Content marketing is more important than ever before and if you’re not actively engaged in producing content on a consistent basis, you’re missing out on increased brand awareness, more exposure through search engines and the ability to establish your business as an industry thought leader.
In the webinar recording below, Tim, our Director of Marketing Services, and Scott, our Senior Marketing Consulting, discuss how content marketing can benefit your business and what steps you can take to get started building your own content strategy.
Hello, everyone. We're ready to get started here. Thank you all for joining us today. We have a great showing, about 35 people in here. I imagine a couple more will be joining in the next few minutes. Let's go ahead and get started and get things moving here.
Today, we're going to be talking about content marketing. Throughout the presentation today, we will be covering the basics of content marketing and how to build a strategy for your business. Along the way, we'll have a few questions for you guys to see what you're doing with content marketing today and how that's going for you. If any of you think of questions during the presentation, feel free to ask them in the question box you have there in the GoToWebinar application. We have Cory and Pierre on hand to help answer those and cue up questions for us during the Q&A session at the end here. Make sure you stick around till the end of the presentation. We have a special offer for you guys that's focused on content marketing to help you kick things off. With that being said, we will move along and go to our presentation.
I am Tim Kelsey, the Director of Marketing Services here at Pronto. I've been working at Pronto for almost six years now. I'm sure I've worked with a lot of you over that time and I'm really excited to share my thoughts on content marketing with you today. Also with me is Scott, one of our senior marketing consultants.
Hi, everyone. As Tim said, I'm a senior marketing consultant here. I actually have a background in IT consulting. I've been specializing in online marketing for about four years now.
To start, there are four steps to growing your business. The first is to create a professional web presence. The goal is to grab the attention of your visitors and to encourage them to take an action. After that, you want to develop engaging content. This is about establishing yourself as an expert with blog articles, eBooks, infographics, etc. This is actually going to be the focus of today's presentation.
Next, you want to drive traffic. Once you have good content on your site, you want to start promoting the content so you can drive that traffic. Examples would be by implementing your marketing campaign, doing off-site SEO, like link building, things like that.
Lastly, you want to gather analytics. Measuring the performance of your site overall, but also specific pages and elements so you can make adjustments over time as needed.
As you can see, content is not the single solution to growing your business. It's only one piece of the puzzle towards building the holistic marketing strategy. We do have plans to host future webinars on additional marketing tactics that are listed here. For example, we're going to go on to point 3, which is about driving traffic through SEO and online marketing, and also point 4, which is about analyzing your data so you can make marketing decisions.
Tim is going to dig a bit deeper into why content marketing is so important.
There are a few reasons why content is a huge part of online marketing and just marketing in general for your business. One of the bigger aspects to it is that great content really helps establish you as an expert in your industry. People seem to trust educational content more than they do advertisements or direct sales pitches. When you're able to build a content library on your website, content that you can share with your prospects and clients, it helps them view you as knowledgeable in your industry as a thought leader. The more knowledgeable you appear through that content, the more likely they'll be to trust you with their business, to trust you as a partner in their business. If you're able to explain complicated topics, say about IT services, then it'll be very clear to them that you know what you're doing, you know what you're talking about. They know they can trust their business in your hands, trust their IT with you. It's about getting that trust built through really quality content that shows your knowledge throughout the range of topics in your industry.
I think one of the really big reasons why people get into content marketing is because of the SEO value of it. A quick background on SEO for those who aren't too familiar. SEO stands for search engine optimization and it is the tactics and practice of getting your website to appear in search engine results. There's lots and lots that go into it. A big key important piece to it is content. One way to look at this is that every piece of content, every blog article on your website is an opportunity for you to rank for more and more keywords.
When you're writing these blog articles, you're able to optimize for more keywords or use different language than you might be able to use, say on a page that's just about the services that you offer. A blog article gives you much more flexibility. You can be much more specific about topics and use more keywords that people might be searching for. These keywords might not be ke words that people are searching for in really high volumes. They're probably not things that people are going to be searching for thousands of times per month, but even if there are just a few people searching for it and if you can get your blog article to rank for that, you'll start getting a little bit of traffic to that article. Over time, as you build up your content library and more and more blog articles to your website, all that little bit of content to each blog article adds up to a lot.
