Content Marketing Optimisation 101 – Effective use of Social Media.
So…you’ve got a website, and you’re ready to engage your customers with your content marketing strategies.
But in a world where the consumer likes to act fast, how do you keep them engaged once they are there?
Here are ten quick tips for businesses new to content who are looking to optimise their web content as effectively as possible.
There’s no point producing quality content only to make it difficult to find on your website.
You’ll know where all your content is – because you’re looking for it. But remember that most users are unlikely to spend time trawling through your news or feature archive – so get your best, most up-to-date stuff out there on your homepage for people to see.
Remember that the amount of time consumers spend on websites is decreasing – down from 3 minutes and 16 seconds in 2008 to 2 minutes and 49 seconds in 2012, according to SumAll – so offering fresh content is crucial.
This doesn’t mean, though, that your older content has no value. Once you have published new content, think about including links to older related blog posts and articles.
Avoid creating what one content marketing agency, Sticky Content, calls the ‘content bubble’: pages written for the sake of it, with no real goal or purpose.
Keep it simple
Keep it simple – a maxim that applies to both your content and user experience strategies. It’s a good idea to keep content simple – that is to say, offering relatable, human content that people will understand.
And it’s also important to keep the look and feel of your website simple, too. Make sure your site is easily navigable. Make sure it’s clear where everything is. Note that research by Forrester shows that about 50% of potential sales are lost because users can’t find information. And 40% do not return to a site if their first visit is a negative experience. Put yourselves in the shoes of your customer and ask yourself: Is it easy to see where everything sits? Does anything look out of place or incongruous?
Social, social, social
Effective use of social media is where content marketing can really come into its own. Breathe new life into your content by promoting it on social media. Most social media sites are free, so you’ve no reason not to embrace them.
You’d be amazed by what you can achieve with your content on social channels. It’ll give your website content a whole new lease of life.
And as you embrace social platforms, think about embarking on more sophisticated projects. Take a look at this case study showing how Unum, an insurance firm, attracted thousands of new followers on Twitter and enjoyed greater engagement, customers conversation and web traffic by using the platform’s Promoted Tweets package.
Natural search terms
Debate is raging over what search engine optimisation really means in today’s digital landscape. The best, most recent guidance from Google that we have is its Hummingbird update. In summary: search is becoming more sophisticated and nuanced, more responsive to the user.
What it means is that you don’t have to worry about cramming your content with clunky keywords. Hummingbird is saying to brands that original, high-quality content is what works for customers – so produce valuable, human content that people will want to read.
Big slabs of text? No thanks
You’ve just produced a brilliant 1,000-word feature on the benefits to businesses of cloud computing. It’s packed with current stats, features insight from industry experts and you’re hopeful it’ll encourage new customers to sign up to your services. Problem is that it’s a 1,000-word block of formless text dumped on the page.
It sounds really obvious, but you can make a big difference to long-form content just by making some simple changes to how it looks. It’s basic stuff, but think about splitting it into sub-sections, bolding key phrases and condensing heavy statistics into a readable data box.
Let’s be honest, it’s unlikely anyone is going to labour through a dense chunk of text – so make it visually appealing and get people reading.
Never forget the power of an image in boosting the value of content. It can make a massive difference, especially when it comes to long-form and evergreen content, and it’s a good way to make long piece more fluid and dynamic. A study of Fortune 500 websites by go-globe.com found that 63% use high quality images that connect with their users.
As more and more people use their smartphones to enjoy web content, it’s time to start thinking about optimising your site for mobile users. This will be a key priority in the coming years.
If your site isn’t fit to be read on a mobile device, you’ll need to make some major changes. Research by MarginMedia shows that 48% of users who arrive on a business’s site that doesn’t work well on mobile will take it as a sign that the company doesn’t care.
With 62% of companies that designed a website specifically for mobile reporting increased sales (source: Econsultancy), it’s time to go mobile.
If your latest feature links off to another section of your website, have you checked that it actually works properly?
It’s not unusual for this to get missed. What’s the point of getting extra value out of that feature you produced last Christmas only for it to go to a duff link? Conduct a thorough content audit – make sure all links in your content work.
It won’t let me comment
If you’re producing content that has the customer at its heart, don’t exclude them from the conversation. Comment tools are a really useful way of generating further engagement, especially for hot topics.
Ensure you build in a comment facility so that anyone reading your content can contribute to the discussion. While this puts greater demands on you – you could get negative comments – you’re saying to people that you are open and transparent about what you do.