In the world of content marketing, there are usually two primary goals. The first is search engine optimization (SEO) that drives traffic to your website and allows you to get your business in front of more potential customers. The second goal is engagement.

SEO, Engagement, or Both?

The importance of SEO to a business hinges on factors such as its industry and how its customers find it. Certain types of businesses need to put SEO at the center of their content marketing strategy. Broadly speaking, if you’re selling to consumers, you need a robust SEO presence to capture leads from impromptu googling.

Not all businesses are in the B2C category. In fact, many businesses overrate the importance of SEO in their content marketing strategy. If your sales pipeline is consistently fed by referrals, networking, and direct pitches, focusing too much on SEO can be a mistake. Instead, engagement should be where your focus lies.

Both sides of the content marketing coin are always present. The most engaging content can still have a ton of SEO built into it. But emphasizing SEO often comes at the expense of other important aspects. The current Google algorithm is driving page word counts to levels where people simply aren’t likely to read most of it.

Instead of worrying about feeding the machine first, an engagement-oriented strategy focuses on addressing real people and real needs.

The Power of Meaningful Content

Meaningful content drives traffic to your website while also generating engagement with your target audience. Think about it this way. You could have the best SEO in the world and a ton of site visitors every day. However, what does that really mean if those customers aren’t doing anything beyond clicking on that first page and leaving your site 30 seconds later? You want them to stick around and take an action (likes, comments, click-throughs, opt-ins, inquiries, and of course, purchases).

Why Give Away Advice and Information for Free?

One great method for creating more engaging content is to give away free advice. Some business owners (especially in the service provider industries) want to hold their secrets to success close to their vests. They ask, “Why would I give away free advice when I want a customer to pay for my services?”

Think of it like getting a sample product at a convention. The vendor gives away a free sample for you to try. You end up liking the product and wanting to buy more. They got you hooked and now you are a paying customer!

From a marketing perspective, giving away free advice works similarly, on a variety of different levels. Here are a few things that such meaningful content can accomplish:

  • Credibility—When you give away free advice, you are showing yourself as an authority in your field. This builds credibility and lets your customers know you are for real as a subject matter expert.
  • Trust—By offering information for “free,” you will also establish trust. You are a reputable source of information and you are offering welcome advice without “selling” them something first. You are giving them a free sample of the potato chip to see if they like it rather than making them buy an entire bag just to see how they taste.
  • Engagement—Free advice and useful information are always worthwhile. When you make your content more meaningful, you can keep your followers engaged. This builds brand loyalty and helps provoke more decisive actions from your target audience.

Don’t Give Away Everything!

One important thing to remember is that you are giving away some—not all—free advice and trade secrets through your content. This goes back to the free sample analogy. You are engaging and educating someone through your content while setting them up to want more.

A common content marketing strategy is to pose a problem to which your follower can relate. Then, provide some free advice and expert insight on how to overcome that problem. Part of that solution is creating a need for your product or service. Part of being generous with your advice is knowing customers have two options. First, they can use your recommendations and “run with it” themselves. Alternatively, they may not have time to implement these changes, and they’ll ask you for a helping hand. Both are great.

Content Marketing Channels

So, what media channels are you using to build credibility and share this free advice? There are many different ways to broadcast your messages and create consumer engagement:

         • Static content on your company’s website

         • Blogs

         • Landing pages

         • Email campaigns

         • Social media posts

         • Videos

         • Podcasts

         • Webinars

         • White papers

Don’t Forget to Interact for Further Engagement

All of these are different forms of content marketing that you can utilize. Speaking of engagement, be sure to read the comments and interact. Visitors will remember this kind of next-level engagement.

Giving away free advice is just one method for generating meaningful content. There are many other strategies you should be implementing to enhance your content marketing approach. This is why you want to work with a content marketing specialist like Red Mallard. Contact us today for more information and to schedule a no-obligation marketing review.

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