I have some examples here from prontomarketing.com, our own website. The first one at the top here, the line chart, shows organic search traffic that has landed on our blog articles over the last about four years. Back in 2012, we were only getting maybe 50-100 visits to our blog each month. Over the years, we've been investing really hard and trying to be really consistent in producing blog articles on our website. Over that time, our traffic has just grown to a huge amount. Today, we get roughly 2,000 visits to our blog each month. That's spread across a huge variety of the blog articles that we have.
Just below that in the bar chart, that shows the total number of URL's on our website that receive organic traffic visits. We average in the 300-400 different pages on our site that receive an organic visit each month. Again, that comes down to consistently writing more and more blog articles. I think we have about 250-300 separate blog posts on our website. Over time, that has added up to a lot of content that people can access.
The small box just next to that shows the range of keywords that our domain ranks for. Overall, we rank for about 1,000, 1,800 keywords. A lot of those are way down in the results that no one's ever going to go that far into the results to find it, but we have a bunch of those in the top 10 and the top 20 where people will happen to click on those every once in awhile. That's what really leads to this growth in the traffic that we've seen.
The other aspect of SEO that relates to content really revolves around links to your website. A bit more background on SEO, one of the big key aspects that search engines look at when they're determining rankings is how other websites link to your website. Essentially, every link that comes in from another website to your website counts as a vote of confidence in the popularity or authority of your domain. The more links that you have from other websites that are relevant to your industry that are high quality, the more likely search engines are going to be to rank your site for the keywords that you're targeting. Content falls into this because the resources that you build can start attracting links to them, which helps not just that page rank better, but help your entire domain rank better.
I have an example here from Moz, who's a big SEO software company and who has invested a huge amount of their marketing content. They've built some really fantastic resources about how the Google search algorithm has changed over the years. They have a beginner's guide to SEO. They have huge, very useful articles. Over the years, those articles have generated tens of thousands of links for them, which makes their entire domain very strong, helps them rank for really high volume keywords, and makes their marketing more effective over all.
Another way that link building can work in with your content is through guest posting. This is a tactic where you write a blog article, and instead of posting it on your blog, you go to another industry relevant website and say, "Hey, I have this great article. I think it would really resonate with your audience. Would you mind posting it and having it link back to my website here?"
In the example I have here, this was a guest post I wrote for Raven SEO Tools a while back where I wrote about local SEO. They shared it on their blog and included a link back to Pronto Marketing there. It's another way that you can use the content that you're creating to start building a stronger domain and really help with SEO.
What I think is perhaps the most important part of content is that it's really what pushes the rest of your marketing forward. If you're able to consistently create new content and have that being processed on a regular basis, it makes the rest of your marketing efforts much easier. The content that you produce can be shared on social media. It can be shared in email newsletters. It helps with SEO by driving more traffic. If you produce a really great piece of content, say like an eBook or something, that can be used in advertising as a way to generate leads for your website. If you are able to produce new content on a regular basis, everything else you do with marketing is going to be much easier because you won't have to say, "Oh, we need to send out an email this month. What are we going to write about? What are we going to include in this email?" You'll have a huge library to draw from and pull that content in, which gets half the work done for you all ready.
We're going to jump into our first poll now. It should pop up on your screen in just a second. All we know at this point is content part of your marketing strategy today? I'll give everyone a few seconds to put their answers in. We'll just sit tight and see how the results go. Okay. We'll give everyone another five seconds or so. I'll be closing the poll in three, two, one. It looks like quite a few of you do have content as part of your strategy today. That's fantastic. I think content is a crucial part of making your strategy effective. Hopefully, we can teach you guys a little bit today, help share our knowledge with you about how to make your content even stronger and work for you even better.
Now the question becomes what is content market? Let's dig a little bit deeper into this. I know you're not supposed to read directly from a slide, but we just love this definition so much that I just have to share it for you word for word. Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience and ultimately to drive profitable customer action. Again, I think this is a really good definition.
