To excel at content marketing, there are really varying different skills you will need to develop and improve.
As the term implies, those two skills are:
Content creation (how do you create appreciable content?)
Content marketing (how to maximize exposure for your content?)
Let’s start with content creation:
First of all, “good” is a very subjective term. Secondly, I would not strive to create good content. Strive to create great content. But “great” is still subjective.
The #1 question you should ask yourselves before publishing what you hope is great content is: ”Will this content help, entertain, or inspire my target audience?”
The keywords here are target audience. Just as you cannot be liked by everyone, you cannot create content that will be appreciated by everyone.
For that reason, you should identify the target audience for your content before you enter the content creation stage, and then create something that your audience would agree is great and will have no qualms leaving positive reviews for.
You can create a video, an article, a podcast episode, an infographic, a SlideShare, etc. The type of content you create is not what makes it great. The fact that your target audience appreciates and spreads the word about it, it is what ultimately helps you to market your content more effectively with a wider outreach.
If no one comments on or shares your content, it either wasn’t good enough, or you shared it with the wrong target audience. Another reason behind this could also be your impatience, i.e, you cannot expect rewards immediately. You will have to be patient with the audience that you are targeting
Now, on to content marketing:
For every piece of content that you publish, you should have a plan to promote that content to help give it the initial push that will help it to go viral in your niche/industry. These are explained below, but for the sake of brevity let’s go through this discussion.
It is recommended that you test out several different tactics until you find a recipe that works well for you, and then stick to it. A good idea would be to create a content marketing checklist on platforms such as Trello to ensure that you act upon them and see to their completion every time for successful marketing.
Here are a few ideas:
- Send an email to your subscribers with a link to your content.
- Share your content on all of your social media profiles/pages.
- Run ads to your content. (using Facebook, for example)
- Write for other publications, including links to your content.
- Send a browser push notification to your content.
- Share your content in relevant social media groups. (check the group guidelines first, of course)
- Share your content in high traffic forums and online communities such as Reddit. (Do read the guidelines, however)
- Answer a question on Quora, and include a link to your content.
- Reach out to people who have shared similar content (on Twitter, for example), invite them to check out yours.
- Repurpose your content into other types. (article to video, video to the podcast, SlideShare to infographic, etc.)
- Create more content, mention, or include links to your other content.
All in all, you should pay attention to the audience profiles, which are also referred to as the customer personas. Take note that content marketing strategies start with the needs of the customers always, which is an essential element in content marketing campaigns.
Without well-developed customer personas, your content would settle at good when it must be great. You don’t want to target everyone, you need to define a specific audience in order to deliver the right message, have the right voice tone, know their problems, etc…
So, how do you define the customer persona? It is an explicit and exhaustive portrait of potential customers, who will be willing to invest their time or money towards your business or campaign.
It’ll also help in rounding up of resources and support that will help you develop some insight into what your customer demands and help to refine the content marketing strategy. They are worth knowing about before you begin to act about your content marketing plan.
When you have determined your target customer persona, you will be ready for the ideas and plans to achieve good original content marketing which will be having a widespread outreach.
Devising A Plan To Tackle Problems
You need to create a concrete plan for your content and subsequently, it’s marketing. Not only you need to know who you want to address, but you also want to define goals, generate ideas, define metrics, perform regular audits, etc… This is not something you can build up as you go. A plan has to be thoroughly devised and further scrutinized if it is expected to make waves in the market. (Except if you create newsjacking content)
Every piece of content you publish should have a goal. Don’t create content just for the sake of creating content. Know about your goals and metrics upfront so that you can actually measure whether or not you have been successful with your content marketing.
Here are some examples of goals you could have for your content:
- Website traffic
- Subscribers to the email list
- Webinar signups
- Free consultation requests
- Sales/customer acquisition
Know your goals. Track your progress. What gets measured gets improved!
