More and more business is being done digitally and an internet marketing consultant can be useful in figuring out how to get a piece of the action. But there are different kinds of internet marketing consultants. There’s the online marketing strategist that focuses on SEO or PPC like Google AdWords, the social media management services guy, the website design specialist and the digital media planner and buyer, just to name a few. But all of these internet marketing consultants should care about content. Why? Because it sells.
How does it sell? That’s more complex. But your internet marketing plan isn’t complete without a comprehensive content strategy. In fact, content has always played an important role in marketing, regardless of channel.
When you really look at it, content has always been important to advertising. Long ago, ad sponsorships developed out of the desire to attach a brand with a particular piece of content. You can find an example of this model in the game show The Price Is Right. Contestants play games revolving around the price of goods, ranging from baking soda to cars, in hopes of winning something. Do you think those products got there by chance? The brands paid for the opportunity to be part of the content. The content enhances the visibility and personality of their brand. It’s classic content marketing.
Flash forward to the 21st century and marketing goes digital but stays true to its roots. Rather than paying for sponsorships on shows, brands began to develop their own content to attract the attention of the right audience. Brands even built audiences simply because they had content. Ever heard of Facebook? YouTube? Pinterest? These go-to content pages are now major media channels every internet marketing consultant wants to use for their own brand.
It works especially well for niche audiences. The internet brings communities closer whatever their interest. It also lowers the barrier to entry for many brands, giving them as many options to plug into the online conversation. Why wouldn’t Kraft create a recipe website for foodies? Or American Express create resources for small business owners through Open?
As internet marketing consultants, we did this exact thing a few years ago for MARS. For the launch of Steel Horse Coffee, MSCO put together a productivity website that offered content that someone most interested in purchasing coffee with flavanols might enjoy. We developed a productivity index. We held productivity awards. We petitioned for a National Productivity Day. All done in the name of content for the brand. Needless to say, the campaign was a success.
These days, content is everything in the digital marketing world. In fact, a good way to tell if an internet marketing consultant is up to date in his thinking is to ask whether or not content is valuable. If he says it’s not, he’s ten years behind the times.
The question isn’t whether or not content is important. It’s what content you want to deliver. The first step is to create an editorial calendar with the help of an internet marketing consultant. This will let you lay out everything you want to say to your audience for a set period of time. It takes into account holidays, important dates for your business, sale periods and more. Once you have the general concepts, start writing or creating some of what you want to say. Trust me, once you get started, it just pours out.
Next, you should decide how you want to deliver your content. Depending on your goals, there are a few different methods an internet marketing consultant can consider.
For many, this is the first place that comes to mind regarding content generation. It’s personal. It’s dynamic. It can host all forms of media. If you need a web-based platform for articles, audio or video, this is a great option.
And the internet marketing doesn’t stop with content creation. Building articles and other features with keywords is great for SEO marketing. Content created in one place can be shared elsewhere, such as on social media. Podcasts hosted on a blog can be distributed through worldwide networks. Really, the possibilities are endless when it comes to content blogging.
Of course there are some things to keep in mind. There’s the regular maintenance of a content heavy website, including domain and hosting costs. Even if you already have a website, having an ever growing cache of pictures and videos can overload your hosting, requiring you to pay for more storage. Still, if you want to build a community resource, you may want to start with a blog.
What’s old is new again! Email newsletters are easy to set up and maintain. They’re great for highlighting what you do well, sending special offers to customers and sharing important industry information. Depending on what you want to accomplish, email newsletters are a fantastic tool for the internet marketing consultant.
You will need to have a database of customers to which you can send a newsletter, however. (Shame on you if you don’t keep a record of customer emails.) There are also modest costs associated with email sharing platforms, though there are free options as well. Plus email spam has become heavily regulated, so you want to make sure all users opt into the database, which is easy enough but still something an internet marketing consultant has to consider.
There’s also the relatively new social media as a content distribution channel. In most cases, social media has few maintenance costs, all the infrastructure you could want and a “built-in” audience. Plus, if your content is good enough, here is where it is most likely to go viral. We’ve seen this with CEO Mark Stevens’ posts on LinkedIn, including his latest about McDonald’s.
Social media does have some drawbacks, though. First, you have to build a network and depending on how you do that it can be costly. Talking to the audience you’ve built is sometimes a challenge as well. Social networks differ in the amount of organic reach they provide. For example, Facebook reportedly only grants 1% organic reach on posts. If you have a page with 10,000 likes, each post only reaches 100 of those people. Very tiny. Again, paid reach helps goose those numbers but it may be better to control your own audience with other means like blogging and email.
You’ll probably want to use some combination of all three of these ideas and share content between them, feeding off each platform’s strengths. The important point is to work with an internet marketing consultant that understands how to use content to drive leads and build a brand.
Just about two months ago, we signed Bestie Bag on as a new client. You may recall the blog post about this product development client. We took the original idea of a bag designed for kids with sensory learning problems and turned it into a product that all tween girls can enjoy, the Bestie Bag. See the blog post here, if you missed it!
The product development thus far has been remarkable. We’ve made slight improvements on the design and introduced the Bestie Girls. The bags are currently being manufactured, and we’re looking to launch the product on December 1st. The Bestie Girls each represent a different bag, color, and personality. Each bag comes with an exclusive Bestie Girl key chain, pictured below. These characters are original designs from our newest graphic designer, Ligia Barao. Ligia and I have been working hand-in-hand to bring this concept to life, and we couldn’t be more proud of our accomplishments so far!
Zoey, to start with, loves to bake. The yellow of her Bestie Bag reminds her of her favorite recipe – her grandma’s lemon bars!
Claire loves nature and animals. She even has her own dog, Luna, who will be officially introduced by our launch date.
Rachel is all about fashion and music. She’s the one to turn to if you’re looking for the coolest new band or fashion accessory.
Katie loves sports. She’s always up to try something new, but she’d never turn down a game of basketball or soccer.
Vanessa is a movie buff. She’s a big fan of comedies. She tells the best jokes and goes out of her way to make everyone laugh.
To continue the new product development process for Bestie Bag, we have been doing a lot of social and PR work. Check out our Facebook and Twitter pages! We’ve been featured in Texas Lifestyle Magazine’s Holiday Gift Guide and should be featured in more as they come out. We’ve also just started planning for a tween focused trade show that we’ll be attending in January.
Keep an eye out for more product development news because there’s a lot more to come!
You can learn more about the Besties on our landing page. Be sure to check back on December 1st to see our all new e-commerce site!