If you ever watch Masterchef or other such programmes, you’ll often notice contestants trying to match flavours to create an outstanding dish. With content marketing, it’s vital to use both ingredients to craft a superb finished product. Many businesses, when creating a web presence, focus on the content and what it has to achieve. This may then end up as a ‘content rich but readability poor’ concoction, and simply fail to effectively market that business and its products or services.

Let’s examine the key stages that will allow the creation and use of effective content marketing strategies. Before we start, we should remember that strategy is key to whatever you do. Developing a content marketing strategy covers key areas such as subjects and the types of content to use for different platforms. Through all of this, one key is vital: to quickly engage with your website visitors, tell them what they need to know, and then drive them onwards to take whatever action you wish them to.

Think like a customer

Many people, when creating their online content, do so from the point of a business insider. This is natural as they have the knowledge base to do so. However, the danger then is that the content talks about that organisation and its products and services from a ‘proud insider’ point of view. It talks about what the creator thinks is important and how the writer sees the business.

However, when an online search is being conducted, the person doing so is seeking out the solution to a problem they have, or a source to meet a need or fulfil a want. What the product or service offers is then judged through that filter. Understanding this, you can start to analyse the words and phrases they will use in their search. With this information gained, it is then much easier to write content which will achieve your search engine optimisation & business objectives.

Truly understand these customers

To create effective content, you want to build up as detailed a picture of your key customer base or buyer group as possible. If you do this, you can then create content that not only achieves the previous point, but also talks to them in a way they welcome, appreciate, and are comfortable with. You can understand what they don’t want as much as what they do.

Examples of this are easily found. Businesses often fill their web content with the jargon of their business, written by those who don’t appreciate that potential customers frequently have a level of expertise and understanding that is nowhere near that of the business itself. Often, such terminology might have to be included if it’s part of a valid description; if so, add a simple explanation.

Some customers will already be knowledgeable but that’s okay. They can skim read the simpler copy, and still find exactly what they want in the content. In a way, what you are often trying to do is turn the inexpert visitor into a smarter customer!

Craft your copy like a journalist, editor, and designer

Suppose you are writing 600 words of copy for a specific web page. It’s useful to write more and then edit it down into a sharper finish. Equally, don’t put artificial limits on the amount of content you write. Unlike print articles where there is often a finite space to be filled, web content allows you to be much more flexible.

If this is the craft of the journalist and then editor, the final work is as a designer. There must be a keen visual element, no matter the amount of content. Make sure it is presented in short, sharp paragraphs, perhaps using bullet points, and uses images that add to the story. If you accomplish this, the initial impression a searcher finds on arrival is of a site with plenty to say, but one that is easy to read and comprehend.

Remember it’s about the bottom line

Creating compelling content can be a joy, or sometimes a chore (and reading copy on a website, you can often quickly work out which it was). However, it can only ever be successful by its impact on the bottom line of any business. Content marketing needs to be a fluid resource of your business. It’s important, therefore, to use analytic processes to gauge its effectiveness in creating traffic and heightening engagement.

Thus you should amend it as necessary and change it as you need to. This might be for seasonal events or promotions, for new products or services, and through the answering of customer queries. This also applies for the different platforms you might use, including your own website, blog, social media and the like. The same principles also apply to any content marketing in print.

Through all of this, remember that its key task is always to effectively market your organisation and its products and services to those potential – and returning – customers who are currently in the market for what you have to offer. This is how it should always be judged.

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