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How To Succeed in Content Marketing – Get to Know Agatha!
Learn from the example of the very best content marketing authors - crime & thriller writers!
Yes, I’m actually saying this and you are actually reading it – if you want to succeed in marketing your product by harnessing the power of content then look at how successful crime fiction and thriller writers like Agatha Christie have done exactly that for decades.
Why crime writers and not, say, romantic fiction writers? Good question. The answer is a single word – engagement. A good crime novel attracts your attention with a murder, or other heinous crime, fairly early on in the book, they then feed you with clues so that you can try to work out who might have committed the crime, leading through the pages of the book, keeping you interested and anxious to find the next clue.
All the time you are guessing what will happen – who dunnit? You think you know but, until you turn over the very last page, you don’t! Usually, it’s only at the very end of the story that the sleuth will gather all the suspects together and then, piece by piece, reveal the truth and point the finger at the culprit.
Then, and this is the clever bit, if you’re reading from a good old fashioned printed book, you will be given “tasters” of other books written by the same author or by others in the same style. Chances are, because you enjoyed this one, you will buy another.
Content marketing at its most perfect
So, in other words, the content, i.e. the story, has succeeded in selling you something. Content marketing at its most perfect.
Another example of how crime writing sells is with TV crime series on ITV. Take for example, Midsomer Murders. The first part of the story will be shown up to a point where the first murder is committed, (in the towns of Midsomer there are usually multiple murders per story), and then there will be an ad break.
You need to know what has happened, why the murder took place and, more importantly, whodunit? Therefore you endure the ads and then devour the next 10 minutes or so until someone else meets an untimely end, and then you might be given a bit of a clue so you need to watch to find out whether that was relevant, and so on. You’re hooked and if that means you have to watch a few ads, so be it.
The point is, you are well and truly engaged – there’s no way you are going to leave this channel now until you find out whodunit – and that won’t be until the very end by which time you will have been well and truly marketed to.
Write for your readers - and for Google
However, as we know, content marketing isn't just about satisfying the needs of the website visitor, or the reader of a story, it’s also about ensuring that search engines like Google show our website to those who carry out a search that is relevant to our content. With so many websites out there, how can we try to ensure that our site is up there with the rest, preferably above them in the Search Engines Results Pages, (SERPs)?
Again, I turn to my example of the crime-writer for an explanation. They write what people want to read. Many people are fascinated by the foul deeds of others so they will seek out content that feeds that fascination. The same principle applies to almost any subject, golfers will seek out content about golf, anglers about angling, and so on.
So, if you are trying to attract the attention of, say, over 55 year olds who are seeking to invest their pension pots, you are going to have to have a website with plenty of convincing and engaging copy about that very subject.
You start with the equivalent of the “murder” in the crime novel and pose a question like – “will you run out of money when you retire?”
Straightaway, you've got their attention, no one wants to run out of money when they retire. The content should then explain how to go about avoiding this and be peppered with plenty of subtle calls to action along the way until, at the end, the final solution is unveiled, usually accompanied by a limited time, once only, never to be repeated, special offer.
Post an article, or webpage, along those lines and let Google and the other search engines see that you are knowledgeable and that your website is relevant for the subject of retirement planning or whatever your specialisation is. Then do it again, and again, building up “authority” on the subject as you go on and establishing your site with Google as being a good place to go for that kind of information. Regular, fresh, original content is the key to keeping a search engine, and your audience, engaged.
Make sure that they stick around
Another benefit to keeping your site visitors engaged is that we now believe that the average time spent on your site is an important factor in Google’s page ranking algorithm. If Google sees a that your web page has a high “bounce rate,” i.e. visitors leaving almost as soon as they arrive, then it will downgrade the page, or the site accordingly.
You can find out what your bounce rate is by installing Google's Analytics software, which is free of charge, onto your website. This will provide you with lots of important information such as which pages are the most popular and how long the average visitor stays on each page for. All good stuff when you are trying to work out how to improve or enhance your content.
So it doesn't have to be a mystery, you don’t have to be a detective to work it out – successful content marketing involves attracting the subject’s attention very early on and not revealing everything they need to know until they've read everything you wanted to say.