If I was to shorten it to the most concise I could, it would be creating good content to attract relevant customers and get them to take action. From my experience, I think consistent content is one of the biggest areas that businesses struggle with. I think you're probably capable of writing something very good. You know your customers well. You probably know what they want to hear about. However, you get busy. If you write one good article and then it takes you a year to write another one, that is not going to help you very much. I think it's very important that you continue with this. Kind of like going to the gym or something like this on a regular basis, you're keeping up with that content. That keeps a strong engagement with your audience.
Another important thing here is that a lot of times there is confusion between copywriting and content marketing. We need to understand the difference in this first. In this example, we have both of them together in the same place. It's an easy way to demonstrate the difference. Website copywriting is meant to convince visitors to take a specific action on your site, like downloading an eBook, contacting your sales team or visiting certain pages to learn more about your services. While content marketing is focused on pieces of content that provide valuable educational information that's worthy of being shared or being downloaded in exchange for maybe some contact information. In this example again, we're using copywriting for the landing page, for the text, for the bullet points, things like this, which can encourage the user. The actual content marketing piece is the eBook that we had written ahead of time. Of course, we invest a lot into getting this eBook to be a good title, good content that people would want to download, and then that makes it easier to convince them through the copyrighting on the page. Both are required to execute a good marketing strategy.
Here, I'm showing a few types of content. There are many different types of content. These are just a few. The most common example would probably be blog articles. This is something like it can give you a lot of variety. You might just write a quick update on industry news or you might be building something that's a little bit more robust, some helpful resource that people would maybe read down the road. Blog articles can vary quite a bit. Then there's email. There's this newsletter, maybe drip campaigns, promotions, operational updates, etc. There are eBooks, which I touched on a little bit earlier. This is great for the top of the sales funnel, lead generation and getting contact information. There's video. Videos are very popular today. They can be really useful at explaining complicated topics. There's webinars. This is what we're doing right now. Then case studies. This is great for prospect that are maybe nearing their decision point. They like that you're an authority and you have some good information, but they want to have a little bit more credibility. Case studies can be really helpful at pushing people over the top.
One thing, I'll jump in and add here a little further explanation on some of the blog articles that Scott touched on there. I just sort of realized that we mentioned evergreen articles as a bullet point there. What that really means are blog articles that don't lose their value over time. If you're writing just about recent industry news, in a few months that might be a topic that no one is really that interested in anymore, that no one's really searching for. Evergreen content is content that has a long shelf life and can continue to drive traffic to you over several months or some cases even years.
We also listed epic blog articles here, which is an internal phrase that we've been using with some of the content that we create. It's definitely not an industry wide topic. What we call epic blog articles are articles that are a couple thousand words long, anywhere from 2-5,000 words and really cover a topic at a very in depth level. I'll get into one of the epic posts that we have produced a little bit later and talk a bit more about that and the types of results that we've seen with it.
The other thing here is that this list that we have of types of content isn't necessarily entirely comprehensive. There's lots of other ways to produce content and lots of other types of content that have different sorts of value in them. There's lots that you can be doing, but these are the main ones and the most common ones that you'll find.
We're moving on to our next poll. I'll bring it up here in just a second. We want to know what your biggest challenge with content marketing is today. Is it that you just don't have enough time to execute? You're not sure where to start. You don't know what to write about, or you don't have the resources to execute. You don't have writers or people to help make that content actually happen. I'll give everyone a few seconds to answer that question. Okay, we'll give everyone five more seconds. Closing it now.
Let's look at the results. It looks like it's actually a little bit more balanced than I thought it would be, but not enough time is the biggest challenge. That's something we've experienced, as well. It is actually really hard to execute on this stuff. From my own personal experience, I've found that when you get busy, writing content is one of the first things that gets pushed aside. It's really easy to say, "Oh, this can wait until tomorrow. This blog article doesn't really need to be done today. It can wait until next week." Having enough time in your plate to handle it is definitely a very difficult part of content marketing.
Next, we're going to start digging into how you can build your content strategy, the step by step process of what you should be doing to look at your content today and how to improve it from there.
