While it may not be the classic battle of apples vs. oranges, the differences between marketing products vs. services will have an affect on your content marketing efforts.
As you review both, keep in mind that none of this is truly hard-and-fast. Many of the goals, questions and topics that apply to products can also apply to services and vice-versa.
Thanks to 1000 Content Ideas for the infographic
Primary Goals of Your Content
- If your product is not a commodity, then create content that highlights the unique value it provides.
- If your product is a commodity, or just plain boring, then hook folks in with helpful information and advice – both of which will build the trust needed to make sales happen.
- It’s harder to differentiate yourself using benefits on the service side as many others will offer the same types of services.However, you can build trust by explaining the ins-and-outs and benefits of the services you provide. This is a great way to establish your expertise and qualifications, both of which build the trust needed to make sales happen.
I get contacted frequently by local companies wanting a quick fix for ranking in the search engines. In many cases, they discover that local SEO doesn’t equate with a cheap shortcut to high rankings. Increasingly, local SEO is about ongoing, consistent online promotion activities. That’s where Content Marketing comes in.
A good Content Marketing program doesn’t have to be a back-breaking enterprise. It will require some effort and/or some cost, depending upon if you outsource it or if you do it completely yourself.
Why Content Marketing is Your Secret Weapon
The good thing is, a great many local businesses still are not doing Content Marketing, so use of it as a search engine optimization tactic is still something of a secret weapon. Here’s how.
Many local businesses in highly competitive categories have already done the straightforward things for optimizing their businesses to rank for local. They may have optimized their sites, obtained local citations and links, optimized their business profiles, finessed their Google+ Local (a.k.a. Google Places) listings, encouraged customer reviews, and more.
Since all these businesses are doing essentially the same activities, they end up barely trumping the listings just below them in Google Local search results, and they may be frequently jostling, month after month, for the same slots.
But, if one of them begins Content Marketing consistently, that business may rapidly become top dog, accruing advantages that the non-Content Marketing businesses lose out on. It gives some distinct advantages, and can become a secret weapon that may allow the first company using it to develop a lead that the others might not quickly imitate.
Advantages Of Content Marketing For Local SEO
Lends your site some ongoing, timely stuff to seduce parts of Google’s algorithms that feature content based on freshness.
- Attracts an audience that may interact with you. User interaction signals can give your site a higher prominence score in Google local algorithms. Blogs can develop subscribers and frequent readers, and generally make a site/business appear more friendly and open to humans.
- Provides your site with an often unique link profile!
- Enables you to rank in Blog Search as well as in regular keyword search results and Local (Maps) search result which equal more exposure and greater distribution of your promotional efforts.
- Enables you to engage with other bloggers by posting commentary pieces and opinions on your blog.
- Enables you to have a forum for jumping on media feeding frenzies when there’s something related to your industry in the news.
- Provides you with a voice that is your own if anyone ever attacks your company online. Content Marketing is a linchpin of proactive online reputation management.
- Provides a solid bedrock for developing your social media presence! A blog is a perfect tool for feeding content out onto Twitter, Facebook and Google+ as well as other social media sites. As a feed source, you can use it to actually reduce your workload by simply adding content in one place and having it show up in your various social media pages if that’s what you want. (Although, there are things that work more effectively on some social media platforms better than others, so it’s good to still customize these things for different places/audiences. And, you’ll still need to respond to people who engage with each of your social media accounts, too.)
There are a great many details to configuring a blog to be optimal for you, but here are a few suggestions.
How To Set Up An Optimal Blog For Local SEO & Social Media
- Use WordPress. It already has a lot of search engine optimization basics built-in. Although, it’s still helpful to get a pro to help you make decisions about the various installation options.
- Avoid themes that you can’t customize to remove or no-follow links to the designer’s site.
- Integrate your blog as part of your existing site. It could be in a dedicated sub-directory or it could be set as a sub-domain.
- Avoid menu navigation systems that do not use SEO-friendly links.
- Incorporate author pages. I’ve written previously about benefits to incorporating employee pages on your business site. You could use our staff pages to double as author pages, or set them up especially for the blog. Having author pages can work hand-in-hand with authorship markup.
- Incorporate authorship markup. Setting up real, human authors to acknowledge with by-lines on the blog posts will make them reassuring and more trustworthy for readers, and this is one reason why Google treats such blog posts a bit more preferentially. Using the author tag markup can help your pages’ listings have greater visibility in the search results — and more eye-catching listings typically equate with higher click-through rates.
- Perform your SEO research and target future blog posts to your ideal keyword combinations over time. Engineer your page titles and matching keyword URLs to help highlight these terms.
- Include tag pages and related post links. These help enhance the topical keyword associations with your pages and can provide readers with navigation features which help them find more similar content on your blog.
- Post frequently. Once a day is fantastic, if you can keep it up! However, once a week might be best, depending on your industry and comfort/familiarity with Content Marketing.
- Mix it up! If you’re a plumbing site, it’s going to grow terribly dull to write (and for your readers to read) article after article on types of pipe fittings you do, or how fast you drive to their place. Instead, mix it up by mentioning interesting and outrageous things that happen in the news which are related to your business type — when some giant water main has blasted open in a city somewhere, or an amazing story of a wedding ring found in a drain ten years after being lost and then reunited with its owner. Get the idea?
- Start a conversation with the blogosphere. Write a blog piece giving your thoughts on another person’s blog from your industry. Link to their piece if you do this, of course — often they’ll link back to you to respond so their readers can follow the thread, or their blog may automatically post trackback links. Engaging with other blogs can help you enter into the overall conversation, get your blog/business more interest, and further reassure search engine algorithms that your company is on-the-level as more humans interact with you online.
