As the internet has grown, content marketing has become more pertinent than ever before.
Businesses that shun content marketing may well find they miss out on opportunities for growth and building brand recognition, which could leave them floundering behind their competitors.
Get this: according to a recent paper published by the content marketing institute: 55% of business-to-business (B2B) marketers said that it is unclear within their organization what an effective or successful content marketing program looks like.
So, how should you implement a content marketing strategy that works for your business, and how can you benefit? Here are some top tips that every company with an online presence should follow.
Know Your Audience
Content marketing is about creating information to add to your website, blog or social media sites that will appeal to your audience. Before you can even begin to develop a content marketing strategy, you need to clearly define who your target audience is. Only by knowing who your followers or customers are, can you develop content that will directly appeal to their interests or needs.
Tools like Buzzsumo allow you to find what users are searching for then write according to the needs of your audience.
Develop A Content Style
People generally like what they like and dismiss what they do not. Ensure that your style reflects the product or service you are selling in a way that is easy to read.
Break up blocks of text with headings and sub headings. Use short paragraphs consider punctuating with images or industry best practice quotes or links.
If you are new to writing look at tools like Hemmingway that will highlight common issues and classify them into categories so you know how to fix them.
Content Marketing Variety
Variety is key when it comes to creating content, so consider different ways to inform your audiences. As well as producing articles on company or industry news, you could publish reviews of products, ‘how to’ guides, top tips, feature
Variety is key when it comes to creating content, so consider different ways to inform your audiences. As well as producing articles on company or industry news, you could publish reviews of products, ‘how to’ guides, top tips, features and Q&A-style content.
Look for ways to interact with your audience when producing content, to glean their opinions and make them feel more connected with your brand. Evergreen content – that is, information with a long shelf life – is of particular interest and value to many readers.
As well as producing text, consider other ways to display information. Infographics are ideal for representing statistics or complex data, whilst visual content can be especially powerful and alluring.
Whilst variety is important, always ensure that whatever content you produce is relevant to your business and audience.
According to Hubspot: Lists and why-posts proved to have the most reliable social traction, averaging around 21,000 shares per month with a variance of less than 2.5%. What posts were the riskiest format, showing a high variance of 13.45%. Further analysis of the six-month period revealed:
- Lists narrowly claimed the most social traction at 22.45%
- Why-posts earned 22.32% of social traction.
- Videos drew 18.94% of total shares and performed well in Q4.
- How-to articles earned 18.42% of shares.
- What-posts had the lowest social traction, earning 17.88% of total shares.
When you’re stuck for content ideas, think about how you can repurpose existing content in another format or fresh way.
Providing good quality content is time-consuming and something that we the writers are proud of, repurposing content can allow you to reach new audiences. A ‘how to’ guide, for instance, could be rehashed into an infographic, a video, a series of tweets or a slide presentation. Webinars can become Video Tutorials, Old blogs turn into Guides.
One good tip told to me by a top level influencer was to always keep in mind how you can re-use the material your write. Every article or blog should have a multiple use.
Your content marketing strategy should ensure that you’re perceived by your audience as an expert authority in specific topics or subject matters of interest. This can help to build your brand and gain trust amongst your followers. When creating content, think about how you can use your expert knowledge to solve particular problems that your readers might be facing.
Churning out content that has been done to death before not only wastes your time, but will have little impact on your audience. In fact, it may even be detrimental to your business.
Search engines rank websites based on the quality of their content, and if yours is poor, you may slip down the search listings. Therefore, always have quality in mind when producing content. Try to put a fresh spin on a current topic, or add your personal expert opinions, so that your content stands out from the crowd.
Creating quality content is also about making sure that what you produce looks professional, is not littered with inconsistencies or errors and, ultimately, represents your brand ethos and values.
It’s not easy creating great content, and if you are a small business, you may not have the resources or know-how to keep your website fresh. In this case, you may want to consider outsourcing your content marketing to a professional freelance writer, or SEO/marketing agency, who can tackle this aspect for you.
