Content marketing is about gaining visibility and getting noticed by the right people. Learn five ways to help those people find your content more often.
There’s a quote from the movie Field Of Dreams that haunts every freelance web designer and developer: “If you build it, they will come.” For aspiring business owners and dreamers, this quote encourages the notion that if they build a website or start a blog, miraculously people will show up in droves and the cash and customers will come pouring in.
Reality is much harsher.
For many business owners and digital entrepreneurs, it’s hard to understand that:
- Just because a website exists doesn’t mean people will find it or visit it. Hordes of traffic won’t show up to your site just because you worked hard to create and launch it.
- Even with regular effort dedicated to content creation and blogging, site owners still may not see much traffic. Clicking publish on a new blog post doesn’t guarantee that anyone will actually see your content.
- Who sees your content matters more than how many people see it. It doesn’t matter if competitors, peers, friends, and family see your content. What matters how many people in your target market see your content, engage with it, and ultimately, take action.
Once a new website is launched, part of the site owner’s job becomes actively marketing that site to ensure it is found by people who need the services, products, programs, courses, or memberships being sold on the site. This is especially critical if you’re freelancing because your time is limited and your website needs to work for you to generate leads, attract clients, and create opportunities.
Ensure Your Target Audience Sees Your Content
Marketing your website or blog is all about gaining visibility and getting your content seen by the right people: those people who are potential subscribers, members, students, customers, clients, or partners.
That means consistently creating content that is useful and relevant to their needs and goals, marketing that content to drive traffic to your site, and once they arrive, presenting compelling calls to action that drive conversions.
Here are five simple ways you can ensure your content get noticed by the right audience:
1. Know Who The Right Audience Is For Your Content
I’ll never forget the time a client shared some exciting news: Just a few weeks after we launched her new website, she was booked as a guest on two popular podcasts that had big audiences. She was excited to gain significant visibility for her brand and expected to see opt-ins for her free ebook skyrocket after her episodes were released.
But that didn’t happen. In fact, she didn’t see much of an increase in website traffic and only had a few people opt-in for her ebook. She was disappointed and frustrated, she began doubting herself and her skills, and was started to second-guess her business plan.
The problem, however, wasn’t her, her content, her offer, or her business plan. The problem was the audience. While she provided quality information, the audiences for the podcasts didn’t align with her brand and weren’t a good fit for her offer.
Creating and publishing epic content and marketing it to the wrong audience isn’t going to produce epic results no matter how hard you try.
For content marketing to be successful, you first need to identify the target audience you are creating content for. You must have complete clarity about who your ideal reader, listener, viewer, prospect, or client is. Then, create a customer persona that details things like what they struggle with, what gets them excited, what keeps them up at night, what goals they are working toward, and what they care about most.
This clarity will not only ensure you’re creating the right content — content that will resonate with your ideal clients and customers — but help you evaluate the viability and potential success of things like future joint venture partnerships and speaking opportunities. With this knowledge, my client would have had more realistic expectations for those two podcast interviews.
2. Create The Right Content
Years ago, a friend of mine launched a consulting company aimed at helping professionals escape their 9-5 jobs and start a freelance business. Because she didn’t like to write, she decided that a podcast would be her primary marketing channel.
She worked tirelessly to prepare months of content in advance and she couldn’t wait to share them with the world. Unfortunately, even with a well-planned, 90-day marketing campaign in place, the launch fell flat. People were clicking her links and visiting her site. They were even visiting the podcast pages. But they weren’t listening to her podcast.
After a few months, a survey was sent to subscribers and produced some eye-opening insights: Most people visiting her site did so during the day while at their 9-5 job, dreaming of becoming a freelancer. This meant they could read the content but couldn’t listen to her podcast! She had created amazing content, but it was the wrong type of content for her audience.
Through surveys, social media, email, or even telephone, find out what types of content your audience prefers:
- Do they prefer to read, scan, and review screenshots?
- Do they prefer visual content like charts, images, and infographics over articles?
