No matter how fabulous your product or service is, if you don't get your message out, you won’t drive traffic to your website… and you know what happens next. Nothing.
Even if you already know that content marketing can help you, there’s a significant difference between knowing content marketing is the solution and knowing how to create a solid content marketing strategy. That could be why only 37% of marketers say they have a defined content marketing strategy and 64% of marketers say they want to learn how to build a better content strategy.
Great content marketing strategies include many different tactics, and if you want your marketing to be truly effective, you have to decide on the ones that make the most sense for your business. While there are many different content marketing tactics you can use to fuel your business growth, here are seven of our favorites.
No. 1: Let a Picture Tell Your Story
Imagine if your Instagram account was filled with descriptions of people’s photos. How many seconds would it take for you to delete your account? Studies show that 40% of people respond better to visual information than they do to plain text, so perhaps that old adage about a picture being worth a thousand words isn’t as cliched as it sounds.
Pictures are one of the most effective ways to attract and engage an audience, which is why infographics work so well as one of your content marketing tactics. Don’t just present a series of facts; give your audience images they can connect to. Aim to create something that’s both informative and well designed — the kind of content someone wants to download, print and share. Study the elements of a great infographic and then follow best practices to get the most mileage out of your infographics.
No. 2: Make Your Headlines Matter
When you write a headline, how much thought do you put into it? The answer to that question could directly affect how well your content does.
Think of your headline as the photo you’ll use on your online dating profile: You want to make sure it convinces someone to stop to find out more. Studying the art of headline writing is a worthy investment of your time; some of the elements that work well are using numbers (use digits, not words), having eight or more words in the headline and asking questions in the headline. These are all tricks that can help boost your traffic, so it's worth spending time developing a headline-writing strategy for your content.
No. 3: Find Where Your Audience Lives
Last year, a Girl Scout sold more than 300 boxes of cookies in just six hours simply by setting up shop outside a marijuana dispensary. Although she probably didn’t earn a Marketing badge for her efforts, she obviously had already learned one of the key elements of a great marketing strategy: Know where to find your target audience.
To market to your audience, you have to know their pain points, what they’re looking for and what drives their buying decisions. You want to know what social media channels they hang out on and how they like to consume their information. Do they want to watch videos? Listen to podcasts? Read blog posts? If you don’t know how they want to receive their information, you won’t be able to properly market to them.
This is where creating buyer personas will help fine-tune your content marketing strategy. You’ll not only learn where they hang out, but it can help inform the kind of partnerships you build and tell you where to allocate your resources. And, once you know where they are, you can offer content that’s tailored specifically for them.
No. 4: Diversify Your Content Marketing Assets
You probably have a favorite, go-to form of content marketing. As a writer, my preference is always blog posts, case studies or white papers, but that doesn’t mean that’s necessarily the best choice for every topic. Blogs are an extremely popular and effective form of content marketing, but they’re just a starting point and are only one component of great content marketing strategies.
If you've limited your reach to a blog, look at adding other elements to your content marketing strategy to extend its reach and make it more effective. As mentioned earlier, infographics are extremely popular and are powerful tools for driving traffic. Video, when done properly, is one of the simplest and most effective ways to explain a service, concept or product. And of course, you don’t want to overlook the power of social media.
Reaching out to your audience in different formats and through multiple channels increases the chances of being seen.
No. 5: Share It
One of the first lessons you learned in kindergarten was to share everything, and that holds true for content marketing, too. Publishing content is great, but if you’re not sharing it, you’re missing a huge opportunity. There are several different ways you can share your content, from posting it on LinkedIn to syndicating it with sites like Reddit or Medium. (Of course, you want to use your social media channels as well to let followers know that you’ve got fresh new content for them to dig into.)
If you have an email newsletter, use it to send out information on new posts; you can either send out an email each time you publish something new, or compile a weekly or monthly email newsletter that rounds up what’s new for followers.
No. 6: Repurpose What Works
Have you ever noticed that every Mumford & Sons song sounds exactly alike? That’s because they’ve figured out that they don’t need to reinvent the wheel every time they write a song; they just need to stick with what people want.
You can borrow that same approach when creating an inbound marketing content strategy, even if you don’t know how to play the banjo. Give your piece of content extended life by repurposing it in other ways: Blog posts can become videos, podcast topics or infographics. Use the information to create a case study, ebook or white paper; you can even create a webinar based on a piece of well-performing content.
The great thing about repurposing content is that you can search through your old content, update it and repackage it to provide your audience with something that feels entirely new.
No. 7: Dig Through the Data
Guessing might be fine if you’re a contestant on The Price is Right, but it’s no way to run a content marketing strategy. And, thanks to the avalanche of data that marketers and sales people have available to them, you can create data-driven content that will appeal to your audience. Use your customer data to plan content for each stage of your buyer journey, and use your CRM to gain insight into what turns someone from a casual lurker to an engaged customer.
Taking the time to thoroughly analyze the data you’ve collected can save time in the long run by offering valuable insight into what your buyers need and what’s getting the most attention. It can prevent you from developing content that will be overlooked and ignored. In other words, it gives you the information you need to give your content strategy laser focus.
Do What It Takes To Stand Out
Content marketing drives business results, so making sure that your content stands out and is reaching its intended audience is critical. A well-thought-out content marketing plan that incorporates several different strategies, including the ones above, can help fuel your business growth and allow you to stand apart from your competitors.