Get to know all the basics of Content Marketing and why is it the most important element for the growth of your business in our latest video.
This week, The Fastnet Agency founder Sarah is taking a look at content marketing in more detail, including…
• The Do’s and Don’ts of content marketing
• Simple steps to create a plan you’ll actually stick to
• Why content matters when it comes to appearing in Google search results
• Smart ways to save time when it comes to your social activity
“Okay, so let’s talk content marketing. Now, content marketing can be pretty confusing and pretty overwhelming, especially when you’ve got a business to run, and your day to day operations to deal with.
You know, it’s difficult knowing what to post…Search engines are always a bit of a minefield… You know, it can be really easy to feel completely overwhelmed when it comes to content marketing and therefore do nothing, which is the very worst thing you can do when it comes to growing your ecommerce brand.
So don’t panic! In this video I’m going to show you exactly why content marketing is going to be a game changer for your business.
And I’m going to share with you some really good tips and strategies to make sure that this isn’t an overwhelming process, that you’ve got a plan that you can stick to, and that the way you engage in that plan is as efficient as possible.
Okay, so I’m going to show you how to research your topics and create bingeable content that your audience will love and how to do this in a way that is strategic and is easy to produce, so you could get the maximum out of your content while spending the minimum amount of time producing it.
So for the best advice about how to grow your online brand quickly and profitably, subscribe to my videos, ring the bell, we post a new video every Thursday.
I’m Sarah, I’m founder of the Fastnet Agency, and we help fun, ambitious, up-and-coming ecommerce brands to scale their sales online. So follow me for more great videos about how to grow your ecommerce brand. So content marketing.
Now this will mainly focus on the top of the funnel, and the middle of the funnel, mainly the top. If you want to know more about what I mean when I refer to the top, middle or bottom of the funnel, then check out this video all about how to build out your ecommerce funnel for your business.
Now, content marketing is looking to do two key things. Now the first thing, and in many ways the most important thing, is it’s looking to build trust and rapport with your audience.
This is all about offering really good value, this is all about making sure that your audience understand that you know what you’re talking about, that you’re an expert in your sector, that you’re trustworthy, and that you’re going to give them really good value with your products and your services.
So that is the number one reason why content marketing is so effective and the reason why it’s just such a game- changer when businesses really nail this as part of their marketing strategy. Now, the other reason why content marketing is so important is because Google, and other search engines, love content.
They’re always trying to make sure that the brands that they’re promoting, or the websites that they’re promoting on search engines are genuine and legitimate, and the best possible search results for their users.
One of the ways that they do that is to promote brands that are regularly pushing out good, valuable content because they believe that that gives their users the best possible experience. Think of it from Google’s point of view – Google wants to produce results when people do a search and if you are helping them to produce those results by producing really good content that answers questions that people are asking, then Google is going to naturally favour you, it makes sense.
There’s complicated algorithms behind it, but the actual principle really makes sense. So when you’re producing this content, it’s going to help your website to appear higher in search engines and get more traffic to your website.
Now I’m not going to lie, content marketing is time consuming, but it could be a really good strategy if you don’t have the money for paid advertising, and even if you do have the money for paid advertising, you definitely want to have a content marketing strategy that runs alongside that.
Because content marketing is constantly building your authority online, it’s constantly adding to your weight in Google and constantly allowing you to move ahead of your competitors in terms of where you’re ranking online , and how strong your social following is, and all of these other metrics that really help us to scale our sales.
So whilst content marketing is time consuming, it is definitely worth your time and will pay off dividends in the long run. So a few ‘do’s and don’ts’ before we dig into the details here, we’ll start with the don’ts…. Do not aim for perfection. Okay, aim for good, aim for great… Do not aim for perfection. You’ll never get there, it will just mean that you don’t do it.
So making sure that you stick to the plan and you push out content when you plan to push out content is more important than absolute perfection. So just bear that in mind, otherwise you’ll never get anywhere. Second ‘don’t’ is don’t hide behind your business.
People like to buy from people. So many people want to hide behind their brand, hide behind their business, when actually the best thing they could do is to put themselves out there, speak directly to their customers, get in front of the camera, show more personal aspects of their characters, show what the team is up to… That can be some really valuable stuff in terms of content marketing.
So don’t try and hide just behind your business, try and think a little bit more outside of the box and how your customers can engage directly with you. Now first ‘do’ – do get clued up on the keywords that your customers are searching for in order to find products like yours or brands like yours.
