With so many diverging, opinionated views on content marketing, it can be difficult to find a strategy that works best. However, there are certain tactical steps that you can take to lay out an effective plan of action that will generate the results you want and need.
For example, you can think ahead by using long form content, as it has a reputation for ranking higher in Search Engine Results Pages. You’ll need to plan your topic focus and align it with the keywords and phrases your target audience will be looking for in search. Common formats include everything from video to infographics, to interactive microsites.
When conjuring a content strategy that will work best for your business, take a minute and consider your overarching conversion goals. Writing a shorter article may seem like the best route compared to the effort required for an all-singing, all-dancing 5,000 word masterpiece, complete with videos and quizzes. But is that really going to entice your target audience and potential customers in the right ways? Even though a longer-form piece could be a few solid days of work, the lasting results could be entirely worth it!
I find it interesting that many content marketers out there do not even have a well thought-out, documented strategy. As a matter of fact, the Content Marketing Institute found that nearly two-thirds of professional content marketers out there haven’t even bothered to write down a simple plan. Robert Rose shared the stat that 95% of most effective content marketers have a strategy to some degree, compared to 55% of the least effective marketers without one.
Let's consider some of the planning points for a concrete content marketing strategy:
- What research will you need to conduct?
- How will you gather your research data?
- What Search Engine Optimization tactics will you consider?
- What metrics matter to your business and how will you track results?
- Have you created a content calendar for 90 days at a time to plan out your holistic strategy?
- Is the rest of your website in tune with your planned masterpiece?
- Where will your content derive from and in what format will you present it?
- Images and infographics
- Data charts and graphs
- Ebooks (a great way to capture email addresses in exchange for downloadable content)
These visual elements are essential to make your content stand out. Words alone are not enough these days. You need high quality imagery and other supplementary, visual content to attract attention and make your social shares really look the part.Try to keep your readers engaged by using sub headlines within your content. Bullet points (as I have utilized above) are a great way to reinforce major points! People have a tendency to skim through articles and look for specific points instead of reading every word that you’ve written.
Readers react to emotion. You should definitely consider this as a major factor when sharing any content. Whether you decide to pull at the heartstrings or perhaps just give them a quick chuckle, it's always a good strategy as long as it's done tastefully!
Facts tell and stories sell. I always suggest that you should tell a great story. Consumers can then in turn relate to you in some shape or form, instantly forming a strong sentiment to you as an author, your business as a brand and your future content, whatever that may be. For example, at Buzzsumo, research has been conducted to show that people who laughed or were entertained to some degree while reading brand content were in turn more inclined to share that content.
Keep in mind any trending topics that may help you to create valuable content. In the last few years, millennials have been consuming vast amounts of content.With 80+ million of them in the US alone, it's a demographic which simply cannot be ignored. They form a very large portion of the mobile shopping demographic too, according to Mobile Commerce daily.
If you are consistent and continuous about developing and delivering content, good things will begin to happen for you and your business.Remember, Rome was not built in a day! Take the time to conduct research. Understanding your audience is vital - you're creating your content marketing strategy around them, after all. Without your audience, there’s no point to it all.
Content consumers love to get involved and feel they are part of something. I would suggest this should be a cornerstone of your ongoing content marketing strategy, to invite participation and digital interaction from your audience.
How to ask?
Put yourself in the shoes of your audience. A lot of the time they are starving for a particular solution to a problem that they're experiencing right now.
The stronger the relationships that you build as a result of your content marketing strategy, the stronger your brand affinity and ultimately - your conversion rates.
Try to align any content that you produce with the buying process of your audience. It should be created to accomplish a specific objective for your audience and not necessarily for your product or service that you are offering. This is the concept of Inbound Marketing.
Never go for the hard sell. If they like you, they will buy from you. You need to establish and build trust first.
eMarketer states that 93% of buying processes begin with an internet search.
As you begin to nurture your credibility in the field, people will then begin looking for you directly. That’s the goal!The content you create can be repurposed under multiple guises. Just because you created one masterpiece doesn’t mean that’s all it has the potential to be!Created a long-form blog post? Great. Now convert it into a gated downloadable PDF to capture email addresses. Next, produce a video synopsis of that content…A few weeks later, host a podcast and interview a key influencer within the community which relates to the topic of the original content. Design 25 shareable images for social media…the list is endless!
Content marketing isn’t going away – learn to master it today.
About the Author
Carl Ramallo is a former marketing specialist for life strategist and speaker Tony Robbins. In addition to being a motivational speaker and a success coach focusing on online social media strategies, his blog is aimed to enhance entrepreneurs in the area of social media, while creating a breakthrough in life and business.