Top content marketing tips for more effective results
Best content marketing tips: Create content that stands out and drives quality results
17 June 2021 · 8 min read
Content is central to every aspect of digital marketing. It doesn’t matter if you’re designing a website, doing email marketing, posting on social media, or even running paid ad campaigns. All of these require one form of content or the other.
But for all its importance, many brands still struggle to create and publish successful content. Many companies are quick to get started with content creation but give up when tangible results are not forthcoming. And yet, without content marketing, there’s simply no way to communicate brand values and interact with your target audience.
Are you currently facing a similar situation? Perhaps you’ve invested so much into content marketing and not seeing any results. Or maybe you want to level up your content marketing strategy. Then, you’re in the right place. This article examines content marketing in 2021 and how to step up your game to drive quality results. Let’s dive in!
Content marketing challenges in 2021
One of the biggest challenges facing content marketers is that everybody and their grandmas seem to be doing it. A study published by Worldometer shows that as of the first quarter of 2021, over five million blog posts were published on WordPress every day.
And that’s just for blogs. There are several other types of content, including videos, infographics, and podcasts, all of which are ubiquitous all over the web. However, with so many people engaging in various forms of content marketing, it is quite challenging to make your content rise above the noise.
Another potential issue to overcome is the fact that it’s becoming harder to distinguish between content marketing ‘best practices’ (that are just opinions) and actual, proven strategies. Do a simple Google search for content marketing strategies now, and you’ll see no shortage of varying ‘expert opinions’ on the matter.
The average online user is also a die-hard skeptic. It takes very little to turn them off, especially when engaging with your paid ads, emails, or social media posts. It takes a lot of convincing to convert them into paying customers. And to do that, you need to be able to publish the kind of content that engages them and has them wanting more.
Lastly, the digital marketing landscape is fast changing. Average attention spans are dropping, and many online users are starting to favor more engaging types of content. This is evident in the rise of video platforms like TikTok and YouTube. Plus, there’s always the struggle of finding the right balance between writing a piece of content that is long enough to appease search engine optimization (SEO) requirements and yet short enough that people actually want to read it.
These are some of the biggest challenges facing content marketers and brands in 2021. The content marketing tips that we cover in this post are targeted at surmounting these challenges. However, keep in mind that it’s important to approach each issue with a flexible yet focused mindset to overcome them and drive results.
Why do content marketing at all?
We’ve already established that you can’t do any form of digital marketing without content. But the benefits of creating and implementing a content marketing strategy go much deeper. Here are some of the gains of a well-executed content marketing campaign:
- Communicate brand values — Publishing content is the only way to get the word out there about your brand and why it matters.
- Improve brand awareness across various marketing channels — Posting various pieces of content across multiple channels is a sure way to expand your reach and appeal to a wider target audience.
- Inform and educate your target audience — This positions your brand as an authority figure and thought leader in the industry. It also helps build trust among your target audience.
- Convert prospects into paying customers — Great content prompts readers or watchers to take action.
- Better SEO visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs)— Content marketing works hand in hand with SEO. When done right, content marketing can propel your brand into the limelight and on top of SERPs.
- More social media and referral traffic — Creating high-quality content can lead to more engagements and interactions on social media, boosting brand awareness and improving referrals.
- Lower marketing costs over time — Done properly, content marketing should lower your overall marketing costs over the long term. For example, a single, well-optimized piece of long-form content can continue to drive traffic to your website for months or even years. Additionally, most types of content remain relevant over a long period (evergreen content) and can easily be repurposed into newer content that still drives results.
Characteristics of a winning content marketing strategy
Content marketing is an incredibly broad field. As such, it’s hard to pinpoint an actual recipe for success. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t some standout ingredients in every content marketing strategy.
- Targeted audience
Do you know why content marketing is much more effective than other kinds of marketing such as TVs, radios, billboards, and newspapers? It’s because it allows you to address your audience directly. With content marketing, you’re positioning your pieces of content in front of the right crowd. This is very much unlike traditional marketing methods where you’re posting or publishing content to the general population and hoping that the right people find it.
Content marketing is like a sniper rifle. You take the time to find your target, single them out from the crowd, even from a long distance, and then shoot your shot. This has proven to be better at improving engagement and, in turn, conversion rates. Traditional marketing is more like a shotgun. The pellets scatter, and you’re hoping it hits the target. Plus, you have to be in close proximity to your target audience to have any impact.
