The Right Content Marketing Approach for Your Online Business

By Shannon Belew, Joel Elad

As an online business, you use content to help drive quality visitors to your website. And search engines, not just Google, then deliver search traffic based on the content that best matches the information request of the customer. This is the goal of content marketing.

Creating useful, interesting content for your website pays. Consider that content marketing leaders get eight times more website traffic than those who don’t use content well, according to technology pioneer, Neil Patel. What kind of content works best? Well, the short answer is that you need a mix of content types, styles, and lengths.

But one interesting fact is that while consumers’ attention spans are fading, it’s still the longer form content that captures more site visitors. Top ranking content in Google is between 1,140 and 1,285 words, according to Searchmetrics. And visitors are actually reading the content, spending nearly 40 seconds on long articles (which is a really long time in the online world!). Plus, readers then end up staying longer on the website that hosts the content.

If that’s not enough to prove the value of good content, think about this: Quality content generates three times as many leads compared to that of traditional outbound marketing tactics; and content marketing costs 67 percent less, according to Demand Metric. Of course, long-form articles aren’t the only requirement for creating an effective content marketing strategy.

Personalized content is an increasingly important component for online success. And when delivered through your website, personalization is specifically referred to as web personalization.

Following is a definition of these three concepts, because you’ll want to incorporate all of them:

  • Content marketing: The process of developing and distributing content of all types that attracts, obtains, and engages a target audience for the purpose of achieving marketing and general business goals, and specifically contributes to brand awareness, lead generation, and revenue growth.
  • Content personalization: A marketing strategy (as part of content marketing) that utilizes content written for a specific audience or persona, while aligning an individual piece of content’s purpose to the needs of that persona. Content personalization can also apply to smaller segments of text within a larger piece of content. For example, in an e-mail that is written for a general business audience, there may be one paragraph or even a single sentence within the e-mail that is dynamically changed (according to the recipient). The majority of the e-mail is the same for all recipients, but the piece of dynamic content with the e-mail changes to address different buyers by job title or industry, for example. The key to personalization is that you know enough about your audience to segment them into different buckets so that you can personalize how you to talk to them.
  • Web personalization: Web personalization is the same as content personalization but it happens specifically online, and it can vary by channel or device. In this case, personalized content is delivered from your website to the desktop or to a mobile device, and it can also occur within a web app or a mobile app. It takes content that is written for a particular segment or buyer persona, and matches it to those segments that come to your website. For example, an online pet store may have a website visitor enter the site who has previously been identified with a product interest in dogs. That website visitor is shown content (coupons, special offers, and articles) only about dogs. If there’s enough data to know the type of dog breed or the size of dog the website visitor has, then those offers and articles may be further personalized to the specific breed. The level of web personalization you offer is dependent on how much you know about the customer and how personalized your content is.