Content marketing is a form of marketing focused on creating, publishing, and distributing content for a targeted online audience.
Now how do you define great content?
After all, that’s the point of content creation for us, the marketers.
You’ve probably heard the saying: “content is king.” As more and more people are going online to get answers, content marketing is even more important in your business’s success.
If you’re looking to bring more eyeballs to your website and, subsequently, more sales through effective content marketing, continue reading.
A content marketing strategy can leverage all story channels (print, online, in-person, mobile, social, etc.), be employed at any and all stages of the buying process, from attention-oriented strategies to retention and loyalty strategies.
Your customers don’t care about you, your products, your services… they care about themselves, their wants and their needs. Content marketing is about creating interesting information your customers are passionate about so they actually pay attention to you.
What travel, food, or fashion brand can exist today without a vibrant Instagram page, videos, and a few influencer campaigns?
Software companies have become tech teachers with how-to videos and eBooks. Even the financial industry has come up with apps, online knowledge centers, and other tools to help both individuals and business customers better meet their financial goals and to do it with a level of transparency and convenience that was unheard of 15 years ago.
CONTENT MARKETING IS TOO VALUABLE FOR BOTH CONSUMERS AND BRANDS TO EVER GO AWAY
The number one reason that content marketing is important is that your customers appreciate it. Content marketing generates 3 times as many leads as outbound marketing, drives six times higher conversion rates, and has the potential for a 7.8-fold boost in web traffic.
Through offering value and meaning, and through giving people an entire ecosystem to tap into for information, guidance, and human connection, content marketing has formed a bridge that consumers want to walk across in order to connect with the brands they like.
There’s no going back.
But today, almost all marketers use content marketing – 91 percent of B2B marketers and 86 percent of B2C.
And (no surprises here), consumers like it.
Have a plan.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but having a plan before you do anything else in your content marketing will make your content more targeted and its production more consistent.
Know what your company’s overall objective is for the content, know what the purpose of each kind of content will be and its value to readers. After researching your target audiences, you’ll have a clearer picture of what content to write, the tone of the content, and when and where it should be posted.
When distributing content, different platforms require different frequency of posting. Twitter, for instance, requires multiple posts a day while with Facebook, you can get away with once a day. Building an editorial content calendar will be an important part of this pre-content plan.
Know when and where to post.
You can write the best blog post of your life, but if it is posted on a site or social media platform your audience doesn’t use or at a time when most of your audience is offline, it will likely disappear into the noise and information of the Internet.
Your social media manager should know, for instance, that most of your company’s Facebook fans are online Friday afternoons from 2-4pm. If your company doesn’t have a dedicated social media manager or department, most website and social media analytics tools will have a feature where you can see the most and least popular times people visit your site and social media channels and where people are coming from to get your site.
Knowing your audience will also give you an idea as to what websites and industry/business blogs they regularly visit and what social media channels they utilize to engage with each other on.
Quality over Quantity.
It can be tempting to continuously pump out content. Your audience, however, doesn’t want more content, they want quality content that is interesting, valuable and informative.
Visitors to your site come because they trust you and believe you’ll answer their question or address their concerns. An abundance of low-quality content will only take up space and viewers won’t bother reading it.
Nobody doesn’t want their content not read. High-quality posts will get more attention, engagement, and shares which should be the goals of a solid content strategy.
Mix up content.
There are many ways you can share content online. Text is the most popular and most expected form of content, but there are a lot of things you can do with images and video.
Video is becoming a popular content medium that companies are starting to utilize more. By having a variety of content, you increase your company’s chances of reaching more people in your diverse target audiences.
What type of content gives you the most traffic? Again, you can use an analytics program to determine which type and subject of content get the most attention.
Does your audience love “how-to” articles, inspirational stories, videos? Focus on producing content that is drawing the most eyeballs. Don’t forget to still vary the content.
Optimize your content.
As the previous point brought up, it would be amiss to not discuss using keywords to optimize your company’s content.
Content, like other aspects of internet marketing, is enhanced when it is correctly optimized for search engines. To make your content more effective, try to target one or two keywords in a piece of content.
For text content, this is easy to do. For images and videos, however, more work is involved. For posts with videos and images, use keywords in the title, headings, and topic introduction or summary. Keywords should also be inserted into the ALT tags, file names, and meta descriptions.
Make your headlines irresistible and helpful.
High-performing content starts with a high-powered, irresistible headline that makes people want to read more.
You may have read about formulas and tools to help you craft headlines proven to perform better. But what about your headline’s usefulness factor?
Does your headline accurately describe the content piece and let readers know what they’re in for if they keep reading? Or does your headline use sneaky click bait tactics to mislead readers?
Does your headline set up realistic expectations for the content? Or does it ultimately let your audience down?
Your content should build trust with the reader, but you can’t do that if you start with a headline that stretches the truth or neglects important information.
Use powerful wording to create irresistible headlines. Use formulas and tools to help you craft them, but don’t oversell your content or mislead people about the value it provides.
Include relevant, interesting images to illustrate your points.
The power of images in your content should be blatantly obvious, given that we’re a visually oriented society.
BuzzSumo analyzed over 1 million articles to see how many images were shared. Then it looked at the top shared ones to find telling trends.
Provide relevant images that add context and illustrate your points. This not only makes your content more interesting, but also increases the chances that your readers will remember it.
If your readers can’t figure out why they should care within the first paragraph or two, they won’t. They’ll bounce from the page.
After you get their attention, tell them the topic, why they should care, and the main point you’re proving or explaining in the content.
Create an clickable CTA.
Of course, you can’t get readers to act unless you give them an opportunity. It should come in the form of a call to action – a link in your content that directs readers on what to do after they’re done reading.
a compelling, clickable CTA does a lot of work for a high-performing content piece. It’s the final push to get your readers to take that desirable action, so you need to make sure it counts.
Put all the puzzle pieces together.
High-performing content doesn’t have one or two standout factors. Instead, it has many pieces that each contribute to its success – shares, conversions, sign-ups, or some other desirable reader action.
Think of it this way:
The first part grabs readers, the second keeps them on the page, and the third nurtures them, warming them up for the desirable CTA.
You need each piece to inspire action and get results. Once you have all of them in place, your content should perform better than you ever dreamed.