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Did you know that over 85% of B2B and B2C brands are using content marketing?
In addition to conventional marketing techniques, content marketing is another popular alternative often used to promote a brand.
So, how did content marketing become so popular in the first place?
Because content marketing is remarkably effective when you want to engage an audience. While creating content, a brand has the chance to do storytelling which, if done correctly, makes them a lot more interesting and appealing.
In this article, we will explain the definition of content marketing. And list various techniques you can implement to turn your content marketing practice into a more effective operation.
What is Content Marketing?
Firstly, you have to grasp the definition of content marketing. It is basically a marketing strategy that involves content creation and distribution. The purpose is to deliver value to the target audience in the form of engaging content attracting consumers to the brand.
Aside from bringing in audiences, content marketing can be used to maintain relationships with those audiences. It can also increase loyalty to the brand since the content brought valuable material to the readers or listeners. How? By educating, inspiring, or entertaining them.
Content marketing can come in many forms. Whether it’s in text as a blog post, case study, or ebook. In visual forms it can be a poster and infographic, or as an audio-visual format such as a video or podcast.
No matter what form you choose, it has to be adjusted to your audience. Otherwise, the content won’t be suited to the audience’s taste and fail to serve its purpose.
The process of content creation has to consider several important aspects such as the primary purpose of the content, the benefit it provides, and the target audience for the content. That’s why content marketing needs to be carefully planned.
On another note, marketing techniques can help optimize the effectiveness of the content. Therefore, we will show the best options and practices below. These are especially relevant to use in 2019.
Image via Pexels
Top 7 Content Marketing Techniques
All of the techniques listed below hold the same purpose – to increase the effectiveness of your content marketing campaign. It’s measured by identifying the value delivery and its suitability to the target audience’s persona.
Content Marketing Technique #1: Segment Your Audiences
It is definitely essential to segment your target audience. Because it’s impossible to satisfy everyone, right?
Basically, you have to know their persona. So, what exactly is a persona? It is an inherent characteristic of a particular audience segment. Usually, it consists of demographic and psychographic aspects.
Image via Adobe Stock
You might wonder why does segmentation bring an impact to a content marketing campaign?
Simple, it can give you a clear path to your destination. If you already know who will enjoy your content, it would be easier for you to determine what kind of content you want to create, and what kind of message will suit the taste of your target audience.
There are some questions you might refer in order to segment your audience:
- What is the personal characteristics of your target audience? (age, gender, race, etc.)
- What is the personality of your target audience? (introvert/extrovert, thinker/impulsive)
- What is the interest of your target audience?
- What problems does your target audience have?
- What kind of content will be able to solve their problem?
- What kind of content is often enjoyed by your target audience?
By answering these questions, you can get some revelations that will help you compose the right content for your target audience.
After discovering your target audience’s persona, you have to show that your brand cares for their needs. Because if you’re able to empathize with them, it will be easier for them to relate with your brand. You will be regarded as their problem solver.
Content Marketing Technique #2: Competitor Analysis
Comparing competitor content marketing strategy with your own will give you the chance to outmaneuver them. Moreover, it could provide some insight into your competitor’s distinct advantages.
Then, what should you do to conduct competitor analysis?
First, you have to find out your list of competitors. The easiest way to do it is by using the search engine. Type the main keyword from a topic of your content piece, then see which sites occupy the top position on the search engine results page.
Here’s an example of top rankers for keyword “content marketing techniques”.
Image via google
You can also try to use marketing analytics software like SEMrush. This tool will help you dig up more information about your competitor’s content. You can even find out the link building activity on that content by identifying the list of backlinks and top anchor texts within the content.
If you want to enter your content into the pay-per-click competition, the tool can also help you to find your competitor’s high performing keywords which could potentially attract more traffic. You might adopt the keyword to make your ad spending more effective.
Aside from harnessing keywords, you can also utilize your domain name to compete with your competitor’s content. So, how does it work?
If you have a domain name which is relevant to your content and what the audience searches for, your content can possibly get higher ranking in the search engine results page.
If you want to get the right domain name, you can use the domain name generators. There is a list of best domain generators which you can refer to here: hostinger.com/tutorials/domain-name-generators/.
Content Marketing Technique #3: Create an Engaging Headline
No matter how good your content is, nobody will see it if it’s not attractive enough to get clicked. Therefore, the headline must be considered, as well when you create content.
Take a look at one of the Ahrefs blog headlines. It draws attention, doesn’t it?
Image via Ahrefs
So, what is the proper way to create a great headline? Firstly, you need to know who would be your target audience. That way, you can match it to their needs.
Then, you can start making the headlines with these considerations:
- Is it specific enough when conveying your message?
- Does it describe the solution to the audiences?
- Is it unique enough to attract the attention of audiences?
- Does it generate a sense of urgency?
- Is it easy to understand from the audience’s point of view?
If you have answered all of those questions, you can visualize the characteristics of the right headline for your target audience.
You can also expand your reference by conducting keyword research. With this method, you will find some keywords which are often searched by your target audiences, and combine them with copywriting frameworks.
One of the most popular keyword research tools is the Google Keyword Planner. You can just type the topic of your content, and the result will show some keywords which often appear in the search engine. Afterward, you can add the most relevant keyword with the highest traffic into your headline.