The first step is to see what you have so far. You want to basically create a list, see what you've already created. That can be things like blog articles that you've written in the past. It can be newsletters, emails, case studies, and such. It's usually best to bring them all together into one place. It could be something simple like putting them all in a spreadsheet. Open up a Google doc, throw everything in there, and then you can start to move to the next step.
The next step is to actually start organizing the content. A good place to start would be probably be to align these things to your sales funnel. This is something that I think is worth going over briefly. A lot of you probably already know what a sales funnel is, but it's a good example and it could really show you how you can better organize the content. As you can see here, I took one of the HubSpot sales funnels and one of the most popular ones I'd say. At the top of the sales funnel, you see a tract. This is about getting prospects to the website through your blog, social media, SEO, and other marketing tactics. Then you have convert. This is about turning your visitor into a lead by gathering their details, which would most typically be their name, email address, maybe the size of the business, etc.
Then you want to close them. You want to nurture your leads with personalized emails, sales alerts, phone calls, things that can help actually turn them into a customer. It doesn't stop there. Delight is about keeping those customers that you have happy, but also knowing the ones that are perhaps at risk down the line. You might be sending surveys, finding out the people that love you and finding out maybe the people that don't love you anymore, and you need to basically support them and make sure that you can help them along the way.
To bring that back to content, once you understand the sales funnel, you're going to start to say, "Well, how does my content align to the sales funnel?" For a tract, examples of content there would maybe be a blog post about specific pain points that your target market experiences. These are things that maybe they're Googling for that they want to learn some tips about and then they come to your website because of that.
For convert, this could be case studies that pushes them over the edge. Case studies that could be eBooks. It could be things that just provide useful information for them.
Then when you want to close, this is things that are explaining perhaps the benefits of your business, the reason why they should really go from you over other options, maybe it's a pre-sales presentation from your sales team, a personalized email, things like that.
Lastly, you have delight, which is maybe things like your email, newsletter, which can go out every month, other content that can educate them or help them take better advantage of the services that you offer.
Now that you've got it all organized, you can move on to the next step.
One example I'll give here is one thing that we did for our own marketing in our own content planning about a year and a half ago. We went through the process of building a customer journey map where we looked at the entire process from when someone first hears about Pronto to when they become an ongoing client. In each step throughout that process, we took the time to think about what questions they might have at that point, what they might be considering, what they're unsure about. We use those questions as our starting points for deciding what types of content we needed to focus on the audience in each of those steps. Like Scott was mentioning at the top of the funnel, you're looking at pain points and their troubleshooting problems. For us as a web marketing company, it might be someone searching for why their website is not ranking in search results. We can build a few blog articles to help explain that. They might find it. That gets them introduced to Pronto and puts them in the top of our funnel.
From there, you can talk about why your services are needed and what to expect after being a client. As Scott mentioned, I think another key aspect is that email works into this, too. It's something as simple as an email from a follow up email from your sales team functions as part of your content marketing. Those emails should be planned and should have a specific purpose to help push people further into your funnel or further along your journey map. As they become customers, you can talk to them about how to get more out of your services, and in many cases talk about upselling them into additional services that you offer that they might benefit from.
Once you have everything mapped out and figure out where your existing content lies within the sales funnel, it's really at that point time to take a close look at all that content and see where you need to improve. You need to eat your spinach and get stronger and find areas that you’re weak in or lacking and start building content around there. If you see that you don't have enough information, enough content around addressing pain points or troubleshooting issues that your audience might be searching for, that's your place to start. If you find that you don't have enough content around pushing people closer to that buying decision, pushing them into the final decision of signing up with you, you might want to start writing drip emails or better autoresponders for certain actions people take when they submit a form.
It's really taking the time to sit down once you've gathered your entire content library and saying, "Hey, this is where we need the most improvement. Let's plant some content around there. Come up with ideas of what we should be writing. At that point, the next thing to do is start writing."
