Editor’s note: No matter where you do business, marketers share the same challenges and can often solve them with the same solutions. Here Cristian Rennella and Hernán Amiune, co-founders of elMejorTrato.com, a company focused on technological growth in Latin America, share the results of content marketing best practices we can all put to work – no matter where in the world you are.
We hear so much about content marketing; it’s easy to assume that everyone is doing it. But if you analyze the Internet presence of a range of companies, from small local ones to large multinational ones, you’ll be surprised to learn that for many, the only thing they do for content marketing is to maintain a blog.
Let me be clear: There is nothing wrong with blogs. The problem lies in all the opportunities you miss out on, if you think that content marketing is simply about dedicating a space on your website to publish articles.
This is how we entered the world of content marketing eight years ago. We were doing what everyone else was at the time. But since then, the context around us has completely changed. If the only thing you have now is a blog, you are years behind your competition.
Our company is focused on technological growth in Latin America, and we needed to find ways to reach our audience. We began by trying new things to discover what would work, and we went from zero to 21.5 million visitors in our most recent year. I would like to share four content marketing lessons that helped us get there:
1. You are the expert. Give separate, detailed answers to all of your client’s questions.
The first change that you can implement in your company relating to content marketing to understand that you and your team, are 100 more times familiar with the issues in your particular industry, solely based on the fact that you are working all day in it. You are uniquely qualified to answer people’s questions about their issues and pains.
We see lots of FAQs, but too often they present simple questions and poor quality answers. You can take advantage of this and develop a section on your website that addresses this opportunity with answers that showcase your expertise.
An example of someone who did this with huge success is MOZ, who developed a Q&A Forum which models how to do this well:
We learned from them and created our own section of questions and answers, which today accounts for 27% of the traffic on our company’s website. The potential for this strategy is noteworthy.
- Try to have each question answered by an expert within your company who specializes in the topic. Over time, this investment will be very fruitful as it is quality content in natural language – very good for SEO.
- The comments should be audited one by one. Don’t leave this area on your site with no control, because it can be abused by spam or trolls.
- Use headshots of your experts to make the communication more personal.
2. Develop content designed to educate your potential clients.
This is an aspect that has completely changed the world of the Internet, especially in the area of online marketing. Notice how, after you visit a new online start-up, you will see how afterwards they follow you all over the web by way of retargeting. Not as a means to close the sale, but to give you added value through a guide, eBook, or online seminar. They are trying to position themselves as a trusted resource and gain your awareness of their brand. Done well, this works.
One example of this is Return Path, who offers you a guide for protecting your email from corporate fraud after visiting their site. Here’s how they use Facebook as a channel to reach people who have shown interest elsewhere:
One more example, this time from Twitter, is WordStream, which offers a free toolkit to teach you copywriting.
Again, the goal of this type of content marketing is for the user to become aware of your brand and to learn about your services. Basically, you are giving them a way to experience your knowledge about your industry and showing that you are a reliable expert, which will grow their trust in you.
On average, 96% of the visitors to your website have yet to make a decision, so this early stage is not the place to try to close the sale. The intent of this kind of action is to develop a relationship with the user so that when the moment comes for them to make a decision, you’re a known, trusted quantity and they will think of you first.
3) Be the owner of your own online reputation.
Between social media and online review aggregators, your company’s reputation is often in the hands of a third party service, such as Yelp or Trustpilot.
But you can adopt and adapt that model and create an opportunity for content marketing within your own company.
Take Beepi, a new start-up that seeks to change the traditional way of buying and selling cars. They developed a section specifically for this kind of strategic content marketing called “Beepi Love!.”
Beepi puts a bow on every car they deliver to its new owner, and they make delivery a fun event. They capture it with pictures and text, and it functions very much like a review page, but Beepi controls the content. You will see there are not only pictures and text, but also videos of other users, like you, who share their experiences using the service.
4) Tell your own story.
You keep hearing about how important it is to tell stories, yes? I recommend that you find a way to tell your own story (ups, downs, successes, errors, etc.).
Alex Turnbull, founder and CEO of Groovehq, has done an admiral job of this for years in his section called Startup Journey:
Here’s an article in which he shares his return on investment for all the time, energy, and money that he has put into creating the Groove blog.
I became aware of Groovehq thanks to their content, where I learned about their history and experiences, and got to know the company. This is the reason why our company currently uses their software for customer service!
Another interesting point of reference is Zapier, who also shares their work experiences and lessons learned.
Content marketing today is much more than blogging, and with a little creativity you will be able to differentiate yourself greatly from your competition.
Some of that differentiation should come in quality. Content is too important to not make it the best you can do, and there is already too much irrelevant information on the Internet. You can’t afford to either get lost in the deluge of mediocrity or get outshone by a competitor’s content.
Focus first on creating a relationship with your user – not on sales. If your content serves people, they will identify with you, your brand, and services over the long term.
Your payoff could be as mind-boggling as ours.
Marketing teams are producing more content than ever, working closely with editorial teams, and pumping out blog posts – all to attract more potential buyers to their web properties. In this new digital landscape, writers and content marketers are key players in the search optimization equation, but most don’t yet know the rules of the SEO road. Download Act-On’s free guide, “How to Make Any Content SEO-Friendly,” and learn 3 steps to optimize your content for search.