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Push or Pull? Content Strategy Has Room For Both

Your client has done everything right so far. They've designed a website for search engine optimization, built it, tested it extensively and tweaked the graphics to make the site look great. They've been marketing the site in all the traditional ways but, for some reason, they're not seeing much of a rise in business.

So what's missing?

Your client may not have the right content strategy to attract the type of quality traffic they need. To illustrate my point, please stick with me for a minute while I share my story.

About two years ago, I began writing about the professional sports teams in Houston as a hobby. Surprisingly, my blog began to get popular so I decided to try to capitalize on the traffic and make a little extra money. I hired a web designer to build a full-fledged site, complete with a storefront, blog and forum. The site looked great and I even added some pay-per-click and commission-based advertisements. But I forgot one thing.

I was able to write well if you are talking purely about my ability to compose thoughtful, entertaining content. I had absolutely no idea how to write with keywords, meta data and, most importantly, I did not have anything resembling an effective content strategy.

After over a year of seeing almost no growth in traffic, I began looking for marketing strategies and that's when I came across the concept of combining Inbound and Outbound Marketing (Push and Pull) effectively in a way that will build quality traffic.

The best way I can explain it is this: think about the Internet as a trade convention. You would never purchase a booth at a convention without also bringing brochures or fliers to promote your business. The booth is outbound marketing and the brochures or fliers are inbound marketing materials. The gist of your content strategy here is:

  • Market your business to draw attention at the conference
  • Pass out quality material that will bring potential customers back to your business after the conference.

You spent money on the booth to "pull" people to your business and you gave them brochures with high-quality content to "push" them to buy your products or services. You can do the same thing online.

A good content strategy for online businesses uses inbound and outbound marketing the same way. The first thing to do is to create useful, informative content that people will want to share. This content needs to be of high-quality to entice potential customers to come to your website. Second, you complement that by sending out notifications like the ones listed below:

  • Emails
  • Lead Nurturing
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • RSS Feeds

Emails and Lead Nurturing

Emails are still an effective means of outbound marketing but these days emails have to be targeted to people who are interested in the topic. This is where lead nurturing comes into play.

Lead nurturing is the practice of sharing content only with users who have previously shown interest in the subject. This includes things like downloading white papers and attending webinars.

Twitter, Facebook and Other Social Media

No content strategy is complete without considering social media platforms. Websites like Facebook and Twitter allow your online business to send out one "Status Update" or "Tweet" as outbound marketing. That information is then easily shared by "Reposts" or "Retweets" by users who are interested in those topics. Contests and games are also a great "pull" product.

The content you generated is inbound marketing, as is every time someone other than you shares that content.

RSS Feeds

These feeds combine all the positive aspects of the two mentioned above. Since users must subscribe to your blog to get the RSS feed, you know that every time you create new content, that content is shared with people who are subscribed to your feed and are, therefore, interested in your topic. These feeds can also be automatically displayed on the subscribers' site which generates additional inbound marketing for you.

Back to Inbound Marketing

These techniques may sound easy but they still have to be done well. And, even if they are, you still have to create outstanding inbound content to complement them.

For the client, the quality of original content does not only mean it has to be well-written, as I discussed about my first year of blogging. It means choosing the best keywords, knowing the appropriate keyword density and understanding meta data.

If you keep all these things in mind when helping the client develop a content strategy, you can help them achieve a substantial increase in quality traffic which will translate into more money in their pocket.

Topics: content marketing - content strategy - content marketing strategy

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