I think as I discussed a little bit after our last poll, this is perhaps the hardest part of content marketing. It takes time. It takes a lot of effort. In some cases, it takes a lot of money if you're choosing to outsource it to a freelancer or an agency. This is something where you need to decide if you can commit to doing this in house, if you have the time to do it yourself, or if you can share the work among multiple team members, or if this is something that you want to hire a freelancer for or hire a content agency or a marketing agency to handle for you. This is where it all comes down to this. If you can do all this planning, but you can't get the content written, you're really not going to go anywhere. You really need to commit to doing one or the other if you can handle it on your own or push it out to freelancers.
If you don't have time for a full content strategy, one of the good places to start is to blog. Obviously, there are lot of different types of content marketing. We talked about eBooks and case studies. If you don't have a whole lot today and you were to start anywhere, I would suggest you don't start off big. Don't start saying I'm going to do everything because you got to bite off what you can chew. It's kind of like going to the gym. Start by going to the gym every week doing your reps. Don't start by running a marathon. A case for blogging. Consistency is key here. That's something that you can kind of bite off that much to start at least.
If you're going to be writing a blog, you really want to make sure that you have one person that is responsible for it. Even if you are outsourcing something to someone else, you still need someone on your team who owns it. This is another very, very common issue that people run into is that it becomes everyone's task. Everyone's a bit responsible for the blog. Everyone puts it to the side because everyone gets busy, so you don't have that one owner. Of course, everyone needs to have some involvement. You're going to have specialists in different areas. You're going to have people that have a lot of experience in certain things. One person doesn't know it all, but have that one point of contact, that one person that'll bring these people together and make sure that the thing gets done every week or say every couple of weeks.
Once you've picked that person, it's time to start brainstorming. What we've done here, we have an example of our Trello board. This is just a software. It's a really useful software that allows you to organize a lot of things in one place. You can see here that we have an area for our backlog. When you start thinking of ideas and you start to say, "All right. Well, we can write content about A, B, C, and D." Just brainstorm those. Make a nice list, maybe 10 or 15 ideas, and then get them all together. Once you have the backlog, then you can start managing the production process. That might be starting to write the content. It might be having drafts, submitting drafts to the team to revise and look at. You're kind of moving things along this path to stay organized.
As I said, Trello is what we tend to use for this, not just for the content marketing, but for a lot of other things in our business, but there are plenty of other tools that you can use, some of which are very, very useful for editorial work specifically. They have specific calendar dates so the possibilities are quite endless here.
You don't necessarily need a tool either. You can organize all this through something as simple as a spreadsheet as well. Really the whole point of getting organized through a tool or through a spreadsheet or in a specific editorial calendar tool is to keep everyone in the loop so everyone can jump in and say, "Oh, this article has been sitting in the draft Ready for Review lane for too long now. How come that's not moving?" It adds a bit more accountability to everyone as things move along to process where anyone can be jumping in. Let's say you're the business owner and you've delegated this off to another team member and you just want to be able to oversee things, make sure everything's running smoothly, make sure your team isn't running into any problems, and having a single place that you can go and look at for that kind of information is really going to be more helpful than trying to wrangle everyone together and say, "Oh, how's this article coming along? How come this one is still stalled in review? A big part of this is making sure everybody knows what's going on.
Now that you've got it all organized, you've got your backlog of ideas going, you got to start writing. This is the hardest part. I know a lot of us fall into the category of the organization is almost fun. It's like a new project. All right. Awesome. But then it falls by the wayside. Really, really be stringent on writing and making sure that it gets done or making sure that your writers get the writing done and you have a part of your process where you can do the revisions.
Even once you've written something and published it, that's really not the end of your content marketing. There is a huge part of promoting that content that goes into the strategy here. There's a few things you can be doing. For every blog article you write, there's some just basic things that need to be done, which is sharing those articles on your social media. If it's something that you think is useful for your prospects or leads or clients, that should be shared in your email newsletter. Those two things are a really consistent way to make sure that you're getting the word out about what you've written. You can't expect people to just come to your blog and say, "Oh, I want to read the Pronto marketing blog today because they've always been so useful." We'd all like to get to that point, to be something like a knowledge center for the industry, but that's a huge lofty goal. Following these basic promotional strategies helps you get people, get eyeballs on the articles that you've written.
