Write something. Share it. It will transform your business.
Write about your business. Write about what you know. Write about what people don’t know. Write about what your customers are asking questions about.
It doesn’t have to be an essay, just 300-500 words is fine, although if it’s good and you’re not waffling, then write as much as you like (just keep it on-subject, relevant and interesting).
You know your business and your particular field of expertise so the content itself should come relatively easy to you, especially now that you know it forms the foundation of ‘how to get found online’, so writing short articles about diverse, but related-to-your-business subjects suddenly sounds like something you could do, doesn’t it?
This is otherwise known as… blogging. It’s not complicated, it’s not a burden, it can be fun and it turns you into an instant author. Your mother will be proud, your clients will be impressed.
You need somewhere for your blog posts to be available for people to read, of course. This should be your own website as well as other online platforms (e.g. LinkedIn, Google+, Tumblr etc.). Posting your blogs to your website (no stamps required) and sharing them through social media is part & parcel of ‘content marketing.’
There you go; blogging and content marketing demystified in one easy lesson!
Fundamentally, content marketing is the creation of material (such as your blog posts) tailored to a specific target audience (your existing or prospective customers) which is then shared using mainly, but not exclusively, the web in order to create interest in you and your business.
People search the web constantly for information on, and answers to, every subject imaginable, so good content answers questions and educates people. In turn, if they’re searching for information about the product or service you sell, then educating them (in their time, not yours) means they’re more likely to come to you pre-qualified and therefore part-way down the sales process. They already know you know what you’re talking about.
That said, your blog posts (or other content you create) should NEVER be salesy or self-promoting. It’s just bad form that will very quickly put people off reading, let-alone sharing, what you’ve spent time creating. Rather than your content telling people what they can buy from you, let it show are helpful, informative and knowledgeable you are. Give away some of your IP.
How to write a blog post:
When you decide to start writing a blog post, make a plan. Think of it’s structure, the point you’re trying to get across (its purpose) and the questions someone might ask that your blog post will answer. Doing the latter also helps you incorporate the all-important key words and phrases that are searched for but it makes you think of these phrases in advance, not whilst you’re trying to write the content.
This blog post, for example, incorporates a number of key words and phrases such as: blog, blog post, how to get found online, writing a blog post, how to write a blog post, content marketing etc., etc. All of this makes it easier for people to find because Google will index everything.
The blog structure is quite simple and, whilst you can be flexible in your approach, it should follow these fundamental rules:
- Attention: grab their attention to get them to read
- Insight: The gem that will really be of interest to them
- Connect: Trigger an emotion (any emotion!)
- Promise: What will this provide/solve
- How to: What they need to do
- Call to Action: What they should do next (contact/buy/subscribe etc., but not always relevant)
How to get your content out there and get yourself noticed:
Social media needs to become your friend, not something you fear because you don’t understand it. This will be discussed in a future post but was also the subject of a workshop being run by Clive Wilson and Claire Scaramanga on Feb 24th 2015 in Croydon, Surrey. See more here: http://bit.ly/ParamountWorkshop
See also a blog post by Emmett Brosnan, Technical Director at Paramount, entitled “We refuse to blog… less than four times a month”: http://www.paramountwebtechnology.com/blog/we-refuse-to-blog/