Define your business details so that you can effectively create a content marketing plan and get found online. It's easier said than done, right? That's why I laid out the following 5 steps to define your business, as it relates to building a presence on the Internet using blogging and social media:
This post requires your participation. If you want to follow along and define your business, the download the worksheet titled, “Know Your Business.” Complete all 5 sections above.
Industry is the business, commerce, or trade in which you work. For content marketing purposes, the term “industry” is synonymous with “category.” This is because when you write content, the category is indexed (collected and stored by search engines) by online directories and search engines. This allows the search engines to find and retrieve relevant content for what their users are typing to find a specific result. This is known as “search engine indexing” or “web indexing”. The diagram below is a visual representation of industry, indexing, and categories working together for content marketing purposes.
- Arts and Entertainment
- Book Reviews
- Computers and Technology
- Food and Drink
- Health and Fitness
- Home and Family
- Home Based Business
- Home Improvement
- Internet and Businesses Online
- Kids and Teens
- News and Society
- Real Estate
- Recreation and Sports
- Reference and Education
- Self Improvement
- Shopping and Product Reviews
- Travel and Leisure
- Women's Interests
- Writing and Speaking
Knowing the industry in which you work can help define your business and the overall message; This helps to create a successful content marketing plan for optimal results.
Sub-Industry is very similar to industry. It's a drill-down approach from industry in an effort to further define what your business is about for the market in which you work. In terms of content marketing, the term “sub-industry” is synonymous with “sub-category.” Like industry, this is so because when you write content, the sub-category is indexed, like industry, collected and stored by search engines) and online directories. The search engines store this information to find and retrieve relevant content when their users type to find a specific result. This same process for sub-industry as is for industry is known as “search engine indexing” or “web indexing”. The diagram below is a visual representation, similar to what you saw in the industry section above.
Sub-Industries are more specific, and would not be appropriate to list them all here (there's just too many). But, to give you an idea, let's say that your main industry/category is Relationships. Then, your sub-industries would be the following:
- Cross Cultural
- Dating for Boomers
- Domestic Violence
- Long Distance
- Online Dating
- Post Divorce
Defining the sub-industry in which you work can help further drill-down your business and the overall message and will help to create a successful content marketing plan for optimal results.
3. Describe Your Business, Product, Service or Personality
This is where you describe what you do, offer, and/or provide. If you have a product, describe what it is and how buyers will benefit. Who is it for? How is it used.
I have a four-question exercise that will work for any company, product, service, or personality in any industry to help you effectively write a description. Answer each of the following four questions in two sentences or less:
- What do you do?
- What problem do you solve?
- How is your product or service different?
- Why should I (or anyone) care?
After answering the 4 questions above, write it in paragraph form. After doing so, ask yourself, “Does this describe my business.” In essence, someone else should be able to read it and know exactly what you do or offer.
Keywords are a critical component to content marketing. They are the words and/or phrases that people use to type into the search engines to find specific and relevant results. They are also the words and phrases that you want your target audience to find you on the search engines. After everything is set up in your content marketing plan, you will revert back to these keywords to write content (i.e. articles, press releases, presentations, blog posts, vide descriptions etc.). Everything starts with knowing keywords.
There's not a magic formula to put together a keyword list. We just need to incorporate a some common sense and understanding of how the search engines display results pages and pulls the most relevant content. You can accomplish this by starting with 3 types of keywords.
3 Types of Keywords
There are 3 types of keywords when using the search engines:
- Short-tail Keywords
- Mid-tail Keywords
- Long-tail Keywords
Most of us use all three without never thinking about it. This is because the search engines have done such a great job at helping us find what we are looking for. From a content marketers perspective, you need to understand how the keywords are developed so that you can incorporate them into the content that you are marketing on your blog or social sites.
Depending on the type of content someone is looking for, a short-tail keyword is usually very broad. For example, self-improvement. That phrase alone produced 49,300,000 indexed pages on Google.
That's a lot! Also, look at the top 3. Most likely, they are at the top for 1 of 2 reasons:
- They paid the most money on advertising.
- They produce relevant to content consistently.
or they do both…
- Advertising and content marketing.
