As we recover from the fist-clenching, jaw-dropping, work-distracting weeks that were the 2012 Summer Olympics, we begin to remember why the event only happens once every four years – it’s exhausting. As the athletes jump and run, flip, splash and hurl their way through their respective finish lines, we sit on our couches and wonder – how can anyone possibly build up that much physical endurance? The Olympians train for years in order to groom themselves for the big games, but it takes a certain amount of skill and spirit to become a medal winner.
In many ways, inbound marketing is really no different than the Olympics. Thousands of companies compete for the same customers – but only a few businesses have the knowledge and know-how to rise to the top of their field. Like the USA’s Olympic team, the most successful companies have their own special tools that help them build their brand and convert more traffic into paying customers than ever before. We like to call them the inbound marketing medal winners.
The Gold – Firstly, and most importantly, there is content. It’s important to know that content is a true success story. It can be bad – in fact, it can be downright embarrassing. However, with a little time and a lot of training, content can quickly become your star player. Content writing, at it’s gold-winning best, is relevant, well-researched, high quality and, most important of all, it’s exactly what your audience wants to see. Your web copy – from your home page to your blog posts – needs to be entertaining enough to grasp the attention of your audience and thorough enough to address their primary concerns while building brand credibility.
The Silver – Next, there are social shares. In addition to winning you big points for quality, social sharing is the player everyone knows and loves. They’re the viral videos, the colorful infographics and the witty Tweets. Social shares are the pieces of content that are so overwhelmingly interesting and entertaining that social media and social bookmarking site users feel the need to share it with all of their followers, who, in turn, will share it with their followers. If you’re looking to grow your audience and reach more potential customers than ever before, social sharing is your best bet. Not to mention, search engines generally rank websites higher when their website content is shared often.
The Bronze – Last, there is Search Engine Optimization. SEO gets a bad rap sometimes – but that’s just because not everyone knows how to use it effectively. This is the player on your team that you must watch carefully, and constantly update with all of the newest strategies. SEO can change pretty fast, and the last thing you want to do is attempt outdated or illegitimate tactics that could get you disqualified from the whole game. You see, Google isn’t fond of black hat SEO tricks and your company would be wise to avoid them at all costs. Instead of stuffing your content full of keywords or embedding your copy full of unnecessary links, stick to quality content and genuine, proven strategies.
When it comes to the inbound marketing race, it’s important you have all three medal winners tactfully in place. By creating interesting content that people will want to share, and using legitimate tactics to drive traffic to your site to discover this content, you will have a much better chance of beating your competitors and winning over new customers.