Creating content for the web

Quality content brings many benefits for businesses with an online presence. It helps build an audience, attracts customers and creates evangelists who spread the message about the business by sharing via various channels. For this reason, it is important to plan the content, and have a good content marketing strategy in place.

With the proliferation of social media users, businesses have the opportunity to directly connect with their customers and prospects.  To build and grow this audience, businesses need a content strategy.

Quality content optimised for the search engines is an effective tool for a business to generate search traffic, besides being shareable via social media. When the content is focused on the customer or prospect, it helps convey the benefits to the buyer and encourages them to share it, while establishing the business as a credible and trustworthy source.

Creating the content strategy

Putting together a content strategy starts with understanding what the customer wants and then giving it to them. Knowing where these customers see your content determines where you must direct your efforts and budget so that you get the best ROI from it.

Briefly, your content strategy is a framework for your content about your brand and business, ensuring that it is perceived as an authority and gets the attention of the search engine and user. Naturally, the content strategy must be integrated into the marketing plan, monitored and tracked. The marketing manager must ensure that all aspects and elements are taken into account while designing the strategy. After implementation, a close eye must be kept on Analytics so that content with favorable ROI can receive more focus.

The content strategy will take on different approaches even if the final goal is the same, that of increasing sales and profits. For example, if the business sells different products and services, each of these may need a different approach. If the business sells directly as well as through distributors, it may need two different content strategies. If the goal is to increase brand awareness while increasing profits, this will need another approach.

What type of content?

The content will depend on your audience and their online behavior. They may be active on Twitter or LinkedIn, be your website visitors or prefer to hang out on Pinterest, Facebook and other social media sites. Your users’ online behavior will decide:

  • The type of content you create
  • The time and budget you must invest in it

If you have a wide customer profile, you may need to create content that caters to each customer group. Get an idea of how your business and its products/services are perceived online to know whether there are any negative comments. If there are people having conversations about your business, you can respond appropriately.

Measuring the effectiveness of your content strategy

To know how effective content is in helping you achieve your marketing goals, you must create benchmarks against which it can be measured and evaluated periodically. Here are some tools you can use to check the level of engagement of your audience with your brand, web properties and content:

  • Google Analytics to measure page visits, traffic volume and sources, time spent on the site to assess overall site engagement and social media success.
  • Social monitoring via brand, product and service mentions and reactions.
  • Social media platforms like Facebook likes and fans, Twitter followers and retweets, Google Plus circles and friends, YouTube subscriptions and so on.

In addition to the above, make sure you know which of your content is the most popular so that you can leverage it. Here are some ways to distribute your content and engage your market:

  • Interesting posts on your blog that invite interaction and create conversations with your market. Make the content shareable on Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, StumbleUpon and other popular social media sites for maximum reach.
  • Feature the RSS feed prominently as those who stay updated via Google Reader can also share your links with their network.
  • Post engaging content on your Facebook fan page with your own commentary and generate discussions.
  • Share on LinkedIn. Ask questions and invite feedback from your groups.
  • Explore SlideShare for content marketing.
  • Leverage photo sharing sites like Flickr and Pinterest.
  • Convert your content into podcasts and videos and share on BlogTalk Radio and YouTube.

Almost all of the above can be integrated on your website and blog for your reader’s easy access. Today, content is no longer just the web pages of a business’ website. It can take many forms. Since the business’ goal is to expand its reach, drive sales and enhance its profits, it must leverage the content on its website, its social media presence, blog, and other articles across the web, to build its reputation and profits.