No business creates content just for fun. While there could be many different marketing goals behind your content production, often it boils down to wanting to drive traffic to your website to create more interest, which should translate to increased conversions and sales if everything else is working well.
Content marketing has gotten a lot of airtime recently as Google, and other search engines, reward sites with higher organic listings for good content. But it’s impossible to receive Google’s “good content” designation if people don’t see your work. You need to concentrate on driving traffic almost as much as you need to work on the appeal of your content to your audience.
The Chicken and the Egg Problem of Content Marketing
Remember the question, “Which came first? The chicken or the egg?” This can also be a question for content marketers because you need good content to drive traffic, but you don’t truly know if it’s good until you see if it drives traffic. But for the purpose of simplification and the desire to understand how to handle boosting the traffic to your website, we’ll assume you have excellent, well-crafted, on-target content.
But how do you get it out there?
You use an all-encompassing approach with your blog or website as the center of all activity. There are sites you “own” (like your website or blog) and sites you don’t (like Facebook). Never use an unowned site for the center of your content marketing universe. Instead, drive traffic from your unowned properties, which is where the bulk of your audience hangs out, to your owned world–your blog or website.
How to Drive Website Traffic with Content
Share Where Your Audience Is
As mentioned above, your audience is likely not hanging out on your website waiting for new content. You need to go where they are (social media platforms) and “dangle” (or post) your content in front of them. They shouldn’t be reading the entire post on your social site. You want to draw them to your website instead.
You do this for two reasons. Your website is where the sales conversion will happen because they can easily access the Contact Us button. It’s also removed from the temptation of the sparkly things on social media. You don’t want them interacting with you on social, only to get distracted by a shiny ad or a kitten video.
Most businesses don’t realize the value of targeted social media ads. You can redirect people to a landing page or your website by using a piece of content you know they’ll be interested in. Learn more about the Facebook Pixel.
Marketing automation allows you to create an email marketing campaign that can target specific content to your audience depending on their actions. For instance, if you send an email with two links, one about a discount offer you’re running and one about learning more about you, you can learn about your audience.
If they click the discount, it’s easy to assume they are further along in the buying process and you can provide them with content that moves them from their current place to converting into a sale.
If they select, learn more, they’re still auditioning choices and just beginning the process. Coming at them with a hard sell won’t be very effective. Instead, you will nurture them with content until they are ready to make a decision. Each time you deliver the content, you’ll do so through a link that leads to your website.
Have you ever said something in a crowded room and no one responds, so you repeat it? That’s the idea behind republishing. Often social media is like a firehose and your potential customers don’t see what you’re sharing. That’s why it’s important to re-run old content, share posts multiple times, and repurpose content.
What catches your eye: an article, a video, or a meme? Just as you have a preference, your audience does too. If you produce your best content in multiple formats, you’ll interest more people, and you can spread your message across larger social spheres. When you do, remember you should direct everyone back to your website.
Things change fast, and so do statistics. If you created a piece of content that was great in 2014, look for ways to give it a facelift or an update and republish it. Fifteen minutes spent reworking old stats is a lot quicker than creating a 1,000-word post from scratch. Plus, you already know it was successful and something your audience responded to.
Not only can you rework content with new stats, but you can also insert relevant examples as well. For instance, maybe you have an article entitled “The customer is always right.” How can you incorporate the currently-trending United Airlines PR nightmare? Adding current topics of interest can help older pieces get more traffic.
Another solid way to drive traffic to your site is to guest blog on a popular site for your industry. This could be an association website for a popular customer type or a third-party like Medium or LinkedIn Pulse that have large followings and plenty of views.
Earlier we wrote about not placing your entire post on a site you didn’t own and merely using these outlying social platforms to drive traffic back to your website. Medium and LinkedIn allow you to share content that appeared somewhere else without the Google penalty of identical content. Just place a quick line about “This article originally appeared on…” and give a link to your blog.
While you’re there, switch out the image and change the title a bit. It will help grab more eyes and may give you a better understanding of how changing out a title may drive additional interest in your piece.
The best way to drive traffic with content is to be sure that your content is optimized for your audience. This means you know:
- What they want
- What format they want it in
- When to send it for the best chance of seeing it
- What makes them click (title and subject line)
- What calls to action are the most effective?
This is an ongoing activity. What works for your audience this year may not next so keep an eye on your shares and traffic. If you see dips, try to assess causes.
Finally, if your content is optimized correctly, is easy to share, and your website is optimized for mobile and loads quickly, your ability to drive traffic with content should continue to improve.