Way before the technological and information-sharing revolution we call the Internet was even a thought, businesses and entrepreneurs struggled to get the attention of potential customers. When the first versions of business websites became standard practice in every industry, there was a common boilerplate: large graphics, along with hours, prices, and contact information.
Until recently, having just this bare minimum would have been enough to get by; in the here and now, for a company’s website to serve as a true springboard to closing business, it must serve as a communication platform between the client and customer. It needs to function as a service that ensures customers that your product or service is the true solution to their needs.
Since late last year, the concept of search engine optimization (SEO) has undergone a massive paradigm shift toward unique content, personalized for the user, based on his social interests. Of all of the factors that go into search engine ranking, “freshness” has become the first hurdle that marketers have encountered. The concept is simple – web content that has been indexed by Google recently is given priority over older content. Content that is shared mostly over social networks is also favored when determining freshness and popularity.
By incorporating a blog into your website, or creating one from scratch, you’re giving yourself a built-in SEO advantage, as nearly all of the major blogging platforms have favorable relationships with search engine crawlers, automatic syndication to social networks, one-click sharing for visitors, and endless plug-ins to add features like ecommerce, email subscriptions, or private memberships without complicated coding.
The Power of Information
Finding your website is half the battle; the other half is providing your customers with the information they want. With all of the avenues for consumer feedback available, customers are empowered to make informed purchases more than ever. Individual products can be rated and reviewed on sites like Amazon or eBay, brick-and-mortar shops can be featured on foursquare or Yelp, and just about any product or service can be written about in a personal blog, and then shared with millions on social networks.
With this much potential for publicity and notoriety (for better or for worse), you can utilize your official company blog as your “pressroom,” and address customer concerns and issues, or keep the public informed about new features and products. It’s a great way for you to control the message people receive about your company and its offerings.
From a psychological standpoint, if you can address the fears, concerns, and questions that a typical customer has before he brings them to your attention, you’ll put his mind at ease, make him comfortable, and have a better chance of closing a sale. Utilizing regular blog posts to provide your company’s views on industry news and common consumer issues, as well as spotlighting satisfied customers, is one way to keep your product and service top-of-mind with new and existing customers.
Finding Your Voice
In its purest form, a company blog gives your brand a voice – and an opportunity to differentiate from the competition. You are creating an archive of powerful material that, when discovered by prospects, will allow them to learn anything and everything about your company. Posts about past experiences, milestones, events you’ve attended, successes you’ve created, and reactions to industry happenings provide a personal level of communication that you can’t repeat in a web ad or commercial.
A powerful content strategy does not mean you have to become a reclusive writer, nor do you have to follow a set schedule. You can work with companies and agencies that have full-service ghostwriters and freelance authors who can create unique, fresh content that is researched and sourced, on almost any schedule. The relationship can be tailored to your voice or image, and precious time is saved to move your company forward.
As you can see, getting started with content marketing is easier than ever before. You simply need to understand the wants and needs of your potential audience; once you know what they’re craving, coming up with content that satisfies their needs becomes simpl