As a business owner, you might have slightly smaller budget than the businesses with deep pockets. It's difficult to compete with a broad term. Let's try mid-tail keywords.
Mid-tail keywords just add little more information to drill dig a little deeper. Using the self-improvement example above, let's further our search by including “how we want to improve ourself” by typing something more specific. For example, let's add the word, “Leadership.” Wow, that came returned 5,510,000 result pages.
So, the results are about 40 million less. That's a lot! And you sure have increased your chances. But are confident enough that you will get found. Ask yourself this, “what about self-improvement and leadership? Are you looking for tips, videos, skills, courses, etc?
The search engines usually suggest other keywords to you. In our case, they provided the following:
- self improvement videos
- self improvement ebooks
- john maxwell self improvement 101
- self improvement quotes
- self improvement books
- self improvement ideas
- self improvement tips
- self improvement synonym
If you clicked on anyone of those, that might be a way for you to drill down to something specific, but it would still be a large number. Let's try adding the word skills and attempt to find a Long-tail keyword.
Like mid tail keywords, lets dig a little deeper and more specific. For example, in the example above, let's see what Google will suggest just by putting our cursor in the search box and adding a space, as if we were going to type more words. They give you a suggestions:
- self improvement leadership skills
- online self-improvement and leadership courses
Let's just do the simple version and add the word, “skills.” Now, the pages were cut to 2,160,000. Getting closer. Now, let's try our hand at localizing keywords, because that's where it is really important.
After discovering the keywords you want to use, you might want to consider localizing them if you are business in a local geographical area.
With the example above, just add your location. I'm in San Diego, so I will add the term “San Diego.” That cut my results down to 944,000 results.
That's a long ways from 49 million. And, when you look at who's at the top, it's generally local businesses, groups, organizations, directories, etc. I can easily write an article using this long-tail keyword. For example, 3 Ways Self Improvement Leadership Skills in San Diego Improve Productivity.
Keywords are trial and error. The reason I say this is because it's about you, your business, and how you want users to find you. If you are targeting a specific market, and you want them to find you online, then do it with a long-tail approach and localize it, consistently (write at least 1 article per week). You should also be analyzing the analytics for your site. This will give you some great insight about how people get to your site (i.e. keywords, external links, social media, etc.). By knowing this data, you can then alter your keywords.
The next step in knowing your business is simple. Just know what your website URL is. For example, the most common URL indexed in the search engines is displayed like http://www.marketingmediaplanner.com. The only thing you need to know is do you want your site indexed using “www” or “no-www.”
www or Non-www
The name of your website URL that a domain owner wants to submit for indexing is called the canonical domain, or preferred domain. These domains could start with the common 3-w's (www) or simply start with the actual name. For example, a web domain could be www.mmplanner.com or mmplanner.com. These are two different domain names. However, in most cases, they will take you to the same location on the web.
Many owners of a domain want their website URL to pop up whether the person types into the search engine “www” to the beginning or not. If a search for your site comes up as non-indexed, it is likely that one of the ways the site is typed into the search engine is not listed under your site. When indexing your site, be sure to instate both versions so all of your readers can get to your site easily. Once each preferred domain is indexed, search engines will send everyone who looks for it directly to your site after they have reviewed it. The refreshing process depends on the search engine and may require patience on your part (or the domain owner).
The owner of a domain will have to prove that they have the rights to their website URL in the “www” and “non-www” way of typing it. Someone else may own the rights to one of them. Usually, both versions of the website are available but claiming the rights to a website you do not have can lead to legal trouble. Verifying both names can be done in the same few steps through the search engine as long as the meta tag, domain name system record, and file are still intact. If not, the verification process will have to start over to claim ownership of the other name. 301 directs can also be used by the domain owner to lead customers to your website.
Creating a content marketing plan requires preparation from you. You will need to know industry, sub-industry, a description of what you do or provide, keywords, and the URL where your website lives. Once you have all that, then you can start putting together a content marketing schedule. The schedule tells you what to do and when. It is also a great tool to use before creating a content marketing calendar. Ultimately, the schedule and calendar will help you boost your marketing productivity and building presence online.