Website planningIs your website working for you? Even if it is visually appealing, easy to search and strongly conveys your brand and positioning, are customers and prospects paying a visit and coming back for more?

Today, providing relevant, educational and engaging content can be one of the most effective tools to draw people to your website. Also search engines look for sites with content related to users’ search terms. Your branded content can help you get to the top of Google’s search list. Other sites may want to link to your site as well.

Providing a steady stream of compelling content may seem daunting but as an expert in your industry, you have a lot to share. Turn knowledge of your market and industry into content that conveys your expertise and thought leadership. In this way your content helps to build the reputation of your company as a trusted resource.

Also ensure your content is shareable to attract more users to your site and raise visibility for your brand.

Create great content from many sources

You have a lot of options for content, and you don’t always have to reinvent the wheel. It could be as simple as re-purposing existing marketing materials. You may just need to edit and update them so they are more appropriate for search. Also consider asking other industry experts to contribute information – an article or blog post – to your site.

Blogs: Many content marketing experts consider a blog an essential piece of your content strategy. Vary the content (as I do). You can offer an opinion, share news, provide tips, or even post a Do it Yourself (DIY) with step-by-step instructions.

Video:  Have someone interview you or interview a customer or an industry authority. Tutorials also are popular because they help answer customer questions. Just plan ahead – don’t aim for improvisation or spontaneity – and make sure your end product is high quality.  If it’s done right, your video could be a YouTube hit in your market.

Email newsletters: In addition to sending out your newsletter to subscribers, post it on your website. Newsletters require a commitment. Whether they are bimonthly, monthly or weekly, readers come to expect them. Include news and opinion items along with information about your products or services; and don’t forget to end with a strong call to action.

Case studies: Customers are risk adverse. A case study highlighting someone else or another company using your products or services can go a long way to demonstrate the value of your offering and instill confidence in potential buyers

White papers: White papers build a case for your product or service by providing objective and useful information – including industry background information – targeted to a specific audience.

Surveys: Surveys can tell you what your customers want to know and so help you determine what additional content you need. Surveys also can help you understand how your customers are using your site and how you can make the experience even more fulfilling.

Presentations: Create a new presentation to launch a product or service or update an existing one with new industry information and statistics.  Include images to make them more memorable and graphs to emphasize key points.

Podcasts:  Use a podcast to address customer questions or bring them up to date about your small business.  Bring in experts and customers to provide broader industry information and to substantiate your message. And, sorry I have to say it — be sure to use a good headset to produce your podcast.

Message board: Create a community where visitors can have post messages and engage in a conversation.

Fill your site with great content – on target, engaging and memorable – and your customers and prospects will come and bring others along.