Content marketing has been around for a good while now, although it’s risen to ‘fame’ over the course of the past couple of years. This has led to many offering the idea that content marketing is the new advertising and branding. This is because in order for a brand to remain competitive and relevant, it’s necessary that they produce content and that it reflects the brand personality.
With that in mind, how do you make your content really work for you? And what content should you produce for your audience? Let’s have a look at what you can do to ensure that your content marketing efforts are as effective as they can be.
Content Used for Marketing
All kinds of content are used in content marketing, no matter what the business – this includes:
- Blogs/articles/written material
However, it’s not enough just to publish the content, it’s also necessary to distribute it and ensure that it gets engagement. In order to do this, firstly it’s vital to know your audience. This means knowing the tone of voice that they prefer, their interests and much more and is something that should be done well in advance of content production.
Is your content accessible?
(Source: J H Media Group)
Firstly, is your website good enough so that the content can be accessed across a range of devices and screen sizes? This is essential to ensure that you get the best out of it, as there’s nothing worse for a visitor to arrive at the content to find that the site requires them to do some work in order to access it.
It’s unnecessary too these days. Responsive web design is accessible to businesses of all sizes, especially with CMSs such as WordPress. This has plenty of themes, both free and premium that allow you to have a responsive site with very little outlay. If you have a WordPress site, or one that can be quickly and easily adapted to make responsive, this will significantly improve your content marketing very swiftly.
A recent study found that including customer video and testimonials within “story-based content” boosted conversion rates by 53% for B2B marketers. Most businesses have some form of customer testimonial, in video form or not, so this is something that can be easily added to a content page and with those figures, is definitely worth doing.
Another boost to content marketing is a regular blog, so if you don’t carry this out then you should. Further to this, the content should tell a story and allow the consumer to become emotionally engaged and to trust your content. Again, trust comes through testimonials and suchlike, but it’s also generated by:
- Social media – a strong presence, which always answers customer/reader queries helps to build trust and although it can’t be achieved in a day, carrying out some work on social each day will improve trust, engagement and strengthen the brand
- Great content which is well-written/produced and solves a ‘problem’
- Educational content that links to reputable sources
You should choose fonts carefully when it comes to written content as these speak to the reader on an emotional level and should match your brand personality. Of course, it’s not a great idea to get too fancy, the content has to be easy to read, but fonts and typeface do have to be considered. Remember that the content has to be read on smaller devices and ensure you pick the font to suit – ensure that it’s very clear and will display well on a mobile device without the need for squinting. To help you with this, give Typecast a try, an online WYSIWYG editor that allows you to play around with different fonts and choose the ones that match your brand and can be displayed across devices well.
With typecast, you can edit the CSS file to apply styles of your own, as well as add further content, add padding and float areas and really build the content page to a high standard.
When it comes to how your content is laid out you can quickly make a difference. Content should be highly readable and accessible in order to catch and keep attention. To improve content quickly, written content should:
- Use headers and sub headers, especially H1 and H2 and ensure that key phrases are used in these
- Use large type and legible fonts
- Be broken into short, easily digested sections, using short paragraphs, bullet points and imagery
- Optimise images so that they are as light as possible for speedy load times
- Use readability scores to ensure that it meets with audience expectations and keep the passive voice to a minimum
Whilst it’s always a good idea to produce content that’s current and trending, remember that this won’t last long. The answer to this is to produce evergreen content that will remain relevant for months or even years to come. This relies on the content being authoritative and will also help to promote thought leadership and keep visitors coming back for more.
Connect with influencers
Whilst evergreen content is more of a long term investment, what you really want is for your content to be picked up and noticed by industry influencers. This can help to send content viral and is getting easier all the time as more and more tools appear on the market.
One of these is Buzzsumo; using this tool you can search for top content in order to garner ideas of what type of content is being shared or you can search influencers.
As you can see, you can search articles, videos and infographics, amongst other things, so this is not just relying on written content. You can easily view how well a piece of content has done via social shares, giving you an idea of what’s most likely to go viral if well produced.
For identifying influencers, you can search using a Twitter handle or by entering a number of key terms that are associated with your industry.
You can also give InkyBee a try. This is, strictly speaking, a Twitter-based blogger outreach tool, but it can and does help you to find influencers as it allows you to add a list, which you can then add a ‘discovery’ job, where you can input key terms that influencers in your industry would be talking about.
Once you’ve done this, it’s a case of connecting with those influencers, through social media or preferably, direct email in order to begin to build a relationship so that they notice (and hopefully share) your content. If it’s of a high quality and possesses depth, whilst exhibiting skill in original thought and choosing great topics, it won’t take long to get noticed. With InkyBee, you can order the list depending on your priorities and download them into a spreadsheet. This means that not only have you made a start on finding influencers, but you have a record that can be accessed daily in order to boost your presence and brand.
Competitors and Curation
Remember that it’s a two-way street and sharing just the content you produce will bore your followers. With this in mind, make sure that social activity includes content curation from other, reputable industry sources. You can do this in numerous ways, using a variety of tools and resources, such as:
And many more …
When it comes to your competitors, you should be constantly researching their activity if you ever hope to better it. If they’re gaining more engagement that you, then study both their content and their activity across platforms when it comes to community and how they address the audience.
It’s your job to come up with ideas that better and outperform the competition, so get the team together and get creative!
People prefer custom content
According to the Custom Content Council, 61% of people report that they prefer a company that produces custom content and that it encourages them to buy. However, as Forbes author Brent Gleeson points out, many companies set out with one goal in mind – to go viral.
Bear in mind that going viral is barely ever a happy accident when it comes to business. Often, a huge amount of time and effort has gone into making a piece of content go viral and without having done the background work (such as identifying and connecting with influencers), it’s highly unlikely that you’ll produce viral content in a day.
All of the tips here are designed to help you to produce better content and utilise the web and people on it in the right way to help ensure that you gain engagement. There’s nothing out there that can help you to take existing content and shoot it into the viral stratosphere, but there are plenty of techniques you can apply to take your content marketing efforts to the next step.
Like everything in life that returns results, it takes work, both initially and ongoing. However, it’s worth it in the long term as your content really starts to work for you, driving more traffic and ultimately conversions to your site.