I find the greatest challenge I face as a Marketing Director, is content. That’s it, content. The development of, preparation of and the posting of content. As I talk with prospects and clients about content, most underestimate the time and resources it will take to get their content in place.
Don’t make the mistake of sourcing content from somewhere else and simply posting to your site. Google’s crawlers will punish you as they discover your content is not original. Loosing your Google rankings because you chose to copy and paste an article is a beginners mistake.
Where to start?
Once you have the base copy down e.g. the core pages that outline your products and services, you then need to blog and blog heavily. I’ve been so focussed on my “paying” job and our website there, that this website has suffered. So I’m making a concerted effort to get some content up here as well. This site actually allows me to speak a little more freely, which I like.
Time is the other component that we have so little of and we need so much more of! It’s just a matter of scheduling it in. I have two hours in my calendar each Monday morning called “social media”. It’s from 7am – 9am each Monday where I scour the web, read the many emails that I subscribe to and never get a chance to look at and with all this inspiration, I blog for my work website.
In addition, sometimes I just need to write. For me, that means getting out of the office, usually at home or perhaps at a favourite cafe. I generally use the iPad and I write and write and write. We hired a second person in my marketing team and he’s an absolute rock star, a great hire. He read all my babble, corrected it and then we’d post it.
Having someone read over your creative blogs is key, they have to make sense and they need to be clear. You may be able to tell I don’t have that second person with my personal blog! [go ahead and leave your comments below].
Once you’ve started, what’s next?
You’ll get to a point where your you have enough content on your website that you can start to provide links from blogs to pages on your site. These links have to be contextually relevant, by that I mean the link you’re providing needs to add something to the original blog or page you’ve posted. Then, as your number of blogs increases you can also link back to previous blogs and also pages. Google crawlers find this useful and it helps with your organic page rankings.
I’ve found that you have to have a balance between planning and adhoc blog posts. For example, my Marketing Manager has a plan/schedule for tweets, blogs etc which is about a month out. This means we have a defined process to ensure we have regular posts to our blogs and social media accounts.
However, I think you also need to be “now”, relevant and current. For example, I enjoy current affairs and I read as much as I can via online newspapers, RSS feeds, my favourite blogs etc and I get a lot from LinkedIn. Reading through these as I do, I will often take 10-15 minutes and post a blog to my company site. 90% of the time I include links to the articles I’m commenting on, all of this helps my page ranking.
When do you know you’ve been successful?
Well, I’m not sure you do – not at least in the early days. It takes time, but one thing is for certain. If you don’t measure what you’re doing you will never have any real insight into what works and what doesn’t. One of the great things the internet age has brought to the marketing domain, is measurement.
Let’s take Google Analytics as a base line. Here you have the clearest and most precise level of insight into your website activity. Number of visitors, new and returning. You can measure the outcome of AdWords campaigns, it’s amazing. When you compare it to TV, newspaper or magazine advertising, it walks all over them when you start to talk ROI.
With traditional media, you have a gut feel and maybe some focus groups to tell you what worked. Google Analytics provides you with data, live data, that enables you to respond as an ad takes off. If you’ve not advertised online before, take it easy to start with and monitor EVERYTHING. Watch it like a hawk.
One tip, if your advertising is local i.e. within a time zone or two, you can restrict the time of day that your ad appears. This can save you a significant amount of money and hopefully deliver more local leads. No point getting an enquiry from Colombia if your company is in Perth, Australia and you don’t export. (Why you don’t export is cause for a separate discussion).