Before You Start: Content Marketing Foundations 

There is a reason content marketing is being talked about everywhere. It works. Good content drives organic traffic to your website. If your website is designed correctly, that organic traffic leads to more customers.

Before you start on a content marketing campaign, there are some simple things you need to consider. Because to succeed you need a content strategy, and that strategy starts from the very beginning.

Virtual Location Matters

You should not have your blog hosted on a free WordPress or Blogger site. You need to have your own branded website.

Why? Because this is like your home address. Free sites are like telling a user you live in a certain neighborhood or city, but not telling them where your house is. More importantly, this is the way Google and other search engines look at your site too.

Your specific address is how Google knows and understands what your blog or other content is related to, and therefore how it decides where your site should “rank” in the overall scheme of things.

To choose a domain, first you need to choose where your site will be “hosted.” There are several web hosting services from GoDaddy and JustHost for simple blogs to Shopify and other hosts designed for ecommerce sites that also have a store.

What’s in a Name?

Your blog name matters. There are several ways to name your blog, and it is important that you get this right.

Your name is the first impression customers have of you and your business. Your blog name needs to be positive and relate to the content that you will be creating. Here are some things to consider as you name your blog and/or website:

Is it relevant? Does your business and website name describe you or what you do?

Is it simple, but unique? Your name should be simple to type, say, and spell, but it should also be unique in your industry. Variations of your name combined with what you do often work well.

Is it available? Once you have chosen your name, you can use an online domain name search tool to see if it is available and how much it will cost. These search tools will often suggest names and variations if the one you have chosen is already taken.

Can it be taken the wrong way? Does running the name of your business together create a humorous or offensive word somehow, or do the initials spell something undesirable? Share your name with several people to make sure you did not miss any of these combinations.

These four factors are essential considerations. For example, the Iowa Department on Aging changed their website when they realized that seniors were loath to type the address into their browser windows.

This is a creative stage, and get input and ideas from as many people as possible when it comes to your website and business name. Having just the right one can make all of the difference.

Four Types of Internet Users

Before you start any kind of content marketing campaign, it helps to understand that there are four types of internet users, and you need to create content that speaks to all of them. The four types are as follows:

Streakers: These users are looking for quick answers to specific questions or product needs. They do not want long blog posts, lengthy how to videos, or lists of items. Product pages, simple FAQ pages, and short, informative blogs work best to reach them.

Strollers: Strollers want more detailed answers than a streaker. They search more broadly and visit more websites, spending more time on research and reading reviews.

Studiers: The studier is doing just that: studying a topic. They likely arrived at your site as part of a multi-string search, and your website may answer one of several inquiries they are exploring. Lengthy, comprehensive posts that are accurate and informative along with how to posts and videos work well for studiers.

Researchers: The rarest type of internet user, a researcher is looking for academically supported facts, case studies, and white papers. They want in depth statistics, numbers, results, and supporting credible resources.

Each type of internet user is looking for a different kind of content, and you can (and should) create pillars of content that address these different types of visitors. Targeting only one with your content will result in a loss of some traffic to other sites, ones that meet broader needs.

Five Types of Content

In order for your content to reach every type of internet user, you need to have more than one type of content. These types of content will make up the pillars of content mentioned above.

Short Form Blog Posts: Answers. This is simple content designed to provide the answer to a particular question or the solution to a problem in a brief manner. This appeals to streakers, who respond well to this kind of content, and to strollers who may be at the end of their journey for information.

Long Form Blog Posts: This type of blog post is should be designed to answer questions in detail or explain a process or product thoroughly. It appeals primarily to both strollers and studiers depending upon length and the amount of information provided.

Video: This can be long or short form, and can appeal to nearly all the website visitor types. It is suited to those users in each category who are visual learners.

Photos/Images: While these can be a part of nearly every blog post and even integrated into video, sometimes a simple photo essay will tell the visitor what they need to know. A streaker can get a lot of information from a short group of photos, or a process can be both visually and textually presented in detail, satisfying the serious stroller and the studiers alike.

Audio/Podcasts: This is a format that, depending on length, can appeal to all kinds of website visitors as well, but adds special value to students and researchers in longer form, as it allows them to hear information without having to watch a screen or read. This is especially helpful to web visitors who are on the go.

There are other types of content, but most can be grouped into these categories. This includes infographics, which are a form of image or photograph, charts, surveys, and statistics.

Planning to create all the types of content in the long run can inform your content strategy. Remember, start with one pillar at a time, and build as quickly or slowly as your budget will allow. Apple and Amazon were not overnight successes, and you probably won’t be either.

Quality over Quantity

The final thing to consider when creating your content strategy is that quality matters far more than quantity. If you have a choice between mediocre content created quickly or higher quality content created over a longer period of time, take the second choice every time.

Remember, each piece of content you create could be the first thing a website visitor sees of you, your brand, and your website. You never get a second chance at that, so ensuring that first impression is a good one is vital to your success.

Paying attention to content strategy before you even start content marketing is vital to your business success. Starting down the wrong path and correcting course can be costly, so start with these content marketing foundations first. Laying them first will ensure your content will gain the attention and the traffic it deserves.