How creating guides can help your business

Content marketing is one of the most important parts of any business these days. You need to be able to show your customers that you know what you are talking about by answering their questions and – let’s be honest here – by getting a great ranking on Google.

Content marketing is great for giving your keyword profile a boost, showing off your knowledge and giving your customers reason after reason to visit your site. But if you really want to show off, then your best bet is to create a variety of guides.

Choose your subject and design

The first thing to think about is what your guides will be about. They need to be relevant to your audience and give you a sizeable enough document to justify a guide rather than a blog. Pictures, diagrams and all kinds of different layouts should be employed to make the information as clear as possible – just remember to tie everything together with your branding.

Guides are a fantastic resource because they allow you to give your customers vital and detailed information which will encourage them to trust you and return to your brand. For example, let’s say you a running a furniture business. You might decide to create a guide to using the various tools needed to construct your furniture at home.

A guide to furniture tools might include labelled pictures of the tools, diagrams to show how they are used and even hints and tips for maintenance or easy use. The simpler you can make it and the more visually appealing it is, the more likely that people will pick up (or download) your guide and use it at home.

Printed and gated content

Whether you choose to print your guide or make it a downloadable resource depends on who you are planning to give the guide to and what other purposes you would like to use it for.

If you are planning to hand out your guides with your product, a printed copy is best as this is most easily accessible at that moment. On the other hand, if you are a marketing company who has produced a guide to their services, it might be better to hand out your guides at a conference or trade fair, for example. A company like www.xeretec.co.uk might be able to help you figure out how many guides you should take along as well as ensure a great quality print.

Gated content is another option for guides. All this means is that you put up a landing page requiring people to enter a name and email address in order to download your guide. This is a good idea because most people are happy to share an email address if they think that the content will be worth it. From this, you get the email address of someone interested in your services for future marketing opportunities.

Share, share, share!

Once you have prepared your guide, you should also think about where you are going to share it and how you will persuade others to share it too. While printed guides are great for handing out, you should also have an online version available for easy access – even if you choose not to gate the content. Sharing a link is always easier than trying to get addresses to post your guide to or chancing leaving your guides in other places.

LinkedIn is usually a good place to share guides, especially if you are a B2B business. You might also like to use other social media to share your guide but if you do that, think carefully about who your audience is. It might actually be better to write a companion blog post with a link to your guide to provide further information than just a link to the guide itself. This gives you a chance to repurpose your content and to show other audiences why they might be interested too.

The more opportunities you take to share your guide, the more popular the guide will become and, if it is a good one, it will help your website to rank for the keywords it targets. However, SEO should not be the main purpose of your guide. Focus your energy on creating something that people will want to read, not on something Google might like for the best results.

Guides can take a long time to write, design, edit and produce but they are a brilliant resource you can consistently refer back to. Using guides to troubleshoot common issues or to answer a frequently asked question in more detail is a really good way to provide your customers with the answers they are looking for from you.