Content marketing is hardly new as either a concept or a catchphrase. Marketers from brands and agencies alike are all too familiar with the craze of content that has been increasing in fervor over the past couple years. Clients and consumers want more and more of it, and marketers are having to get creative to find new ways to satisfy the demand while still being strategic.
If you’ve been wanting to start from scratch with content marketing, or if you’re a well-established pro, there are three areas you might want to consider to elevate this area of your marketing efforts.
Appeal to the Visual
It’s been said that men are visual creatures, but it’s really the entire human race that is drawn to what can be seen. Great content requires a complementary mix of solid information and entertaining anecdotes, but text alone will only get you so far. Most people will see an article that is word-saturated, and pass it by. It could be the most fascinating read of all time, but text is hardly enough to keep others’ attention—especially in this digital age. So how do you cross the chasm between presenting merely good information and offering juicy, clickable, lead-garnering material?
Add a visual element. Articles that include accompanying images have been found to receive 94 percent more views, which is an astronomical amount. This means that attaching an image could be the difference between your content being read, or being ignored entirely. And don’t just stop with still photos. Video is proving to be a more and more desirable medium to intermingle with content, even if it’s simple stock video footage. Be careful not to lean too heavily on visual aspects, as the meat of your content must still be worthy in and of itself. But be bold in integrating images and video into your efforts, and you’ll see your views spike—and your leads as well.
Believe in the Power of Blogs
A blog may seem like a frivolous thing to spend time discussing in the boardroom, but be careful before you discount it. The mere existence of a company blog isn’t enough to support your content marketing strategy, but a blog done right may be just what’s needed to inject new life into it. Inbound Writer reports that blogs have been found to give websites an average of 434 percent more indexed pages and 97 percent more indexed links. And how does that translate into leads? Well, brands that keep an active, thoughtful blog going with at least 15 posts per month regularly average 1,200 new leads each month. Sounds pretty fruitful.
The difference between your blog being a silly afterthought with random musings and a well-constructed tool in your marketing cache is all in the strategy. Consider asking customers to complete a quick survey that will give you insight into their most frequent questions and concerns. With a little feedback into the types of content they’re seeking, you can then create an editorial calendar that shapes the focus of your blog. Start with the yearly goal of your blog, then distill it into quarterly themes, monthly points of focus, and weekly topics. It’s also a wise idea to include several team members as bloggers so customers can get to know different faces within your company and hear from a variety of voices. With some focused planning, your blog will pay dividends.
Repurpose with Purpose
With all this talk about ways to enhance your content marketing initiatives, you’re probably energized, but also thinking about how much work and time this will take. Maybe you were under the impression that occasionally contributing articles to media publications was enough for content marketing, and now you see the value a blog can add too. How can one business manage all this content and not hire an entire staff devoted to content? It’s not as tough as you may think.
Again, start with strategy. Determine your goals for content, and what makes sense for your company. Maybe a target of one white paper per quarter, two articles per month, and one blog post per week is where you think you should start in order to see some progress. If that’s the case, begin with the white paper. Any talented copywriter can take a piece of long-form content like that, and extract nuggets from within that can be turned into short blog posts. And what about those articles? There are surely snippets that can be pulled out from them and easily whipped up into bite-sized social media posts. And don’t forget to enable social sharing on all of your content, so your audience can quickly be an extra mouthpiece for you so your messages live longer online lives.
Simply wanting a strategy for content marketing isn’t going to do you any good. So if you’re evaluating your content marketing, pat yourself on the back because you’re clearly not complacent. With any prong of content marketing, let a well-crafted strategy guide you. Be sure to include visual components for maximum impact, ramp up your company blog and intentionally set out to repurpose the content you create. Content marketing isn’t magic or a science. With some strategic planning, you can reach your audience through this accessible channel and see some exciting outcomes as a result. Here’s to some happy – and deliberate writing.
Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant who specializes in sales funnels, targeted traffic, and website conversions. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities.