If you are reading this post there is a good chance that you have also searched the internet looking for ways to increase traffic to your website. Every day I come across blogs and articles claiming to help you get "14k visitors in just 3 days!” - (It sounds like a bad informercial doesn’t it?) While traffic is important, for most site owners traffic is only a fraction of the equation. What that visitor does once they have landed on your site is more important than just getting them there. So in a world of “quick fixes”, I want to propose a long-term, sustainable solution to content marketing.
Before we get into the steps I want you to ask yourself a question? Why do people come to your site and interact with you? Now, really think about your answer. I would argue, most of them aren’t looking for your product or service. Some are, sure, but a majority of your visitors are most likely just trying to find some answers to a pain point they are experiencing. This is why content is so important. Unfortunately, as more and more “online marketers” saw the power of content, they abused it. Now the internet is filled with junk that is neither helpful nor pleasant to read. But just like SEO, Social Media Marketing and the vast amount of other strategies that have been abused, still work when you do them right. Today, people are hungry for good, quality content that adds value to their lives. The businesses that get this are building a solid, sustainable foundation. So let’s get into how you too can generate better traffic that adds values and drives sales.
Knowing Your Audience: Do you know who your audience is? For years marketers and sales personnel have been using buyer personas and empathy mapping to get a better, more realistic idea of who their audience is. The companies that do the hard work, research, ask questions and get to know their actual customer base have done more than just increase sales, they’ve created a connection. In order to build trust with your audience, you have to get to know them.
Doing a quick once over of what you think your buyers may want is not a persona. That is called a hunch. But, this is what most companies and agencies do. Here’s the thing, when it comes to your audience, they are pretty set in their worldview. The idea that your product or service is going to change that is extremely unlikely. It’s the job of the communicator (that’s you) to deliver the message in a way the audience will understand, grasp, and that fits into their worldview. Do your homework, take your time, and create actual personas.
Research Topics and Pain Points:Once you have clearly defined who you are creating content for it’s time to figure out what types of content they actually want to read. This is why doing in-depth research in the first step is so important. If done correctly, you most likely come across a number of other sites your personas visit and connect with. This is a great place to start. Look at the type of content and articles those sites are pushing out.
Another great resource is Buzzsumo. You can search terms and topics that are related to your business and personas and see what type of content is most shared across the web. All of this will give you a better idea of the kind of content your personas resonate with.
Planning Your Approach: Sitting down and planning out your articles and content is a good idea. I prefer to do this first on paper and then move to the computer once I have a few ideas written down. The reason for this is, “it’s too easy to hit delete” as Austin Kleon says. Writing your ideas out on paper will get your creative juices flowing and expand your options.
Write It Out:Once you have a few ideas, start writing. This is one of the biggest hurdles to overcome. It’s much easier to say, “I’ll do that tomorrow.” But with that approach, it will never happen. Set on your calendar a time to write and commit to posting a certain amount of articles a week, month, year, whatever - just commit. Having a set schedule will also help your personas see that you are consistent and consistency builds trust.
Get It Reviewed: While you may have a great grasp on your product and industry, it’s always good to let someone proofread your content before you post it for the world. Yes this takes more time, but as someone who has made the mistake of publishing a post before it was proofed (more than one time) would say, it’s worth it. Having an article loaded with spelling and grammatical errors will crush your credibility no matter how good the technical information is. Take the extra effort and let someone review your work before you ship it!
Promoting The Right Way: While it may seem that the hard work is out of the way, the truth is this is where most fall short. In order to get your content in front of your audience you have to promote it, the right way. This step is relative. What I mean by that is depending on the reach you are going for, different strategies will need to be employed.
For instance, a local business may just need to push their content through their social channels and a few local sites to get a good return. But, a company looking to have a larger reach will need to also look for other ways to getting their content noticed. Some other strategies include, email outreach, contextual link building and content syndication.
It’s not so much the quantity of traffic that matters, but the quality. In order for your business to grow, you need the right people coming to your site - visitors who are in search of solutions to their pain points. Content is still powerful and important. The businesses and site owners who do the hard work, get to know their audience, create content specifically for them and promote it using the right channels, will see a huge increase not only in traffic, but their bottom line as well!
Ryan is passionate about helping companies make a more personal connection online with their customers and prospects. He is a regular contributor to Search Engine Land, the largest and most popular SEO news site on the web. His works have also been featured on the HubSpot Blog, Business2Community and by LinkedIn Marketing Solutions.
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