So… you want to drive traffic to your site. You’ve probably heard all about inbound links, SEO, and building the right communities, but what it all comes down to is content. Content is king, right? Chances are you’ve heard this quite a bit over the last few years, and it’s become quite a cliché in the digital marketing world. But as with most other clichés, there’s plenty of truth behind it.
By content, I am referring to self-generated news, stories, media, and information that is published for your audience or target market. Where you publish the content will depend on what platform your audience is on and what actions you want them to take, but the common content marketing platforms are:
Content can include written form, videos, images, podcasts, slideshows, and basically any form of media you can imagine.
I believe content as an essential component of small (and big) business marketing for a number of reasons, including:
Communicates with your audience your company values, skills, knowledge, and builds your trustworthiness
Gives you an excuse to put your brand in front your audience regularly (ever heard the rule that it takes 7-14 contacts with a potential customer before they buy? Content marketing makes this happen!)
Generates content for your online platforms, giving you a more active presence
Gives your brand the potential to be shared and go viral
Helps to build your database by attracting people to opt in to receive your content
Drives traffic back to your site (where your products and services are located), if you run your content marketing plan properly
Today I’m going to be focusing on the final point. I want to tell you how you can plan and structure your content marketing campaigns to drive more traffic back to your website. After you finish reading this article, you will have a plan for what content you could create, when you should share it, and how all your online platforms can link together to achieve your overarching goal of more web traffic.
The problem I come across most with businesses who have online platforms such as a blog, Facebook, Twitter, Email Marketing, and all that… is that they have the accounts set up, but they’re sitting there gathering dust, and not engaging their audience. I find that the businesses just don’t know what kind of content to create, or what the purpose of that content is anyway. Well, we’ve already established the primary purpose: to drive traffic back to your website, so that issue is covered. But what content should you be creating and when?
To get started, take a look at the below content marketing schedule template I’ve created for you. If you can, save it to your computer and print a copy off. This template will help develop a weekly calendar for the different content platforms you own, with a plan for the type of content to produce each day.
In the first column, fill out your platforms, which may include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus, Blog, Press Release, Pinterest, and anything else you are signed up for. The choice of platforms is up to you – I recommend that you start with a wide range, then focus your efforts on the ones that produce the best results, while still maintaining the others on a smaller scale.
To fill out your schedule, start with your blog. Aim to blog once a week as a starting point. Your blog will be the central part of your content marketing strategy because it is on your website (remember, the goal is to send traffic back to the website!). If you choose to post a blog on Wednesday, then on Thursday, you will need to share the link to your blog post across your other platforms. So in the column for Thursday, add “Share Blog Link”. Already, your content marketing strategy is consistent and integrated, and on track to achieve your goals!
Depending on your business type, you may not need to send any other email marketing or write any more blog posts during the week, as one is probably a good frequency. You can grey out the other days for these platforms.
So for your social media accounts, you’ve got another 6 days to fill out with content…where do you start? When you post content, as I’ve said earlier, your primary goal is to send people back to your site. That’s where sharing your blog post came in. But there are other secondary goals that are also really important, including building trust, demonstrating your authority and knowledge, and getting your audience to like you. Keeping these factors in mind, you can develop content that will achieve these secondary goals.
Sidenote: By the way, don’t be afraid of posting frequently. Your audience probably won’t see all your posts anyway, depending on when you come online, and the idea is that you post a variety of engaging content that your audience will love, that won’t just be focused on promoting your brand.
Certain types of content are particularly successful on social media, such as:
Inspirational quotes or stories
Amazing images, places, or innovations
Personal stories and anecdotes
Can you think of content that would resonate with your audience, while reminding them of what you do, and demonstrating your knowledge and authority in your industry? You probably can… so it’s time to fill out the rest of your content marketing schedule.
I’ve included an example below which I developed as an example for a hairdressing salon. You can see that I’ve allocated the same type of content for each day across multiple platforms. Usually, this is fine to do, but it is also important to be aware of the differences between these different platforms, and adjust your content if it is not appropriate. For example, LinkedIn is a professional platform, so please don’t post anything overly personal or unprofessional. It’s important to also be aware that Twitter will constrain you to 140 characters.
As you can see, you just decide on your theme for the day, and repeat that every week. As long as the content is great and relevant, your audience probably won’t even notice your recurring theme… and it will really save you from racking your brain for ideas.
At this point, you may feel a little overwhelmed. That’s an awful lot of content to manage everyday, particularly if you’re the business owner and don’t have the time to sit at your computer all day on social media. Fair enough! That’s where marketing automation comes in.
Posting organically, manually, and as you go is always the better option… but it’s usually only the big businesses with dedicated marketing teams who can do this! So I encourage you to use marketing automation as it will make your life easier, and ensure that it is feasible to manage your content marketing without taking up a lot of time.
There are a number of tools to help you with this, but my favourite is Hootsuite. Hootsuite allows me to add and schedule content ahead of time, and push it to multiple platforms. This means I don’t even have to open Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Google Plus in order to add my content. I only have to log in when I get a notification that someone has sent me a comment or a message. I’d say that using Hootsuite would save you a few hours a week, easily.
All you have to do is log in, paste the content into a status box, select your time, and hit “Schedule”! It’s very simple, I promise.
Okay, so now you have your own content marketing system set up that not only drives traffic back to your website but also focuses on building great relationships with your online audience… AND it can be pretty well automated once you get going.
It’s time to sit back and wait for your increased site traffic to roll in!
Is this similar to the system you already use, or do you have your own preferred content marketing system and tools? I’d be really interested to hear your thoughts on this!
Author Bio: Angela Rodgers is the co-founder Big Idea Marketing, a Brisbane-based marketing and web design company. Angela specialises in copywriting, online lead generation and content marketing.
http://bigideamarketing.com.au Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bigideamarketing