The point is successful content marketing must be targeted at a highly-researched target audience. The more you know about the people for whom you’re creating the content, the better impact it will have on your bottom line. For example, both optometry and dentistry belong to the healthcare industry, but their respective content marketing efforts will target different audiences. By knowing this fact, they can spend money on strategies that actually work instead of doing a blanket approach and hoping for the best.
- Addresses every stage of the buyer’s journey
People landing on your website or social media platforms are all at different stages of the buyer’s journey. Some may be visiting for the first time, others may have visited multiple times in the past and are still debating whether to buy and then there are those who are comin’ in hot, ready to buy on the spot.
Successful content marketing strategies strategically target every piece of content to visitors at different stages of their journey to becoming paying, loyal customers. This is particularly important when running a sales funnel campaign. Used as a marketing tool, it can help unveil new audiences, build contacts, and nurture relationships until they yield tangible results.
To better understand today’s consumer mindset and help guide them further down the funnel, many marketers create a buyer persona. This is simply a model of the ideal buyer in your business. Buyer personas help you map out the consumer journey from awareness to brand advocate and deliver the best content at every stage.
Here’s an example
Let’s say you want to set up an effective sales funnel for your small business. You follow the journey and anticipate what that prospect will likely be interested in, what type of content they will most likely respond to, and on what platform to post the content. Here’s an example of how it would look:
TOP OF THE FUNNEL
Here, the user is just getting acclimated with your brand. They might not even know that they have a problem that you can solve yet. Since the aim is to build relationships, the content can focus on information that addresses their immediate pain points while also improving brand awareness. Some of the best types of content for this stage include long-form content, infographics, guest posts, explainer videos, and interactive content.
MIDDLE OF THE FUNNEL
At this stage, prospects are aware of the problem and starting to come to terms with paying for the solution. The best content here is the one centered around helping them evaluate their options. These include articles on comparisons between service providers, helpful tips, pricing guides, case studies, and even testimonials. These types of content can help nudge them toward a purchase.
BOTTOM OF THE FUNNEL
Prospects are fairly sure that they want to buy. Now they need extra convincing that you’re the right seller. You could run a paid ad targeted at them and offering exclusive discounts or bonuses. You could also publish content focused on use cases, unique benefit articles, best-product listicles, and the like. Some small business owners also favor webinars and podcasts since they are interactive and therefore more engaging.
- Tailored based on the content platform
The way you would write a blog post is not the way you would write a social media post. And while it is common practice to syndicate the same content across various social media platforms and other channels, it’s still important to tailor the content to fit the platform.
For example, when sharing a blog post link on Linkedin, it’s important to write an introductory post describing what the blog discusses. This intro post must be written as appropriate for the Linkedin community and contain the right hashtags and emoticons.
- Established objectives and goals
Every content marketing campaign should have a set of well-defined goals. Of course, your goals will differ, and so will the methods for achieving them.
For example, if you want to grow organic traffic, then you’ll need to know how to conduct proper keyword research with a focus on ranking for a particular search term or set of terms. Or perhaps you want to grow your email list. In order to acquire more email subscribers, you could focus on informational blog posts with a call to action (CTA) that invites readers to sign up for your mailing list.
Some of the most common goals set up for typical content marketing campaigns include:
- Improve site traffic
- Attract more first-time visitors
- Get more social shares
- Boost conversion rates
- Attract more targeted visitors
- Generate sign-ups for email outreach
- Increase domain authority through guest posts
- Trackable and measurable
With set goals comes the need to measure and tweak accordingly. There are many metrics you can track to stay on top of your goals. It’s easy to look at how many pieces of content you’ve published over a given period and feel like you’ve accomplished something. But it’s more important to be able to measure whether your content marketing efforts are yielding results.
Programs like Google Analytics can provide valuable insight into the performance of your content marketing strategy. In addition to your goals, you can also track important metrics like pave views, session duration, exit page(s), links clicked, among others.
This saves you from ill-informed decisions and the resulting waste of resources. If things aren’t going well, you can use the collated data to pinpoint exact areas that need fixing instead of poking around everything and run the risk of ruining something good in the process.
