Content marketing can be a lot of work. There are so many steps involved, from creating the right pieces to posting them the right way to engaging your audience so they want more. Ready to stop making content marketing just another piece work? Let’s turn that around and make content marketing work for you instead!
Avoid the Content Creation Crush
Content Marketing Work: We need lots of content! Make more content! PANIC!!!
Of course the first step in any content marketing program is to create valuable content. However, keep in mind that more doesn’t always equal better when it comes to content development. More just equals…more.
Make Content Marketing Work for You: Let’s figure out what goals are important to us, and then create content that will enable us to achieve our goals.
Take a step back and think about your goals, both as a company and as a marketing team. Here are some questions you can ask before you begin creating content:
- Are you trying to nurture your leads or get fresh ones?
- Do you want customers to spend more time on the site getting to know your company or browsing additional content?
- How will you lead them to other content you have to offer?
- Are you promoting a particular product or solution?
- Are you trying to drive attendance at an event?
- What is your target audience and what are their needs?
- What kind of brand reputation do you want to build?
Once you understand the “why” of what you’re creating, you can begin the actual content development process. Taking the time to develop a solid plan complete with goals will help you make the right content marketing choices moving forward.
Content Marketing Work: Every piece of content has to cover a new topic!
Content burnout is a real thing, with both creators and audiences. If you are a publication and new content is your product, then yes, you should be creating tons of content. However, if you are a business that is using content marketing as a way to grow audiences and sales, this is not the way to go.
Make Content Marketing Work for You: We will create a great content anchor. Then let’s create several segmented pieces around the same topic so we can offer pieces in a variety of formats.
When you create content, think in terms of a larger campaign. Consider the following questions:
- What is the general topic I am talking about?
- How can I make that into a longer piece (like a white paper, ebook, or piece of interactive content)?
- How can I take that more in-depth piece and turn it into bite-sized pieces (like infographics, social media posts, short videos, and advertisements)?
For example, you might start with an ebook about “How to Keep Safe in During a Hurricane.” You could then:
- Make some charts and infographics that cover different parts of your ebook for those who are more visually oriented.
- Take the ebook and break chunks of it into blog posts for those who are short on time.
- Use the content of your ebook to develop some quick videos to add power to your message.
- Break the graphics and blog posts into even smaller snippets that you could use in your social media posts once you are ready to share your content.
Don’t forget to think about which stages of the funnel you are creating content for, as well as the channels on which you will post your content. These two considerations are key for understanding what type of content to develop and how to most effectively share it.
Keep the Customer In Mind
Content Marketing Work: Let’s divide up our content into categories like white papers, infographics, and videos.
Be real here, people. Dividing up your website resources section by format is silly. Yes, it makes life easier for us as marketers. For prospects and customers, however, it’s a real drag.
People want to be able to quickly access the right topics to answer their questions. They don’t care if it comes in a video or a two-sided information sheet.
Make Content Marketing Work for You: Let’s take the time to understand our customers’ journeys and then make it easy for them to access content according to their needs.
Take a step back to understand your customers’ journeys, questions, needs, and timelines. This will help you categorize content in a way that makes sense.
If you have a resources section, give your audience the opportunity to sort content by their own requirements. Your audience needs to find answers. You want to give them what they’re looking for, fast, so they can move on to the decision or purchase stage.
Remember Content Marketing Is Not About You
Content Marketing Work: We are so wonderful – we need to shout it out to the world!
I get it. You have a fantastic, unique offering. If you don’t believe in what you’re selling, then why are you selling it? And yet…
Your prospects care more about their own needs than yours. At least to start with, they don’t care if you have the best product in your category. They just want to know are they in the right place, whether you understand their issues, and if you are selling something that will effectively address their problem, question, or issue.
If you simply share content about yourself and your business, you will have a hard time making any headway with your content marketing efforts.
Make Content Marketing Work for You:Let’s consider our audience’s needs, answer their questions, and start conversations where we can provide value.
It’s all about your prospects and customers. Don’t use your content marketing skills to focus initially on how awesome you are. Show them how awesome they are and how much you care about their needs.
Entice them to like and trust you by trying some of the following tactics:
- Listen to their questions – especially niche questions – and answer them.
- Keep them ahead of trends with thought leadership pieces.
- Create a guest blogging program and bring in experts to write unique posts.
- Provide them with resources they can’t do without, like checklists and step-by-step guides.
After you have a relationship with them, you can share more about yourself and your business. Even at that point, however, you must still provide them with value. This is the basis for any positive ongoing business relationship.
Share Your Content More Than Once
Content Marketing Work: We posted our piece on social media. Now we’re done!
Have you ever noticed how quickly your social media streams move? Do you read absolutely every post you see? Do you see every post others share? I’m obsessed with Twitter and even I don’t read everything (or even a large fraction) of what passes by.
Even worse, regardless of what social channel you are posting on, people don’t always remember what they read or click the links offered. There’s a lot of content being shared on social media, so it’s not surprising.
That said, you want people to read your content. So let’s try something different.
Make Content Marketing Work for You: Let’s post the piece several times over the next few months, and bring others into the conversation as well.
Depending on the social media channel you’re using, you can post the same links anywhere from once (e.g., LinkedIn, Facebook) to several times a day (e.g., Twitter). You can also post the same links over time, like once a week for several months or once a month for several years. This is particularly true for evergreen content, but can often work well even for shorter-term, more targeted pieces.
In addition to simply posting links to content, you can do a variety of things to switch things up and spark conversation. For example, you can:
- Change the focus of your posts so they attract different audiences.
- Add humor to some of your posts to better engage your audience.
- Tag a couple of key people who are mentioned in your content or who could be interested in your content.
- Post your content in a targeted setting, like a Facebook or LinkedIn group.
- Add relevant hashtags to attract the attention of those at a particular event or interested in a specific topic.
Most importantly, remember to keep the “social” in social media. Don’t just share your content. Bring others into the conversation as well. If you create shareable content, people will repost it. Say thank you! If someone replies to you or likes what you posted, write back to them as soon as possible.
Track Your Content Marketing Results
Content Marketing Work: We put all this time and effort into our content marketing efforts. I wonder what effect we’re having? Well, never mind that – let’s just create MORE CONTENT!
At the beginning of this article, we discussed creating content that tracks to your goals. How will you know if you achieved your goals if you never check to see how your content marketing efforts played out?
It’s not enough to simply create content. You need to make sure that your content marketing efforts are effective. Otherwise, what’s the point in doing it at all?
Make Content Marketing Work for You: Let’s measure our content marketing efforts, see if we’re hitting our goals, and make changes based on what’s working and what’s not.
There is definitely some confusion about how to measure content marketing results. The truth is that there are a number of ways to gage success. The method(s) you choose are dependent on your goals.
- If you want to drive more inbound traffic, you could track how many times people click on the links you share via social media.
- If you have a click-to-buy product, you might track how many times people who are attracted to your content click the “buy now” link within the content.
- If you have a B2B product with a longer sales cycle, you may track how many people continue to peruse your content after clicking your link and how they move through to different stages of the marketing funnel.
In addition, track the hours you put into creating your content and your content marketing efforts. Put a dollar amount against those hours. This will help you understand how the costs of your program compare to the benefits you receive. Moreover, don’t be afraid to tweak your content marketing strategy over time so it helps you meet your goals more effectively.
Make Content Marketing Work For You
Do you have further suggestions about how you make content marketing work for you rather than vice versa? Let me know in the comments below – I’d love to hear from you!
Learn more about the ins and outs of content marketing in this amazing infographic from Hubspot.