Content marketing: The thoughtful creation of information designed to elicit a constructive response from your targeted audience.
Now why do so many suck at it? Content marketing involves building a content strategy; the success of which depends entirely on integrating an entire nomenclature that will help you build out your content and consistently offer your readers with action items that they can use in their own digital marketing campaigns. To build brand authority and recognition takes time and it is to your advantage to begin with an understanding of what strategies you must implement to maximize your results. Let’s review them now.
- Turn your audience into evangelists for your cause/product
Too often, when I consult with brands about the effectiveness of their blog, I notice that their bugle-horn is drowning out too much of what is a two-way dialogue. Vendors, in particular, suffer from this problem because while they want their blog to serve as an extension of their product, too many other blogs already offer similar types of information. Hence, why should a reader pay attention to the vendor’s blog when they can already get that information for free from a site that fully devotes its time to the subject and involves a staple of regular blog contributors? It’s a bit of a conundrum for vendors looking to attract new customers. I always tell my clients, however, that the biggest opportunity lies with shining the spotlight on their customers and providing them with promotion on their blog. Providing ample room for a customer to promote himself or herself on your blog is a gentle and effective way of turning them into a cheerleader for your brand.
- SEO can always help but it’s not a guarantee
Any digital marketer will tell you that to benefit from SEO you need to invest the time necessary to build content organically to both increase your traffic and levels of engagement. That said, while KPIs like time on site and sign-ups are vital metrics they won’t alone build your brand. I’ve learned from watching the performances of other brands and how they were able to build their audiences over time but in the end we’re not able to get the number of conversions they were seeking. SEO serves the important function of remaining actively engaged with your target audience but if you’re not sufficiently connecting with your audience, it won’t do much for you in terms of conversions.
- Do your homework. Carefully review promotion opps before you go about creating your content
It’s important to create your editorial calendar to help you organize your content strategy. Nothing worse than trying in vain to come up with a topic for today’s posting and not having planned ahead to avoid just such a fate. More importantly, if you’re looking to promote your content, you want to carefully have reviewed just what blogs and publications would be interested in your type of content and how it distinguishes itself from much of the same content already being pitched. I highly recommend you conduct some targeted searches on the publications most relevant to your industry and get to know each writer, how they write, what they like to write about, and how they use social marketing channels as a means of promoting their writing.
- TV & Radio get neglected in the age of digital media
Too often, because we think of social media as being so cheap and free to use that we often neglect the older and traditional standbys. One person who grew to media prominence took advantage of TV by promoting himself as an expert on health issues. Anybody familiar with this guy? Tim started off as an entrepreneur promoting the product, Brain Quicken, and in the process, learned a great deal about human health and behavior enabling him to pass himself off as an expert on the subject. Another person who has done a masterful job of promoting his company and himself is Larry Kim, founder of WordStream. I did PR for Larry and was able to secure him press coverage in a variety of different publications. Larry is an aggressive entrepreneur, wanting to grow his company and generate higher volumes of profit. He was able to get himself featured on Fox TV as an expert commentator in advance of Twitter’s IPO. When it comes to building brand, TV & Radio can quickly spread your name far and wide.
- Never get overwhelmed by needing to create a diverse array of content
Many times when tackling content marketing there’s a fear that you must have as large a template as possible to effectively cover all the content you would like to feature. Nothing is further from the truth. I highly suggest you experiment, above all else, with your content. While your blog will certainly act as an extension of your product, what you will discover over time is that certain types of content will generate higher levels of engagement than others. Once you’ve discovered what content is attracting new viewers, you’re going to want to continue to feed it and keep your audience coming back for more. I decided to include movie reviews in my personal blog because I wanted to experiment and see what kind of traffic I could drive if I included this type of content. While movie reviews might not seem directly relevant to content marketing, the posts themselves did generate a fair amount of Web traffic to my blog and I was also able to leave inbound links on sites that are not spam and grow my website presence in the process. What you will discover is that the smallest part of your overall content will make up the key driver that sends you the highest amounts of Web traffic.
- Remarketing is a gold standard for boosting brand awareness and engagement
If you hear or watch an ad once, say on TV or radio, will you remember it? Chances are no. The same applies if you see a Google text ad during your organic search for a product and you ignore the right side column. But what happens when that ad gets shown to you multiple times? You begin to take notice. Remarketing is an ad feature that lets you reach your target audience who have previously visited your site and continue to show them relevant ads across the Web when they search on a topic similar to your chosen keyword. Remarketing is typically thought of as native to Google’s Adwords but there are other platforms you can use like AdRoll. You must watch any remarketing ad campaign closely, however, as you can easily lose your hat. Use frequency capping to gain serious control of it. Set up “negative remarketing” ads to users who’ve completed your desired action and you won’t be wasting impressions, clicks, or budget. Monitor all of your options in analytics before excluding something out as not working. Assisted transactions are a boon to your organic and direct channels as well.
To increase brand awareness, built trust, improve authority; a content strategy will involve the following:
- Quality comes first. Always experiment to decide what types of content will generate higher levels of engagement
- Always research and plan any promotion. Understand who are the writers and bloggers covering your vertical and what their activity level is on social media channels. This will help you in getting your content noticed by these influencers.
- Traditional media coverage still works. Don’t neglect it just because it might involve slightly more work in getting their attention.
- Recapturing the interest of your organic search audience is paramount. Remarketing is a very effective tool to carry out this task.