As a web designer you’ll be familiar with the term ‘content marketing’.
Over the course of your career so far you will have worked with marketers, copywriters and clients on long-term marketing projects where valuable content and appealing graphics were inseparable components.
But what exactly is content marketing?
The renowned Content Marketing Institute has the best definition:
“Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”
It’s a form of internet marketing that has become increasingly important in recent years with the growth of social media and various Google search developments. No longer can you rely on keyword stuffed pages of 500 words or less.
The onus is very much on quality content which not only appeals to readers over search engines but is also more likely to gain you loyal fans and clients.
‘Valuable’ is the key word when it comes to content nowadays.
The importance of content marketing for web designers
For web designers, content marketing helps raise awareness of your design agency and its brand. Not only does it bring new prospects to your company website but it also educates and entertains them. This quickly cultivates a sense of trust and enthusiasm within the prospect when it comes to your business ethos and design skills.
You become more likeable and more approachable.
Intelligently optimised content also ranks well in the search engines and has the potential to become viral on social media platforms.
What’s more, skilfully written content sneaks under the defensive radar of your ideal web design client. All customers are naturally hesitant, fearful of making the wrong decision or wasting time and money on a designer they just don’t click with.
Content marketing allows you to soothe their fears, answer their most pressing concerns and form a personal connection before they even make contact with you. Great content combined with well-placed CTAs (Calls to Action) can have clients beating down your door with enthusiasm.
Content marketing examples for web designers
So what are some of the ways you can make use of good content in your marketing? Here are some of the options:
Blog posts – Combing information, entertainment and your personality into well written blog posts optimised for search engines but with the reader primarily in mind.
Webpage articles – ‘Epic’ content aimed at providing a comprehensive answer to your main target audience’s questions. Similar to standard web pages you see on all websites but with more to tuck into. These can include case studies and resource pages.
Social media – Planned, focused and consistently executed social media strategies that connect with the needs, lifestyles and interests of your target market. Platforms ideal for web designers include Facebook, Pinterest, Youtube and Twitter.
Email – Developing and maintaining a long-term relationship with prospects and existing clients through informative and entertaining emails. Similar to blogging in a way but often shorter, more intimate in tone and with more direct calls to action. Needs a lot of experience and skill to pull off successfully.
Infographics – As a web designer infographics should be a fundamental part of your content marketing. They can be effective in conveying information in an easy to digest format and are extremely shareable. You also get the chance to show off your design skills.
Video – A great way to add a more personalised touch to your marketing efforts. Prospects get to see and hear you and your team talking about what you can do for clients and the projects you’ve been working on.
Podcasts – Tap into the iTunes audience with regular podcasts. This is basically like having your own radio show. You can, for example, invite guests from similar professional fields to answer questions which will benefit listeners (potential clients).
eBooks – Small digital books, often called ‘reports’, which provide more detailed and expansive information on a topic of interest to particular sections of your audience. Can be good for encouraging email signups.
Presentations – Remember the old fashioned slide projectors people would use to show holiday snaps? Well, services like Slideshare are the modern internet version of those. You can use these services to create informative and eye-catching presentations about your work, industry and design studio.
As you can see, successful content marketing requires frequent new material. Gone are the days when a static website alone would do the trick. No matter how visually impressive your site looks, it needs new content to drive the marketing process forwards and to maintain your brand’s growth.
How content marketing benefits your brand
When it comes to branding, good content can be spread throughout your marketing, both online and offline. As you know from your own experiences of designing logos and colour schemes, branded design also needs branded content to ensure a uniformity across all spheres of influence.
The identity you convey with your website content should ideally cross over to the content used in brochures, white papers, adverts or stationary you create for your web design company.
In doing so you maintain a strong brand personality. This makes it easier for people to relate to you and also more appealing for clients to make that all important first contact. Often this first contact takes place away from the conventional ‘contact us’ page and that’s not always a bad thing.
Web designers and web design agencies who make content a priority will reap benefits for themselves as well as their clients. With content creation added to your skillset, whether directly via one of your own team, or indirectly through the help of freelance copywriters, you can offer a more rounded service.
By working on design and content at the same time you can create a more satisfying and successful brand identity and message for companies’ websites and marketing materials.
Happy clients, happy design agency.
And guess what? Most web design agencies haven’t got content marketing figured out just yet. Jump in now and you’ll have the advantage.
Creative Commons image attribution: Content marketing word cloud from DigitalRalph