Here are the next four items on our best practices checklist for content marketing. (For the first three, click here.)
4. Safety first. Okay, it’s fourth on our list, but it’s utterly crucial. You do not want your site, which you own (see item 1 on our list), to get hacked, attacked, or infested with malware.
Stay current on all updates of all the software you use, and make sure your host takes security seriously. Talk to your developer about any other precautions you should take, including finding an approved Payment Card Industry scanning vendor (PCI ASV), which scans any and all IP addresses that the public has access to, related to your website or your site’s transaction process. Here is a great list of Approved Scanning Vendors.
5. Handsome is as handsome does. It doesn’t matter how good your words are — if your site is ugly, visitors will click away before they read those words.
The landing page should be attractive and welcoming. It doesn’t need to be cutting edge design — in fact, it shouldn’t be, if that design means you greet visitors with a “loading” signal that leaves them hanging for minutes, or even seconds. You also don’t want some “sophisticated” navigational scheme that makes it difficult to figure out where specific information can be found.
WordPress has plenty of free themes, and custom themes at affordable prices. Whether you use one of these or work with a creative team and developers, make sure the arriving visitor doesn’t need goggles to block the ugly, and that he or she can figure out immediately how to get to the information they want.
6. Expand your readership. After building a solid foundation of basic content (see items 2 and 3 on our list), start expanding your content in ways that will draw in more readers. There’s a fine line to walk here — you want to attract attention, but you have to have solid content to back it up. (Think of a crazy clown with a horn — he may catch your eye, but you don’t want to do business with him.)
Your content should always reflect the integrity and reliability of your business, so don’t make promises you can’t keep or create controversy for the sake of controversy. That’s one side of the fine line — the other side is that you should provide content that is
- punchy, with a great headline and easy to absorb presentation
(Hint: numbered lists and bullet points are both good for this!)
7. Build an email list ASAP. Use your website so people can find you, but then you need to engage with them directly; email is perfect for this. Develop a strategy for following up with people, including email blasts, targeted email lists, and email auto-responders.
We’re almost there! Next up — the last three things you should be doing to craft an effective content marketing campaign.