The most important thing to remember about content marketing? It really isn’t about you at all.
OK, you might have lots to say about how cool your company is and how great your products and services are, but there’s not much of an audience for that.
Save the foghorn for your advertising.
Then, what’s content marketing about?
It’s actually about the consumers. More specifically, it’s about looking at things through their eyes to make absolutely sure they get something they want. As James O’Brien of Contently put it a few years ago in a much-cited quote: “The idea central to content marketing is that a brand must give something valuable to get something valuable in return.”
This means using what you have of value and sharing it with the world.
The “it” is understanding and experience. You might deliver something as simple as how-to content. Could be delivered in a blog post or short video. It’s good old-fashioned education and if it’s useful, your customers will thank you for it.
And they’ll share.
Harness the power of thought
Be more ambitious and you can aim for thought leadership. If you have comprehensive knowledge of your sector and you’re able to convey it, then sharing your insight can make you a go-to when consumers are seeking more understanding.
Take The Garage, IT giant HP’s website, which serves up life tips for reducing gadget screen time, together with content on the arts and lifestyle, all aimed at helping visitors do just that.
The upside is that as an authority you earn status. Your customers may well trust you enough to make you the first stop when they’re looking for guidance.
And another thing: Rooting your content in the latest industry trends might feel like the thing to do. But they can be very short-lived and will age your posts quickly. Rather, think timeless:
- Base your content on audience interests, not Google News
- Identify problems, be helpful
- Share your insights – wisdom has a long shelf life
Stay with the flow
Getting good results requires a strong dose of commitment. That can be a big issue. It’s easy for everyone to get all fired up with a brand new content marketing strategy. But it’s even easier for enthusiasm to wane a few months later when the ideas stop flowing.
Audiences are quick to notice when gaps between posts get longer. Credibility gets shot to pieces. The go-to brand becomes the forgotten one.
How do you make content king?
This might sound run-of-the-mill, but it’s about resources and planning. First, you need to assign people to the programme and define clearly and carefully their duties.
Second: Yes, you really do need an editorial calendar to bring rigour to the process. A tool such as Trello will do the job.
This means knowing the three w’s: What you need to do, when you need to do it and whose job it is.
So, now you know whom you’re posting for, what your content is about, and when you’re producing it. Get ready to slot it on the company blog, on Facebook, on LinkedIn, on Twitter, on YouTube, on Instagram — in fact, anywhere you can think of to get it out there.
Go ahead and call that scatter-gun marketing, if you like. It works.
Be on target
If you want to own an effective strategy, be picky. Do some research and find out where your customers go to consume their content. Profile your audience and target accordingly. If you’re providing a professional service, LinkedIn is definitely a good channel. But TikTok’s a better bet when you’re chasing youth with your products.
Now, like many people, your ambition might simply be to blog away and rack up those regular posts. But you could be missing a trick or two if you do.
Before you hit the keyboard with your latest notion, stop and ask these questions:
- “Who is my target?”
- “Is this top, middle or bottom-of-funnel content?“
- “What’s the best format for this?”
Video is a good way to go
It’s still hugely popular with online audiences and increasingly so with content marketers who have found that the format is the top engager of online audiences, HubSpot research finds.
It might well be the optimum way for you to get your message across. And with all the animation tools available, it’s not that difficult to do – two-thirds of marketers create their own videos, according to a Promo small-business study.
All you need to do is storyboard it, which can actually be quicker and easier than crafting a fully-fledged piece of writing.
Also, make sure you exploit what it is you’ve come up with. Write a blog post and riff on it by making a video, then screenshot the video and post it on Instagram, grab that same image and put it on Facebook as well, along with a summary of the blog post.
Now you’ve gone to the trouble of creating your content. You’ve posted it. Your messaging is out there. It must be time to move on and think about your next post, right?
Not so fast. You’ve done everything you should to this point and you might be feeling pretty happy with what you’ve produced. But what about your audience? You need to find what it is people are looking at.
It’s all about measurement, and there are key content marketing metrics and KPIs you must keep an eye on:
- Page users
- Page Views
- Pages per session
- Time spent per page
- Social shares
- Social comments
- Social follower growth
- Know your audience – find out what interests them
- Aim to produce timeless content rather following fashion
- Post regularly
- Ensure your content marketing strategy has all the resources it needs
- Choose your channels
- Repurpose your content
- Analyse the analytics
Discover the most important tips and tricks that will help you create effective and engaging content marketing: