Content marketing is extremely valuable in the modern world, especially with 200 million people now using ad-blocking software. Moreover, according to the Content Marketing Institute, despite costing 62 percent less than outbound marketing, content marketing produces three times as many leads.
Here, we present 20 ideas to improve your content marketing immediately , so that you can reap these rewards and start getting into the mind-set of systematic and effective content creation.
1. Help your audience
The single biggest reason people will consume your content is because they need help. Therefore, it makes sense to focus on publishing information that can help or educate them.
Action point: Do you know your audience(s) pain points? If not, speak to several customers and ask them directly.
2. Share across social media
Your content should be shared on all of the social media platforms where you have a presence.
Action point: Do you publish daily posts on your or your clients’ social media accounts? The best way to do this is to create a content schedule for the next 3 to 6 months, taking into account seasonal topics.
3. Build trust in individuals
Where possible, try to have a team of writers who publish regularly. This can help to build trust in individual writers, establishing them as experts in their field.
Action point: Do you have a writer (or several) who excels in your key specialist subjects? If not, take time to set up a list of writers who are experts in their subjects and share this with your content or marketing team.
4. State your opinion
A great way to make sure content is read, shared and commented on is by publishing strong opinion pieces, even if they are controversial. Just make sure opinions make sense and are backed up with evidence.
Action point: Do you have an opinion on a topic that could solve your customers’ problems? Draw up a list of subjects and write down your opinion on each one in a bullet point format. It’ll be a great starting point for content idea generation.
5. Do not ignore video
According to Hubspot, after watching a video, 64 percent of users are more likely to buy a product or service online. However, 60 percent will stop watching after two minutes, so try to keep videos under that length.
Action point: Have you implemented guidelines on your videos’ length with your content team?
6. Have a content strategy
A scatter-gun approach to content marketing rarely works. Know what you want to say, stay on message, and create content with a real purpose, both for you and its audience.
Action point: create a content strategy around your clients’ pain points, interests and FAQs; find out which social media platforms they use and compile a content schedule that includes tracking ROI.
7. Embrace shorter content
Audiences have short attention spans, so won't mind if you only say what you need to say. Lists, 20-second videos and infographics can be extremely effective, because they can be consumed quickly.
Action point: include various content formats in your strategy to test what works best with you audiences.
8. Research and reference
Research the topics you write about, use statistics from reliable sources and reference them clearly.
Action point: always include a link to the original source of your research in text content and references in video and audio content.
9. Hire an editor
Readers can be put off by silly spelling mistakes and grammatical errors, preventing them from consuming otherwise valuable content. Even the best writers make mistakes, so invest in an editor.
Action point: editing content must be part of your content creation process so ensure it is included in the tick list before content is released.
10. Answer questions
Most people use search engines to ask questions, so be there to answer them. Even the best SEO company will struggle to get your content ranking unless you are answering the things people ask.
Action point: use predictive search in Google with various interrogative words to understand what your audiences’ most popular queries are and create content that solve these queries.
11. Focus on evergreen content
Wherever possible, your content should be timeless. This means it should be as relevant and useful a year from now as it is today. Try to avoid too many pieces with a limited shelf-life.
Action point: if applicable, instead of dates use more generic words such as ‘spring’ or ‘this year’ to turn your content into evergreen pieces that will be relevant for longer.
12. Write for others
While much of your content may appear on your own website or blog, writing for others can increase visibility. Ask your search agency for help with creating a backlink strategy at the same time.
Action: your content strategy must include a guest posting element. Aim for a minimum of 3 to 5 articles to be outreached for publication per month (yes I know, it sounds like a lot for a small to medium website but the SEO and brand visibility rewards will be worth it).
13. Less is often more
Do not bombard your audience with content. Focus on creating quality content, rather than on producing lots of it.
14. Analyse and re-evaluate
Use tools like Google Analytics to assess how well your content is performing. Look for patterns. If content performs well, produce more like it. If it performs badly, learn from it and avoid similar content.
Action point: keep a very close eye on traffic generated to your blog and to individual articles/ posts/ videos, etc. Number of shares should also be monitored. Notice your bounce rate and try to include more call to actions in your blog if the exit rate is high.
15. Be sensible with keywords
Targeting keywords is still a very effective SEO strategy, but be sensible. Target keywords which have the best value-to-competition ratio and do not go overboard with stuffing them into your content.
Action point: optimise your content for SEO. Keep in mind your SEO keywords target list and include those in your text content and in video transcripts- but limit including more than a couple of these terms.
16. Mobile optimisation
Any good search agency will tell you mobile internet use is increasing year-on-year and mobile searches now outperform desktop searches. Your content must be readable on smartphones and tablets.
Action point: is your website (and blog/ newsletters) optimised for mobile? If not, this should be a priority this year.
17. Create a schedule
Audiences like to know when they can come back for more. Try to stick to a consistent schedule.
Action point: let your audience know about release dates if you are creating a series of articles or video/ webinars.
18. Cover the customer journey
Many companies make the mistake of focusing their content solely on building brand awareness. However, you need to try to create content for those who are about to buy and those who have bought from you too.
Action: think of the buying funnel for your products and services and collaborate with marketing to create useful content that caters for each stage.
19. Collaborate with others
Collaboration with other businesses can result in content which benefits you both. Approach people to create collaborative content, or ask influential thinkers for quotes.
Action point: draw a list of non-competing (and possibly complimentary) similar brands/ businesses that have the same audiences as yours and get in touch with them with a proposal.
20. Reuse and re-purpose
High-performing content, which attracts the desired response, can be re-used and re-purposed. Feel free to re-write content for future use, or publish similar content in a completely different format.
Action point: work out your top 5 content pieces over the last 6 month and re-purpose them (powerpoint into a short video, infographic into a list, etc…)