Many small business owners are frustrated with the lacklustre performance of their website. They understand that results from Yellow Pages, newspaper and magazine ads have diminished, radio spots no longer do the trick… They know that the Internet is supposed to outshine the marketing tools from the last millennium. But it's just not happening.
The good news is that it's not a great mystery. If you think about it, old school marketing worked because your message was placed in the path of many eyes and ears. Newspapers and magazines captured the eyes of readers by publishing content their readership looked forward to receiving regularly. Radio stations worked hard at delivering audio content that commanded a large audience. The ‘advertising' model capitalized upon the traffic content publishers had built. That model has transferred very successfully to the web. Pay per click advertising, paid directory listings, banner ads and affiliate marketing strategies have become the Internet equivalents. Like their predecessors, these channels place advertising in the path of visitors to popular websites. Similarly, web advertising can be very expensive and you are again wholly dependent upon the content published by others. You stop paying for ads and you can become invisible within hours or days. Most of us have become adept at ignoring banners and AdWords links on the websites we visit.
For most businesses, there is a much better way. The old adage, publish or perish, is the embodiment of ‘what's working' for most small businesses that are kicking ass and taking names online. Yet, when I recommend content marketing or publishing to most clients, in my consultations, I am generally met by a volley of objections and excuses. Aren't SEO's (search engine optimization professionals) supposed to be able to get sites into the top rankings without writing copy for web pages and posts and social media? Google's algorithm updates have come down very hard on ‘tricks' like contrived linking schemes. Rumour has it that automated social media posts are now in Google's radar. Google wants fresh, quality content.
So why not just write some great content every week? It's generally the least expensive way to get traffic. Ad clicks tend to deliver unqualified, tepid traffic, driving up your site's bounce rate (visitors click out as fast as they clicked in) and costs.
When you control the message, you control the response. Publishing your own content and managing your social presence puts you in the driver's seat. Here's the good news. Content marketing doesn't have to be a chore or make you uncomfortable. You don't have to attend classes to become a writer. Agencies like ours will leverage your company's story, its news and information in the pages of your site, your blog and across social channels. A good content marketing agency doesn't work within the walls of their clients' businesses, so they will need to be ‘content partners' with you, but they can take over the bulk of the work, leaving you to do what you do best.