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6 Reasons Content Marketing is Important to Your Business

Marketing your business is a vital part of creating sales, generating a new customer base, and retaining current customers.  While more traditional forms of marketing continue to be an essential part of any company's marketing plan, content marketing is now becoming more important than ever in the world's ever growing technologically based society.  A customer can now access services, products, and information all with the swipe of a finger and it is content marketing that can help your company stand out above the rest. While getting noticed is an important part of content marketing, below are 6 additional reasons content marketing is essential to your business marketing plan. 

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Content Marketing is Important to Search Engines

No matter what type of buyer persona your customer fits into, they will most likely spend some part of their day in a search engine looking for information based on keywords that they enter into the search field. Based on the few words that the user types into the search bar, the search engine will scan through an immense amount of data to bring the user the content that will most likely fit what they are searching for.  By creating SEO, keyword rich, useful content, the search engine will be more likely to pull your content higher on the list.  These search engines are programmed to avoid things like keyword stuffing, or spam sales content, so having well created, SEO friendly content is important to rising to the top of the search engines lists as well as creating organic traffic.

Helps Promote Customer Engagement

Good content can help promote customer engagement and not only get customers to return to your website repeatedly for more content, but also promote sharing through the use of various social media channels.  Content that the reader finds engaging or useful is often shared which can lead to an exponential growth of readers in a short period of time.  Additionally, once you become an informative or trusted resource for your customer they routinely will come back to engage with your site to gather more information.

Can Help Convert a Visitor to a Lead

Since at the end of the day, the ultimate goal of content marketing is to help close a sale, converting a visitor to a lead is an important step and priority for any content marketing strategy.  To help facilitate those conversions, it is important that your content marketing strategy follows the three main stages of the buyer's journey.  
  • Awareness - The awareness stage is the initial stage of customer connection where you start to establish trust and demonstrate yourself as having valuable information and expertise that the buyer may be searching for.

  • Consideration - During the consideration stage of the buyer's journey, your customer begins looking for solutions and evaluating the best way that they may solve their particular need or problem.  At this point, you should present the customer with possible solutions.  This will continue the trust building and demonstrate your company's expertise.

  • Decision - This is the stage where your customer has determined which solution will best fit their needs and takes the step to move forward, whether it is to schedule a consultation or filling out a form for more information.  At this point, they have now turned into a lead and you can begin to close the deal.

Helps Create Brand Awareness and Attracts Your Target Audience

One of the most important aspects of content marketing is creating and promoting your brand.  One of the primary steps of marketing is to expose your company, its message, and products to consumers that may not be familiar with your company.  Content is a great way to attract a specific target audience that would be most effectively reached by your marketing strategy.  You can also incorporate back linking to increase the traffic to your website and generate a buzz around your brand, products, and services.  Since content can be geared toward a more general audience or a very specific niche, it is a great way to market to your particular buyer persona.

It Provides Your Customers With Added Value

In this day and age, it is all about getting more for your money.  Not only are consumers looking for products or services that they may need or want, they are also looking for information and answers to their questions.  Content that can provide consumers with information they may be looking, provide them with useful information or help save them time or money is considered valuable content.  By establishing yourself as a trusted resource for your customers, this is an added value that your company provides its clients above and beyond the product or service.
Now that you know the importance of content marketing for your business the next step is identifying your target audience and developing a content marketing strategy to take your customer from the awareness stage to a qualified lead.  

Top Bloggers Share Tips to Increase Blog Traffic

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Anyone can start a blog. It is easy. Lots of people have blogs. As of 2015, there were more than 250 million blogs on the web not counting Google’s Blogger platform. In spite of these numbers, very few bloggers make a significant amount of money from their blogs. Data from 2012 found that 81 percent of bloggers never make more than $100 from blogging.
However, some bloggers are wildly successful and make millions per month from their blogs. According to Forbes, CopyBlogger makes over $1 million per month. The blog Moz makes $4 million every month.
To make money from blogging, you must have traffic. People must read and share your blog posts. Although two million blog posts are written every single day, only a few of those will get attention and be shared on social media.
So, how do these wildly successful bloggers get traffic to their sites? What is their secret?  Here is some advice from the superstars of the blogging world.

