“Be authentic as a publisher and create content that helps you connect to everyone else … because they’re already connected.”
Mitch Joel, author of Six Pixels of Separation and CTRL ALT Delete
The moment your organization embarks on a content marketing strategy, it becomes a brand publisher.
Your content isn’t just competing with your rival brand publishing activities, but with a broad spectrum of professional publications and the wealth of user-generated content. Grabbing and retaining attention is one of marketings most pronounced challenges.
For anyone feeling slightly overwhelmed by this prospect, we’ve pulled together five essential tips to help you improve your publishing efforts success, as well as five things to avoid.
Every publisher must know their audience. If you lack clarity on this front, carry out an audience persona exercise. Identify and document key demographics, pain points and the needs of your target buyers, so every content publisher within your business has a single source of truth about the who you are reaching out to.
Tip: Glean insight into what your audience wants by using tools like Answer the Public. Here you’ll find questions on a given topic that have been searched for on Google.
You need an objective in place for every piece of content to ensure each bit of work serves a clear purpose. What are you trying to achieve? Start by writing a mission statement. The following formula can help:
We provide [insert target audience] with [insert type of content] to help them [state user goals] and help us [state business goals].
This is the core of a content strategy, which should also feature your overarching business objectives, such as new business or brand awareness. With clarity on the above, you’ll be able to set clear objectives for your content. Make these as measurable as possible.
If you’re producing text-heavy content, don’t be surprised if your bounce rate is closer to 100% than you’d like. For content to be engaging, it needs at the very least to be presented in a visually accessible way. Use subheadings, columns, images, and quotes to break up your copy.
“Make it simple. Make it memorable. Make it inviting to look at. Make it fun to read.”
The most successful types of online content make use of interactive features like polls and quizzes. These kinds of features help you make an impression and stand out in a crowded market.
See some examples here.
Analyze how each individual content pie is performing to determine ROI and opportunities for improvement. Solid insight into what your audience interacts the most with and which pages they spend the longest time reading will help you plan future content.
Focus 20% on creating your content and 80% of your time on promoting it. Promotion is how you’ll get your content seen. Make use of both organic and paid channels to get in front of the audience that matters to you.
Shouting about your company/product consistently is a sure-fire way to lose your audience’s interest. The content you publish should focus on educating your readers rather than trying to sell to them. As with any B2B or B2C relationship, it’s important to build trust with your audience, instead of leaving them with the impression that all you want from them is a sale.
When it comes to your content marketing, think quality over quantity. Ideally, have both, but focus on the latter before worrying about volume. If you’re peddling a stream of mediocre content, chances are your efforts will be met with extremely low engagement. The pieces you produce should be well thought through, use high-quality images, relevant quotes and engaging copy.
While it’s imperative that you know what your competitors are up to, it’s worth remembering that what works for them may not necessarily work for you. Therefore, don’t just copy what they do in the hope that it will produce the same results for you and your business. Stand out from the crowd with original and striking content.
Email is a great channel for promoting your content, however with GDPR in place, make sure that you provide your audience with the option to opt-out. An ‘unsubscribe’ button should be clearly presented in your email and should direct readers to an easy and quick way to unsubscribe. Have a clear sign-up field on your website should people want to re-subscribe in the future.
If your content contains no emotion your audience will struggle to resonate with it. Focus on telling a story. Hearing or reading a story activates parts in the brain so that a listener or reader turns the story into their own idea and experience. A well-constructed narrative can result in higher engagement rates and a loyal following.
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