To excel at content marketing, there are really varying different skills we’ll need to develop and improve.
As the term implies, those two skills are:
- Content creation (how do we create appreciable content?)
- Content marketing (how to maximize exposure for our 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 we should ask ourselves before publishing what we hope is great content is: will this content help, entertain, or inspire my target audience?
The keywords here are target audience. Just as we cannot be liked by everyone, we cannot create content that will be appreciated by everyone. For that reason, we should identify the target audience for our content before we enter the content creation stage, and then create something that our audience would agree is great and will have no qualms leaving positive reviews for.
We can create a video, an article, a podcast episode, an infographic, a SlideShare, etc. The type of content we create is not what makes it great. The fact that our target audience appreciates and spreads the word about it, it is what ultimately helps us to market our content more effectively with a wider outreach.
If no one comments on or shares our content, it either wasn’t good enough, or we shared it with the wrong target audience. Another reason behind this could also be our impatience, i.e, we cannot expect rewards immediately. We’ll have to be patient with the audience that we are targeting
Now, on to content marketing:
For every piece of content that we publish, we should have a plan to promote that content to help give it the initial push that will help it to go viral in our niche/industry. These are explained below, but for the sake of brevity let’s go through this discussion.
It is recommended that we test out several different tactics until we find a recipe that works well for us, and then stick to it. A good idea would be to create a content marketing checklist on platforms such as Trello to ensure that we act upon them and see to their completion every time for successful marketing.
Here are a few ideas:
- Send an email to our subscribers with a link to our content.
- Share our content on all of our social media profiles/page.
- Run ads to our content. (using Facebook, for example)
- Write for other publications, include links to our content.
- Send a browser push notification to our content.
- Share our content in relevant social media groups. (check the group guidelines first, of course)
- Share our 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 our content.
- Reach out to people who have shared similar content (on Twitter, for example), invite them to check out ours.
- Repurpose our content into other types. (article to video, video to podcast, SlideShare to infographic, etc.)
- Create more content, mention or include links to our other content.
All in all, we 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, our content would settle at good when it must be great. We don’t want to target everyone, we 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 we define the customer persona? It is a explicit and exhaustive portrait of potential customers, who will be willing to invest their time or money towards our business or campaign. It’ll also help in rounding up of resources and support that will help us develop some insight to what our customer demands and help to refine the content marketing strategy. They are worth knowing about before we begin to act about on our content marketing plan.
When we have determined our target customer persona, we 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
We need to create a concrete plan for our content and subsequently its marketing . Not only we need to know who we want to address to, we also want to define goals, generate ideas, define metrics, perform regular audits, etc… This is not something we can build up as we go. A plan has to be thoroughly devised and further scrutinized if it is expected to make waves in the market. (Except if we create newsjacking content)
Every piece of content we publish should have a goal. Don’t create content just for the sake of creating content. Know about our goals and metrics upfront so that we can actually measure whether or not we have been successful with our content marketing.
Here are some examples of goals we could have for our content:
- Website traffic
- Subscribers to email list
- Webinar signups
- Free consultation requests
- Sales / customer acquisition
Know our goals. Track our progress. What gets measured gets improved!
Regular Conversations With Our 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 building something better and bigger than can its talents. A weekly, bi-weekly or even monthly meets with our 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 Our Brand
The finest content marketing campaign builds on an existing brand strategy. We should know what our 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 our customers will immediately know that the web content is ours. Every client meeting, every connection, in fact every action should be taken in order to improve brand value to establish loyalty among our clients which also help in spreading the word about our brand strategy ensuring more people reach out to the content.
Creating A Brand Value And A Connection That Appeals To Our Targeted Audience
As discussed earlier, it is important to create a brand in order to market our content better and more effectively to our 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 favourable brands in higher regards in terms of engagement or initiation of business deals. So having a brand value and a connection to the our 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 our content globally, enabling us to market our content to an even wider customer base.
But how will we achieve this? Well for starters, planning our content keeping our Audience first is undeniably important for this to occur. People will only associate themselves with our brand if they feel it adheres to their ideas, their opinions. Content devised keeping in mind about our Target audience will be easier to market and also rake in the numbers without much efforts.
Using The Various Technological Channels And Medium
Once the people hear the term “content”, they imagine imagine written materials including blog posts, case studies, free eBooks, and white papers. Perhaps we have added video as our afterthought. Yet, there is another idea we must consider and that is to broaden our web content marketing spectrum through using several mediums. Some people prefer receiving materials in different formats. Several auditory learners want podcasts while the visual learners prefer reading about topics or watching videos. In short it would be beneficial to target multiple platforms for our content ensuring that people will with affinity for specific platforms will have access to our content as well, thereby enhancing its marketing ability.
A Strategy To Ensure Large Scale Promotion
Creating content is one thing but we also want people to discover and consume our content. We could create the best content in the world, if nobody sees it, it’s pretty much useless. The easiest way to promote our content is of course on social media but there are many other ways to promote our blog, our infographics, videos or any other content that we 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. The content marketing is much effective when we engage with our audience on a regular basis. The customers start to look forward to our web content and this increases engagement, which is a golden rule for good content. Create our own schedule for content and follow this without fail. Use the scheduling tools to drip the messages into our social media channel. New content should be released periodically and should follow a disciplined routine. The better our routine, the greater the resulting engagement.
Keeping Up With The Latest Trends In The Digital World
Content marketing continuously evolves and we 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 our work isn’t undone by the arrival of a new technology or a medium. By planning ahead, we’ll ensure that our Content Marketing remains on track and we’ll be able to use the newer platforms for our benefits.
Armed with these tips and fundamentals of content marketing under our belt, we will be well on our 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 we’ll have to figure about before we master Content Marketing. Content marketing is an incredible way to boost the growth of our business, improve and implement the brand value factor, establish authority, and build connections. However, the journey doesn’t end here. Continue educating ourselves, keep trying out new innovations even if they keep failing, and be a foot ahead of the curve always.