How To Make Content A Central Part Of Your Online Marketing Strategy

Let’s be honest, there’s a lot of rubbish on the internet these days. It’s not hard to write a bad article, or even a mediocre one. Quality content is rarer, and that’s why it’s so crucial to success for entrepreneurs and business owners. As consumers, we love to share good information that we think will benefit or entertain others. Though we may love a cheap deal, deep down, it’s quality that really matters – and quality content that people are searching for online. So website owners: listen up. If you want your business to succeed online, you’d better be willing to place quality content at the heart of your marketing strategy. Here’s how:

Create content that’s worth reading

Before you start writing, make sure you know two things: who your audience is and what it is that they need. Writing for the wrong audience is a waste of time, both for you and the reader. Niche research is key.

We’ve stressed before the importance of hiring good writers when it comes to creating an attractive business website. Content worth reading must be well written, in addition to being well researched. So it should go without saying that you should not be writing web copy yourself, unless you have an above average talent for the written word.

Quality content should be detailed, focused and on-point. It should answer your customers’ common questions and explore your field in depth, positioning your business as a source of authority. It should add value to what the reader already knows, providing insight while gracefully guiding them in the direction of your product offering.

There are lots of good ways to generate ideas for your content marketing strategy. Try these tools for keyword planning, content collation and discovering new trends.

Let’s observe three examples of businesses with strong content marketing strategies:

  • TOMS Shoes – TOMS understands the power of a good story. Through its strategic and emotive use of content, it shows its customers what it stands for and how its policies improve lives. Its annual ‘One Day Without Shoes’ campaign, with the help of social media, provides new shoes for around 28,000 impoverished children each year
  • Shopify – as one of the most popular ecommerce platforms, Shopify provides a wealth of informative blogs, guides, videos, podcasts and seminars for online store owners. It has come at its content marketing strategy from all angles, and covers everything from dropshipping to writing business plans – exactly what its audience wants to know
  • GoPro – a popular video camera company, GoPro has used what it does best (inspiring visuals) to create a content marketing strategy that puts the focus on its products without direct selling. Much of its content is user-generated, meaning less work for GoPro and higher user engagement


    Make sure it’s memorable

    Blogging is undoubtedly a valuable and popular way of publishing content online. But it is not the only way. For some audiences, certain types of content will be more engaging than others – it could be video, graphical content or carefully crafted Pinterest boards. Today’s consumers have high expectations, since there is such a surfeit of dynamic content available. Therefore, smart entrepreneurs will take care to provide a broader editorial strategy – one that offers content in multiple formats for maximum engagement. Publishing is not enough. You need to tell stories.

    Not everyone wants to read a long blog post, particularly if they find reading difficult. Never underestimate people’s impatience to find and digest information quickly online. When you do publish blog posts, make sure they are scannable, with plenty of subheadings and bullet point lists. But also consider where other formats might work to your advantage. Remember, visual content is 40X more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content (Source) and 4X as many customers would rather watch a video about a product than read about it (Source).

    Allocate the appropriate funds towards creating a compelling content strategy with a diverse range of points and formats, or you risk your potential customers losing interest. Above all else, effective content marketing is an attention game.

    Measure the results

    One of the biggest mistakes that marketers make with content is not keeping an eye on the essential metrics that govern whether or not it’s successful. Looking at the usual KPIs such as search rankings, backlinks and social metrics, there is not much to demonstrate ROI. For example, say you write a blog post that gets shared 1,000 times. That’s great – but unless it leads to further engagement, visibility or sales, then it’s technically not providing value for your business.

    For content to be a central part of your online business strategy, you have to be able to measure and prove its value. You may have produced an infographic that only gets shared a handful of times, but if it converts readers into customers, then it has more value than the aforementioned blog post (this is just an example).

    55% of B2B marketers say they are unclear on what content marketing success or effectiveness looks like (Source). Essentially, if you can prove that quality content leads to good ROI, you can justify spending more time on your content marketing strategy. Use tracking software to measure how content has directly contributed towards driving leads and sales.

    Optimise for mobile

    Last but not least, don’t overlook how your content is viewed on mobile. If you do, you risk your content strategy falling flat. One-third of people use their smartphone as their primary device to access the internet (Source). Therefore, mobile is a key variable in your digital marketing plan as a whole.

    When optimising content for mobile – and ideally this should be factored in from the early stages – ensure that you consider:

  • Length and format
  • Scrolling and readability
  • Shareability – social buttons, pre-formed tweets and so on
  • How and where users will find your content
  • Whether any on-page advertising could get in the way
    Remember, you could have the most compelling and well-optimised content strategy out there, but if it’s not mobile-responsive, then you could be losing the attention of one-third of your potential customers.

    Modern consumers are practically tone deaf to traditional forms of advertising that push products and services while offering little else of value. That’s why, from a business owner’s perspective, content marketing is such an exciting and crucial strategy to adopt. It provides more value for the reader/viewer and positions your business as a voice of authority and insight. The future of advertising is skillful, natural and unobtrusive. How will you use content marketing to your advantage?

    Don’t forget to download the Founder’s Guide Startup and Entrepreneur’s Guidebook for more helpful tips and advice on how to improve your success rate and create the startup business of your dreams.

    Ecommerce Consultant
    Patrick creates and shares content for entrepreneurs and business owners who are looking to improve their marketing strategies. He's particularly interested in content marketing and the effective use of storytelling to drive engagement.