- Do they prefer to watch a video or listen to a podcast?
- Would they rather review a transcript than listen to a podcast or watch a video?
- Do they prefer short-form posts for long-form in-depth posts?
- Will they make time to attend something live or do they prefer a recording they can check out at any time?
Then, for each piece of content you create, ask yourself:
- How will this content address my ideal client’s needs or problems?
- How can I demonstrate empathy and show them I understand their struggle?
- How can I help solve the problem?
- What impact will the solution have?
- What is the logical next step?
3. Provide Convenient Access
Every year clients reach out complaining about how little website traffic they get. They think a website redesign is the answer — as if a better website will magically make loads of new clients appear — and every time I explain that the problem isn’t the design, it’s a lack of marketing.
Most freelancers and small business owners who aren’t seeing the conversions they want from their websites don’t get enough traffic, and they’re not getting enough traffic because they’re not doing anything to ensure people see their content. They’re not actively sharing links to their blog posts, videos, articles, offers, and podcast episodes.
If you want people to see your content, you have to put it right in front of their face. If you want people to visit your website, you need to make it as easy as possible, which means making sure links to your site are readily available. You can’t publish content then sit back and wait for people to find it. You have to provide multiple opportunities for people to find and access your content, and you have to make it easy.
Do the work to learn where your target audience spends their time. Then make sure your content can be found there:
- Do they subscribe to blogs or email newsletters?
- Do they watch YouTube videos and subscribe to YouTube channels?
- Do they subscribe to podcasts on iTunes or do they prefer to listen to them on your site?
- Are they on Twitter all day or only sporadically?
- Are they active on LinkedIn or do they prefer Facebook?
- If they use Facebook, what groups do they join and participate in?
- Is Instagram their go-to social platform or are they all-in on Pinterest?
- What communities are they active in or a part of?
- What hashtags do they follow or pay attention to?
By discovering where your audience spends their time, where they go for information and content, and how they prefer to consume it, getting your content in front of them and making it convenient to access becomes much easier.
4. Build Links To Your Site
Think about a map and all of the interconnected roads that make it easy for people to travel from destination to destination. Links work the same way. Building links to your site is like creating more roads that help people and search engines discover your site and your content.
The more links there are to your site, the more opportunities there are to grow your audience and stay top of mind.
For each piece of content you create, whether it’s a blog post, video, podcast episode, webinar, ebook, presentation, infographic, report, case study, or checklist, think about all of the options available for marketing and promotion, such as:
- Sharing quotes from the content on your social media profiles and pages with a link to the original content on your site.
- Publishing a slide deck on SlideShare with a link back to your site that highlights the main points of the content.
- Using the slide deck to record a screencast video for YouTube and other social media sites that invites viewers back to your site to learn more.
- Recording an audio version of an article with a promo for your offer and including it in the blog post so visitors can listen or download the MP3.
- Turning audio recordings of blog content into podcasts available through iTunes and other podcasting networks.
- Creating visual quote images, charts, or graphics to go with your content that can be shared on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.
- Talking up the content and inviting people to check it out in Stories and Live Videos on Facebook and Instagram.
- Syndicating the content (with a link to the original) as a LinkedIn article.
- Inviting people to subscribe to your blog and get new posts delivered by email.
5. Use Internal Links
Using links to help people discover more of your content isn’t all about building backlinks and growing a strong portfolio of quality inbound links to your site from other websites. It’s also about developing a strong internal link strategy.
Internal links connect two related URLs on the same website. They provide more opportunities for site visitors to find more relevant, helpful content on your site. They also help keep people on your site longer by making it easy to get more information on the topic that brought them to your site in the first place.
Help The Right People Discover Your Content
With the right audience in mind and the right content for them conveniently available, your content will be seen not only by more people but the right people.
An active approach to content marketing ensures your content is ready to meet prospective clients and customers where they are when they are ready — be it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Slideshare, LinkedIn, YouTube, email, your website, or even a search engine.