Here’s how to fuel your company’s success online

What’s the first thing potential clients do after they hear about your company? They look you up online, of course.

These search results may help them decide if they want to do business with you, so make sure they see that your company does high-quality work, provides an excellent workplace environment, and stays on top of industry trends.

There are two ways to make this happen – by creating your own quality content, or getting meaningful news coverage. With this in mind, here are five recommendations for generating interesting, impactful content that will help your company win more business and attract top talent:

Get your website in order. The top search result should be your company’s website, and the website should be at the core of your marketing efforts.

As you drive leads to your website, it’s critical for your potential clients to see a good representation of your business. Some questions to ask as you assess your website: Is the website easy to understand and interesting to read? Does it clearly communicate the benefits of working with your business? Is it optimized to be found in online searches? Does it provide information about your people and not just about your products or services? Does it display well on mobile devices?

Set up analytics on the website and get familiar with reading them. Your marketing team should be reviewing where visitors are coming from and how long they are visiting different sections of the website. This is an excellent way to learn more about your customers, and helps as you focus on how best to increase engagement with prospects.

Constantly focus on your target audience. Understand what matters to your specific audience, and the challenges that decision makers in that audience face.

Whether your company’s target audience is narrow or wide, your communications team should start the content creation process by asking well-informed, open-ended questions of your staff and your clients, so they can get to what matters to your audience.

In turn, the team should be learning about your clients’ pain points, so they can describe how your company helps its clients succeed. They should be finding ways for your company to weigh in on how to capitalize on industry trends.

This approach will lead to compelling content that can increase website visits, drive social media engagement, and get people to open your e-newsletters.

Quality over quantity. Attention spans are shorter than ever. If it’s not clear to readers right away how your content is useful to them, you’re wasting their time and yours.

Write blog posts and guest columns that provide meaningful, helpful information to your audience. Get to the point right away. Actionable tips show that you’re a useful resource – something both potential clients and search engines will value.

Seek news coverage. Magazines, newspapers, radio stations and TV outlets often have strong digital presences that reach a wide audience. And well-written articles from trusted news sources rank highly in search results.

Plus, coverage provides a credible, independent verification of your expertise. Despite the recent criticism of the media – even to the extreme of some people calling stories they don’t like “fake news” – coverage can supply valuable credibility.

Keep your company’s social media channels vibrant, and monitor online ratings. These channels offer another way for potential clients to learn more about your company.

Social media channels like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram often dominate the first page of search results for companies, giving you another opportunity to show your understanding of your target audience.

Don’t turn your social media audience off by constantly pitching your product or service. Instead, share interesting stories about your industry and include content that industry colleagues will find interesting and useful.

Also, pay attention to reviews on Google, Glassdoor, Yelp and other similar sites. Address negative posts and encourage your clients or customers to share their positive experiences on these sites. Another reason to pay attention: Candidates who are thinking about working for your company look for information on these sites about how you run your business.

Through quality content and a better search result presence, more people in your target audience will be looking at your company’s website and social media channels. Add in news coverage, and your online presence will grow – which can improve your lead-to-sale conversion rates while building your company’s credibility. ♦

Kyle Parks is co-founder and principal at B2 Communications, a St. Petersburg-based public relations agency that raises the visibility and credibility of its clients locally, regionally and nationally. Before starting B2, Kyle was a business editor and reporter at the St. Petersburg Times (now the Tampa Bay Times), and then held  senior-level public relations and marketing positions at two Fortune 1000 companies.

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