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When you think about it, the internet should make it easier than ever to reach your customer base. Yet most small to medium companies seem to struggle with how to use the internet effectively.
Investing in digital advertising seems to be a must, but not all smaller businesses have the money to do so. The solution is tapping into the secrets of effective content marketing. Here are 10 ways to help make your content marketing more effective.
1. Plans are Important
You need a plan to get your content working for you. That begins with setting objectives and finding the right target audience. Remain realistic with your goals and make sure they fit the size of your business. They should also tie in with your overall business goals and suit the needs of your industry.
Next, research your audience and find out what they like and what keeps them entertained. If you have the know-how and the means, set up consumer personas to allow you to get even more precise in addressing pain points and interests for each type of person in your broader target.
Your targets also help you discover the best tone for your content and where you should be posting it. Have you even thought about where to post? Many people overlook the channels they use for developing their online presence. Your plan should include the channels you are using, what content you will be posting, and when you will be posting it.
2. Have a Content Calendar
Once you determine your targets and where they are most likely to be reached, remember that each channel has different frequencies for postings. For example, Twitter requires several tweets a day, and Facebook sees good traction with a single post per day.
A content calendar will offer an anchor for your content with a focus on quality. It will also help you avoid being repetitive with an up-to-date overview of what you have already posted. In short, a content calendar will provide you with two important things:
- A plan mapped out by date and time for your posts
- An editorial outline of what you have posted in the past and what you will be posting in the future
3. Know Your Stuff
Going off on random tangents does not make content. You have to remain focused on your industry and what you have to offer. Even if you determine your audience loves the random stuff, it still has to tie back to your brand.
The basics of content are that it should always inform your audience and help solve a problem. Using analysis tools such as Google Analytics and Facebook Insights will allow you to review bounce rates. The longer a person stays on a post, the more chance there is they enjoyed the content.
4. Don’t Post It Just to Keep Active
Never give in to the pressure to post often. It is easy to say that you must post five times a day to get noticed. However, if what you post is of no use to followers and readers, it will actually have more chance of stopping them from engaging with your brand. Your priority should always be quality over volume.
5. Don’t Get Keyword Crazy
Low-quality content can also negatively impact your SEO efforts. SEO is important but should not always be your driving force. If you are using keywords in a manner that will negatively impact someone’s reading experience, then you are going to lose followers.
Keywords are a necessary tool. But when misused or when stuffed throughout a blog post, keywords create monotony, poor grammar, and unenjoyable reading experience. Instead of stuffing keywords, use one or two well-researched keywords in your content. For video and image posts, make sure you are using ALT tags, meta descriptions, and file names to improve SEO.
6. Mix Up your Content
Many companies get caught up in the falsity that content is just words. Content should be mixed, using text, images, and video. By adding variety to your content, you will improve engagement and encourage people to follow you. That is even more important if you have a more diverse audience.
Content goes beyond blogs and vlogs. You should also consider using:
- Case Studies
- White Papers
- Interviews with customers or industry leaders
- Social Media
7. Test and Track
Because you are mixing things up with the types of content you are posting, it makes sense to track your efforts. Look for content that is getting the most views, shares, and likes to find out what formula works best for you.
Take it beyond the basics of looking at video over text or images. Instead, when tracking you should always look for patterns. These patterns can be spotted in less obvious places, such as the headings you use for your blogs. Maybe you notice that your Top 10 lists fair better than How-To’s while How-To’s are better than generic titles.
Every little observation will help provide you with the insight required to continuously improve your content.
8. Consider Guest Bloggers
If you find you don’t have the talent in the writing or creative department, you can always consider guest bloggers. Some guest bloggers will expect payment, but there are also others who are happy to provide content to help build their reputation as an authority.
You can also expand content to include common interests your audience might share. For example, if you own a restaurant or sell smoothies, there might be a local farm that is a major influencer when it comes to eating local, non-GMO, preaching the farm to fork philosophy, and so on. That is the perfect fit for a guest blogger. You can also look for influencers using social media such as Instagram for matches that will work well with your own content and philosophy.
9. Keep Creating New Content
It is really easy to allow your content marketing to fall by the wayside. Every post you make helps build your presence and adds to your expertise to attract more followers. It takes commitment to build momentum. Just because you see growth in followers and visits, that doesn't mean you can stop posting new content. You have to continue to nurture your existing followers while trying to attract new ones.
A stagnant social media page or blog will quickly lose followers. You have to stick with it and use your calendar to guide you and remind you when it is time to post. If you are running out of ideas, the content of industry leaders offers valuable access to the latest trends for fresh or trending topics. In fact, even if you aren’t out of ideas, you should always remain engaged with industry news for your own growth.
10. Get Inspiration from Industry Leaders
Research is the best way to understand what you should be doing and how to do it well. It is always good to look at your own industry leaders, but it also doesn’t hurt to look further than your own backyard. You can find enlightenment in the most unlikely places and finding inspiration is never a bad thing.
Here are some examples of successful content to help get your creative juices flowing:
- Hootsuite’s “Game of Social Thrones” video leveraged common pop culture to get their message across, mimicking the “Game of Thrones” title sequence.
- Intrepid Traveler uses travellers themselves to tell their stories and attract more people to its blog called The Journal.
- Another excellent example is Hub Spot, which has over 321,000 monthly visitors simply by consistently providing high-quality, useful information on its blog. HubSpot does not only provide blogs but also upgraded content such as eBooks to add even more value to its site.
- LinkedIn’s “Secret Sauce” offers tips to users to get the most bang for their buck when advertising or adding content to the platform.
11. Leverage All Content
All of the content you create can be leveraged across all the channels you use. You can post a link to your latest post on social media pages. You can cross-link information you might breeze over in one short blog to more in-depth information in another. You can raise more awareness about your YouTube channel by introducing it often in your social media feeds.
It should be a never-ending cycle of interlinking and cross-linking to bring people to all the channels you are using online. You can also repurpose content, such as taking an instructional video and making it into an infographic or looking for a series of blogs that might translate well into an eBook.
Another great way to remain relevant is to read and comment on other thought leaders’ posts. That draws attention to yourself and your brand. You can include a link to a similar post on your channels, or even better yet, to a post that effectively builds more on what the original post is saying. Always be respectful and friendly when taking this approach.