Hi I'm Sophie, I've spent the majority of my career coming up with content ideas and seeing them through to production and delivery in both print and online/email marketing. I wanted to talk to you today about why content is important in a marketing mix, especially as many people I speak to seem to think that social media is what they should be focusing on when we talk about web marketing. While I agree that building awareness through social media is important, content on your sales channel that is just as if not more valuable.
Social media should (among other things) be a tool to point people back to your domain where you can convert visitors into customers. If you're only telling people to go to your domain to BUY BUY BUY they're probably going to ignore your request or god forbid, unfollow you. (Queue 'the scream' emoji and dramatic music.)
A good mix of story telling, community spirit and subtle sales tactics is what builds rapport and creates advocates on social media, and the best way to tell your story is often with longer posts, series of pictures and videos which don't all resinate on every social media platform (who of us can be bothered to read long Instagram descriptions, click through to images on Twitter or watch videos via Facebook?).
Keep the good stuff on your domain and it will work for you over and over again. Here's 10 ways (I can think of today) that good quality content will benefit your business and give major ROI or ROT (return on time if you create it yourself!).
I'm starting with the obvious, but the reason we all added blogs to ecommerce websites all those years ago wasn't because we turned into selfie-taking self-publicists (OK maybe we did that too), it was because Mr Google told us he likes regular updates, keyword rich text and QUALITY content, and if we give it to him he will rank us higher when people search for those keywords. There are several ways to optimise your content for search engines, some weighted higher than others - more on the how to's of that at a later date.
I've printed off our previous blog post and highlighted everything that is 'optimised' to bring in searches for our keywords. I could teach you, but I'd have to charge. Only joking, there's a link to a post on how to do it at the bottom of this post. But as a quick example, i think its quite useful to see what is working for us, as in marketing the business for us while we get on with everything else.
- uses seasonal food for most current foodie interest
- keywords are threaded through the text
- post tagged with keywords
- the image is tagged with keywords and recipe ingredients for image searches
- inbound links to products used
- inbound links to more value-giving content
- option to share to social buttons
- get connected newsletter sign up below
- social buttons at the bottom
You can also see that we shared it on Instagram and had a good reaction with quite a few comments.
2. It makes you look good
When you take time to write about what you do it shows that you are passionate and invested in your work. People don't just buy products off shelves any more - we all want a bit more authenticity and provenance from suppliers - especially in the food sector. Adding blogs, photos and videos creates interest, invites conversation (and sharing) and nurtures loyalty.
3. It promotes you as a potential partner or feature
It's not only potential customers who will appreciate your efforts - industry and supermarket buyers, press and potential suppliers/collaborators will be much better equipped and more likely to make the decision to work with you if you've already shown them that you can tell your story well and get your ass in gear to create content that will make their jobs or a joint venture easier and quicker to promote.
4. It keeps things interesting
You want your website visitors to come back again right? Give them a reason to - new products, new ways to use existing products, new videos, new collabs - as consumers we love 'new' nearly as much as we love 'free', new content does the trick too. And on that note...
5. It gives you an excuse to email your database
Who enjoys getting emails from companies who are SELL SELL SELL? Me neither. Email people with news and beautiful images, links to watch a video about your new product or a quick 'how to' or recipe blog and they'll be much more likely to a, open it and b, click through to your website. And by the way, lengthy newsletters are dead - email little and often with only a couple of topics in just a few paragraphs. Aint nobody got time for hefty emails.
Behind the scenes stuff always peaks interest - our 'tricks of the trade' email had a higher than average response, we think down to the bold images and short, punchy intro encouraging readers to click through for more.
6. Content can be repurposed
You've put the time and/or money into creating your content - work it. Repurpose it as a press release, email subject (see above), drip feed images or quotes from it to your social feeds, use it in your next leaflet or event/point of sale materials, turn it into a PDF brochure for potential trade clients/collabs, submit it to other websites and bloggers for them to share. And that leads us nicely on to...
7. Your social feeds will shine
With pressure on businesses to post to their social platforms daily (especially for food companies on Instagram, we NEED to know what you're eating for breakfast and how good your coffee is!) the content is often 'day-to-day' or lack luster.
Don't get me wrong - real is good and telling the whole story (not to be confused with the whole truth) of your brand makes it authentic and sincere - exactly what your social feed should be. However, a few more-considered posts dotted about, with beautiful images or videos, will give your feeds a more cohesive look and push your brand further. We are fickle online - pretty gets you far, people will share, tag and follow beautiful feeds 'just because'. With professional photography you could get started on Pinterest if you haven't already.
Your content plan should ensure that your social feeds have the right mix of-
- story telling/behind the scenes, day-to-day snaps
- sales/product info
- community spirit - support local charities, tag your neighbouring stallholder at an event, say 'thank you' with giveaways etc
- domain drivers - push traffic to your website with snippets of content, recipes, blog posts etc
Web links back to your domain surrounded by lovely keywords will make Mr Google happy again too. Especially if people comment on or share the post - the more engagement a post has the stronger the links back to your website - think of it as a thread of cotton that can become a piece of string or even a rope linking back to your website - the more impressions and engagement, the stronger the thread. This all adds to your SEO. Let's not get onto hash tagging today.
See how we work Instagram.
8. YouTube is the new Facebook (apparently?)
But my point is this, if you're making videos you'll need to publish them somewhere - a YouTube channel is another stage for your business. I won't pretend to know heaps about YouTube (other than there's a LOT of competition on there, mainly from teenagers who have some how become experts at everything. Probably via YouTube) but there's another link back to your website and when you embed the videos on your site there's another one. More links - and again the same is true, the more people watch it, the stronger the link becomes and more Google pays attention.
Vids don't have to be too long or techy, just show what you do and describe it well then link back with an imbed on your site. This is a time laps from our last food styling workshop.
9. More visibility through image searches
Every image you include in your content should be optimised to come up in searches for both the keywords and image searches (through meta, alt description, image name etc) . Images are key to recipe hunters - what do you get from a text list on google when you search 'blueberry cheesecake'? Does it make your mouth water? The better your images the more likely they'll get shared - Pinterest pins are well worth the investment for food businesses.
Basically what you're doing with high quality content is surrounding your website with inbound and outbound links, like a spiders web funnelling traffic back to you. And if you build it, Mr Google will come (and hopefully bring his hungry friends). And the more you do, the easier it gets and the more it gains it's own momentum.
Oh and of course your high quality content will help you build a high quality, engaged audience and turn more of your website visitors into customers.
And 10! It could be the start of something beautiful.
If you're going to put your time or money into content marketing (and therefor SEO and social media) you better make sure your website is pulling it's weight and will enable you to get all these extra benefits.
- Does it lead visitors along a clear path to make an easy decision to buy?
- Are you capturing email addresses to build a marketing list?
- Has it been built by a web designer, or a web designer with commerce (or your industry) experience?
- Does everything load quickly?
- Are you hooked up to Analytics to see where your traffic comes from, how long people stay with you and what pages they leave from?
- Do you know what your keywords are?
- Does it cover your FAQ's? Does it tell people what they'll (probably, based on your face-to-face experiences) most enjoy hearing about your business?
Do this. Then work out your overall marketing strategy, do a content plan and make some magic. If any of that sounds daunting, drop us a line, we'd be happy to help. Contact.
You might find these posts useful too - if the links don't work I'm still writing it sorry!
Thanks for reading! Hope you've found this useful, Sophie :)