We’ve all heard that content is king, but it wasn’t until certain aspects of marketing grew further into the digital realm that it finally took the throne. As brands have grown closer to consumers through social interactions, delivering branded content has become vital. Though most content marketers take similar steps, the problem is that not everyone is doing it right.
Cultivating and creating content builds loyalty by developing awareness, forming inspiration and producing engagement with consumers. To do this effectively, you must implement the following five tactics into your content marketing strategy.
1. Analyze; don’t Research
Everyone conducts research before creating content, but it lacks many aspects that you will need to ultimately be successful. Content development is resource concentrated, and by analyzing the results of previously written content you will learn much more than you will by simply researching topics. Analyzing results will allow you to realize what readers like, but more importantly, what readers dislike.
Think about it, when billboards are constructed they are not just placed along the most beautiful roads and scenic routes. They are built along the roads that receive the most traffic, and the same can be said about digital content. It is important to gain insight through result analytics; discovering what content receives the most likes, shares and even comments will assist you more than just researching which topics are most prevalently written about.
2. Unique isn’t Enough Anymore
Though your content should be unique, that is not quite enough. Unique means rare and matchless, but it does not mean desirable. As content continues to flood and overflow the digital realm, it is important to be different, but much more important to be something that rises above and stands out because it is desired by your readers.
Content providers spend too much time trying to rewrite popular topics from their own perspective and too little time thinking from the perspective of their target audience. You are using your skills and experience to form an idea but, in the end, you want the product to be something that encourages your reader, not just yourself. It builds influence, but only if it motivates the reader to be inspired. It is not an easy task to create something that persuades, but forming such an emotion is the only way that content is ultimately an effective digital marketing tool.
3. Content is More than just Words
When it comes to writing content, the words are the easy part but not what will initially gain the attention of your reader. We’ve all heard the cliché that a picture is worth 1,000 words, but it has never been more significantly true than it is to cultivating and creating branded content that is sought after.
For example, any book that you have ever read has been because of three things:
- Your professor told you it was going to be on the final exam,
- It was recommended by a friend that had already read it, or
- The front cover image grabbed you by peaking your interest.
Words take on similar meanings to everyone, but an image can form different meanings, which are usually based on an individual’s life, beliefs and experiences. As consumers become smarter, many realize that the majority of images are paid stock images or overused creative commons pictures from large sites such as Flickr or even Google Images. Instead of just using these images, we have reached a technological point where it is easy for us to create our own images. We are the ones doing the work, so why is it that we are not the ones shown at the desks signing documents or smiling in boardrooms with executives? Pictures lead to higher CTRs and are very useful for content syndication, and by using unique images we can begin to build better and more influential followings. In fact, I created both of the images included in this article!
4. Don’t Phone in the Call to Action
Even though the term may point to it, it is very important that you never phone in the call to action. The main reason that we include CTAs is to continue the conversation by challenging readers to think more deeply about topics. To truly create engagement, which is one of the most critical marketing aspects of content, you must ensure that your CTA is relatable to your reader and that you genuinely care about their contribution to the conversation.
Many content developers just slap together a question or two and link to a page on their company website or even an email form. Backlinking is important, as it brings interested readers to additional information, but you must not be insincere in this step. Not only is this the perfect place to learn which readers are most interested, but it is also a great way to develop insight about your target audience. Ask a question that you do not know the answer to, or that would actually be beneficial to know. Give them a reason to want to have a deeper connection and nurture this as if they are already a paying customer.
5. Always Share and Engage Responsibly, my friends!
Every good content marketer knows that publishing is not the end of the process. In fact, in many ways it is only the beginning. The reason that content is such a powerful marketing tool is because it gives your target audience insight into your brand and allows them to develop a unique connection that they may have never been able to do before. After forming and perfecting your content, it is natural to want to share it across all social platforms, but it is very important that you think first!
To garner the best reactions, don’t flood every network, because each social platform has different qualities, audiences and are used for completely different purposes. Instead of flooding, let it rain where there is actually opportunity for growth. Engagement is a part of lead nurturing, and you wouldn’t want the same message to be sent to customers that are speaking different languages. A new female boutique wishing to gain more awareness of their new clothing line will not receive the same reactions from Twitter or Google+ as they will from Pinterest, or even Facebook. If you are planning to syndicate your content across multiple platforms, it is crucial that you reformat your message to speak to the different audiences.
There is no question that content marketing in the digital realm is becoming one of the largest tools for success. According to Hubspot, branded content generates 55% more website visits and according to a 2013 research report conducted by Content Marketing Institute, 91% of B2B marketers are using content marketing strategies. The overall success of your content will be determined by your ability to utilize these tactics.
What tactics have you found to be the most effective when reaching your audience through content? Do you think that implementing these into your current marketing strategy could help you further do so?