If you want to make sure that your headline is truly engaging to the audience, you can use headline testing.
So, headline testing is a method where two variations of a headline are made for one topic and then compared in order to find out which headline performs better. From this testing, you can also detect some valuable metrics, such as the number of shares and the conversion rate.
The first step of headline testing is creating the headline’s variations. The number of variations is up to you, but a larger number of variations will need a larger number of samples. Then you could run the test on an A/B testing tool.
Basically, the tool will compare the performance through the amount of traffic from each headline. When a headline is appointed as a winner, the whole traffic will be transferred to the victorious headline.
Content Marketing Technique #4: Using Visual Elements
One of the methods you can use is the usage of a visual format in order to convey valuable information to the target audience is a great addition. Usually, content creators use images, infographics, or poster as their visual elements in content.
However, you can’t arbitrarily put an image and then claim it as good visual content. Each visual element you put must be relevant to the target audience. Apart from relevance, you need to make sure that you put high-quality visuals. Avoid bad, pixelated images or poorly sized pictures.
Here’s an example how Brian Dean uses visuals to make his content more engaging.
Image via Backlinko
Then, why is it important to use visual elements?
Did you know that research from MIT established the fact that the human brain can identify an image in a mere 13 milliseconds? This is much faster than the process of text identification which tends to be slower and more linear.
So, by harnessing visual elements, your content will be easier to grasp. Moreover, you can put additional information into your visual elements. If this technique is done well, it could make your content more appealing to read or watch.
Content Marketing Technique #5: Using Various Platforms
Content marketing is not limited to blogging. Even though blogging is the common way of content marketing there are other platforms which can be used to promote your content, such as Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, or Youtube.
Image Via Unsplash
Spreading your content to various platforms will make your target audience easier to reach. For example, if they often use social media platforms, you can approach them by creating content on that platform.
Aside from expanding your content’s reach, it can help you communicate directly with your target audience, let’s take a look at another example. If you post your content in the form of infographics on Instagram, or in the form of video on Youtube, you might get some feedback in the comment sections.
There are features you can use in other platforms to increase your content’s exposure. For instance, when you use Twitter or Instagram, making use of hashtags could give a higher chance for your content to get found since it will narrow it to a specific niche. This is similar to adding tags in your blog post.
Having your content all over other platforms doesn’t mean that you have to forget brand authenticity. If it’s aligned with your brand’s core values, it will affect the loyalty and audience engagement of the target audience.
Millennials are the segment which loves to jump from one platform to another. Research shows that they are the least engaged customers. As a result, brands have to try harder to attract their interest.
Then, what should you do? One of the solutions is having a strong brand presence. For example, Millennials tend to react positively to brands with a presence on blogging and social media platforms.
Content Marketing Technique #6: Use a Local Keyword
Sometimes, the people you are trying to reach search for things in the search engine related to a local keyword. For instance, “bicycle shop Manhattan” and “bicycle Chicago” are keywords that represent the search for local places.
Did you know that 43% of internet searches use local keywords? Hence it’s important to tailor your content and headlines to comply with local internet searches.
However, please keep in mind that the local keywords in your content must be aligned with where you live or the location of your brand. First, because it would give a better sense of credibility. Second, you will be considered an expert in your own area.
Image Via Pixabay
Once again, you can use marketing analytics software such as SEMrush or Ahrefs to research high performing local keywords. The metrics commonly used to measure are the average search per month and the competition metric.
You might decide to enter a bloodbath competition to rank on the high traffic keywords, or you might enter a medium competition to seize a medium traffic keyword. It’s up to your content marketing policy.
Content Marketing Technique #7: Provide High-Quality Content
While it might sound like common sense, facts shows that over 60% B2C marketers gain benefits such as increased brand awareness, a better sense of credibility, and better customer loyalty through high-quality content marketing.
Image via Pexels
Relying on keywords and metrics is not enough to make your content reach the top positions on the search engine results page since relevance and credibility must be considered as well. Thus, the quality of the content should be prioritized.
Moreover, it could heighten the chance of your content getting shared! Isn’t that great? So, how can you create high-quality content?
Here are some ways you can put to use:
- Solve readers’ problems
- Make a long-form content plan with in-depth information
- Use visual elements
- Don’t be too formal, engage readers
- Use trustworthy references
- Make it skimmable by using lists and bullet points
- Suggest actionable advice to readers
- Update your content
Don’t forget, your content should be solution-oriented. Prioritize valuable information instead of the word count or reading duration. Hence, when the audience finishes savoring your content, they will get something that will either entertain, educate, or inspire them.
Practicing content marketing is important for improving your brand awareness, but it’s more important to apply it effectively. Content marketing techniques can help you increase your content’s effectiveness.
The point is, you have to know your audience well, tailor your content around them, and solve their problems. Make sure that your content is unique compared to your competitor’s and make it compelling by adding visual elements and in-depth information.
Simon Keller is a digital marketing entrepreneur motivated to drive tons of traffic to his customer websites. After three years of hard work as a freelancer, he decided to take up his services to the next level and co-founded digital marketing company PRable. Besides his desperate love for SEO, Simon is interested in ice hockey and traveling.