Another great thing that you can do is if you've linked to any other resources throughout your article, I would recommend reaching out to those resources. If you link to another website that has some additional information about a topic you touched on briefly in your article, reach out to the owner of that site and say, "Hey, I just wrote this blog article and mentioned your website in it because I think you have such a great resource that I wanted to share with my audience." Ask them if they would be willing to share your article on their social profiles. In many cases, people are just so excited to have been mentioned somewhere else on the Internet that they'll throw out a Tweet for you or mention your article in their company Facebook page.
On a higher level, if you produce a piece of content that you think is really worthy of being shared throughout the industry and something that you think needs a much wider audience, one great tactic is to find relevant sites in your industry that do weekly or monthly article roundups. There's a lot of sites out there that do either emails or blog posting, here's what we're reading right now or here are the 10 best articles that we found this month. If you produce something that you think is really great and worthy of being shared, find those types of websites and reach out to them and say, "Hey, I love these roundups that you're doing. I've built this wonderful piece of content that I think your audience would really enjoy. Would you mind sharing it in your next roundup?"
The response rate here might not be as excited as the people who you link to in the previous bullet point, but you should still, if your content is really worthy of being shared, there are almost certainly people out there who are willing to include it just because everyone on the Internet is hungry for content. If you can build something that they think is useful and helpful, they're almost always happy to share it with you.
One thing I touched on a bit earlier was epic blog posts. Last year, we did one about how to get more website traffic. We spent a lot of time building this. It's about 4,000 words. It took us probably two months to put it all together in terms of writing and editing and bringing in all the resources and getting it designed and making it look really great. It was a ton of work putting it together and we put in a lot of effort into promoting it as well. That promotion really paid off. Today, I think that one page has received 7,000 or 8,000 visits. It has over 1,000 social shares. It's gotten about 100 links for us. This is something on the higher end of blogging as Scott mentioned earlier.
You really need to start with what you can handle today and make sure you get consistent about just turning out regular blog articles that have some value and are useful to your audience. Once you have that under control, you can start stepping things up to different types of content, like eBooks, epic blog posts, videos. There's a lot you can do, but really start with the basics first. Start with what you know you can commit to and continue to provide. From there, you can grow into really amazing things once you have the time and processes built.
That's about all we have today for our presentation. We'll be moving into a few questions that you guys have lined up for us. We'll jump into that right now.
The first question comes from Rob, and he asks, "Will the slides be available for download after the seminar?" Yes. I forgot to mention that in the very beginning. We'll be sending a follow up email shortly after this where we'll have a link to download the presentation and we've been recording this as well, so once we get the recording downloaded and process that video, we'll be uploading a video for you guys to view as well. If you want to go back and listen to our wonderful voice again, you're welcome to do that.
The next question comes from Kenneth, and he asks, "Do you offer managed drip campaign services?"
I'll answer that. Kenneth, the managed drip campaign services, we don't currently have an actual package for this. However, we do have the capability to provide it for you. You might have seen in our services we have promotional emails. We use a system called Campaign Monitor for that. Campaign Monitor does allow us to create a drip campaign. If you want us to do that for you, we can certainly work something up, kind of on a case by case basis. It's something that we might actually offer as a service down the road, but it's something that we are capable of helping you with today.
One thing. If you're already subscribed to a marketing automation tool, say like Infusionsoft or HubSpot and want to use that tool yourself, as Scott mentioned the promotional emails that we can write for you, we're happy to write those and then you can go implement that drip within your marketing automation tool.
Next, we have a question from Eric, and he asks, "What makes a good blog post?" That's a very good question. I don't think there is necessarily one specific answer about what makes a blog post good. Ideally, I think a blog post should be focused on a single topic, and it should be long enough to answer all the potential questions around that very specific topic. I wouldn't say that there's a specific word length that needs to be included. I think anywhere from 500 to maybe 1,200 words is totally fine for a standard blog article. I wouldn't try to force it to be very long. You shouldn't write a huge, long post just for the sake of being long.