#1 Treat Blogging Like a Full-Time Business

Matthew Kepnes, New York Time bestselling author and founder of the hugely popular travel blog Nomadic Matt, says that he devotes all of his waking time blogging if he is not doing anything else.
Kepnes treats his blog as a full-time business. Just like any business, the blog takes up most of his time. He spends his days networking with other authors, writing blog posts and overseeing the business of running the business. This has paid off well for Kepnes. More than 1 million people read his blog each month.

#2 Create High-Quality Content

Many of the top bloggers say that creating compelling, engaging content is one of the keys to success as a blogger.  Earl Baron, who runs the successful travel blog Wandering Earl, says that even if you have a creative, excellent website, your readers won't pay attention if the content is not useful or relevant to them. Darren Rowse, the founder of Problogger, says that the key to differentiating yourself from other bloggers is to create meaningful content that speaks to your readers’ minds and hearts.

#3 Share Blog Content Via Social Media

You may spend hours researching and creating blog content. Do you dedicate the same amount of time promoting your blog content via social media sites? Copyblogger’s Brian Clark says that social media marketing is the way to distribute blog content and he is right. Facebook has 2 billion monthly visitors, and YouTube has 1.5 million, according to TechCrunch. These numbers demonstrate just how many people you can reach through these sites.  So, if you currently do not promote heavily via social media, that needs to change. Think about your audience demographics to help you determine which platforms to use for distribution of your content. For instance, Snapchat is hugely popular with younger users so if your blog is geared towards the younger generation, then upload content to Snapchat or similar platforms. Plan and organize your social media posts via a social media editorial calendar to help you plan your posts.

#4 Write Guest Posts

Guest posting refers to writing blog posts on someone else's blog. You might wonder how this would benefit you. However, guest posting is an excellent way to increase your website traffic—as long as you do it right. You want to choose blogs that have more traffic and social reach than your own. Also, choose a blog that is in your niche area. So, if your blog is about adventure travel, you could approach your favorite adventure travel bloggers and ask to post to their blog.
Posting on another blogger’s site can bring increased exposure to your blog. It can also establish you as a well-known expert in your niche. Peter and Dalene Heck, who run Hecktic Travels Blog, suggest writing at least one guest post per month. Ask the site’s owner to allow you to post links back to your blog.

#5 Network With Other Bloggers

Andrea Spirov, the blogger behind Inspiring Travellers says that it is important to network with other professionals. He suggests joining online blogging groups. Promote your blog in Facebook groups. You might also try posting in professional writing or blogging forums.

#6 Focus on Design

A well-designed blog will impact traffic. If your site is easy to navigate and intuitive, your readers will spend more time on it. Matthew Kepnes of Nomadic Matt seconds the importance of good design. He admits that he did not put much effort into the design of his blog at first and that it negatively impacted traffic.

#7 Be Authentic and Personal

It is a deep psychological need to connect with others on a personal level. That is what your readers want to do when they read your blog—make a connection. So, be honest and open with your fans. Reach out to them and be a part of their lives. That is what Jeff Goins of Goins, Writer does with his audience. He is transparent and reaches his audience through authentic personal stories. Jeff communicates with fans on their own Facebook feeds. So, go ahead and follow your fans when they follow you. Find a way to make the experience of interacting with your blog more personal.

