For more than a decade, there has been a saying in marketing that “content is king.” It is still true but has been elevated to an even higher level. Thanks to the pandemic, content marketing has become the Emperor. And like the fictional Emperor, it needs new clothes.
There is a simple reason for this.
COVID-19 lockdowns blocked smaller businesses and professional practices from many of the traditional marketing and business development activities that generated new business in the past. It is nearly impossible now to take people to lunch, speak at trade or professional association meetings, go to charity dinners, take contacts to a ballgame, mingle at live networking sessions, or attend alumni events.
Yet people still need products and services. They are looking online now more than ever and are buying – even during a recession. For Business to Business (B2B) firms and some in the Business to Consumer (B2C) sector – including law, financial planning, accounting, small businesses, contractors, and nonprofits – this means that creating remarkable content is paramount.
Content marketing means more than scratching out a blog when you have time. It is your entire website. It needs to be a living, breathing reflection of not just what you do but how you do it, conveying the value you deliver.
More than ever, content marketing needs to interrupt the conversation going on inside the mind of a visitor to your website.
Great Content Marketing Helps the Reader and You
The overarching purpose of a website and its blog is to attract potential clients and customers and to encourage engagement on your website. Consistently creating great content helps your prospects understand how you will help them solve a problem, take advantage of an emerging trend, seize an opportunity or think differently about an issue they are confronting.
Having exceptional content benefits you in four important ways:
- It builds awareness of your brand
- It builds trust in your reputation as an authority
- It keeps you top of mind when somebody has a pressing need
- It bolsters your SEO so more people will find you
Four Mistakes Blog Writers Make
A well-written blog is the vehicle to deliver valuable thought leadership to your readers on an ongoing basis. But too many blogs still make four serious mistakes, reducing their effectiveness:
- Not Interesting. Either they are too technical, so they are over the head – and interest – of most readers
- Too Detailed. They focus on the minutiae of a subject rather than explaining how the detail shapes the bigger picture
- Not Original. They cover a subject that has been written about in the business pages of newspapers or industry-focused publications without exploring a new angle
- Attempt to Sell. They are barely disguised sales pitches offering no actionable ideas or information
Each of these faults wastes a golden opportunity to generate an inquiry.
Four Tips to Write a Compelling Blog During COVID-19
So how do you write compelling blogs in the COVID-19 environment? Here are four tips.
- Offer Pragmatic Advice. Regardless of the situation in your state, a blog can be be a resource to help your contacts through an unprecedented, fast changing situation. Some states remain mostly closed, some are reopening, others that reopened are shutting down again. It’s likely that running a business feels like being battered by a stormy sea. Be their lifeboat.
- Use strong headlines. Your content needs to land an emotional punch, making people want to read the blog. We use the headline analyzer from the American Marketing Institute. It rates a headline and allows you to tweak what you’ve written to boost the headline’s appeal.
- Write like you speak. Sounding professional doesn’t mean sounding stuffy. During COVID, people want to make a human connection and, short of a video call, the best way to do this is by writing like a human, not an impersonal bot. A Nobel Prize winning economist has nearly 2-million Twitter followers because he writes like a real person, not a nerdy academic.
- Be precise. Mark Twain said the difference between using the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug. But don’t obsess over not being Twain; nobody is. Yet anyone can mobilize the English language and put it to work for you.
Strong Content Marketing Is More That a Strong Blog
A blog is only one part of a dynamic and strategic approach to content marketing.
Our New Normal – COVID-19 created a “new normal,” requiring a rethinking of every page on your website. This means ensuring that the content on each page is relevant for an unprecedented situation that is likely to be with us for some time to come.
Home Page – Besides summarizing what you do, explain how you add value for visitors who are likely struggling with their own COVID-generated problems and issues. The entire page does not need to be rewritten. Rather, adding a paragraph or two with embedded links to other, relevant information on how you are serving clients and customers during the pandemic could be sufficient.
Service Pages – Until March, service pages could get away with merely saying “We do this and that.” Now, people want and need to know how a specific service will help them adapt their own operation to the world as it is today. How this is done will vary from one sector and company to another, but it is proven to be an effective tool in generating inquiries.
Social Media – It spills over to social media, as well. No longer can a post simply be “We have a new blog.” It needs to relate how that blog addresses an issue that COVID has created. By following PSM Marketing on LinkedIn, you’ll see examples of this.
Don’t Leave Content Marketing to Chance
There is more art than science to content marketing. During and after the COVID-19 emergency, content became the Emperor because marketing is the fuel that fires the your sales engine. Your content gives your marketing an extra shot of octane.