The purpose of any content marketing is of course to be read, shared and linked to. This sounds so simple, but as I’m sure anyone who uses content marketing as part of their strategy and is reading this knows, actually doing it is a whole other ball game. Doing it consistently is the holy grail.
Content marketing covers wide range of different marketing tools and channels. The objective should always be to compliment your existing marketing and intentionally target customers at different stages of the buying process. The content marketing mix includes:
- Branded video
- Press releases
- Case studies
- Trend reports
- Guides/ How to
Here are some practical ideas for you to use that will maximise the effectiveness of your content creation strategy, and give you the best chance of seeing your content being read, shared and linked to.
It might seem like a bit of a negative point to start with, but know your limitations. The whole “reach for the skies” mantra is great, but it does give false expectations. Do your absolute best, of course, but even with the best idea in the world, without the resources (skills, time and budget) to make it truly great you will be wasting your time. It is better to focus on doing small number of content marketing very well than spread yourself too thinly and produce a lot of average content.
Stories only have meaning when there is context
Great campaigns come from a position of truth. Without this, the messages feel disjointed and disconnected to the target audience. Have you ever had that feeling that an advert just doesn’t feel right? There is a good chance that the story being told did not make sense within the brand’s values and the predefined context that already exists. Additionally, no matter how good an idea is, the best stories and moments of truth are only possible when there is context.
This includes every form of marketing you use, including the events you sponsor, the magazines you advertise in and even the keywords you bid on. But just as importantly the core message you communicate.
Add value – inspire, entertain, convince & educate
The idea of “value” is very subjective. In terms of content marketing, value comes from being interesting, useful, funny, original or all of these together. For example, a dry talk about why someone should buy your product is never going to get traction, but a step by step guide on how to use the product might. Compare these two approaches:
- Video 1: The benefits of using our email product
- Video 2: A step by step guide how to setup your email
Neither are very glamorous, but the instructional and useful video 2 will win out over the boring sales pitch of video 1 every time.
Identify your targets before you start
Before you commit any resources to creating content, you should always have a clear strategy covering why you are creating it (the previously discussed ‘context’), who it is aimed at (your audience) and how you will distribute it.
Distribution will depend on the content you are creating, but for maximum impact I’d recommend identifying you the major news and blog websites are in your industry and share it with them. Additionally, your customer base is always a great source of shares.
Go deep or go home
There is so much high quality content out there that to stand out and rise about the chatter, the truth is you have to do something quite amazing. This ties in with my previous point about doing a small number of things really well. You’ll get far greater results by applying this ethos.
Create with content discovery in mind
Creating great content is only half the battle, the second is making sure people find it. To maximise your chances of success, base your content around what people are already looking for.
The best way to do this is through keyword research. What are people most likely to search for and how can you create content that will be shown for that search? Use Google’s free keyword research tool and type in a couple of phrases related to the area you want to create content. Google will then bring the most common search terms that use that keyword. Go through the list and pick out those that you think you can easily create content using those keywords, and are of course relevant to you.