When it comes to content marketing, it seems like there are no secrets left.
No mystery unsolved.
No stone left unturned.
But, believe it or not, we haven’t got it all figured out just yet.
The majority of content marketers say that the job is all about filling an editorial calendar with ideas, turning those ideas into blog posts and then going out to promote them.
And, well, they pretty much mistook your business for a personal blog.
Your content has to convince and convert.
That’s much more than a simple personal blog has the power to do—most of the time. (I’d even argue that those money-making personal blogs are really content marketing projects in disguise.)
Here, we’re going to point out some of the remaining secrets in content marketing.
The end game for all of these is to lead you straight to the Holy Grail: Results!
Map Your Own Journey
Whether you’re a traditional marketer tasked with creating content, or someone with an editorial background who now has to “do” marketing, many people aren’t quite sure how to marry the two disciplines and ensure the content they produce drives business results.
This means many marketers’ first experience with content marketing thrusts them into content chaos: They are producing content with no strategy, they aren’t aligned internally with key stakeholders, and they haven’t specified concrete goals or objectives.
Marketers need to understand where they’re at in their content journey and what they should focus on to improve. Some may have all the tech tools they need but no strategy, whereas others know exactly what kind of content will move the needle but are unsure how to create it efficiently.
Define Your Goals
The information your company produces should be crafted with an end goal in mind and as part of an overarching marketing strategy. Lay out your company’s goals for the year.
The obvious goal for all companies is to increase revenue, but are you looking to expand into a new market, release a new product or reach a new audience? Once you know what it is you’ll be working to achieve, you can think further about how content will be part of that.
Utilize Online Writing and Editing Services
There are plenty of businesses that don’t have the capacity or resources to run a successful online marketing campaign. Many businesses, therefore, delegate their writing and editing services in order to keep consistent high-quality content. There are websites where you can post an ad, interview candidates, and find a writer.
There are also automated services that can provide confidential editing and writing services from a professional.
Use Online Editing Tools
It can be really worthwhile to find a guide or courses to improve your writing. A great example of such a course is available with Academized. You can also make sure your posts match you word limits and target with Easy Word Count.
It’s Okay to Show Off
You want to stand out through your blog, show that you’re good at what you do and develop trust in the reader.
Personal branding specialist, Lauren Clemett advises her clients to use the 30/30/30/10 rule when creating content, especially for social media and newsletters.
The rule works as follows:
- 30% is for posts about the blogger, the business, product launches and new programs.
- Another 30% is about industry news, which shows your audience you know what’s going on and that you know what you’re doing in your field.
- 30% is for info-products—that means posts explaining things, giving tips, tools, podcasts, tutorials and other actionable items. Yet another proof you know what you’re doing.
- A final 10% is fun and inspirational posts relying on quotes, videos stories and images. If content is king, engagement is the queen of hearts!
This way, you can show your audience “that you are the go-to specialist, the expert in your field, and that you have knowledge and expertise that is valuable to them. It builds confidence and trust.”
Storytelling Is Still Key
Joe Lazauskas, director of content strategy at Contently, wrote a book recently on the importance of great storytelling. He has four keys to storytelling that he uses like a checklist: tension, fluency, relatability, and novelty.
A trend we’re really interested in is how storytelling is starting to pop up across the organization, not just in marketing.
Brands are starting to consider how content can be used to build engagement with a number of audiences, including their employees, investors, corporate boards, etc. This ends up driving company-wide alignment and buy-in for common goals, which compounds the benefits.
Devote Time To Promotion
You should spend as much time promoting your content as you do writing it. This includes emailing contacts, newsletters, and clients themselves.
Use Plugins To Share Content Quickly
Sharing your content across social media quickly and efficiently is essential and a plugin can upload your posts to network platforms instantly.
Trending Topics and Hashtags
Another source of inspiration can be found in the place where we all spend tons of time, social media. Pay attention to what people are talking about.
What topics are driving lots of engagement? What topics are “trending” on the social channels where your audience spends their time? Can you tap into that?
To go even deeper, can you include an influencer in your post and then tag them when sharing the post on that channel? Or better yet, can you bring in an expert to offer their perspective on this topic?
Metrics are Important, But Not More Than Content
Metrics are a big topic in everything marketing, but when it comes to content marketing, there’s more than metrics at stake.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of making it all about numbers and rankings—and forgetting the people.
In 2014, I worked for a blog owner who obsessed about keywords so much he let other vital topics drop every time I mentioned them—topics like the need to address the reader’s pain points, engaging and responding to comments.
He wasn’t interested in giving readers more than just content built around keywords that benefited search rankings more than readers.
(Guess what? He cared more about Google AdSense income than the audience’s needs!)
However, search engine rankings—and even serving ads—are all means to an end, that is, to drive traffic to your products and services through helpful content and trust building.
Trust… is where authority is born and conversions happen.
Set goals in Google Analytics or in the web analytics suite of your choice to track conversions, or with Content Tracker by Priceonomics. To poll your readers about what they really need to read from your blog, MARE.io is awesome as a polling tool (I use it myself).
Native advertising isn’t new to the content marketing game, but it is really picking up traction. In fact, experts are predicting 2019 will be the year advertisers wholly embrace the discipline of native advertising in marketing.
The key is to be strategic about partnerships and collaboration, according to the Native Advertising Institute. Solidifying an authentic native experience requires brands and publishers to develop long-term working relationships to ensure the content is meaningful and relevant, as 2019 is also predicted to bring about a shift into different formats and channels. Navigating this shift will be much easier with authentic content at the forefront.
The Future of Content Marketing
Marketers continually strive to provide a more relevant customer experience using a combination of technology and creativity. When creating content, it’s important to embrace and test newer methods to determine what’s right for your audience.
You won’t know whether it generates positive results unless you try it. Decide what trends are right for your audience based on research, but don’t be afraid to test something to gather your own data.
Marketing is a continual process of developing new strategies for your audience.
Final Word – Smarter Content Marketing
I could go on and on. Content is not something you should fear. Content is the conduit through which you form stronger relationships with your clients, fans, and brand ambassadors.
Shift your focus and make sure your content idea radar is always on. I think you’ll be amazed at how much inspiration there is all around you.
And remember, no one piece of content is an island unto itself. Squeeze every last drop out of each piece of content:
- A post becomes a series
- A series becomes a presentation
- The presentation becomes an eBook
- The eBook becomes a video
- Then the video becomes a Podcast and blog post
There is always more you can do with an idea. Exhaust everything, waste nothing. Your audience will love you for it, your site will be more popular and productive, and your bottom line will improve.