Email Marketing: Storytelling that Drives Engagement
Storytelling in Email Marketing When it comes to driving engagement and conversions with email marketing, storytelling techniques are some of the...
Ready to tackle inbound marketing? Great! Here’s your first lesson: content is king. Whether you want to drive leads to your landing pages and forms, convert your audience, or build brand awareness, you’re going to need strong content to achieve your goals. Lucky for you, we’re pretty well versed in website messaging and creation, so if you’re here to learn, get ready, we’re going to teach you everything we know.
If you’re ready to start writing right now, save your energy! Let’s pull back on the reins for just a moment. Creating website messaging without a plan quickly turns into a mess of content pieces that are lacking one important factor or another, whether it’s a coherent idea or a clear goal, you need to think about what you want from your content before you start creating it. This is how every great content strategy is born! No matter where your content is going to end up, think about what you want your reader to do. This will help you stay on track.
From there, think about what’s going to be useful to your reader. What’s going to make them share it with a friend or colleague and say “check this out, I didn’t know this before?” Being helpful and relatable to your audience makes you look like a thought leader in your industry, and people are always more willing to do business with a brand that they trust.
Now that you know how to build a strategy, you can think about writing. We’ll begin where each of your visitors will typically be introduced to your brand and your website — your homepage.
This is the place where you have the most opportunity to gain (and lose) your audience, so you need to choose your words wisely. People on the internet are impatient, so you literally only have a few seconds to give them a reason to stay. Convince and convert your audience with a message that’s short and to the point. Highlight the important aspects of your business that are going to matter most to your audience and save the finer details for the rest of your website. Your goal is to make sure people understand who you are and what you do, while also giving them a reason to read more.
Once you get them past the home page, they’ll most likely land on one of the subpages of your site to learn more about the specific services or products you offer. This is where you can paint the picture of why your business is the right choice, and if you create your content around the best practices for inbound marketing, you’ll be able to drive traffic to these pages as well. These content creation standards are what search engines are looking for when they crawl your site to determine what your page is about.
One main thing you’ll need is a keyword. This is a term that you identify, (like “website messaging,”) to write about that relates to what your audience is talking about and looking for. Not sure how to find that information? Talk to your sales team. They’re the ones who are face to face with your audience the most. You can also choose a keyword by researching them with tools like Google Trends, keyword.io, and Moz.
Once you’ve found one to use for your page or post, follow these steps to help your content be seen in search results. Here’s what you’ll want to do:
With the right keyword, these guidelines will help you create smart inbound content for your site that people will be able to find.
Part of a good content strategy for your website messaging is also making sure your content can all flow together and fit with your brand. It’s all well and good to create content with a strategy, but if Joe from sales writes a piece in business jargon that is hard to understand, and your new marketing intern writes a punchy, conversational piece, it’s going to sound disjointed when visitors are checking out your content.
The solution? Create a copy style guide. This is a document that anyone who writes anything for your brand will follow. This guide should be law, and for good reason. Not only do you want to keep your voice the same, but little things like grammar style should be the same throughout your site. Despise the Oxford comma? This is where you make sure everyone knows. Readers notice more than you think, and it doesn’t take much to make a bad impression. Get the debate settled on how to spell e-commerce now and document it, so your whole team knows what to use.
Once you make your website glow with all your fresh content, the next step is to create a blog for your business. Don’t panic, your plan for creating blog posts doesn’t need to be as tedious as you think. And there’s no way around it either. A blog is a key part of an inbound content strategy. While at first, it might look like just a ton of work, your blog is going to drive traffic and leads to your site.
You can get started in just a few days, too with just a few steps to set up and make sure your blog is doing the most for your brand. Before you start writing you’ll want to nail down your domain name, blog platform, design theme, visibility plan and analytics tools. Each of these will help you start your business blog off on the right foot.
Like we said before, blogs drive traffic. Who doesn’t want more visitors to their site? Your blog is available to your audience 24/7 and allows you to stay top of mind with your customer base. These benefits all come from putting together a post at least once a month about what you know how to do best. That doesn’t sound that hard, right?
Of course, even though we highly recommend it, you can’t just throw content on your site and expect it to be successful. Blogging for business requires a “why” and a defined audience. Who are you going to help and what is your goal? Asking yourself these questions will help you form a better initial strategy for your blog.
Once you have everything put together, start creating a strategy for how you want to create your content, and what you want to write about. Think about your audience and do your research! What are these people talking about? What answers do they need? Use your blog as a space to prove that you can back up the services you provide with smart industry knowledge. This is going to help people who read your posts trust your content.
Knowing what your audience wants will help you find strong keywords that will push the right traffic to your site. Follow our best blogging practices, and then when you have a few posts up, you can measure their performance and capitalize on what’s working the best.
