This post originally published September 2015, updated November 2016
It's no secret that building content on your website will lead your business to increased leads and sales.
Content means a lot of things, and the most common way for a business to create content is through blogs or video.
If you aren't writing a weekly blog, your business is tossing an opportunity for great revenue right out the window.
To help you increase your profits, consider the ideas we've written about in this article. But first, let's get specific about just what content is.
The Four Types of Content You Can Create Online
Just the term 'create content' probably scares off some business owners - afterall who has time for that when you're busy running a business?! But let me alleviate your concerns: it's not that bad.
Online content comes in one of four types: text, image, video & audio.
The most common, text, is typically referred to as a blog. This is usually an informational piece (like the one you're reading right now) that explains how to do something or provides some sort of value to the reader. Blogs are also the easiest to decipher for the search engines - making them very valuable for your overall rankings.
I should make sure to mention here that just writing content to be writing (because someone told you that you should) is probably not a good use of your time. There are some "rules" around blogging that will help you make sure you're getting the most out of it. For example, don't write less than 650 words. Don't talk about your business services or features - use the content to help someone solve a problem or teach them something they didn't know about your industry.
"Long form content" - content that's 1500 or even 3000 words is gaining huge traction nowadays. Sure, it's not something you can put together quickly, but longer form content, if it's consistently full of value, will typically tend to outrank similar but less valuable content.
Audio content usually comes in the form of podcasts. These miniature radio shows are usually around a specific topic, and usually have a website with 'show notes' attached. We currently do a podcast called Digi Know which is all about the latest changes in social media. People download the audio files to their listening devices and consume the content at their leisure. The show notes for that are just a text blog with links to each news story.
The fastest growing segment of content creation is certainly video marketing. With more and more people consuming content on mobile devices, video has gained traction like never before. Plus, the number two search engine is YouTube - a site that's all about video! Face it, video can't be ignored. If you do, chances are one of your competitors isn't.
One great way to create video content is by producing webinars - these informational broadcasts can be re-ran over and over or used to create very unique content and premium that people will pay for.
Video is so popular, in fact, that we've added some new video services just to help businesses fill that gap and gain profits from doing it.
Lastly, images. Image creation is the least popular content method - mostly because it isn't something the search engines index very well, if at all. Examples of image content include infographics, memes and other images that have 'shareable' characteristics.
The great thing is that all of these types of content can be multi-purposed. For instance, you could create a product demo video that could also be turned into text. Same for interviewing a vendor - turn the video into something for your YouTube channel, use the audio as a podcast link, and have someone transcribe the content into a blog post.
Create a Sales Funnel
A lot of businesses use their content as a way to report the latest industry trends to their audience.
Instead, they should use it as a marketing tool to garner subscribers and grow the size of their audience. The more people they engage and interact with via their content, the more leads they have and ultimately the higher their potential for conversions.
Once a user visits a page on your site (because they have an interest in the content), many businesses will offer the visitor something of value absolutely free of charge in exchange for their visitor's email address.
For example, it is not uncommon to offer an industry-related eBook for free if the visitor enters their email address. Then the business has the opportunity to further engage the visitor with an email newsletter.
And why did the user choose to visit your site and give you their information in the first place? That’s right, the content you created!
Content Helps Increase Your Organic Rankings in Two Ways
Creating content is of course a great way to help your website climb in the search engine results pages. If your competition doesn’t have a blog or their blog is pretty weak, creating content regularly will help you overtake them. Blog posts are yet another opportunity to add keywords to your site, but this isn’t the biggest value.
Content on your blog will also help attract back-links – one of Google's many metrics in determining the relevancy of your website.
There is just one caveat: to gain quality organic back-links, your content is going to need to be high quality. It is going to need to help educate your audience, solve their problems, or provide them value in some way.
Building Trust with Your Audience
Trust is a huge factor in any purchasing decision. For example, you probably wouldn’t purchase an automobile from a salesman wearing cargo shorts, sandals, and a ratty old Iron Maiden t-shirt because his appearance wouldn’t seem genuine. You also wouldn't ask a girl or guy to marry you on the first date - you've got to build trust.
To build trust, it is a good idea to create content for your visitors that doesn’t include a sales pitch. If you try to sell to your visitors multiple times on every page they visit, you might lose trust and come off as sales-desperate or spammy. This is probably one of the most difficult things for a business owner to do - write content without promoting themselves!
Borrow Trust from Other Industry Resources
Even if your blog is fairly new and your burgeoning audience is still finding it difficult to trust your company, product, or service, you can point to other industry-related resources to help validate your offer.
For example, if you sell air conditioning units and the EPA just rated one of the models you sell to be the best energy efficient model to date, you can reference (link to) the EPA to “borrow” the trust your audience has in the EPA. This is a great way to become more credible to new prospective customers and visitors to your site. The more trustworthy you appear, the larger your audience will grow which will help drive conversions.
Other trust factors include logos such as the BBB, site secure logos and awards from well-known organizations.
Answer Customer Questions
In almost every industry, there are frequently asked questions about products and services because the customer is in part not fully educated about the offer. If you can establish your business as the go-to resource for answering common questions and problems, you will be able to reach more people and cast yourself as an authority figure in your market.
This should not be overlooked. It's a HUGE way to grow your sales.
If a customer doesn’t fully understand your product or service, they may not realize the value of what you are offering and in turn you will miss out on sales. By answering customer questions and helping customers understand your product better, your sales will increase.
A few tips here - make sure that each topic or FAQ is addressed on its own post. This will keep you from confusing the search engines as to what your content is about, and give you more overall content/pages on your site.
Secondly, along with your frequent asked questions, create a list of should ask questions - those questions that your customer doesn't know they need to ask, but should. These SAQ's will solidify your reputation to the reader as a true expert (thus increasing your trust).
Gated Content Can Multiply Your Marketing Efforts
In addition to free content on your blog, you can also offer gated content - content that's behind a pay wall or other system where they can't see it unless they're part of a special group or membership. This technique is a powerful way to multiply your marketing efforts and increase sales.
Some websites require users to take some form of action with social media tools before that content can be accessed. For example, before a user can download a free eBook, you may require that they share or like your page on Facebook before the content is available for download. In turn, your business will be shared and seen by everyone in the visitor’s social media circles, which puts your business’s offer in front of more eyes. By reaching more people, you have a much larger opportunity to increase sales.
Other content, like the webinars I mentioned above, can be produced only for people who have given you their email address. This content builds trust, provides value, and ultimately builds your bottom line because you're perceived as the expert.
Yes, Content is Still King
As this year winds to an end and a new one starts, the old adage of Content is King is still true. Taking the time to create valuable information for your website visitors will help you grow your business, your email list, and ultimately your bottom line.
PS.. If you'd like to get the most out of your content, make sure to download my newly updated blogging checklist. This free content will help you optimize every blog post so that you'll get the most exposure possible.