Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action. Though it’s been around for a long time, content marketing today is most often channeled through social media, blogging and online videos.
Crazily enough, content marketing goes back to 1672, maybe even farther:
“But Jan van der Heijden wasn’t only a mechanical engineer; he was also a painter and clever business man. To introduce his invention to the masses, he used various modern marketing techniques, which brought him huge success. He combined (several) formats in his content marketing program…”
Content marketing builds brand awareness, creates trust in your organization, is GREAT for search engine rankings, generates leads and attracts buyers among your exact demographic, is sharable (free marketing!), and is shown to convert more leads to sales than traditional advertising.
And if that’s not enough for you, though it should be, have a look at this Inc. piece from Jayson DeMers, who says that:
“For my money, there’s no better long-term strategy than content marketing.”
Without further ado, 12 tips to help craft and publish excellent content marketing. As always, I’m just an email or phone call away if you want personal guidance or are ready to turn these suggestions into action!
1. Know your brand
At the outset, ask yourself: Who are we? Who are our potential customers? What’s my business all about? Why do we do what we do? What’s unique about us? This is preliminary identity and branding work that every organization should do, but it’s especially important before you craft your public messaging.
2. Know your customer
Your strategy should include plenty of research about your target customer, their pain-points, the language they use, and the channels their getting info from. All of that will help you to frame the right information and solutions for them.
3. Share timely content
Once you’ve found your audience and understand the sort of content that will benefit them, make sure you’re solving their problem. The content should ultimately lead to conversions, so it needs to be relevant and timely.
4. Publish consistently
To maintain and grow your audience, and to keep your brand as authoritative in their mind, set yourself a schedule for publishing content. Be consistent and share content as often as you can (though more than a few times a day will be redundant). This will also help with SEO, so it’s important to be consistent.
5. Establish your expertise
Good content marketing will establish you and your brand as an authority in your area of service and expertise. Don’t push your product, don’t reiterate stale maxims. Instead, be original, be creative, but above all, highlight your expertise.
6. Consistently deliver value
This builds off the last point: Attention is a precious commodity today. No one needs another spammy email in their inbox or post on social media. So your content marketing should regularly deliver value, whether that’s information, real cost savings, or services. With each post, ask: How will this benefit my potential customer? What can she/he take away from this?
7. Quality, quality, quality
We’re overloaded with content. Make yours stand out. One great, well-research, expertise-driven post or video is worth hundreds of generic, dribble-filled articles.
8. Understand the way your content will effect SEO
Regularly publishing stellar content will significantly help your search ranking. But the cherry on top is when you start include keyword rich content, i.e. the phrases, numerical listings, section and page titles, that get the highest volume of search hits on major engines. Not sure what keywords are or how to incorporate them? No problem! You can use one of literally hundreds of keyword tool programs (like Google’s Keyword Planner) to do your research. Or, if that feels daunting, get in touch with us to discuss the best paid search and SEO methods.
9. Use different formats and media
Use every tool available to you. Post blog articles on your site (or on other sites that will accept them), create infographics, slides, and memes, upload videos, make social media posts, take photos, and share user generated content. As long as it all offer some value to your audience, truly helps them to solve a problem, then use whatever formats and media are at your disposal.
10. Ask your customers questions
Why guess at it? If you want to give valuable content to your audience, it may be best to directly ask them what sort of problems they’re trying to solve. In today’s business landscape, the website with the highest quality and most relevant information will dominate. So don’t get caught creating the wrong sort of content, answering the wrong questions.
11. Offer context and emotion to keep people engaged
People love an engrossing and personal story. It helps to keep them engaged and also makes it easier to understand, and put into practice, abstract ideas. Use unique stories, actual cases, and plenty of details. Success stories go over really well.
And 12. Perform a competitive analysis
This one might be for the more advanced content marketers. But if you want to make sure your content marketing is effective and is meeting generally held benchmarks, you can always perform an analysis. Here are the questions that one major marketing firm uses to create its competitive analysis before beginning a content marketing campaign:
- Which companies are tracking activity on their website?
- How accessible is each company’s website?
- What types of digital content does each company have?
- How visible is each company on major search engines?
- What does each company’s social media presence look like and how many online reviews do they have?
If you find your company is lagging behind your competitors in any of those categories, you’ve got a good place to start with your content marketing strategy.
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