And do get clued up on the sort of hashtags you need to use as well. So with all of these things we’re trying to work to an algorithm, whether you’re looking at being found on social media or you’re looking to be found on Google, it’s all about the algorithm, and the algorithm is focused on finding certain metrics. Keywords and hashtags are a lot about the metrics that you’ll be looking at.
I’m going to do a video specifically on keyword research, I’m going to do another one specifically on hashtag research, so keep an eye out for those, but just bear in mind that those metrics are going to have an awful lot to do with this success of your content marketing.
Another ‘do’ – do have fun with this! The more fun you can have in producing your content, the more that’s going to come across to your end user and the more engaging that’s going to be. So don’t be too uptight.
Don’t be too serious. Make sure that what you’re producing is valuable but also inject a bit of personality into it. It is really important, and it’s going to help give your content the edge. And finally, do produce a system that you can follow consistently.
Consistency is a big part of the algorithms that both Google use, and the social media channels use. So it’s important from that perspective because it will help you gain authority with those platforms, which will allow them to promote your content more.
But also it builds a trust, a natural trust with your audience. If you say you’re going to put something out every week, and you do, that naturally inspires a degree of trust. If you consistently show up in your feed, then that inspires trust. It’s all about building that trust and rapport with your audience, and consistency is key to that.
Okay, so Step One in developing your content marketing, I always start with a video or a blog post. Plan these first. These are your main, long-form pieces of content that contain loads of value. You should be posting these on your site at least once a month. If you could do it twice a month, brilliant. If you do it once a week, even better.
The more you can do this the better, but the main thing is consistency. If you don’t think you can keep it up, posting once a week, then just post once a month. You’re better off posting consistently than you are posting ad-hoc.
Now we’ve already mentioned about keyword research, this is really important in producing your blog post. You want to make sure that you understand the sort of keywords that people are searching for, and also the sort of questions that they’re asking.
Now, a really good tool for this can be ‘Answer The Public’. Answer The Public takes a look at all of the questions that people asking around a certain topic. And then you can take that individual topic, look at the questions people are asking and produce a blog post answering each of those questions, which is a really good way to start structuring your content.
Another great resource is Google’s keyword planner, and Ubersuggest as well. They are all great resources for seeing how many people are searching for individual keywords.
So a great tip with knowing what to write about, because one of the biggest things I always get from clients is ‘I don’t know what to right’… ‘I don’t have a clue what to write’… ‘I can’t write a blog post every month’… ‘I’ve just run out of ideas’, and actually, if you’re strategic about it, you should have so many ideas that will never get through them.
Now the way I do this is to take what I call a ‘pillar piece’ of content, which is normally a main keyword.
Say you sell ski gear, for example, you sell various ranges of ski gear, you’re a ski shop. If we start with the idea of ski boots, for example, there might be an entire article all about how you should fit your ski boot.
You could have an entire article about what ski boots suit what type of skiing, you could have an article about the various different ski boot manufacturers on the marketplace and a little bit more about them…
So you can see there, just from one very individual item, we’ve got three individual blog posts there, and I’m sure that if I put ski boots and to Answer The Public there’d be loads of questions that people are asking about ski boots that you can then tap into and write blog posts specifically answering those questions.
Now, one of the most important things about doing this, & one of the reasons why this is such a successful way of doing it is not only does it make it easy to come up with content ideas, but it also makes your content bingeable, so if somebody is genuinely looking at buying a pair of ski boots and you write a really comprehensive article about the best fitting techniques, they’re then much more likely to go onto the next article about what type of ski boot you need for the different types of skiing, for example, because they’re in the marketplace, they’re looking to buy this particular purchase, and so if you then produce articles around that, they’re much more likely to stay on your site for longer, read more of your content, that all the time is building trust & authority… makes them more likely to buy from you.
Now, if you’re not great at writing, but you’ve got a really good knowledge of your topic, as I’m sure you do, then you could you could look at doing a video, a to-camera piece, and this is a great way of building out trust & authority, getting people to know you & like you, and also to give an understanding of your topic as well.
And you can apply exactly the same thing, so plan this out exactly the same as you would do with content, so your pillar piece of content, and then individual pieces branching off of that. But the one thing I would say is, make sure you get that transcribed. There’s various transcription services online if you don’t want to type it out yourself, but it’s really important to make sure that you’ve transcribed that so that when you place it on your website, you’ve got your video, and underneath that you’ve got the transcription of your video, which includes all of those valuable keywords for Google to pick up.
