Content, content, content – it’s all we hear these days. It’s the king, the SEO superstar, the social media ruler. But here’s the thing: you don’t have time for it, you don’t know what to write and you’re not sure of what to measure. You need help, you need inspiration – you need advice from some of the world’s leading experts. No problem, we’ve got this.
Content Marketing World is one of the biggest content marketing events in the world, featuring speeches from expert content crafters like Brian Clark (CEO and blogger for Coppyblogger), Ann Handley (Co-Author of Content Rules) and Jay Baer, (Author of Utility). Below we discuss the key findings from the conference and highlight the expert advice that will help you create content that matters.
1. Inspire, Evoke Passion & Incite Action
2014 storytelling is different. Sure it’s still about creating something useful for your customers. But this year we’re witnessing something even more powerful: the creation of content so contagious that it grabs your readers by their hearts, shakes them by the shoulders and if you’re really lucky, makes them shiver a little.
Keynote speaker, Andrew Davis from Author Brandscaping says that each piece of content should create an experience, using emotive, inspirational, suspenseful and personal stories. Your job? Inspire passion within your readers. Ignite a fire so strong that they feel compelled to act, to read on, to sit up, to fall over – to feel something, to do something. Because otherwise, what’s the point?
Andrew Davis from Author Brandscaping says: “Every consumer journey starts with a moment of inspiration…This is the single largest content opportunity to drive real revenue for your brand. Create moments of inspiration to send your consumers on a journey…When you harness emotion you inspire people to act.”
Who Can We Learn From ?
Jon Morrow, owner of and writer for Boost Blog Traffic is an expert experience maker. He knows how to create a compelling story that makes his readers sit up, stop what they’re doing and really listen. His most inspiring post? Where he shows his readers ‘How to be Unforgettable‘ and advises them to set their readers’ ‘frickin’ hair on fire’.
2. Stop, Think, Plan – Before You Write
As Google and social media channels increasingly highlight the importance of quality content creation, content writers are under growing pressure to create more and more content. But with limited time and resources, we need to get smart about the type of content we’re producing. One of the main messages from Content Marketing World? Content writers: you must have a plan.
Joe Pulizzi, Founder of the Content Marketing Institute is an advocate of content planning. He says, “What’s the difference between the good and the not so good content marketers? The effective content marketers have a documented strategy and follow it closely.”
How Do I Do That?
Before you delve into your next blog post, stop and try to clarify what your content is trying to achieve. Look at what your competitors are creating so you can identify a unique content angle they aren’t tapping into. Developing an editorial calendar is a great way to plan your strategy.
Yours should include your content objectives as well as a reasoning for every blog post you plan to create. If you can’t think of a reason for creating it: stop, don’t, bin it! And move on to your next masterpiece. Copyblogger’s, ‘The Prepared Writer’s Process for Creating Excellent Content Every Day’ is a must read for content planners.
No matter what your business sells, your content should try and achieve the following goals:
- Position your brand as a thought leader
- Develop relationships and loyalty
- Create authentic value
3. Align Your Content to Your Business Goals
A number of speakers at Content Marketing World highlighted the importance of measuring your content efforts. The sentiment was this: It isn’t just about pleasing your marketing manager by providing share and like metrics. It’s not just about page views and bounce rates or how long your reader spends on the page.
Yes, these are all lovely and useful for brand visibility and engagement – they even deserve a pat on the back. But do you know what your CEO really cares about? The figures that are helping his business grow, flourish, make money, gain customers, retain loyalty.
Keynote speaker, Julie Fleischer, Director of Data, Content and Media at Kraft Foods says, “We hold all our marketing to one standard: ROI. Does it drive the business and pay for itself?…Content and data are inextricably linked. Content without data is a blackhole.”
How Do I Do That?
In 2014, your content strategy should be very much aligned with your business goals. Ask: what is its purpose? How does it support and progress our marketing strategy? How does it help our business grow, sell and gain the right attention? Think about what’s important to your CEO. Then develop a set of realistic but ambitious set of KPIs that will help you measure the number of leads your content has captured. This ROI scorecard from the Content Marketing Institute should help.
To sum up? Let’s stop creating mediocre content that fails to excite and start writing emotive and measurable content that inspires our readers to act. Go on then!