviews on the Amazon site. Click here for the book.