- Make it part of the local community. Even when trying to mix it up and engaging with other blogs, if you only post on topics about your industry, it may still be pretty dry for the average reader. Consider also posting on things of particular interest to the people in your community — local happenings, local economic news, recommendations for other partner businesses in the area, etc. By doing this you can make yours a hyper-local blog, and the additional buzz around local topics will help improve your site for locational relevancy with the local search engines.
- Plan a content calendar. Consider posting seasonal items related to your business and area: seasonal tips, special offers, how the changing season or holidays affect your business or products, and more.
- Keep posts brief! It’s not necessary to write a lengthy essay with each post, and Internet users typically prefer succinct content that’s easily-digestible. Also, if you write too long, you’ll burn yourself out and be unable to blog consistently enough to sustain ongoing publishing.
Installing a blog and writing on it consistently are not going to be shortcuts to achieving higher rankings fast — these things take some work. However, this investment in engaging with online consumers will give you an advantage that won’t disappear overnight. And, if you do it right, it could help you get ahead of your competitors in terms of SEO and social media.
I would like to start out by stating that this is an opinion piece. That means that this is my opinion and you have every right to agree or disagree with it, that is one of the beautiful things about this country.
So this election year we have a choice between two men who have very different views on where we should go as a county. On one side you have a man who believes that you should tax the rich to make them pay for less fortunate and he calls himself a Christian, yet does not really show the fruit of being true Christian. He is pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage and believes that “all” roads lead to heaven. On the other side you have a man who believes that you should let the rich keep their money in hopes that they will use that money to hire more people and he also calls himself a Christian yet is part of a religion that until recently was considered a cult. He is pro-marriage, pro-life sort of, and believes that he will one day become a god and rule his own planet.
I am left asking, what does this election mean for our country? I believe that as for our country we have a clear choice between the two men and two financial world views, Socialism or Capitalism and this year our country will decide what path it will take. I am also left asking, what does this election mean for the Gospel? Do either one of the financial world views help or hurt the Gospel of Jesus Christ? I think that a socialist U.S. would be harder on the daily life of Christian at least it is in the rest of the world. In fact Christians are being heavily persecuted in the rest of the world . (Voice of the Martyrs) But the question remains has capitalism in the freest country in the world helped or hurt the Gospel? I would like to suggest both! There is no doubt that it is easier to be a Christian in the U.S. than it is in any other country in the world today. But is that a good thing?
Today we have more false converts, false preachers and false religions than in any other country. Yet according to CNN “America is a less Christian nation than it was 20 years ago” with 60% of the nation calling themselves Christian (CNN). If that is true and Christianity is flourishing under in the U.S. then why is it only 35% of Christians believe that Satan and hell are real (Christian Post) and only 30% believe that the bible is the true.(CP Poll) I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but if you don’t believe that he bible is the infallible word of God, you are NOT a Christian… Don’t believe me, read the Bible.
That brings me back to the question, what does this election mean for Christians and more importantly the Gospel? A Vote for the current president Obama would essentially be a vote to support to move our country towards socialism and support for someone who is pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage, pro-universalism and a representative of the democratic party that openly Boo’s God. So that would mean that the obvious choice would be Romney right? Wrong… Let’s take a look at what a vote for Romney really means. It would be a vote for capitalism, traditional marriage (sort of) pro-life (sort of) and pro god.
Let’s dive in to the social issues a little more. President Obama obviously losses if you are a social conservative and a Christian, once again this is an opinion piece and if you don’t agree, go read your bible (2nd Corinthians 13:6-5) But that doesn’t mean that Romney automatically wins… Let’s look at some of the major issues. First the abortion issue, he is pro-life except in the cases of rape and incest. As horrible as those acts are you are still punishing the child with a death sentence for the crimes of the farther. Second is the marriage issue, while he is for the biblical definition of marriage the problem is that we believe in a different bible and if you don’t believe that polygamy that is alive and well please visit Shield and Refuge and listen to the testimonies in their “lifting the Veil” documentary. The third and most important issue is God. At least Romney is pro God right… Well let’s take a quick look at Mormonism (for an in-depth look visit CARM) Mormons believe in a different Jesus, believe God used to be a man on another planet, God resides near a star called Kolob, God is married to his goddess wife and has spirit children and after you become a good Mormon, you have the potential of becoming a god. Unfortunately none of that is in the Bible.
So if you are a Christian that means that the obvious vote is for… I don’t know… The only thing I can tell you for certain is that this election is a very important election for our country but as a Christian I feel both choices are extremely lacking. If we really want true change, if we really want the Gospel to win the only thing we can do is stand up and proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ which says for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23) That means that if you have ever told a lie, stolen anything, or used God’s name in vain, you have sinned. Jesus said, “Whoever looks with lust has already committed adultery in his heart.” Will you be guilty on Judgment Day? If you have done those things, God sees you as a lying, thieving, blasphemous adulterer at heart. The Bible warns that if you are guilty you will end up in Hell. God, who the Bible says is “rich in mercy” sent His Son to suffer and die on the cross for guilty sinners. We broke God’s Law, but Jesus paid our fine. That means He can legally dismiss our case. He can commute our death sentence: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Then He rose from the dead and defeated death. Please, repent (turn from sin) today and God will grant everlasting life to all who trust in Jesus. Then read your Bible daily and obey it.
Resources: Living Waters - Wretched Radio – CARM – Shield & Refuge - Bible Gateway - Christian Post – CNN- Voice of the Martyrs – image Politics R Funny