Invariably, when I first sit down with a client, one of the first things they ask is, “How much content do I need on my website for it to drive more business?”
I always give the same answer: Content marketing is not about numbers. It’s about relevance.
Tricks Get You Only so Far in Content Marketing
If you think about marketing in its purest form, relevance makes perfect sense. Marketing is about boosting revenue by distinguishing your brand, and there are many tools you can use to make this happen, each with its own nifty tricks.
When your marketing tool of choice is web content, you have to cut through a massive and deafening amount of online noise just to be heard—let alone to distinguish your brand. This is why you hear so much about search engine optimization (SEO). It’s one of those tricks that makes content marketing work—until it doesn’t.
I’m here to tell you that no content marketing trick is going to make a difference in your bottom line if it’s not done right. What people tend to overlook when they’re planning their content marketing strategies—mapping out keywords and creating batch after batch of blogs, videos, FAQs, and other content—is the importance of relevance.
Understanding the Concept of Content Relevance
To create relevant content, you need to know two things: yourself and your audience.
You need to be true to your brand, its voice, its mission. You need to know your goals and find the right content marketing strategy to fulfill those goals. I have identified ‘seven’ goals that all go hand in hand for businesses that are working at this stage of the strategy development. If I had to pick just one goal, though, I would choose increasing organic traffic. If you succeed with boosting organic traffic, everything else will fall into place. Again, this has to do with content relevance.
The key thing to keep in mind about relevant content is that it’s a moving target. You have to stay on top of how it changes—and it can change a lot because the world, your customers, and your users are changing a lot.
Taking Cues From the Pandemic
Just consider for a moment how much the world’s companies have changed since the pandemic. Businesses realized that brick and mortar and other traditional ways of driving business were on lock down, and so people had to get creative. Content marketing was already present, to some degree or another, in most businesses’ marketing mix, so that’s where companies focused their efforts when Main St., USA shut down. Everything that was digital increased ten-fold, with businesses adding more videos, enhancing social media efforts, refining their SEO, and relying more on online business.
The pandemic underscored more than ever the importance of knowing what is relevant to your business today and of keeping your finger on the pulse of what your customers are looking for.
Content, When Done Right, Shows a Measurable Impact
When you get the relevance of your content right, that’s when you start to see the effects of content marketing. We have a client, a personal injury law firm, that came to us for help with their content marketing strategy. It’s not that they lacked content—they had seven websites—but the firm still was not ranking locally in search engine results.
With the right content strategy, we were able to increase their site visits from 1,000 per month to 35,000 per month. The firm basically owns the local market now and it’s well on its way to dominating all of Florida, in terms of its online presence.
And yes, this brand awareness does translate to the bottom line, and there’s plenty of evidence to prove it.
We have seen a 300% increase in inbound call volume with clients who have adopted and executed our content marketing strategies. Business to business (B2B) companies who consistently blog will generate 67% more leads per month than those that do not produce regular blog content. It could explain why nearly 90 percent of B2B marketers have already implemented a content marketing strategy to some degree or another.
Creating Your Content Strategy
Do not fool yourself, though: Developing a sound content strategy is not for the faint of heart. It goes way beyond freshening up your website with random content. This is serious strategy work that will involve devising ways to develop and engage your audience, identifying your company’s thinkers and establishing them as thought leaders, creating channels of communication, building domain authority, pumping up your SEO efforts, and improving your sales conversions.
I want to focus on sales conversions for a moment—because for many businesses, content marketing may seem like a huge leap of faith, with no way of measuring the effect on revenue generation. Content marketing is not magic. It’s a hybrid of art and science. The art is in the content itself, obviously. The science comes in the ability to measure how the content is converting—and there are tools for this.
I like Knotch, which is a software program that helps companies realize how their content is converting. If your business does not work with Knotch or another content intelligence platform, you’re probably using some sort of call tracking software, perhaps Google Analytics and Google Search Console. You could even just analyze your intake, but you won’t get any details from that information.
I recommend to all my clients that they have some sort of call tracking on their website, so they can monitor where calls are coming from, organic or paid, social media, or different campaigns.
The Strategy Work Continues in the “Post-Client” Stage
The content marketing strategy development tasks I have addressed so far represent only the work that has to be done before you convert someone into a client or customer. Once they’ve become a client, your content marketing marches on in the form of a consistent stream of personalized emails, post-purchase responses, thank-yous, coupons, downloadable white papers, requests for reviews, and so on.
If it sounds exhausting, and the post-client stage of content strategy does require a lot of work up front. However, once you’ve front-loaded your efforts, the process of maintaining a 24/7 marketing machine is entirely automated. There are some excellent sales and marketing automation tools out there that live for this very purpose. One of my favorites is Keap (formerly Infusionsoft). These systems do all the legwork, and you do not need a customer relationship management (CRM) piece for them to work, because the CRM is already built into the system. You just bring the content.
What to Avoid in Your Content Marketing Strategy
And this brings us back to the core point of this post—relevant content. That’s where it all begins. If you’re not sure what is relevant to your audience, I can give you a head start by sharing what is not relevant.
These “techniques” will not do your content marketing strategy any favors:
- Automatically generated content
- Link schemes
- Pages with no original content
- Doorway pages
- Weak affiliate program participation
My Driving Principles for Relevant Content Marketing
But let’s not end this on a list of “don’ts.” Rather, I’d like to wrap things up by giving you what I consider to be the four basic principles of good content marketing:
Here’s hoping this post will leave you motivated to rethink your content strategy and start creating content that is relevant and speaks to your audience.