Marketing is a huge expense for companies of all sizes, from small startups to bustling corporations. It is also a huge gamble. Many marketing strategies have some level of uncertainty to them, which could lead to budget-breaking failure. By publishing content that actually engages potential customers, any entrepreneur can bring thousands of new visitors to their website.
Don’t believe me? That’s okay, you don’t have to. Take it from Girish.
Girish is the founder of Freshdesk.com. This help desk software came onto the scene in 2011. It was in that year that Girish published an article that went over his experiences as an entrepreneur. He went on to share this article on Ycombinator. In just two days, this led to more than 30,000 new visitors to the Freshdesk website.
As an entrepreneur, you know that new visitors are just the beginning. You need conversions: people who actually sign up for your service or product.
Freshdesk.com saw 175 new signups within those same two days.
Okay, but that is a help desk software. Does publishing engaging content actually help other businesses?
To find out, our company gave it a shot. We thought, “Hey, why don’t we share our startup story?” We purchased lightingshoes.net, an eCommerce website that sells LED shoes. We wanted to see if, and how engaging content could impact our light up shoes business. The results were incredible, but before we get to that, we should talk about what it took to get those results. These tips can be applied to any startup or business model.
When you are creating content, it is important to understand the communities that your content will reach. Each community lends itself differently to different types of content. You need to figure out which communities will have the most interest in your startup or other business, and then write content that centers around the wants and needs of that community.
Hashing out what each of these communities respond positively to does not have to be rocket science. You just need to do a little bit of research. Look at content published by others that was well received. Find out what sort of content is the highest rated on each community. Many of these communities have comment boards and voting systems. Look for posts that received high votes, and then look through the comments to see what worked well for past content pieces.
Create A Blueprint
When I was in school, we learned about a technique called mind-mapping, and I’ve found this is one of the best ways to create a blueprint for your content. On a piece of paper, I write something like “blog post topics,” in the middle, and then create branches off of it. These branches will be based on the popular posts you saw on the relevant communities, but changed a bit to fit your startup or business.
Take the Freshdesk.com post, for example. While a light up shoes company isn’t exactly the same as a help desk service, we were still able to benefit from writing about our startup story. You might also want to consider writing about solutions to problems that your potential customers have, or even address relevant news pieces of the time.
Now, it is time to take one of those ideas and run with it.
Create Polished Content
Copying a well received piece of content will get you nowhere. That content already exists, and has already been read by the community. Just like with your social media content on Facebook and Twitter, you need to be sure that you are adding value to the community in some way.
You need to truly “WOW” the community in order to write a piece of successful content. Think about how you can call them to action, or make them try something new. If readers see your content as unique or personally relevant, they will grow as people, and hopefully grow along with your business as loyal customers.
Capture Their Attention
Writing a headline is easy. Writing an attention grabbing headline is difficult. There are already numerous websites that will teach you about this, but here are the quick tips:
-Don’t be a generalist; be as specific as possible.
-Reveal the benefit of reading your content right away.
-Make the reader curious, but don’t just write click-bait.
A good headline leads to more readers. A bad headline will keep readers away from even the best content.
Don’t Walk Away
Creating content can be tiring, and many people are ready to take a pause once they have published their material. This is a major mistake on most communities. If you spent any time looking at Reddit, you will have noticed that involvement is extremely important. You could spend several hours responding to comments about your content.
Not all communities work that way though. IndieHackers, for example, is not huge on comments. Even so, you should still engage with those who took the time to write the few comments that may appear.
Analyze Your Results
Now that you have published your content and taken care of any comments, what kind of results can you expect to see? Well, here are the results from our experiment with the light up shoes website:
-Our light up shoe company saw 3,257 new visitors via Reddit and 951 visitors from IndieHackers.
-SEO results were outstanding. We went from being outside of the top 50 all the way to number twelve for our main keyword (LED shoes.) We also broke into the top 50 for 222 other keywords that we weren’t placed for before.
-We received two sales that came from traffic from the content. We saw 11 new sales as a result of our new and improved SEO rankings.
-We had some new PR possibilities. One reader was actually part of the team that submits suggestions for the well known “Oprah’s Favorite Things,” segment. They let us know that they loved our product, and would be submitting it for this year’s list. While nothing has come of this yet, just the excitement has pushed us to keep creating engaging, targeted content.
Many marketing strategies are a gamble, but content creation is different. If you follow all of our tips, you too can publish engaging content and see increased traffic to your website
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