People today consume more content than ever. Whether it’s browsing news online, reading their favorite blog or perusing the reviews of the latest TVs before choosing which to buy, we have become voracious content devourers. For your business, this is a double-edged sword; while you have an audience who are sat ready and waiting, you’re going to have to work harder to create content that will keep their attention away from the competition. Don’t panic just yet though; follow these top strategies, and you’ll be excelling at content marketing in no time at all.
Humans are predestined to love a story. In fact, stories are as old as culture itself. The art of storytelling goes back well before written stories, and the role they fulfill has taken many forms, from education to entertainment. Hang on a minute, though. Isn’t this blog supposed to be about how to excel at content marketing, not storytelling? Well, the two share more in common than you might think. Since humans love stories so much, the most successful content marketing provides a narrative for your audience to hook onto. It also makes it feel more authentic and allows your reader to become fully engaged.
Storytelling can take many forms, too. Whether it’s the story of your brand, anecdotes from within your company or a simple, fictional narrative used to attract attention, stories offer a huge amount of potential for hooking in your audience.
We know you’ve heard this before: Remember back to your school days, when your teachers used to harp on about writing a plan before you write that essay? Well, it turns out they might have been onto something. Writing a thorough plan enables you to identify how and where your content is going to work. It also gives you the chance to make those ephemeral seeds of ideas floating around in the back of your brain more concrete.
Chances are, you have already thought about what you want your content to achieve, but have you formalized those thoughts into a working document? Once you formalize something, it takes on a life of its own and often grows into something even better.
Using a content marketing plan is a good way of pinpointing the exact role each of your blogs, product content, guest posts or social media content is going to have. Using a working document also allows other colleagues to have access, and edit it too, if you want. This site has more tips on how to write a content marketing plan, as well as a free website content strategy template to download.
As we’ve seen, it’s important to plan your content and be clear what you want it to achieve. The second half of this equation lies in measuring its success. How do you know whether to create more guest posts if you’re not sure how much impact they’ve had? It’s vital that you incorporate analytics into your strategy, so you can make sure your blogs are being read by the group of people you are targeting.
And, once you have reached them, how can you see what impact it has on your overall goal: business growth? Make sure to build in measurable targets so you can see the impact each piece of content is having. It will provide an invaluable tool for planning the next stage of your content marketing.
What goes around, comes around, as the saying goes. And just like in most aspects of life, it’s true in content marketing. By creating valuable, unique and engaging content, you can promote your brand, while delivering a unique perspective on a topic, and adding useful tools such as share buttons and links to other content.
Having high-quality content on your website and building backlinks to it from guest posts is an excellent SEO strategy too. Google boosts the page ranking of content which:
We all know planning is the key to success, and this holds true for successful content marketing just as much. A content calendar does not need to be complex: Its main purpose is simply to hold together all the information in one place. Include dates, types of content, the keywords you’re targeting as well as any information about the specific genre or publication. You can even link it to your business goals, and have a template in a similar format.
Speaking of which, there are no hard and fast rules here. If you prefer Excel, you can take advantage of its diverse functions, but if you are happier working in Word, then that’s fine too. From a practical perspective, creating a content calendar which can be accessed by various members of your content team means everyone is kept abreast of any changes, and minimizes the risk of misunderstandings or duplicate content being created.
Having your audience in mind makes it easier to create content for them. Otherwise, it’s a bit like choosing a birthday present for someone you’ve never met. Buyer personas are fleshed out descriptions of your target customers. To be useful, these descriptions need to be based on the fruits of your research, not just who you think your customers might be.
Gather data on the demographics and buying behaviors of your market, and paint a picture of what motivates them. You can even give them a name and a picture, to really bring them to life. Once you know what “Busy Brian” and “Clever Caroline” look like, you’ll find creating content for them a doddle. What’s more, the content will be pertinent and engaging for them, making it more likely to fulfill its goal! Buyer personas don’t just apply to successful content marketing; once you have a clear picture of your buyers, you can apply this understanding to your entire marketing campaign, too.
When we think about successful content marketing, blogs and guest posts are the two types of content that spring to mind for most of us. But remember, there are many different content marketing formats. Creating visual content is highly effective, too, and graphics appeals to us in a different kind of way. Visual content such as infographics or images can be consumed in a shorter amount of time and allow you to communicate facts and messages succinctly. They are also easy to share and allow you to make complicated topics more accessible to your audience.
Content is a vital piece in any business’s marketing jigsaw. But creating the right sort of content – and making sure it’s read by the people you are trying to attract – is also pretty important! Stick to the tips above, and you’ll soon see the positive effects of a well-considered content marketing plan. Have fun creating!