Why You Need a Content Strategy – Part Three
So, you know what to do to attract visitors to your site and engage them with compelling, relevant content. Now, it’s time to do some
relationship building. And nothing helps to build relationships more than inspiring your users.
Goal #3: Inspire
Isn’t this the same as engaging your audience?
No. To engage your audience is to hold their attention long enough to prevent them from switching back to their cat memes. If you’re
lucky, they may even make a purchase (hooray!).
Inspiring your audience, however, means giving them content that resonates so deeply with their own values and interests that they are then compelled to come back to your website again in the future – or better yet, share your content with others.
In a sense, this is the stage where the relationship with your audience takes the next step from courtship to full-fledged dating. They’ve gotten to know you, and there’s some definite chemistry there.
What happens next is you’ve got yourself a ‘fan’ – someone who’s aligned with your ideals, relies on you for your expertise, and is very likely to tell other people about you. Remember: you want fans.
The new face of referral marketing
If someone you know, especially someone close to you, tells you something is great, it’s gonna carry a whole lot more weight than if a stranger says the same thing. That’s a given.
That’s why sites like Facebook and Pinterest have become so wildly successful; they provide a simple platform for connecting and sharing information among friends and like-minded individuals (i.e., people you’re more inclined to trust than the average salesperson). In a business sense, this is effectively employing a more modern approach to the age-old strategy of referral, or word-of-mouth, marketing.
Meet your new best friend: social media
Love it or hate it, social media is here to stay. You might resist getting involved, but social media may very well be your best friend when it comes to expanding the reach of your message.
But this doesn’t mean setting up a profile for your business, begging your friends to “Like” it, and then just forgetting about it.
Social media is a priceless tool for directly engaging in a conversation with your audience and delivering your message to as many people as possible in a way that isn’t overly sales-y or intimidating. Basically, it’s a marketer’s dream come true. So, make the most of it.
How do you do that, exactly? Post compelling and relevant content on a semi-regular basis and include links to your website, where your users can find even more compelling and relevant content. Rinse and repeat. (Are you seeing a theme here?)
Make it easier on yourself (and them)
Here are a few tips to make sharing your content as simple as possible:
- Use a unique URL that is easy to link to. Ever have somebody send you a link to an article on an internal page of a site that redirected you to a home page? You’re left with no clue which article they were trying to forward you. Yeah, it’s annoying. Assigning a unique URL to a particular article or image will prevent this kind of thing from happening to your site’s visitors.
- Repost your content through your own social media profiles. Doing this means your fans/followers have the option to easily share or “Retweet” your posts. One, two, done! Don’t have a social media profile? That train left the station a long time ago – you’d better get on it.
- Add a “Share This” feature. Ever see this icon before? It’s becoming more of a universal symbol for sharing content across the web. If you add that on your site, it gives users a simpler way to share your content across multiple socia media outlets with just one click.
As an added bonus…
Guess what inspiring a conversation does to your rankings in search engines? You got it – they get a nice little boost as well. Search engines respond favorably to sites that inspire a conversation because this online behavior indicates that people are interested in what you’re saying. And the primary goal of any search engine is to give the people what they want.
Just keep this mind…
As Mike Lee, the main brain behind Focus97, likes to say (usually with some arm-waving for emphasis): Content reigns supreme. He wasn’t the first person to say it, but he has certainly given the phrase some legs. And there’s good reason for this.
This phrase should be your mantra, the driving force behind your website. Write it on a sticky note, or tattoo it on your arm if you have to – just don’t forget it. It could make all the difference when it comes to getting the results you want for your website.