If you’re still having trouble figuring out what to write about, don’t worry, everyone deals with this. Figuring out how to talk to your audience can be difficult, but there are a number of steps you can take to determine ideas that will hit home with your readers. First, if you can’t determine what it is that they’re talking about, ask them. Talk to you current customers and find out what their questions are about your industry. If you can’t talk to them, like we’ve mentioned before, find your sales team and get their opinion.
Don’t be afraid to look into what your competition is doing either, use it as an opportunity to see how your audience is already being spoken to. You can also try reading industry-related books, recruiting a guest blogger who could provide a unique insight, or checking out a few of our favorite B2B blogs for inspiration.
You don’t have to love writing to create content for your blog. You don’t even have to have a dedicated content person creating posts for you, all you need is a strong understanding of your industry, your audience, and some basic writing tips to help you create awesome, shareable content.
Good content shows and doesn’t tell, so try using active language whenever you’re writing to keep your reader engaged with the point you’re trying to make. Instead of filling your post with jargon that only you understand, apply it to real-world situations that your customers might find themselves in. Less is more. Focus on keeping your reader engaged so that they want to explore the rest of your site over making them think you’re super smart.
If someone visiting your site is looking at your blog, what’s going to make them click and read your post? Most likely it will be the title. Create a header that will make visitors wonder what your post is all about. Your readers will typically see it five times in your post, so you need to make sure it hooks people.
Sometimes, this can be the hardest part. How do you create a great headline? Think about it this way. If you have a keyword, you’re already part of the way there. Make sure your keyword is included to follow best SEO practices. Good headlines are also short and sweet. You’ll want to try and avoid sounding like click-bait as well. Be engaging, but don’t make it sound like you are promising riches on the other side. Good headlines encourage engagement by posing a question, utilizing “How to,” and using action words and verbs.
If you remember anything about the writing tips we’ve given you, remember this — you have to proofread your work. Anything you write will instantly be discredited if it’s riddled with typos. Part of creating content is to establish trust with your readers, and you’re never going to win your hand if you leave in painfully obvious typos. Work with someone on your team to edit your posts before they go live, or use an online editing tool like Grammarly to help you catch the little mistakes you might overlook.
A picture is worth a thousand words, and having one included in your blog post can make a big difference. Not only does it look better, but content that has an image also receives 94 percent more traffic than content without. How do you find a photo? While you could run out and take a photo yourself or have a designer create one, you can also use stock photo sites to find the image that carries the message within your post. Stock photo sites range from free to paid and allow you to search through their immense libraries to find the perfect picture. You just have to know what you’re looking for.
Try finding photos that take what you’re saying to the next level to aid in your reader’s understanding. If you’re writing about inbound marketing, having a picture of turtles isn’t going to be very effective, but a team of people strategizing around a table could be.
With an image, you can also boost your SEO strategy. Every time you use an image, you should include your keyword as an alt-tag. This way, when search engines crawl your site, they’ll understand what your post is about better.
Now that you’ve put content together, the next step is to share it. Social media is your friend when it comes to putting eyes on your blog, so you need to have at the very least a Twitter account. Curating content on social is your path to prove to your customers that you’re a thought leader. However, you don’t want to only share your content. Stick to the 80/20 rule — 80 percent of your content should actually be outside of your organization. Look at other industry thought leaders and share pieces that relate to what you’re talking about in your content. You can also find these pieces through tools like Google Alerts and creating lists on Twitter. Then, 20 percent of your shares should be your own to create a variety of content in your feed.
On top of social, you can also use third-party sites to give your content a wider reach. LinkedIn and Medium are great places where you can repost your blogs. You probably already have an account on LinkedIn and a decent amount of followers — there’s an instant audience.
Medium allows you to share your content with people who are specifically looking for pieces around the topic you’re writing about, so you’ll automatically be finding people who want to hear what you have to say. With both of these, whenever you repost your content, make sure that you link back to your site to drive your readers back to your brand.
In the future, you’ll have a strong batch of content that you’ll be able to share and reference throughout social and on your website. Once you reach this point, it’s important to go back through your content and do an audit to ensure that your blog is covering everything your audience is looking for. An audit will help you see opportunities within the holes in the topics you’ve already covered. You’ll also be able to make your blog a more coherent place for your readers to come and learn about a topic.
Think of your audit like a yearly check-up for your website. An audit will help your team realign your website messaging to improve the amount of value you provide with your content.
As you consistently produce content, your blog is going to grow, and over time you might find that some of your content is no longer relevant. Or you might want to eliminate content that didn’t perform as well as you thought it would. Sometimes from the result of an audit, you might find pieces that you question are worth having on your site. This is where it might be beneficial to simply delete the post. Of course, deleting doesn’t have to be your only option. You could also look into repurposing the content or recycling it with a fresh idea. It can be hard to let go of something you worked hard on, but removing it will help improve the overall quality of your blog and allow it to clearly communicate to your readers.
Ready to create your website messaging? Remember to be clear about what you do and how it solves your audiences’ problems, and you’ll be able to create content that visitors will relate to and engage with. You can learn more about the topics we talked about in the articles below.
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