Online content has become extremely important for all businesses and individuals over recent years. The term “online content” encompasses the majority of things on the web and therefore includes anything that is created, shared or published online by your business. It is sometimes overlooked, but how this content is used, targeted and marketed can really make a difference to your business’s performance.
Your Business’s Measured Performance
Before introducing the ways in which online content can be successfully used to increase performance; you must understand your current performance and your target performance. What is it you want to improve about your business?
Your online businesses performance can be measured through a number of different factors:
- link clicks
- website visits
- sign ups
- google ranking
- domain authority
Sales and profit are obviously important, and usually the focal point of growth in business. However, using online content strategically can boost your business activity in pre-sales stages. It is therefore important that you don’t have a tunnel-view of sales being the only goal of your business.
There are so many factors and contributors to performance that can to be grown first with the introduction of high quality online content.
#1 – Identify the Appropriate Type of Content
Firstly, you must identify what content you currently have on your website and what content you can start using to boost performance. The various types of content can include:
- blog posts
- online events
- and others…
Consider your website, business and what you offer customers and decide which content is appropriate for your audience. If the content is appropriate, easy to find and reaching your target audience, you will begin to see growth.
For example, infographics might come across confusing or difficult to understand for the older market. Therefore, how can you target them appropriately? Perhaps use short, simple videos they can find on youtube or on your own website which are really informative and helpful.
In addition, Blog content is a huge contributor of content for many businesses. It provides an opportunity to talk about the business, services and other current issues in a less formal way. A business can then build relationships, extend reach and boost engagement with their audience which can greatly improve your businesses performance on a whole.
Companies that published 16+ blog posts per month got almost 3.5X more traffic than companies that published between 0 – 4 monthly posts. (Hubspot).
#2 – Create an Audience Profile
Be specific when identifying your audience. The content you are creating may not be about your brand, product or service directly, and therefore it is good to think about other things your audience will want to read, watch and interact with.
Find out more about your audience inside and out with questions like these:
- How old are they?
- Where do they live?
- What characteristics do they have?
- Where do they like to find information? eg. Facebook or Forums?
- What current problems do they face?
- What excites them? What fears do they have?
You need to create content that will appeal to them and their needs. Consider how you are solving their problems, relating to them and adding value to their lives. By introducing targeted, relatable content you should see an increase in many areas of your business’s performance including, page views, subscribers and conversions.
#3 – Set Specific Goals
The next step is to set a particular goal that you can focus your content on until growth and improvement can be seen. It is quite common that you will need to experiment, especially with the search engine optimisation and marketing of your content. It can be a long process to find the appropriate methods which work best for your audience.
As mentioned previously, sales cannot be your business’s only goal, as your content will not reach its full potential. It can also make your audience feel devalued or alienated if your content does not address them. Be realistic in your goals and the method you choose to achieve it.
Focusing on one goal does not necessarily mean only one task is carried out. The business may see improvements in unexpected but related areas of performance. For example,
Goal: Increase website visits.
Method: Use relatable blog posts and promote on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.
Unexpected Result: Increased engagement and sales.
As a result, online content is a valuable tool to use in business and see growth.
#4 – Engagement
Engagement is an important aspect of performance when using online content to boost business. This covers areas such as comments, shares, emails and likes of any type of content. You can increase engagement by adding a Call-to-action at the end of your content to get your audience involved. Ask them to comment, share, like or sign up and see their responsiveness to your content.
Make sure that you respond to your audience too. Reply to emails and comments to show them that you are a real person or business, you are trustworthy and they will feel valued. Monitor your engagement rates and use your audience’s responses to your advantage. Learn what they appreciate, learn what they want and need from you and apply it to your new content.
#5 – Value
Not only do want your customers to feel valued by you, but in turn you want to provide them with value. Online content is most successful when it is helping people, solving problems and giving the reader something to take away. That is what will keep people coming back, and what will help improve the engagement levels and success of your content.
If you establish your content as valuable, relatable and reliable then your customers will want to come back for more. Value should also be easy to add to your content when you know your reader profile extremely well. Keep your customer in mind all the time and give them what they need. Listen to what they are saying (or not saying) and apply it to your content strategy.
#6 – Optimisation
Make sure your content is optimised for the online world itself. Optimising your content for mobile and tablet will help your website keep readers. If you know you are targeting a younger audience, they most likely will find your content on their phone. So make sure it is readable, easily accessible, viewable and the appropriate size for your audience.
There is nothing worse than a difficult to read page with half of the content missing, or constantly being disturbed by pop ups or ads, which ultimately makes the reader leave your website. Therefore, it is important that your website is versatile, your theme is adaptable for different devices and is easily readable for your audience.
In addition, you must employ excellent SEO tactics to optimising your content for Google. Google is the first page visited when anyone has a problem, so it is essential. By creating more content and employing great SEO, your business has more opportunity to reach a much wider audience.
SEO is the sole purpose behind making your website visible to as many web users as possible. Your content has the potential to rank higher in search results, be found more easily and therefore, gain more page visits and potential customers by implementing the right SEO tactics. As shown in the diagram below, the higher the ranking in google, the more clicks to your website.
#7 – Use Analytics
As with the graph above, the data you can obtain from analytics on Google, your website and social medias is particularly valuable. You can gain up to date information on the results of your current content strategy.
Learn from your analytics about how your audience behaves, what pages they spend the most time visiting, their path through your website, where they found your content as well as some of their information such as location and device.
This data will help you improve your tactics, try a new angle or different type of content all together. You can also learn about the audience that you have attracted to your website and change your target audience. Their behaviour on your website can also give hints at what content they are attracted to, if the page is successful in keeping them on your site and why they may leave.
Ultimately, using online content initially allows you to learn from the response and adapt your content to continually improve your business’s performance.
#8 – Increased Business Performance
Online content must be used effectively in order to improve business performance. Tailor your content to your audience, learn from your analytics and the response received from your audience and adapt quickly. Overall, it provides many more opportunities for brand awareness, loyalty and customer relationships which will contribute hugely to your business’s performance.