Content marketing is one of the most effective tools every business should use in the process of building your brand and your digital presence.
When developing your content strategy, it’s important to keep in mind that simply churning out random articles about whatever you feel like are unlikely to produce quality and engaging results. It’s best to have an actual plan before you begin and that plan has to include a purpose. Many firms begin with excellent intentions, but when their posts get little in return, it all comes to a halt thinking it is a waste of time.
If you’re looking to fire up your content marketing, here are a few pointers to get your wheels turning:
Building a content marketing strategy
Before you can effectively start content marketing, you’ll need a plan. Your plan should include your brand voice, tone, and messaging as well as the subjects you’ll cover and your goals for each piece.
The key with content marketing is ‘quality’ above all else! That means avoiding short posts or sensationalism – create helpful material people will find useful over time. But don’t forget to set goals for every piece you publish, whether it’s attracting traffic or increasing conversions.
To start, create a list of 8-10 headlines. As soon as you’ve published 1 or 2 posts, look to top-up the list with more ideas. By maintaining a list of 8-10 post ideas your content marketing flywheel will keep turning.
Look for ideas in forums like Quora, Google News and your competitors blogs. Also, think about the content your customers are already asking for on social posts within your industry.
Search engines are constantly crawling the web for fresh content on popular subjects and will often rank new posts higher than older pieces. By looking at your competitors, you can view the subject matter they’ve covered and use those as a good starting point for your own content.
Types of content
The kind of content you produce will be a direct reflection on your brand, so it’s important to always consider what image you want to portray before posting anything. These are the three most popular types of content that people are using today:
Informative: This type of content is exactly as it sounds – helpful information that is relevant to your industry and can actually help consumers solve a problem or answer a question. That being said, make sure that the value provided in your posts is genuinely useful for others and not all about promoting yourself. Think like an active member within your community rather than a self-interested business owner.
Entertaining: This type of content can be anything that makes your followers laugh or smile. It doesn’t necessarily have to provide any actual value in order to be considered ‘entertaining’. The only important thing to remember here is not to go overboard and post things that simply aren’t true. Keep it real!
Educational: As the name implies, educational content is aimed towards teaching consumers something they didn’t know before and might be interested in learning. It allows you to build trust with them by demonstrating how knowledgeable your are about your industry. This will help you establish yourself as a trustworthy expert within their eyes and this alone (regardless of your actual expertise) can potentially lead them to want to do business with you if there’s a need for what you offer.
It’s also important that brands position themselves as an expert within their industry by creating FAQ-styled content such as guides, infographics and tip sheets; these are invaluable resources for readers, because it offers tips and advice about how to achieve certain results.
Before you write each blog consider your marketing. It’s important to have a plan for distribution, images and Ad copy, which should be engaging and resonate with your audience. Make sure your ad looks good. People have to read your blog in order for it to be effective so make an effort with your ad design and invest in a good image.
Only share great blog posts
Sharing poorly crafted posts can do more harm than good. If you feel it’s not up to scratch with your usual standards, wait until you have made improvement or created something better or don’t publish it at all.
The most important thing is to be consistent with the kind of content you’re producing. If your followers are expecting informative posts just for them to open up their feed one day and see that you posted a picture of your shoes, they will feel disappointed
- Research & outline – Do you know what you are going to write about? What are some questions readers might have that this article will answer? Outline your post so it flows coherently from beginning to end before writing anything.
- Write naturally – Avoid using jargon, big words and industry-specific phrases where possible. Make sure you’re writing for humans – write like you speak and make your posts easy to read by using bullet points, numbered lists and lots of sub-headings in bold font.
- Make it entertaining – If your blog post is informative but not engaging in any way, it will fail to attract readers. Keep your content interesting by ensuring that the length is appropriate (ideally no more than 2, 000 words) and avoiding overuse of quotes – you want to avoid coming off as ‘boring’.
- Use images – People are far more likely to share content that contains an image. If you have data or facts that you want to share, try and do it visually.
- Pay attention to how scannable the headlines are, so if yours contains long words or sentences (or lots of different ideas), break it up into chunks people can digest easily.
Blog posts and SEO
Keywords and phrases should be used in headlines and throughout the copy as they help both search engines and potential readers find your content. But make note: you don’t need to cram keywords for Google or Bing into every post; Google’s Panda algorithm will punish sites that overuse them!
Make good use of the meta title and meta description, these combined will make up your post’s ad on search listings. Don’t just copy and paste the first paragraph of your post and hope for the best!
Images boost your efforts when done the right way. Don’t upload an image with the filename img00765.jpg; instead, alter the name to reflect the picture and include it in your keywords if possible. Also, don’t forget to tell us what your photo is about in your ALT tag.
What happens when you get an amazing response?
When you see that people are engaging with your content, it’s important to quickly respond and engage back! Responding to your readers is another fantastic way to build relationships that turn into real opportunities, so make sure to keep the conversation going.
Consider taking it to a wider audience though sponsored posts, Facebook ads, or other paid strategies. Demographic targeting on social media will boost results when you know you already have a great ad, and a great post, so consider it as a way to reach new people.
The more original and helpful content you create, the better – and the results will start to show. But don’t forget it takes time to get it right. Be patient: if it’s done right, building a successful content marketing strategy can be extremely rewarding and because there are no set rules on what to write about, you’ll never run out of ideas.
Don’t forget to update your key pages. Sometimes is easy to fire out blog after blog, but neglecting to update your homepage and other key pages can lead to a reduction in traffic.
Over time, your efforts will pay off in the form of more traffic and conversions! By taking these tips and applying them in your own strategy, you’ll start seeing results in no time at all. Trust me – I’m doing it myself! 🙂