A content marketing strategy is not just a one-off affair. Once you have started posting content online, you need to keep adding fresh, informative, relevant and useful content to your site. The purpose of this is to keep audiences hooked and to increase visitor traffic, with the ultimate intention of improving your conversion rate.
It is not a surprise that statistics show that the more content companies published per month, the more traffic they saw on their website. Companies that published 16+ blog posts per month got almost 3.5X more traffic than companies that published between 0 – 4 monthly posts
Search engines, such as Google, also rank sites that add content regularly more highly. Remember the rule Quality not Quantity!
Be SEO Aware
Content marketing is about increasing traffic and conversions, but every content marketing strategy should be established with SEO in mind. It’s a fact that search engines rank websites according to their content marketing, so if you want to be found more easily on the internet, you need to adopt a few strategies that get the thumbs-up from the likes of Google.
Trends for effective SEO change regularly, so you need to keep up to date with what’s preferred, but, generally, if you aim for producing useful and informative, high-quality content on a regular basis, incorporated with natural inclusion of relevant long tail keywords, across a wide range of platforms, this can serve you well.
Increasingly, search engines are giving higher ranking to content that is in-depth rather than short and concise. In our recent article we reported that Industry experts like Neil Patel for some time have qualified the need to not only write engaging content but also that content with a higher word count is converting far better than the old traditional short posts
Don’t Go For The Hard Sell
The ultimate goal of your content marketing may be to increase sales, but never create content that comes across as ‘salesy’. You could end up turning your audiences away and losing their trust. Search engines can also easily sniff out hard-sell content, and will punish you with a lower search list ranking.
When creating your content, be honest and never exaggerate information in the hope of achieving a sale, as your credibility and reputation will be at stake.
Add social media buttons to your content, so that audiences can like or share it, which can help to increase awareness of your brand.
Having a presence on social media sites can be effective for your content marketing strategy, and is one of the best ways to gain brand recognition and widen your audience reach.
There are many different plugins for WordPress offering a wide variety of choices. One that has caught my attention and has certainly helped with user engagement is Monarch courtesy of our friends at elegant themes.
You have finished press publish and forget – No!
You have edited for the last time and finally, the publish button is hit. What you do next will determine if your hard work has been in vain. It’s time to get busy..
- Get Sharing – write several variations of headlines, post statistics that were included in your post, share images or screen shots.
- Send emails to your data base – Demonstrate to your customers or those that have shown an interest in your services that you have the necessary knowledge to help. Build trust!
- Reach out to influencers – One great way to get more followers and views is to ask top industry influencers to share your article. Not always easy but if you have referenced them in your article or provided a link back to their original article they may be willing to help by way of a thank you. A tool that can help you achieve this is NinjaOutreach. You can find top industry influencers and reach out to them using the outreach CRM.
- Respond to comments – It may take time especially if you have a large audience but this practice has proven to grow engagement and loyalty.
- Thank people for tweeting and sharing – As above interactions foster relationships and can be used to spark conversations.
- Post to community sites, forums or groups – Reddit is certainly a great place to start as you will always find people willing to discuss. LinkedIn also a must.
Return on Investment
Measuring the return on investment for your content marketing can prove a little tricky and is often subjective due to not all goals having a monetary value.
When creating a new piece of content it is often useful to set goals based on what you are looking to achieve. At NetTonic we break this down into four metrics:
Consumption Metrics: How many people consumed your content measured as page views? Possibly one of the easiest to measure using Google Analytics, Insights, Buzzsumo etc.
Sharing Metrics: Another easy one to measure and based on the number of times your content is shared, liked or retweeted. Not my favourite insights but if this is important to you ensure that the task is made easy for your readers.
Lead Generation Metrics: How many consumers of your content use a call to action and request your services. Easily measurable and when used alongside sales can determine the true value of your content.
Sales Metrics: Does the content you are producing generate actual sales, are your consumers turning into paying customers? If you produce more content does this increase sales?
Once you’ve got your content marketing strategy up and running, you’ll need to analyse your content message, format, distribution channels and promotional efforts to see if you are getting the desired return on investment, or whether you need to make some strategy changes going forward.
For information on how NetTonic can help with you contact marketing please call. 01234 261385