TOP TEN TIPS FOR SUCCESSFUL CONTENT MARKETING
“Content is King” is a phrase that is often bandied around in the world of digital marketing. But what does that actually mean? Is is something to which in fact we only pay lip service: almost adding it in as an afterthought once we’ve got the really important SEO business done?
In today’s world, if we are not fully harnessing the power of content then we are missing out. Our consumers are more switched on and demanding than ever before, and will have no hesitation in discriminating against us our content marketing does not connect with them, engage with them, and inspire them. If content marketing is not being used effectively to build and promote our brand, then we can be sure that our competitors will be!
So here are our Top Ten Tips to make sure your content management is top notch!
- Hit the headlines
Call it clickbait if you like but you need to grab the reader’s attention. The headline needs to excite their interest so that they want to read more: it needs to convey what the article is about and why someone should read it. BUT then you need to deliver the goods to make it worth their while continuing to read, and to engender trust in you and your brand.
- Get the measure of your audience
How long is the right length? On the one hand, there is evidence to show that longer blog posts – up to 1600 words – can achieve better results in terms of traffic, SEO performance, and conversions. However, research carried out by Grist found that senior executives prefer engaging with shorter articles of around 800 words. The key thing is to know your audience: who are you aiming at and what kind and length of content (see point 10 below) are they most engaging with.
- Be prepared to try new formats
The annual Content Marketing Survey in the UK found the statistics in the infographic below about how UK content marketers are using different channels. An average of 8 different channels are used. However, the findings raise the issue that to stand out from the crowd you may also want to consider using one or more of the less common formats listed on the right.
- Keep their attention
The average attention span of a typical reader is estimated to be just eight seconds. So in addition to the overall length of your article – as we explored above – you need to ensure that the content is structured in such a way as to keep them interested. Three quick ways to do this are:
• Make the message clear and up front
• Pose questions to get them thinking and interacting
• Make it as easy to read as possible: numbering and bullet points help.
- Engage with images
Brain Rules by Dr. John Medina is a fascinating book that explains how the brain sciences – what scientists know about how our brains work – can transform our daily lives. One of these is that as a species we are incredible at remembering pictures. According to Medina, if you hear a piece of information three days later you’ll remember 10% of it. But if you add a picture you’ll remember 65%. Couple this with the fact that the way we consume content is constantly evolving with the advance of technology and is becoming more and more visual – and it would be foolish not to make the most of images in our content marketing.
- Give your content the time it deserves
Good content takes time. If you have everything else in place but then rush the content so that it lacks quality you will be seriously undermining your digital marketing strategy. If time to create quality content is an issue then look at fresh ways of carving out more time. You may need to be radical about this, such as withdrawing from other activities that are not such a priority, or working elsewhere to free yourself from other distractions whilst you create content.
- Give your content the resources it deserves
Following on from the above, you need to put your money where your mouth is. You don’t just need time to create content but there may be other resources that can help you. Is there some valuable technology that you need but do not yet have? It is worth investigating what options may be available to help you improve your content preparation.
- Give your content the skills it deserves
If you implement steps 6 and 7 above but still find it excessively difficult to create content then you may need to rethink. Is it a case that you lack some of the necessary skills and need some training? There are all kinds of training solutions out there to help you. However, being more radical, if you do not have the fundamental skill set to consistently create the content you need then you may need to think about either employing someone else to do it or outsourcing some or all of it.
- Brand your content
Whether you do all your content marketing in house or outsource some of it as we just discussed, you need to ensure a consistency across content that supports and endorses your brand. As part of this you need to ensure that all content writers understand – and buy into – the key elements of your brand, and you need to constantly update and reinforce brand guidelines so that there is no room for misunderstanding. You also need to decide what methods and extents of proofreading and moderation you are going to apply to your content. Inconsistency can harm your brand and undermine the positive goals you are setting for your content marketing.
- Evaluate your content
Last but not least, don’t fall into the trap of treating a piece of content as finished as soon as it is published. We are all so deadline-driven that it is tempting just to get straight on with the next piece. But, as with any marketing strategy, it is essential to evaluate the performance of each piece of content so that you can increasingly align your content with what is evoking most engagement from your target audience. In the hamster wheel frenzy of producing content, don’t forget to check that you’ve not left the cage door open for your audience to wander away!
So, if Content is indeed King then you need to make sure that you are treating it as royally as it deserves, in order for it to lead you into battle with heads held high.