Producing, publishing and managing content used to be associated with other industries but is now an essential part of business. Any building product manufacturer that has a website and wants to increase their online visibility needs to take content marketing seriously. One of the main reasons architects and specifiers go online is to look for product information. The internet is full of useful content so there’s alot of competition from those construction companies who have already embarked on a content marketing strategy. Quality content in combination with SEO is what will get your website to rank higher in search engine result pages (SERPs) for keywords associated with your products and services. Once prospects have found your site, you need to convert them into leads. Getting them to subscribe to your newsletter or enter their details to download your whitepaper is good for data capture which you can later follow up with an email lead nurturing campaign.
For all the steps outlined above you need to have quality content with which you can prove your expertise to your audience. Out-teaching your competition is how you will sustain a competitive advantage. Some companies employ content managers or copywriters who will write articles, blogposts, newsletters, whitepapers and other forms of content whilst other companies assign these tasks to current employees. Either way, effective content marketing requires a variety of skills and below is a list of 10 that I think are involved:
- Researcher: finding the latest trends, keeping up to date with new regulations and industry developments to find inspiration and information to use for your next blog post, newsletter article or email campaign. Knowing where to look for news and being able to find answers quickly is important. Social sites such as Twitter are a great way of getting instant access to news and information.
- Search Engine Optimisation: knowing how to write for the web is quite different than writing for print. You have to make sure content is readable and easy to understand whilst also containing keywords and sticking to a chosen theme (eg. construction marketing). It’s useful to know what works from an SEO point of view and what doesn’t. All your page titles, headings and meta descriptions should be optimised for search. Whilst it is important to have keywords present don’t try and fit them into every second sentence. Remember that it is people that have to read this not just the search engine bots!
- Writer: actually writing the content can be one of the most daunting tasks, especially for those who think that writing isn’t their greatest strength. I know it’s hard to write that first sentence or even that first paragraph but don’t try and get it perfect the first time round. Just write all your ideas and points down first and you can always edit it later. Show that you are passionate about your products, company and industry. It makes for a more interesting read.
- Marketer: you could have a site filled with useful information but what use is it to you if no one knows about it? You have to market and share your content so that architects will be exposed to it when specifying products. Find out what information is valuable to them and how you should best present it. Do they want an installation video, a technical guide or a brochure they can download?
- Communicator (social media): forming online relationships through social networks is the key to increasing trust and building credibilitywithin your industry. Build up a loyal following/readership by interacting with industry peers, clients and prospects online. Answer queries, reply to mentions, share interesting information and become a community currator. Set up some social media guidelines so that everyone in the company feels empowered to use social media but also know their limits.
- Graphic designer: sometimes images can speak louder than words. Find the right images to show off your products and know where to place them in the text to have the greatest impact. You might need some photo editing skills if the images you have don’t accurately communicate your message.
- Project manager: you have to be able to manage your time and resources. Set content deadlines and stick to them. Some articles or blog posts are more important than others and some have to be completed by a certain time or produced for a certain campaign or project. Creating an editorial calendar will help you plan ahead and keep you on the right track.
- Technology ‘geek’: you don’t have to be an expert in the latest technologies but it helps to know how to use them. Smartphones, tablets and other online tools such as Hootsuite (social media dashboard) can help manage your time and keep up to date with the latest industry news and trends. You also have to understand where and how your audience is consuming your content. If many read emails or articles on their mobiles, make sure your website is mobile friendly.
- Copy Editor: remember that all the content you publish is representing your business so it has to be of a certain standard. Keep your ideas clear, get to the point and don’t overfill it with jargon. Write in the language of your audience. If they are technical, then add lots of technical information, if they are not then doing so will simply confuse readers and force them to look for information elsewhere.
- Analyst: making sense of data so that you can make better informed decisions is a vital task. Measurement and being able to prove what effects your marketing is having is what you boss wants to know. Having Google Analytics is a basic requirement but understanding the data so that you can get valuable insights from it is a crucial skill to master.
Who produces the content for your business? Is it an individual or a team job? Do you agree with the list or would you add/remove any of these? Leave a comment and let us know.