Online content is as popular as it’s ever been and that trend isn’t changing anytime soon. Content marketing plays a huge role in this growth of viewing online content. Content marketing — like blogs, infographics, newsletters, podcasts, and videos — is a great tool for building your brand and establishing yourself as a resource for people before they become your next customer.
If you think that content marketing is only possible for companies with large marketing departments and big budgets, think again. There are plenty of online resources to help you create and market online content no matter the size of your business.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re writing content for the first time or if you’re The Bard, himself. Follow these five tips and you’ll be on your way to creating content that is thoughtful, useful, and downright engaging to your viewers.
Tilt Your Content
Tilting your content is literally just that. It’s shifting your content away from your brand and your products and toward a shared topic of interest between you and your customers. Tilting your content is the easiest tip to follow in order to differentiate yourself from all the other blogs, emails, and social posts your industry (and every other industry) is churning out. To do it, you have to stop thinking like a brand and start thinking like a media publisher.
Is your Sales team already biting their nails in anxiety? Not talk about our product? How will people know about us?! Don’t worry, they will. Content marketing isn’t about selling You, it’s about building a relationship which makes the eventual sale that much easier. And this isn’t a new idea at all.
Betty Crocker shared recipes. John Deere published a magazine about farming technology. Red Bull created an entire media publishing empire around extreme sports. Why? Because it knew that being extreme was a shared interest between the brand and its customers. In all of these instances, the brands were focused on creating affinity and trust with its consumer base.
Want a B2B example? CBInsights, a tech market intelligence platform, shares a humorous and valuable newsletter that has over 554,027 subscribers. The subject lines alone are worth it. The content is relevant, but never promotional.
Smart Tip: CBInsights also writes original content for its newsletter. Fewer links to click off to means deeper engagement with its own content, and with it as a brand.
You don’t have to be a billion-dollar company to make useful, original content with a good tilt.
- Local clothing boutique? Fill your Instagram with easy style tips, or send a monthly newsletter with stories about fashion. (Or both!)
- Family-owned restaurant chain? Share recipes you serve at the restaurant and at home, or interesting foodie articles. Did you know the banana we eat today isn’t the banana our great-great-grandparents enjoyed?
- Car dealership? You can’t go wrong with a YouTube channel full of quick and easy maintenance tips. How much air should my tires have in them, anyway?
If you just want to promote your business, then you’re better off spending your time and money on advertising solutions. If you truly want to write content that’s useful to your readers, then write content that’s useful to your readers. Your content shouldn’t just be about your business, but remember: a content tilt keeps you within the parameters of your industry and what you actually know about.
Whatever you come up with your content marketing, keep it informative and keep it honest. Customers are more loyal to businesses that provide them valuable and accurate content.
Create a Content Matrix
The Awareness stage of a buyer’s journey is like the honeymoon period in a relationship. It’s fun, filled with surprises and laughter and delight. But, if you’re going to show the ROI of your content marketing, you need to treat it like a real relationship. That means opening up opportunities for deeper interest, more engagement, and finally, a commitment.
You do this by creating a content matrix. Place your ideal customers on the Y axis, and the four stages of a customer journey — Attract, Convert, Close, and Delight — on the X axis. Now, comes the fun part. Brainstorm types of content for each of those phases.
Need a little help? Check out this quick infographic for content types that work with each phase. Don’t feel tied to these. This is just a jumping off point.
There it is, that blank white page. It stares at you like the white void that lies beneath one’s eyes …. Too deep? Okay. But, if you’ve ever had a minor panic attack over writing an article, you know what we mean.
The best way to get past those moments where you can’t seem to come up with anything interesting is to just start writing and creating. There are plenty of online articles out there on how to overcome writer’s block.
There is a wise saying that applies to content marketing, “Don’t let perfect be the enemy of done.” Even if the first podcast stinks, or the first draft of a blog is … well, garbage, you created something. Which makes the next time easier, and the next easier than that, and so on. And every time you create, you learn something new and your work is a little better.
Don’t fancy yourself a writer? That’s okay, too! Content marketing isn’t about Pulitzer-prize winning content. It’s about authenticity and usefulness above all else. That’s why this video from a Canadian wildlife removal company went viral. Baby bunnies help, of course.
Smart Tip: Everyone needs an editor. Get a second pair of eyes on your work before publishing. Constructive feedback is good for the writing process and being aware of things you missed before in your content will give you more confident than when you first started.
Be Consistent in Content Marketing
One of the main reasons companies fail at content marketing is because of a lack of content being published on a regular basis. It’s tough to keep a relationship going if communication is lacking. Publishing on a regular basis keeps your brand in front of current customers and potential customers on a regular basis.
Consistent content marketing can also help to improve your search engine visibility and keyword ranking (SEO). Search engines can bump your placement on the results page depending on not just the quantity, but especially the quality of your content. Using popular keywords in your blog posts, email marketing, and other outlets will help get content marketing out to larger audience.
Pair that use of quality keywords with consistent content creating, and you can be sure to see a boost in your SEO. Unsure what keywords are trending? There are plenty of online tools that will show you trending keywords, topics, and hashtags to help keep your content relevant to readers.
Don’t be Clever, be Useful
Clever writing is entertaining, but it can grow old if viewers aren’t gaining any actual takeaways from your content. Being useful, on the other hand, works across the entire buyer’s journey.
Remember your matrix? Here’s where it will really come in handy. Every piece of content you produce should add value to the viewer’s day, whether that’s a chuckle in the Awareness stage, a tip in the Conversion phase, or a post-sale email that ensures your ongoing commitment to their experience in the Delight phase — value is the common thread.
Not only will your customers appreciate your work, potential shoppers will be more willing to turn to your brand by solving their problem. This is also a reason to be consistent in your content marketing. You’re not going to be able to solve every pain-point in one blog post. At least, not to our knowledge. Certain issues or questions can arise from shoppers over time. By keeping that mindset to be useful in your writing, you can be there to provide those solutions.
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