You’ve heard it before: “Content is king.” Everyone knows content is effective for attracting your audience, driving leads and making sales. But that’s only when it’s done right.
It’s not enough to simply create content anymore. You have to be purposeful about how you create, distribute and promote it. Otherwise, your brand will get lost in the shuffle.
Seventy percent of B2B marketers plan to create more content in 2017 compared to 2016 – but are they prepared to do content marketing the right way?
If you’re ready to up the ante with your content, you’ve come to the right place. There are a number of strategies that you can implement to boost the effectiveness of your content. Here are 10 to get you started.
1. Set goals from the get-go
Before you can even think of creating any content, you must first understand what goal you are trying to accomplish. So how do you decide what that should be? When establishing a goal, you should choose what makes the most sense for your company. That could be thought leadership, increasing engagement, driving leads, growing sales or something else. For B2C companies, the number one content marketing goal for 2017 is brand awareness.
Before you decide on your goals, consult members across your organization to ensure your content is accomplishing the goals of the entire company.
2. Create content for your specific audience
If you want to create content that your audience will respond to, you need to understand your audience. “Content is the emotional and informational bridge between commerce and consumer,” says Ann Handley, chief content officer for MarketingProfs.
What are your audience members’ needs, wants, desires, challenges? What can your content help them accomplish? To answer these questions, create buyer personas. Research demographics and preferences so that you can create content that will be relevant and more likely to be seen and engaged with.
3. Focus on your unique value
According to Joe Pulizzi, founder of Content Marketing Institute, “Mediocre content will hurt your brand more than doing nothing at all.” Going through the motions and just creating content for the sake of creating it isn’t going to do much for your brand. If you want to actually reach your goals, you need to focus on the value your brand provides.
What is your unique value proposition? What sets you apart from the competition? Why should your target audience click on your content over anyone else’s? Think outside the box and try to create content that is uniquely your brand’s.
4. Use a variety of content formats
Content comes in many forms, and while plain old text may still have a place in your brand’s strategy, your audience most likely wants more than that.
“A good content marketer can empathize with their audience and can therefore understand what topics they should create content on, what tone of voice to use, and what channels to promote the content in,” says Rand Fishkin, founder of Moz.
Some options include blog posts, ebooks, videos, white papers, webinars and more. Whatever you create, make sure it makes sense for both your brand and your audience.
5. Document your content strategy
Eighty percent of B2B marketers say they have a content marketing strategy, but only a third have documented that strategy. You need to build a plan to keep track of the content you create, where you publish and promote it and how it’s contributing to your goals.
Create a calendar that details when, where and what you’ll create on a daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly basis. Don’t forget to define what the call to action should be. What do you want your audience to do next?
6. Collaborate with thought leaders
Working with thought leaders, both internally and externally, will build credibility and trust in your brand. Research the influencers in your industry. Who is your audience paying attention to? Work on building a relationship with them and invite them to create content with or on behalf of your brand. This way, the influencer’s audience will be exposed to your brand, widening your reach.
7. Repurpose and reuse content
Content doesn’t have to be new every time. If it’s an evergreen topic, you can take that content and re-promote it as often as makes sense. Also, if you’ve created large pieces of content like a report or a white paper, you should consider repurposing. Break the larger piece of content into smaller pieces like blog posts that can then be distributed easily.
8. Promote content channels
Just as important as content creation is content promotion. Your audience needs to know your content is out there. Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO and founder of VaynerMedia says, “If you’re not putting out relevant content in relevant places, you don’t exist.”
To find those relevant places, look to your audience. Where are they most engaged? Make sure your brand has a presence there and share your content. These places could include email, social, search and more.
9. Measure your content’s effectiveness
If you don’t know whether or not your content is successful, how can you improve? In fact, 88% of the top performers measure content marketing ROI. You need to be tracking and measuring how your audience responds to your content. Then, use the data to adjust your content marketing plan as needed.
Look back at your goals. If your goal is to increase leads, how many people have downloaded your white papers? How many have clicked on your calls to action? This is how you will determine the effectiveness of your content.
10. Experiment and test
Your content marketing strategy should never be static. With the ever-evolving digital landscape, change is inevitable. Make sure your strategy is able to adapt to the latest trends and best practices. If you aren’t sure whether or not something will work, test it. You never know - you could hit content marketing gold.
What strategies have you used to boost the effectiveness of your content? Share in the comments below: