Intro To Content Marketing For Designers
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What is Content Marketing?
The basis of content marketing is to publish amazing content on your website that draws people in from all over the web. It’s a sort of antithesis to typical marketing where you’d go out and use billboards/commercials to draw people into your site. But content marketing is much more valuable since it offers real value to your customers. This process isn’t always about making conversions (although that’s important).
Great content marketing should also help craft a brand and help people recognize that your website is full of helpful, free content that goes beyond just business.
Why Content Marketing?
The future of Internet marketing is based on content marketing. There is still value in social media, sponsored posts, and building backlinks for ranking.
But companies don’t often have time for this stuff. And it’s especially true for companies that just want to produce products or sell services with a focus on their work.
Content marketing works so well because it’s attached to the brand. Great content never needs to go anywhere and it’ll always be valuable. Whether the content is produced by a plumbing company or a veterinarian or a freelance welder, the value remains the same.
The Content Marketing Institute is a great resource for more info with examples showing how it’s done right.
But why bother with content marketing? Does it really work that well?
According to a handful of studies many companies see conversions increase by 30%-40% just from consistent content marketing. In the long term this is huge and gathering a lead is a lot easier with a simple content marketing strategy.
But also consider your website’s growth and total traffic. Companies that have a content marketing campaign typically see up to 20% growth in year-over-year traffic numbers.
I don’t have to tell you that driving traffic is the first step to making a sale or generating a lead.
And the beauty is that you just write awesome content and provide value to readers. It’s such a simple process that it seems obvious, yet putting in the work is a different story.
Writing That Adds Value
The best content marketing mixes between sales-y posts along with pure informational posts. You can also break out and write detailed posts with case studies or infographics.
Any company looking to start content marketing needs to launch its own blog. This is the first step and it’s crucial for a great content strategy. From there write awesome content and think about who you’re satisfying.
What’s the target audience for your company? What would they want to read about? Do they have any problems that you could solve with a well-written article?
Target visitor intent to see the best results. Write content around ideas that people might punch into Google.
This could go really broad, like a plumber writing a post to explain how toilets work. But it’s also worthwhile to get deeper, like a post talking about how the toilet handle works or how to best clean toilets, or a list of stuff you shouldn’t put down a toilet.
No topic is too strange for content marketing. If people are looking for an answer and it’s related to your expertise then it belongs in your content marketing strategy.
It can be distilled into many technical areas but there’s really one main answer: add value.
Someone should visit your article and take away value after they’re finished reading. It should improve their knowledgebase and help them understand more about the topic.
If you’re not sure how to start writing then hit Google and punch in some related keywords.
The above search for how do toilets work is a nice example. Google takes a diagram and description from another site and uses this as a card in the results.
If you write helpful content like this you might also get a rich card linking to your site. This usually comes with a higher CTR which drives more traffic to your site.
Look for untapped areas of content and be willing to cover anything. The best content marketing strategies aim to hit everything to make the company website an authority on the subject.
Brand Your Writing
If you’re just writing content without any branding then you’re kinda giving away the cow for free. There’s nothing wrong with offering free information; it’s useful and builds a positive impression of the company.
But one goal of content marketing is to build recognition for the company. You can do this a number of ways like dropping internal links in your posts, or by advertising services/products in the content.
However if you add too much personal branding it can feel like overselling. This is never good because it feels like the stereotypical sleazy used car salesman.
There’s no single method to success and it just takes practice to understand the best techniques. But always make sure the stuff you write is valuable enough to keep people coming back for more.
Take for example this post hosted by the display ad creator Bannersnack.
The post covers how Netflix designs their banners with creativity in mind. It’s a post geared towards anyone designing their own banners, yet it’s published on a banner creation platform.
If existing customers find this post they’re likely to dive in and follow these techniques.
Potential leads may also get curious and sign up for an account. There’s no telling how your articles might convert or who they’ll attract, so you should always use branding appropriately.
Content marketers can also try writing traditional posts for larger blogs. For example Jerry Cao of UXPin wrote an awesome post for TNW which doesn’t directly push UXPin at all.
Granted this may not be considered traditional content marketing. But it is a way to market a company by just writing awesome content.
People can find your name as the author and might check out your company. From there you’ll be seen as an authority to the community since your writing appears on other blogs aside from your own.
This is why it’s important to brand your writing with a certain style.
Let readers know how you write and stay consistent. If you write well and stay consistent you can build a huge audience.
Merging Writing & Design
It’s crucial to design a blog that encourages activity and keeps people glued to the screen. Great content is 90% of the battle, but a poorly-designed blog will never convert well.
It’s usually a good idea to design a blog that matches the company size. Use similar fonts, colors, and layout styles to build a similar branding across the whole domain.
Also be sure to use big text that’s easy to read. You might also try a small pair of free web fonts to see how they work on the blog.
Write in very simple sentences and make paragraphs shorter than usual. Blog writing should not mimic a classic novel.
To break up walls of text you should intersperse graphics, videos, or bulleted lists into the content. This makes it easier for visitors to skim and find info without staring at a bunch of paragraphs cascading down the page.
These may seem like obvious design tips but they make a huge difference. And since content marketing is all about conversions you need to pay attention to the little things.
Content marketing is only the start of a great online marketing campaign. Social media also plays a role along with branding and more advancing methods like native ads.
But content marketing has proven time and again to work wonders if done correctly. Think of it like blogging to build an audience, but instead of just building a blog it’s attached to a company.