Hey content marketers and content creators, are you facing conflicting marketing priorities? Do you have no idea what constitutes effective content creation and how to measure it? Unsure of your content’s reach, engagement and effectiveness with your target audience? Then read on.
Content is the lifeblood of any business. Whether you are creating it yourself, or paying a marketing company to create it for you, you need to ask yourself if this is the best use of your time and resources. This article will outline the positives and negatives to both content creation and content marketing so that you are able to make an educated decision.
B2B marketers recognize that content is king in the field of marketing and many marketers make the mistake of thinking they need to produce the maximum volume of content with their available resources. Seventy percent of content marketers are creating more content than they did a year ago, but that doesn’t mean a larger engagement level. It is not about the volume, but about how well the content is produced and how interesting it is for your audience.
While 87% of B2B marketers use social media for content marketing, fewer marketers understand its potential for helping you create engaging content. Instead of content creation being fueled by the whims and opinions of your content team, it should be driven by real insights into what your social media audience is interested in.
There are a number of factors to consider when trying to create content that increases engagement:
- Identify the purpose of the content: Content can serve multiple purposes for your target audience – it can be educational, informative and/or entertaining. Most importantly, it should be easily digestible for the medium and showcase your brand as a thought leader. If done well, content creation will build trust with the customer over time. Consumers spend an average of 79 days conducting online research before buying. They are more likely to buy from a brand that they recognize and trust.
- Establish your target audience: Gain an understanding of your audience and the resources they will find valuable. Follow your prospects and customers on their preferred social networks to gain insights into what content they are consuming and what questions they have that your content could answer.
- Respond to Current Trends: While content may still be king, context is quickly rising in importance. Use social media streams to keep up to date on the current trends, news stories and technology that is affecting your industry so you can ensure your content is touching on the topics that are most important to your audience.
- Align your content with editorial calendar: Your content should not be siloed from your social media and overall company goals. Make sure the content you are creating aligns with your marketing strategy.
You can have compelling content created, but if you are not leveraging it properly, it could disappear into the depths of the internet. It could get lost in the average 6,000 tweets per second that occur, or just completely miss your audience. You want to be maximizing your brand’s online visibility while also attracting potential customers.
- Find where your audience is: Identify key platforms you will be using to tell your story and connect each one for a cohesive brand message. Through social listening, you can discover what type of content your audience is expecting on each platform. According to numbers from LinkedIn, 6 out of every 10 LinkedIn users are interested in industry insights—the most-demanded type of content among LinkedIn members. Thus, you should be providing your audience on LinkedIn education resources and trends.
- Maximize your content: Make the most use out of your content by extracting pieces of it for different platforms. For example, you may have written a great long blog that you are posting to your website. Be sure to post a clip of it to LinkedIn, but also post a visual with a quote from the blog over to Twitter or Facebook. You could even make a short clip from the piece. You’ll be speaking directly to each audience on the platform and catering to the type of content they are looking for on each specific platform.
- Drive engagement to the website: You want to maximize engagement, but you also want to increase conversions and leads. Make sure your message is clear and that people do not hit a wall when they access your content. Always create a next step for the audience to engage in to keep their interest and help convert leads.
- Supplement with paid options: If your company has the budget, you can syndicate your content through paid ads on social platforms. You can also leverage a PR team if you have one to push the articles directly to the media.
Why Are You Creating Content?
The word why is never spoken enough in the world of marketing (unless someone brought their toddler to the meeting). It needs to be spoken more: WHY ARE YOU CREATING CONTENT? For what purpose? What are your overall marketing goals?
Is it to educate an audience on a broader subject than just your brand? Is it to create brand authority? Are you offering resources? Explaining your products and services? Breaking down the selling points of your company? Who is your target audience? All the above?
Do not move forward with any content reason until you know why you’re creating it. This step cannot be skipped, as the rest of your process hinges on it.
Who Will Create Your Content?
This might be a simple answer, particularly if you’re a small company or flying solo. In many cases, you will be working long nights to write great content yourself. In other cases, you’ll be hiring freelancers, content strategists, building a team internally, or identifying your dream team of collaborators.
While you might think you know the answer to this one, it’s still crucial to give it weight. Remember that it’s always best when you can identify an expert to create content on their subject of authority.
When Will You Create the Content?
Relatively simple, but important to ask. In many situations, your best option is to build a content calendar that outlines the upcoming weeks and months — sometimes covering the entire next year. Use tools like Google Trends to identify cycles and seasons, along with auditing your own website’s historical traffic and considering when your competitors typically publish their content. When you create a piece of content is integral to it’s success.
Timing your editorial calendar is especially important when you’re PLANNING CONTENT AROUND THE HOLIDAYS.Planning to execute your content 15 weeks out will give you time to get content in front of publishers before the holiday.
While you don’t necessarily need a calendar in order to create a successful content strategy, you’ll probably be a lot happier if you do create one.
How Will You Keep Your Content On-Brand?
Your content on your site should feel cohesive. This cohesion creates trust from a reader and improves both the user engagement and authority of your site. Furthermore, your SEO rankings will be improved by consistent, intelligent content.
Looking for a start on your content guidelines? A great place to start is with the search engines themselves. Here are some tips from Bing on BUILDING QUALITY CONTENT.
Of course, you’re not done yet. Unless your content strategy incorporates a time machine, you’ll need to conduct ongoing auditing and revising to keep content fresh and relevant. Leading us to the last step of an effective content strategy:
Who Will Maintain Your Content?
Who will be the one to both monitor performance and, as needed, respond to it? Content is not a static concept. It must be ever-evolving, adapting to the market and to your own successes and failures. Optimization is a key part of content creation. Without it, your content marketing efforts may not succeed.
Even with the strongest strategy, some content will not succeed immediately. This is why you must build a maintenance plan into your content strategy, accounting for continually adjusting to performance and measurable KPIs.
Types of content in content marketing:
- Blogs. Make sure they’re optimized for SEO because they’re one of the best ways to boost your page ranks. Include a CTA and consider opening up comments for further engagement.
- Case studies. Illustrate your expertise by taking your readers on a journey that showcases solutions to their pain points.
- eBooks. They make great lead magnets, especially when you craft a magnetizing title and supply information people can’t find elsewhere.
- Emails. Write direct, powerful, concise copy that contains information that can change your readers’ lives. They’re a direct line to your audience and can build long-lasting relationships when done well.
- Headlines. Powerful, compelling headlines (that don’t sound spammy!) let your readers know exactly what they’re getting. They’re also a great way to convey brand with language.
- Meta titles and descriptions. Put yourself in your readers’ shoes and let them know you have the answers they’re searching for right now.
- Product descriptions. Optimize with keywords and describe products in terms of benefits rather than features.
- Social media posts. Create an experience that puts them at the center and encourages engagement. This helps your audience connect with your brand emotionally and can help you find their pain points.
- Video scripts. Tell your brand’s story engagingly. You can also include the script text on the page to make your content more accessible, and boost SEO.
- Web content. Make important or helpful information prominent, include a clear CTA, and use high-quality images to craft a powerful message.
- White papers. Explore relevant topics in-depth and give your target audience ideas that they can apply to their own problems or daily life.
When it comes to content marketing there’s plenty of confusion. What’s really important? What should you focus on? What materials do you need to create? These are some questions that run through most content marketers minds.