Regular Conversations With Your Think Tank
According to experts, the most effective content marketing is frequently collaborative content. Some people think of creativity as something that happens in an isolation, yet complementary talents on the team can build something better and bigger than can its talents.
A weekly, bi-weekly, or even monthly meets with your content creation and marketing team will lead to enhanced creativity, improves content marketing for various companies, and helps in establishing communications and overall boosts the productivity up a notch.
Creating A Strategy For Your Brand
The finest content marketing campaign builds on an existing brand strategy. You should know what your business stands for and what kinds of values it represents to target customers.
Any content made for campaigns must reflect the core brand values deeply so that your customers will immediately know and understand that the web content is yours.
Every client meeting, every connection, in fact, every action should be taken in order to improve brand value to establish loyalty amongst your clients which also helps in spreading the word about your brand strategy ensuring more people reach out to your content.
Creating A Brand Value And A Connection That Appeals To Your Targeted Audience
As discussed earlier, it is important to create a brand in order to market your content better and more effectively to your target audience. But how will this be achieved and why is it so important? Well, it has been established that people tend to hold their favorite brands in higher regard in terms of engagement or initiation of business deals.
So having a brand value and a connection to your targeted audience not only means a dedicated and loyal customer base, but also the opportunity created by the favorable reviews that this customer base will leave behind on a variety of social media channels, thus helping to leave a footprint of your content globally, enabling you to market your content to an even wider customer base.
But how will you achieve this? Well for starters, planning your content keeping your Audience first is undeniably important for this to occur.
People will only associate themselves with your brand if they feel it adheres to their ideas, their opinions. Content devised keeping in mind about your Target audience will be easier to market and also rake in the numbers without much effort.
Using The Various Technological Channels And Medium
Once the people hear the term “content”, they imagine written materials including blog posts, case studies, free ebooks, and white papers.
Perhaps you have added video as your afterthought. Yet, there is another idea you must consider and that is to broaden your web content marketing spectrum by using several mediums. Some people prefer receiving materials in different formats.
Several auditory learners want podcasts while visual learners prefer reading about topics or watching videos. In short, it would be beneficial to target multiple platforms for your content ensuring that people will with an affinity for specific platforms have access to your content as well, thereby enhancing its marketing ability.
A Strategy To Ensure Large Scale Promotion
Creating content is one thing but you also want people to discover and consume your content. You could create the best content in the world, if nobody sees it, it’s pretty much useless.
The easiest way to promote your content is of course on social media but there are many other ways to promote your blog, your infographics, videos, or any other content that you have produced.
Creating A Schedule And Sticking To It
It may sound basic, yet some people do this. Create a schedule and consider sticking to it. Content marketing is much effective when you engage with your audience on a regular basis.
The customers start to look forward to your web content and this increases engagement, which is a golden rule for good content. Create your own schedule for content and follow this without fail. Use the scheduling tools to drip the messages into your social media channel.
New content should be released periodically and should follow a disciplined routine. The better your routine, the greater the resulting engagement.
Keeping Up With The Latest Trends In The Digital World
Content marketing continuously evolves and you need to stay up-to-date with trends. For instance, blogging and vlogging are extremely popular now but new trends are coming up: AR (Augmented Reality), VR (Virtual reality), 3D, etc….
This is where having a plan will ensure that your work isn’t undone by the arrival of new technology or a medium. By planning ahead, you will ensure that your Content Marketing remains on track and you will be able to use the newer platforms for your benefits.
Armed with these tips and fundamentals of content marketing under your belt, you will be well on your way in harnessing this marketing method. However, this is not an exhaustive list and there are and will continue to be several more variables that you will have to figure out before you master Content Marketing.
Content marketing is an incredible way to boost the growth of your business, improve and implement the brand value factor, establish authority, and build connections. However, the journey doesn’t end here.
Continue educating yourselves, keep trying out new innovations even if they keep failing – and be a foot ahead of the curve always.