The content marketing buzz is in full effect and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. With major organisations using it to meet objectives, increase sales or conversions and raise awareness, keeping ahead of the curve is crucial. Thanks to Google’s Penguin and Panda updates, content and social are key influencers in SEO. Google now wants relevant and real content that people want to read and share, meaning quick win strategies that may have worked in the past will no longer work in the future.
Whether targeting consumers (B2C) or businesses (B2B), creating the right content to attract the right people is what you need to be doing.
Research gathered by the IDC estimates that content created and shared across the internet will reach an unbelievable four zettabytes by the end of 2013. If you’re unfamiliar, that’s approximately four trillion gigabytes, which is expected to double by 2015. That is a huge amount of content.
Whilst this is encouraging for anybody involved with content marketing, it’s a necessity to ensure that your strategy and content can effectively stand out from the crowd in this ever expanding amount of information.
As a digital agency in Leeds, we thought we’d share a few of our top tips to get your content marketing running on the right track.
1. Determine the objectives for your content marketing
This is the first thing that you need to establish before starting your campaign as clear objectives are incredibly important to the overall success of your content marketing strategy. Whether it’s improving traffic, increasing engagement, or increasing sales and leads, understanding what you need to achieve will help you find success. Once established, you’ll be able to use the right media, develop the right message and engage the correct audience.
2. Understand your audience
Make sure you have a real understanding of who you are talking to and offer balanced and interesting content that will engage them. Get really specific and consider creating different personas for the various segments of your target markets to increase engagement.
Really get to know your influencers. Content marketing incorporates a lot of traditional PR work in a digital way. Try to understand which online influencers are suitable to your industry or audience, for example industry press, journalists or bloggers and get to know them.
3. Relate your content to your brand
Give all of your content marketing a bit of personality. Associate it with your brand by using brand colours, typography and messaging.
Avoid sounding robotic within your content and be aware of your language and tone. Your language and tone should always be aligned with your brand’s messaging, goals and objectives. Talking like a person rather than like a press release, being friendly and responsive and being expressive when appropriate are all key. Remember to find opportunities to build engagement in to any of your posts; social share buttons or comment boxes are ideal.
4. Use multiple content formats
Be aware of how your audience consumes information. People are always in different situations and environments so don’t be afraid of using a variety of different content formats to grab their attention.
Whether it’s eye catching images to display your products, story telling through video, presentations or ebooks, there are many different avenues that you can go down to engage your audience.
5. Be organised!
An editorial calendar is a necessity and much more than just a calendar with content assigned to dates. Planning your content creation on a regular basis is essential and can be used for tracking ideas, deadlines, responsibilities and gathering feedback. A good editorial calendar should link your content production, to audience personas, how they can be engaged and what channels should be used.
Using an editorial calendar allows you to decide on all of your unique content, establish regular recurring features, encourage collaboration across teams and plan content curation.
6. Make it appealing to your audience
Create a connection with your audience. Using emotion has always been a core concept in marketing and advertising so why not use it as part of your strategy? With so much competition out there, if you create that emotional connection with them, you’ll already be one step ahead of your competitors.
Poor grammar and bad spelling are sure fire turn offs for anybody looking at your content and it could really hurt your reputation. Proofread everything thoroughly before distribution.
Great text content isn’t enough to engage your audience however, you’ll need to go a further to do that. Using engaging imagery, attention grabbing headlines and custom design elements to attract people. Don’t forget to break your information up into smaller chunks to make it easier for your reader to digest. Long pages of uninterrupted essay style text can seem ominous and off putting to potential readers.
7. SEO is still relevant.
Even if your content marketing is the best out there, people still need to find it on the internet. If they don’t, your hard work is wasted.
Make a list of relevant keywords that focus on your content; understanding your best performing keywords is still more important than ever so make sure you’re creating content with these in mind. Additionally, include links to both internal and external content to help get it found. Make sure to always optimise your content effectively, adapting descriptive text and keywords to images and videos for example.
8. Get everybody behind the campaign
Use all of the available resources that you have to aid you with your content marketing campaign. If your CEO is willing to get involved, plan some great content that will appeal to your audience. Take O2 for example, their CEO Ronan Dunne would use Twitter on most evenings to “walk the floor” giving him the opportunity to listen to what his customers were saying and respond to any queries. This was a great example of how O2 used social media to react 24/7 and show customers that they really cared as part of a wider campaign.
9. Distribution and promotion
This is where you need to make sure that you’re reaching the right audiences. Placing your content on your owned media including your website, blog, or email newsletters would be the first step. Social media channels will always be a brilliant tool; don’t forget to include sharing links on any piece of content marketing you do.
Following that, why not outreach to relevant media or blogs. Guest posts or articles on external sites with good domain authority will help your work to meet your overall objectives.
The long term goal is that your content should have met the initial objectives that you set at the beginning of the content marketing strategy. Over time, each piece of content that you create should become easier as you understand what your audience enjoys.
Google Analytics and social media management tools are a brilliant way of understanding how your campaign is running. In time, you’ll be provided with enough data to get a real understanding of how to adapt your campaign to get the best results going forward. Try using social media management tools such as Sprout Social or Hootsuite to get a real understanding of how people are interacting with your brand. This will give you the opportunity to monitor what people are saying, listen to keywords or trends and be responsive.
The whole content marketing process may feel very resource heavy at the very start, however in time you will being to reap the rewards and understand how crucial it is for your business. Get out there and enjoy it!
Parallax are a digital agency based in Leeds serving clients globally. If you’d like to discuss content marketing with us, we’d love to hear from you.