Consider you're trying to balance the readability of your article, the usefulness of it, and as well find room for putting in keywords. As I mentioned keywords, one thing to consider, too, is I would spend a little time thinking about what people would potentially search for when they're looking for your topic. You don't really need to be hard care about forcing those keywords into the article itself, but just sort of keep those keywords in mind as you're writing it. I think if you're writing naturally and you're knowledgeable about the topic, you'll naturally use the right keywords on your own. That's a much better way of approaching things rather than saying, "I need to force this specific keyword into this article because this is what people search for most often."
Something to add to that. Tim sort of touched on this already. I think a lot of people write blog posts that they just want to write, so the idea of the blog post comes from them and them alone and maybe people aren't really searching for that. Since you are already speaking with your customers, you already have an idea of the types of clients that you have currently, I think figuring out the content that prospects might be interested in are likely very similar to the questions that your clients already ask you. Turning them into a nice blog post is coming from information that you have all ready, that your reps are probably getting questions about all ready. Write an awesome blog post that is about those subjects. You're sure to drive leads that way, or drive traffic at least.
Right. The next question comes from Jim, and he has to questions here. The first is, "How do you recommend approaching a niche market when it comes to creating relevant content?" I think the first thing I would do if you're moving into a market that you're unfamiliar with or that is very specific, the first place to start is with keyword research. Spend some time figuring out what people are searching for, what topics they're interested in. There's a bunch of tools out there that can help provide ideas for you. I would first start just brainstorming a list of what you think people would potentially search for. Then you can go to tools like the Google AdWords Keyword Planner. There's another tool called Wordtracker, another one called SEMrush where you can put that list of keywords in and it will spit out additional key words for you or additional topic ideas.
Another great tactic is there are some tools out there where you can just put in a topic. One in particular is called BuzzSumo where you can say that you want to focus on IT services for lawyers. You can just put that into BuzzSumo and it will show you the most popular articles written under that topic. That gives you a great starting point of what kinds of things you should be talking about. With the keywords that you've researched, you'll see what people are searching for most often. Again, that starts the wheels turning about topics to cover.
That's the first step I would take there. From there, I think you need to spend a little time thinking about what medium is best for that market as well. You might find that there isn't a ton of search volume out there. In those cases, maybe an email campaign is better suited than a blog article. Start out with your topics, do your research there, and from there spend some time thinking about how the audience in that market is best approached by you.
The second part of Jim's question here is, "Where can you get the most bang for your buck with a limited budget?" I think the best place to start if you're on a limited budget is with writing blog articles. If you really have a tight budget, you should start writing them on your own. That's going to be the most efficient way to do it. There are ways to outsource that that aren't too expensive. There's a couple tools that come to mind. One is called TextMaster and the other is Textbroker. I can follow up in an email about this later and link to all those tools and let you guys know all about these different resources you can be exploring.
With TextMaster and Textbroker, essentially what they are, they are sort of like software tools for connecting you with freelancers around the world. You can go in, say I want an article about this topic, it needs to be 700 words and it needs to use these key words, and TextMaster will go find someone to write that article for you. The downside is that you don't always get the highest quality through that. They're on the cheaper end so you're not getting really high level writers out there, but it typically tends to be good enough if you have enough time to spend an hour or two editing, adding your own expertise in there, and making it your own. That's where I would start there if you're looking to start with a limited budget.
One other thing to kind of add to that is don't forget that you can kind of mess with the frequency of these things. Although blogging is overall going to be one of the cheaper things you can do, if you're doing it every day and expecting to have a new blog post every day, it's very expensive. Instead, shoot for something more realistic like every week. Then you're of course cutting your budget down quite a bit. I think it's probably good to start on something like a weekly basis and then moving towards a more common, twice a week sort of thing down the road when you have more budget to spend towards it.
You always make sure that you compensate the cost savings that you're getting sometimes with some cheaper resources with the time. As you guys had mentioned earlier in the process or in our questionnaire, it was saying I didn't have enough time to work on it. Always account for that if you're outsourcing to different areas or people that maybe aren't the best writers to start. Then you end up having to spend a lot of your time doing editing. Always kind of strike that balance when you're thinking about what's realistic.