Now when you’re writing your blog content, or your video content, make sure it’s at least 600 words. That’s the optimal amount for Google to stop picking that up & using it as part of your Search Engine Optimisation.
So, yeah, a minimum of 600 words really makes a big difference when it comes to your SEO. And make sure that before you publish this, you’ve done everything you can on your page to ensure that it is SEO-friendly.
Now, if you’re not sure where to start with that, some really good plugins that you might want to look at is Rank Math, which is a fairly new SEO plugin, but we’ve been testing it out recently, we really like it, it’s very simple, very easy to understand, gives you great tips about how you can make your content more SEO-friendly, it analyses your content and tells you what you need to do in order to improve it, so that’s a really valuable tool.
One we’ve used for years very successfully Is Yoast SEO. Again, another free tool you can plug straight into your site, it gives you valuable advice on how to improve your SEO of your individual pages, and it gives you a score so you can make those improvements to improve your score.
Now tell me, have you tried to use content marketing to grow your ecommerce brand? How have you found it? Has it been easy? Have you found you’ve come up against difficulties? Are there particular hacks that you think really work for your business?
I’d love to know how you’re finding this, say pop a comment below and let’s get the conversation going.
So we’ve done Step One, we produced our long-form blog content. Now the next step is to break up this content into smaller snippets of content that you can share out on your various social channels. This means that you get the maximum return on that valuable time investment that you put into your blog post.
And it means you’ve got a content marketing strategy that joins up because what you’re doing is you’re pushing out smaller snippets from your main blog post on your social channels, and you’re directing people towards your website in order to read the full article, which improves your website traffic.
So, for example, a really good way to structure blog content is to do things like five tips, or you break it out into various different sections to make it easier to read.
So if you were doing five tips, for example, you could share tip one on a Monday and tip two on the Tuesday and tip three on a Wednesday, for example, on then link that back to the main blog post if people want to know more, so it’s a great way of getting a load of social content, valuable social consent, from your blog post without having to reinvent the wheel. Now one way you can make sure that you get the maximum return out of this, and still keep your audience engaged so it doesn’t feel too ‘same-y’, is to mix up how you push across that content.
So it could be, for example, if you’ve done your five tips video, if we’re still using that as our example piece, it could be that tip one is just a straight-up image and information post, it could be that tip two is a carousel where you scroll through it to find out more.
It could be the tip three is a video or a Reel that you put out, it could be that you put tip four in your stories, so by mixing this up, your audience is constantly getting new, innovative content from you that doesn’t feel too same-y, but from your point of view, you’re just repurposing that content, so you’re not having to think up new stuff all the time, you’re just using what’s there and thinking of inventive ways of sharing it.
Okay, so we’ve come up with our pillar content, and then from that pillar content we’ve produced various different blog posts that go into great depth about that particular topic that creates a really bingeable blog feed.
We’ve then repurposed that content on our social media, in our posts, to make sure that we’re driving traffic to our website all the time and re-utilising that content, making the most out of it. So the next thing we’ve got to ensure we do is to promote that content.
Now, one of the great ways to do this to make sure that your content it’s always getting in front of your followers is to utilise stories. Stories pop up on your followers stories reel at the top there. It’s a great way of getting fresh stuff out there all the time.
It’s really engaging, we know that stories are really bingeable you know, you swipe through, you keep on going and it puts your brand in front of your existing followers in a way that your feed may not.
So make sure that you utilise stories to promote your content, so put it out there that you’ve got a new post out on this, and you’ve got great tips on that. If you are confident enough to do this, maybe do a little to-camera thing saying ‘today I’ve gone into my number one tip for X, Y and Z, check out our feed for more information or pop over to our website to find out more’. And just putting that out there, you’d be surprised how much engagement you get from that.
Now, if you’re really looking to boost your follower count, you may want to look at accompanying some of your best pieces with some paid advertising. Now the way to know what content pieces to boost and to promote as paid advertising, is to go through and find out what organically was naturally the most popular pieces.
So if you’ve got a load of, kind of, likes and comments and shares on a particular piece of content, then that’s the piece of content that you should pick and perhaps put a little bit of money behind it to boost that as a post in order to get more followers that engage with the same sort of content, so you can also use a little bit of paid advertising in order to grow your following online.
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Now I really hope you found this useful. If you want to find out a bit more about how you can utilise your Instagram in order to grow your following, I did a great video over here. If you’re looking to boost your brand on Facebook specifically then there’s another great video over here. I really hope you have enjoyed it today, we post new videos every Thursday.”