Tips to Creating an Excellent Blog Post

When everyone is using their blog to get more traffic to their website, it can become truly difficult to stand out. Search engines like Google aren't just looking for quantity anymore, they're looking for quality posts that readers will actually want to click on and even potentially share with their friends. It's worth noting before giving any tips that practically no blog posts go viral — humans simply aren't built to handle an onslaught of new posts each day. That viral goal can always be a hope in the back of your mind, but the more realistic goal should be to create a blog that will add value to the reader's life. Here are just a few tips on how to go giving the visitor more than they bargained for.

1.   Give Your Own Opinion

There is so much information out there that still can't be found online. For example, what you think about things! No matter the topic you're blogging on, whether it's household cleaners or a new brain surgery technique, chances are you have a fresh perspective on it. This is the time to start sharing your opinion before providing actionable steps for the reader. Establish trust with the readers, let them know you're on their level, and then start giving the background they need to know.

Some of the best angles are to address common mistakes you see in your industry. For example, B2B companies likely have a lot to say about how salespeople drive customers away rather than bringing them in. Coffee shop owners can talk about how to overcome slim profit margins on their menu items. There is an art to these types of blog posts so you if you don’t feel qualified, you may want to give the bones of the story to a professional writer and then let them take care of the organization of the blog post so it doesn't come across as rambling or a rant.

2.   Look for Connections

The writers of Freakonomics sold more than 4 million copies of their books because they asked a lot of odd questions, and managed to find some very interesting answers. Most people don't ask what 3rd-grade teachers and sumo wrestlers have in common, but they did. As it turns out, both groups had a propensity to cheat when the incentives were high enough. These types of observations not only say something new, but they're also memorable  due to the obvious contrast.

Larry Kim, founder of Wordstream, scored with his blog by finding new angles on big headlines. For example, when Google updates their search algorithms, it spells good news for some companies and not for others. This was the simple version of the story when the new Panda update came out, but Kim decided to tell the story a little differently. He created a post that focused on how Ebay's traffic specifically went down by 75% right after the new update. He only had to tweak the news a tad before the article was shared across major publications everywhere. 

3.   Start Rethinking Click-Bait

Whether you love click-bait or hate it, it can be a really powerful tool to get the result you want. What you can't do though is rely solely on a sensational title or image. A click-bait post that promises a shocking revelation should connect with the reader on a deeper level, otherwise readers will simply think the site is desperate for attention.

No matter what business you're in, you can likely find a way to spin your stories to make them a little more appealing. For example, a blog post for a pool cleaning service in Florida may get a limited number of clicks if it's about chlorine deposits, but it may get a lot more attention if it's about how one of the pool cleaners found an alligator in an abandoned home's pool. Unusual things happen to us everyday, and it's time to start considering how these events can provide more leverage for your business.

4.   Speaking Directly to the Reader

Too many times readers search about something specific, only to find a blog post that may contain their search words, but no relevant information about what they actually need. The more your content answers the searcher's question, the more likely it is to come up on the first page of a search engine. If you're covering a heavily searched term, like "what is bitcoin" or "how much should I spend on auto insurance", then you need to find ways to make your topic come alive.

You can't predict what everyone needs, but you can decide on an angle that works for you and for those who will visit your site. Humor is often a good way to explain things to people where they actually understand the answer. You can also consider doing something more ambitious, such as an extensive infographic. These will often tackle a particularly complicated topic with careful illustrations designed to direct the reader's eyes from one idea to the next (before they lose interest.)

5.   Start Speaking to Your Niche

No matter how universal your blog posts are meant to be, there will always be certain people who are more interested in the content than others. You can create custom lists on either Facebook or Twitter where your blog post will only be shown to a select group of people. LinkedIn Pulse has hundreds of thousands of readers subscribed to certain niches (e.g., finance, entertainment, etc.) Every time you tag a blog post in that industry, you have an opportunity to get more eyes on your page. Essentially, you can create broader interest when you start micro-customizing your content.

You may also want to consider guest writing on some of your competitor’s websites. The more ways you can reach potential readers, the better. Plus, you may be surprised at just what you can do when you work with your rivals rather than trying to beat them.