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Digital client engagement has evolved to the point where there are so many tools; it’s not only hard to know where to start, but also to know where to focus the resources necessary to achieve results. This generally leads to frustration or, even worse, inaction. Today’s business environment is far too competitive to ignore that digital marketing – specifically, content marketing/blogging – can not only drive traffic to your website, but also position you as an expert and win you clients.
Why content marketing? The numbers are staggering:
- 54% of marketers generated a client from their blog in 2014
- 86% of small business marketers view their blog as their most impactful marketing tactic
- 72% of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) professionals rate blogging as their top inbound marketing activity
How about a personal, real world example? If you go to Google and type in the word “brandivate,” at least 8 of the top 10 results will be some form of brandivate marketing. While there are many factors at play, I mainly attribute this SEO success to content marketing: the brandivate blog.
While success through blogging isn’t a new concept, it is one that is gaining wild momentum. In 2014, the largest blog hosting site as over 83 million unique visitors in the United States EVERY month. Blogs fuel SEO as search engines crave valuable content and reward you for it as evidenced by the brandivate blog.
Once you’ve decided to incorporate a blog into your marketing strategy, there are five guidelines to steer your efforts in the right direction:
Consistency – If you don’t have a calendar set up for your blog, how will your followers know when to come back for new content? For example, excluding holidays, the brandivate blog has fresh content every Monday and Thursday. Find a schedule (weekly, bi-weekly, etc.) that works for you and hold yourself accountable to it. No one starts a blog only to become one of the 95% that abandon it due to lack of consistency.
SEO – Use your blog to drive people to your website. A great way to incorporate key words is to take advantage of alternate text for images. On every brandivate blog post, the alternate text of the image used to support the text has the words “brandivate blog” and then the title of the blog. This has resulted in the brandivate website to be the top search result on Google. Also, ensure your blog is mobile friendly as it will negatively impact your SEO if it’s not.
Promote – Leverage social media to promote the heck out of each post. By linking your blog post to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and commonsku, you drive people to your website. Twitter is especially useful for this purpose and there are dozens of free programs such as TweetJukebox that will automate it for you. In the din of social media noise, relentless promotion is your best friend.
Write for your Audience – I can’t stress this enough. Many beginning bloggers tend to make the mistake of writing about themselves or their business. Remember, readers generally want to read about things that concern them, not you. For example, think in terms of what they already know, and what do they want to know about the promotional products industry. Deliver information based on their needs and focus on how you can help them.
80/20 Rule – Don’t fall into the trap of having your blog be solely about the latest products or just to “sell something.” A full 80% of your posts should be focused on building your readership by educating and entertaining them. Share a case history, relate to a common client problem, or discuss how social media has impacted your personal marketing efforts. This way, when you do change things up and post something that is sales-based, it will stand out.
Content marketing can provide a high return on your resource investment when done correctly. Being consistent, focusing on SEO, promotion, writing for your audience, and keeping the 80/20 rule top of mind will set you apart from the competition either unwilling or unable to engage with their target audience.
Bill has over 15 years working in executive leadership position at leading promotional products distributorships. In addition, he launched brandivate – the first executive team outsourcing company solely focus on helping small promotional products companies responsibly grow their business. In March of 2015, Bill began a partnership with Proforma to assist their Owners growing their individual distributorships. A former speaker at the PPAI Winter Expo and current member of the board of directors for the Promotional Products Association of the Mid-South (PPAMS), Bill has extensive real-world practice coaching sales teams, creating successful marketing campaigns, developing operational policies and procedures, creating and delivering RFP responses, and successfully presenting promotional solutions to Fortune 500 clients.