The importance of great content

We’ve all heard the cliché, “content is king.”

Yes, it’s cheesy, but it is also true.

Your website’s content plays a critical role in engaging your audience, improving your SEO and improving your calls to action conversion rate.

In today’s post we will be discussing some of the benefits that can be realized from having a strong content strategy. The points below are concepts that you can start implementing into your website today to ensure you are getting the most out of your content.

Engaging your audience

Capturing and maintaining an audience’s attention is perhaps a marketer’s greatest challenge today.

In 2015, Microsoft Corp. completed a study that discovered that the average attention span for adults online is eight seconds.

It is therefore incredibly important for your content to be structured in a way that compliments your audience’s behaviour and addresses their needs quickly and effectively.

This means ensuring your content is original, of high-quality and deliberate.

Original content

Creating original content is crucial to the success of your online presence. In an increasingly competitive online market, you need to create content that is unique and stands out from your competitors.

Here are three simple questions for you to consider before creating content:

1. Who is your target market?

The first step before undertaking any marketing initiative is to know and understand who your business’ target market is.

Before you can create original and engaging content you need to know whom you are creating it for.

A helpful practice for establishing your target market and better understanding their needs and wants is to create a customer profile.

A customer profile, also sometimes referred to as a customer persona, will help you to look at your target market as an individual rather than a group of people. Customer profiles represent a specific individual you are trying to market towards.

A good customer profile will include information about your ideal customer’s demographics (age, gender, education, income, family life, geographical location), psychographics (attitudes, values, lifestyle, personality, interests) and buying habits (frequency, online vs. in-person).

By creating a customer profile that is representative of your target market, you will be able to personalize and better focus your content to meet the needs of your ideal customer.

2. What is my business’ niche?

A defining trait for every successful business is a recognizable niche.

Your business’ niche is a product or service offering that meets a specific need that is not being met by other businesses.

Some examples of business’ that have successfully identified their niches are Lululemon Athletica, Lush and Tesla.

Lululemon Athletica is a Canadian based company that has now expanded into an international retail chain. Lululemon’s success is due largely to its ability to find a specific niche in yoga. When Lululemon first launched, their focus was on providing women with clothing that is made for practising yoga. Lululemon has mastered their niche and has now begun to offer clothing for both men and women that aligns with various lifestyles.

Lush is a cosmetic company based out of the United Kingdom. Lush’s niche is providing sustainable products that are ethical and environmentally friendly. Lush is hailed for their sustainable practices. Many classify Lush as the ‘gold standard’ for ethical and sustainable practices for cosmetic companies, and as a result they have secured a loyal customer base.

Tesla is an American automotive maker that specializes in the creation of electric vehicles. Tesla is recognized around the world as a leader in the development of electric vehicles and clean energy. Tesla has mastered their niche and is often the first brand consumers think of regarding electric vehicles.

All three of these multinational business’ success is linked to providing a product or service that meets a specific niche.

Understanding what your business’ niche is crucial to its success. Your content should highlight your business’ niche and tell your customer what makes you unique. Sharing your business’ niche will lead to the creation of original and engaging content for your website and marketing initiatives.

3. What are my competitors saying about their product and service offerings?

Similar to sharing your business’ niche, you want to share with your consumer what makes your business product or service offering different from your competitor.

Researching businesses with similar product/service offerings to your own is crucial to writing original and engaging content.

When you visit your competitors’ websites, take notice about how they are presenting their product or services. How are they talking about themselves? Who is their target market? What are they saying about themselves that is different from your business?

Your answer to these questions will provide you with conversation points to address in your online content. By addressing these points, you will be able to create original content that will help your costumer better understand what makes you stand out from your competitors.

Engaging Content

Creating original content is an important factor in regards to creating engaging content. However, how you share your original content plays a critical role in engaging your target market.

Understanding what type of content your target market likes will increase your business’ ability to engage your desired customer. Therefore it is crucial for your business to understand how your ideal consumer takes in information. Do they prefer written word, infographics or video? You may discover that your target market content preferences change during different periods.

Here are two ways that will help you gain a better understanding of your ideal consumer’s preferences:

1. Poll your existing customer base

One of the best ways to determine how and what format your audience prefers to receive their content in is to ask them. You can accomplish this by creating a short poll, one to five questions, that asks your customers simple multiple choice style questions related to the types of content you are looking to produce.

To help increase your response rate, provide an incentive for your customers. The incentive can be in the form of a discount or a free product or service. The more significant the incentive, the better your response rate will be.

2. Review your existing analytics

Your website and business social media accounts are powerful allies for helping you to understand your audiences behaviour. Using the different analytic functions that are available to you through your website and social media channels such as Facebook and Instagram, you are able to see how your customers are interacting with your content.

Questions to consider when you analyze your customer’s data are: what type of content are they clicking on the most? What content are they ignoring? What are some of the differences between your most popular and least popular content? How long are your customers engaged with your content?

Your answers to these questions will provide you with ideas that will help you to develop engaging content for your target market.

Once you have established your target market’s content preferences, you are now ready to construct your messaging.

Your messaging should contain direct calls to action early and often to ensure your readers are constantly being encouraged to engage with your content in a meaningful way. If done correctly, your calls to action will prompt your customers to adopt the behaviour you desire.

We will discuss this in more detail below.

Improving your SEO

As we have discussed before, optimizing your content improves your SEO, which helps your business connect with users looking for your products or services organically.

Strategically selecting and including keywords into your website’s content is a helpful approach for enabling search engines to connect user’s search queries with your content. However, many businesses fail to realize that search engines like Google penalize businesses that over use keywords on their webpages by downgrading their search ranking.

Another common mistake businesses make with their website’s content is duplication. Search engines like Google penalize the now out-dated SEO practice of duplicating content to improve a business’ search ranking.

Duplicate content includes posting the same piece of content on multiple webpages within your website and creating content that is similar in nature to content previously posted on your website.

Navigating these SEO nuances related to your business’ content can be difficult and as a result many businesses seek guidance from SEO experts.

Improving your conversion rate

As your business grows and diversifies, so does your product and service offerings.

Effective content has a deliberate call to action. Your content should always lead your user to the ‘next step.’

Current industry standards regarding website conversion rates show that 43 per cent of your website users will visit your products or services webpage, with only three per cent of these users converting into a sale.

A key factor that contributes to the success of your online conversion rate goals is the clarity of your calls to action.

Your content needs to inform and lead your user to take the action you desire.

This requires careful planning around your user’s experience of your website. As we have discussed in ‘principles for effective web design,’ the moment your user opens your website, your content should be structured to lead your user through a specific path that will accomplish your business’ online goals.