Content marketing is an important component of every digital-marketing strategy. It serves several purposes, such as:
- Building brand awareness
- Assisting in lead generation
- Providing answers to common questions, giving the prospect the information he or she needs to make a purchase decision
- Pushing “on the fence” prospects to convert
- Attracting inbound links for search-engine optimization purposes
- Expanding your reach via social sharing
While most businesses know they need to do content marketing, many don't gain much traction. In an effort to help you improve your content-marketing efforts, here are some tips that will greatly improve your results.
1. Map out your entire strategy. Be as detailed as possible.
You need a very detailed plan if you want to experience success with your content marketing. Many businesses just throw up blog posts without a plan. There is no research behind them and there aren’t any benchmarks or goals established. The purpose of content marketing is to generate revenue. Yes, there are short-term goals in between, but when it comes down to it your content needs to produce a return.
You need to brainstorm topics based on campaign goals: do you want to generate leads, push prospects directly to a purchase offer or accomplish another conversion goal such as a phone call or location visit? You then need to optimize your content properly, plan a promotion push and set conversion goals. Map out your content-marketing strategy so you can easily answer this question: “Is this working?”
2. Determine what content assets are currently producing results.
If you have been posting fresh content to your blog for some time, use Google Analytics to see what content your visitors have engaged with the most. What posts have received the most visits? What blog posts kept your visitors on your website the longest? What content did your visitors engage with before they converted? Also take a look at the social shares and comments each post has received.
This gives you a good idea of the topics and content styles that your audience responds the best to. Use this information to plan future topics and continue to monitor your results. Don’t be afraid to test different topics and styles -- just analyze your data and you will take your content marketing in the right direction.
3. Focus on quality over quantity.
Content assets that truly deliver results aren’t cheap to produce. Not every business can afford a full-time in-house content writer or a freelancer. This isn’t an excuse to sacrifice quality. If you can only afford to publish one high-quality blog post per month in the beginning, do that.
Some of the most popular forms of content include ebooks, webinars, videos, blog posts, case studies and infographics -- these all cost money to produce. Don’t opt for several lower quality pieces. If your content assets are limited, focus your energy on promotion and increase your publishing schedule as your revenue increases.
4. Use paid outlets to expand your content reach.
You could create the most amazing piece of content, but it’s not going to be effective unless your target audience engages with it. If your website doesn’t receive a lot of organic traffic, then you are going to need to seek additional traffic sources to get eyes on your content. Sending your new blog posts to your email list and sharing them on your social-media profiles are great ways to attract some traffic for free, but if you really want to get the most out of your content you need to utilize some paid channels.
- Paid social-media promotion: Organic social reach is limited, especially on Facebook, so if you want to attract traffic, boost your Facebook posts, promote your tweets on Twitter and run sponsored updates on LinkedIn. Start small, even just $10 a day, and scale up your social promotion as your revenue increases.
- Content distribution networks: There are two main players, Outbrain and Taboola, that help place your content on major websites in front of an audience that their algorithms determine might be interested in reading your content. You only pay when someone clicks and is brought to your website. Both companies operate on a cost-per-click bidding model. To see an example, scroll to the bottom of this ESPN article and look at the “Sponsored Headlines” -- those are from the Outbrain network.
If you have any additional content-marketing tips to add, please share them in the comments section below.