If you are running a brand, business, book or blog, getting your content out there and seen through content marketing is critical to your success. As the old saying goes, ‘content is king’ and as we see online media continue to evolve and influence the way consumers interact with companies, being a content marketing pro has never been more important.
What’s more, new trends are emerging every day while savvy consumers are demanding more from content, calling into question the quality of your strategy, techniques and execution. Gone are the days where you could advertise anything and get immediate sales running through the door.
Recent stats show that high-quality content marketing is still one of the main ways of achieving digital marketing success for both B2B and B2C brands with over 70% of marketers creating more content in 2017 than they did in 2016.
While we know that you MUST have excellent and engaging content, you might be scratching your head wondering just how you can make your content stand out from the crowd.
For the love of God, don’t panic.
Yes, the digital world is over-saturated but that doesn’t doom you to failure. There’s a piece of that content marketing pro pie for you. Anyone – and I mean ANYONE can get good at creating and posting great content by following these simple steps (and by simple, I mean really simple).
1. Be genuine
The world is crying out for authenticity. People are so smart these days, they know whether a company is sincere or in it to rip you off. There’s a lot of clutter and chaos out there and cutting through it can only be done by remaining genuine.
Have a look at the brand thankyou. Born in 2008 in response to the world water crisis, co-founder Daniel Flynn pulled together a group of friends and launched a line of bottled water that would fund overseas aid projects. Today, they have over 50 products available via 5500 retail outlets throughout Australia with 100% of profits funding water, food and sanitation projects worldwide.
Do you have to give away 100% of your profits? No. But you DO have to ooze authenticity in everything you do. If your content becomes all about sales, sales, sales, it will tarnish your brand and people are going to automatically switch off.
You can achieve this by nominating a charity where X number of profits go to, actively be involved in a common cause aligned with your brand or just engage the wider community by offering voluntary services and support.
2. Be consistent
The arduous task of setting up a Facebook or Instagram page is one thing, upkeeping those pages with regular content is a whole ‘nuther level of effort. But it is just as important. Adding fresh new posts such as images and video keeps you constantly in front of your audience and at front of mind.
How often should you post? It depends on your capacity, resources and target audience. While it would be ideal to post multiple times a day – in some cases, up to 10 times, it’s not always possible for all businesses. Rather than set an unrealistic goal and later be disappointed for not meeting that goal, aim to post 1-2 times per day and stick to it.
If you want to get real savvy, you can schedule your posts so your content is pushed out at optimal times of the day increasing your chances of it being seen. Consider using a platform such as Hootsuite or Tailwind to assist you with scheduling your posts so you can do it in batches to help save time.
3. Be responsive
Nothing is worse than trying to get in touch with a company to have them never get back to you. Believe it or not, it STILL happens in this day and age where competition is rife!
A physical bricks-and-mortar store may be physically open between 9-5, but they still have to be ‘on’ 24/7 with an e-commerce shopfront while raring to go when a customer wants an answer. Today, no company can afford to close their doors, not even for a second. Interacting with your audience and being available around the clock takes time and work, but it leads to more leads. And more leads = more sales.
Remember, content marketing is a two-way communication channel. That means not only transmitting engaging and memorable content but also proactively responding to any questions, comments and concerns. The general rule is, the quicker you reply the better.
4. Be helpful
Tying into point #1, don’t you hate it when you want information but instead get an irritating sales pitch? In delivering content, be sure that everything you convey is value-adding to your customers, stakeholders and suppliers. Not every interaction has to involve ‘selling’, in fact, less is more.
Instead, opt for content that educates or entertains your audience (or both). Examples include an infographic, video tutorial, case study, e-book or blog article. The list of content options is virtually endless and you can start with something as simple as an informational piece all the way up to a full-blown video campaign as Dove have produced below.
5. Be strategic (measurable)
In saying all this, you can only manage what you can measure. Finishing up your content marketing efforts with some hard data can help you understand how your content is performing so you can produce and post more of what your audience likes.
Google and Facebook offer free analytic tools so you can measure your website and social pages. If you are paying for sponsored content on Facebook, Google AdWords (PPC) or third-party advertising such as banner advertisements on an affiliate page, measuring your web/social hits and behaviour is not optional.
While it’s important to use metrics to understand what content is pulling the most views/likes/shares, try not to get too bogged down with the stats. Just use it as a guide to learn, improve and shift any advertising funds to the sources that are yielding the best results.