Do you blog or produce web articles—adding depth, personality, and proof of your expertise to your business website? Content marketing is not a new idea. Building a library of resources on your website and producing engaging conversation-starters may already be on your to-do list, but don’t let this valuable piece of the marketing equation slip from this year’s priority to a somewhere-down-the-line goal.
To give a quick glimpse of the value of custom content:
- 58% of polled marketers said “original written content” is the most important type of content, outdoing visuals and videos, according to Social Media Examiner.
- According to Hubspot, companies who prioritize blogging are 13 times more likely to achieve a positive ROI on their efforts.
- According to Dragon Search Marketing, “61% of consumers are influenced by custom content.”
- Research by the Custom Content Council shows that 72% of marketers believe that branded content is more effective than traditional advertising, such as magazine placements.
- On average, content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates roughly 3 times as many leads, according to DemandMetric.
- 76% of B2B marketers and 77% of B2C marketers say they will produce more content in 2016, according to the Content Marketing Institute.
In a world where the average consumer is inundated with commercials, pop-ups, and advertisements from every direction (online and offline), custom content can feel more like a conversation from a trusted friend.
What hasn’t changed in content marketing via blogs and web articles?
- Individuals trust a business that takes the time to offer custom content.
- Blogs and web articles are a way to prove yourself and/or your business as a resource and authority in your industry.
- They are perfect place to establish and reinforce your brand voice.
- Successful blogs and web articles are not about selling. They are about educating, entertaining, informing, and inspiring.
- Web content can achieve a lot of marketing mileage from social media shares to email newsletters and beyond.
- Consistency in your publication schedule is essential in gaining traction. Whether you publish multiple times a week, weekly, biweekly, or even monthly, stick to your schedule. When a blog becomes unpredictable—or worse, goes silent—professionalism and audience connection can be weakened.
What has changed in how a business should think about custom web content?
- Updating the content of your website has an impact on your total search engine optimiation (SEO).
- Long-form content has ever-increasing value. In fact, the average word count of top-ranking content (in Google) is between 1,140-1,285 words. Brevity doesn’t necessarily prove you know what you’re talking about. In-depth discussions do. (If you’re intimidated by these large numbers, remember breaking up long articles with sub-headers, lists, bullet points, and images makes them more digestible.)
- Images are important—according to research, web articles with relevant images get 94% more views than content without relevant images—but try to avoid stock photography. Web audiences are getting savvy about sniffing out posed models in business settings. Attempt to showcase original photography, or if not, at least choose images that appear more authentic.
- Including both internal and external hyperlinks proves your expertise to human audiences and search engine algorithms alike. When you link back to other pages of your own website, you prove the depth of your services and/or knowledge, and when you link to websites other than your own, your dedication to keeping up with the rest of the industry shines through.
- Keyword stuffing is a thing of the past. Don’t choose one keyword and insert it as many times as possible into your content. Neither human nor web crawler audiences appreciate it—in fact, both will likely deem your website less reliable. Instead, build a longer list of keywords and phrases to integrate throughout your content. Think about what search terms someone might use to find your business. Use a wide variety of these throughout your content to show the search engine algorithms your depth and versatility.
- Spreading your content via social media networks has always been a strong way to expand its audience, but this social sharing also enhances your website’s SEO.
- Comments on websites are less important than ever. These conversations are being held on social media networks, so spend your time there and don’t worry about minimal responses on your blog itself. Shares and clicks are what matters in the end.
- And again, consistency and longevity pay off. Want to write shorter web content than Google’s recommendations? If you’re publishing frequently and with regularity, following the other advice above, you can still make major strides.
In a moment in time when just over half (51%) of business owners report that content management is “very important” or “absolutely critical” to creating a cohesive customer journey, is your business adding its voice and experience to the conversation?
If not, what are you waiting for?