Another question we have here from Andy. This is actually a really good question that we get fairly often. "What about getting content from partners or vendors? Does it need to be rewritten to avoid Google's duplicate content penalty?" One thing that comes up very often with blogging and content is duplicate content and how search engines treat that and the potential issues with that, as well. A bit of background here. A few years ago, Google released a big algorithm update where they were looking at sites that were stealing content or duplicating content from other websites, basically just scraping anything they could find and building their content resources to get a lot of traffic and get clicks.
Google started cracking down on that practice just to avoid getting those really low quality sites into their search results. Duplicate content overall is nothing something that you really want. On a small level, it's typically not going to be a problem. If there are a few pages on your site that come from a vendor, if you're sharing content from Oracle or IBM or anything like that, if it's just a couple of pages on your site, it's really, really not a big deal. It's very unlikely that your domain would be penalized in any sort of way for that. What is more likely is that that page itself probably wouldn't rank very well because Google can see that the original source of that content came from your vendor. They have a whole process they go through when they duplicate content of trying to find the original source. They always want to rank that original source over any duplicates that they've found. If you're putting duplicate content from a vendor on your website, there's probably not much risk involved, but just know that you're probably not going to get a lot of SEO value out of it either.
Also remember, too, when you're talking about duplicate content from a vendor, they're more likely to be fine with it, but if you're taking it from a competitor or another site maybe in a different area in the country, it still can be a little bit risky just because they're likely not ... If they're investing time and effort into their blog post or their writing their own blog post, then when they Google something and find their own blog post on another site, there could be a little trouble there. Again, not a big, big issue, but be careful. Write your own content when you can, for sure.
One last question here from Jermaine, "Can we get a list of those solutions you just mentioned about how to approach the audience?" Yes, I will include that in the follow up email that we are sending out in a little bit after this.
We're running a little bit low on time here, so we'll cut off questions from there. If your question didn't get answered, Scott and I can follow up in an email and give you more details and hopefully answer that question for you.
At the beginning of the presentation, I mentioned that we have a special offer for all of you attending today. We offer a custom blogging service here at Pronto where we'll write four articles for you for a month on any topic that you choose. You will be able to work directly with our team about the topics that you want covered, the tone you want in that article, the audience you're trying to reach in that article, all that great stuff. We charge 399 per month for this service, but if you sign up after attending this webinar, you'll get the first month of that for free if you commit to three months. Here I have the link to the sign-up page, and you can use the promo code webinar1month when you're signing up to get that first month waived. Again, I'll include those links and this promo code in the follow up email that we'll be sending out shortly. You guys are welcome to sign up and we can help you get started with blogging.
That's all we have today. Thank you all so much for attending. It's been a pleasure helping explain content marketing to you. Hopefully, you learned something about how you can improve your strategy. If you're not doing content all ready, hopefully, you have some ideas on where you can get started.
As I mentioned, we'll be sending out an email shortly. You can download the presentation. I'll include links to the tools I mentioned earlier, and I'll include links to the link for signing up to our custom blogging service and the promo code you can use there.
The only other thing is if you guys ever do want to talk more personally about your particular site, where you stand today, how you're doing with rankings, how you're doing with content, always happy to jump on the phone. It's something that we started doing several months ago. I've probably spoken with a lot of you all ready. Schedule a call. We'll speak through your site, your specific case, and see if we can make a good plan, whether that be in content marketing or other things of course we can help with on your site. We'll be happy to help. Don't hesitate. I have the link here. If you go to prontomarketing.com/call-marketing, that will go straight to a page where you can click a time and we'll schedule a conference call. Looking forward to speaking with you guys in the future for sure.
Thank you again. We'll be closing down the webinar in just a minute here. As Scott mentioned, feel free to reach out to us, email us directly if you have questions. When we close out the webinar, there will be a little survey for you just to give us some basic feedback on how we did. If you want to give us more detailed feedback, feel free to email us. We'd love to know what you guys have thought about this webinar and know what we can do to make it even better and more useful when we start doing other topics like SEO or advertising or analytics. Thank you again. I hope you all have a great day. Bye.