The content conundrum
How I learned to stop procrastinating and just blog
Firstly, an admission and apology to my team, this is the first article I’ve contributed to our blog since it went live. What prompted me to get my act together? Well, guilt played a small part but it was the realisation that I had to start practising what I preach to both my own team and our clients.
A bit like the builder who never fixes his own house, a lot of marketing agencies neglect their own marketing while doing a great job of promoting their clients’ businesses. It’s not easy, especially when there’s so much to do and there’s seemingly not enough hours in the day (or night) to get it all done. Plus, the choice between spending a few hours on something which will pay off in the long run and attending to the immediate needs of clients is very often the reason why content creation is pushed to the bottom of the priority list.
It’s a challenge that many companies face, and one of the most common things I hear from clients is; “We’ve got a blog but we haven’t updated it for ages. I know we need to but I just don’t have the time and I can’t get any of the staff to do it”. So why is blogging so important? Well, it’s all to do with ‘inbound marketing’, which focuses on creating and sharing good quality, relevant content that draws people in. It’s not all about blogging though, inbound marketing encompasses SEO, social media and the content on your website as well.
Don’t hide while they seek
Customers have greater control of the information they receive and how they receive it, which is why having great content on your blog and website is so important. If you want to find out about a product or service that you’re interested in, you’ll probably use a search engine like Google to find what you’re looking for, research the different options available to you, compare their merits and make a shortlist of who you want to talk to or buy from. In the B2B world, 70% of the buying process in a complex sale is already complete before prospects are even willing to engage with a salesperson (Source: Sirius Decisions), which means they’ve already done their research and know who they want to speak to.
According to Hub Spot, companies who blog generate 126% more leads than those that don’t and B2B companies that blog 1-2 times per month generate 70% more leads than those who don’t blog. A well-planned and executed inbound marketing strategy will not only increase your Google rankings and attract more visitors to your website but also position you as a customer focused and helpful company with expertise in your particular field. In turn, this will win the trust of visitors to your website and get you on their all-important shortlist.
Nice site, shame about the copy!
As I’ve already mentioned, a company’s entire online content strategy will have an effect on its marketing success. If a business spends more time on the design of its website than the actual content on the pages, it runs the risk of losing visitors who are looking for very specific information. The job of writing content will often be given to a junior Marketing Exec (if there is one) or anyone within the company who can get around to doing it. This could mean that several different departments will write information about their own particular area, resulting in a lack of consistency across the site.
It’s no surprise then that the completion of a website is often held up not by the website design or development process, but by waiting for the client to supply content for the site, which might arrive sporadically with varying lengths, styles, tones of voice and standards of spelling and grammar.
Copywriting is a skill that can’t be underestimated. Unfortunately, it continues to be undervalued. During my time working in agencies, I’ve been fortunate to work with some hugely talented Copywriters who have translated the briefs I’ve given them into the kind of ideas and copy I could only dream of coming up with. Of course, the job of the Art Director or Designer is equally important but without those attention-grabbing headlines and thought-provoking, concise (and grammatically correct) paragraphs of copy, the effect just wouldn’t be the same.
Comfortably confident content
There are many reasons (or some may say excuses) for not blogging regularly, including a lack of time, other priorities, and the fact that not everybody finds it easy to transfer what’s in their head onto paper. Certain people have a natural ability to quickly and easily convey their thoughts and ideas into easy-to-read, engaging copy which leaves the reader in no doubt as to the messages being communicated. However, not everyone is as fortunate as I am to have a Copywriter at their disposal (and yes, I did ask him to check this article to make sure that I wasn’t waffling). That’s why many businesses consider working with a marketing agency to help them write and distribute the content that’s now essential to an effective inbound marketing strategy.
So what do I want the people who read my first blog post to take away with them?
It’s not just about how you look – Well-written, engaging and relevant content is just as important.
Use an expert – Unless you’re a good Copywriter with lots of time on your hands, pay a professional to write customer-friendly, easy-to-read content.
Make time for creating content – Even if you do outsource your content, you’ll still need to allocate time to share your expertise and specialist knowledge.
Return on investment – Good quality content, written by someone who understands SEO and using a consistent inbound marketing strategy will, over time, give you measurable results.
No more excuses –If you want more people to know about your business and win new customers, you need to develop a content marketing strategy that includes blogging.
I’ve made my excuses for the past year but I’ll now make a regular contribution to our blog at Uprise, the question is, will you do the same?
Written by Gareth Rees Jones, Managing Director
Content & Creative, Digital Marketing