Related: How to use Google Analytics
8 actionable content marketing tips for more effective results now
Now that you know what goes into a winning strategy let’s look at some proven tips on how to optimize your content marketing efforts and position your small business for greater success.
1. Create an editorial calendar
An editorial calendar outlines your content marketing plan. It helps you keep track of your content creation and publication processes. It also enables you to stay on top of important things like link building, keyword optimizations, and other SEO-related activities. Some of the main things to track include:
- Who is responsible for each task or activity
- The type of content to publish
- A timeline for creating and publishing new content
- What promotional tactics to use for each content piece
There are many different kinds of project management tools and templates that you can use to set up your editorial calendar. All you need to do is modify it to fit your needs. Sometimes even a simple Microsoft Excel or Google Sheet will suffice and you can just create a template for there whenever you want to launch a new content marketing cycle.
2. Perfect your headline and CTA
This applies to all types of content, from blog posts to email marketing, even to infographics and videos. However, the headline and call to action are among the most important aspects of content marketing success.
Look at it this way. If your headline doesn’t sway people, chances are they wouldn’t bother with the rest of the content.
The headline should be relatable and juicy enough that the reader wants to keep reading; the CTA must be convincing enough that the reader wants to take action. One of the best ways to go about this is to tailor your headlines around what your target audience really wants.
Take a look at these headlines, for example:
- Lose weight with this program
- 5 proven steps to shred fat and achieve a healthy body in two months
As a reader, which of these headlines are you more likely to click on? Obviously, the second one.
Now, look at these CTA samples:
- Call us now
- Get in touch with us today to get started with a FREE weight loss consultation.
Again, the second option is more likely to prompt users to take action.
3. Focus on the value proposition
High-quality content is always centered around a unique value proposition. In other words, what’s in it for your audience? Why should they spend time reading your content or watching your videos? What do they get out of it?
Many small business owners, especially those in the eCommerce space, tend to focus on the features of their products or services over the actual benefits. The problem with this is that your audience doesn’t care much for features. Instead, they’re more interested in what your business can do for them and how it differs from what your competitors are offering.
That’s why audience research is integral to the success of any content marketing strategy. When you know who you’re addressing and what they want, it becomes easier to create the right content for them. Keep the content simple, relatable, and definitely use the right lingo. Not only will this improve engagement, but also your credibility and authority in the industry.
4. Use reader-friendly, skimmable formatting
The average online user is a skimmer. They don’t land on a page and begin reading line by line, let alone word by word. Instead, they skim the entire page, keeping an eye out for information relevant to their needs.
That’s why it’s important to format the content so that it is scannable and easily readable. Make proper use of the Bold, Italics, and Underline functions to draw attention to important areas on the page.
As much as possible, avoid large text blocks. Most people access the web using their mobile devices, and a large block of text is not conducive to read on a small screen. Sticking to bite-sized paragraphs and simple wording greatly improves the user experience.
5. Repurpose your content
There’s no rule that you have to publish new content all the time. However, you can save a lot of time and effort by repurposing evergreen content. If you regularly read articles from publications like Forbes, Entrepreneur, and HubSpot, you’ll notice some of the content is repurposed (updated as of …).
Your audience probably won’t notice if you use a quote from your blog post published a few months ago in a social media post. Infographics and videos can also be repurposed to suit various purposes. The important thing is that you’re repurposing relevant content.
6. Encourage user-generated content (UGC)
Another way to streamline your content marketing efforts is to get content from other users. This can be in the form of testimonials, reviews, and social media comments. UGC is a powerful marketing tool because it creates social proof, which is important for converting new customers.
Most people are not immediately trusting of your marketing messages, but when they learn about the experiences of other people who have interacted with your brand, they become more willing to listen to what you have to say.
UGC is a common practice in eCommerce since it is perceived as more honest and relatable. Business owners even offer discounts and rebates for customers who take a picture with the product and a glowing review.
7. Share and promote your content
It won’t matter how much quality content you publish if nobody sees it. Share your content across various platforms (emails, social media, community forums, webinars, etc.), wherever your target audience usually hangs out. This reinforces your marketing message and helps grow your audience.
Another great way to promote your content is through influencers. Many people think influencer marketing only works for product-based businesses, but the truth is every industry can benefit from influencers.
Besides, even if you were only doing influencer marketing to promote a product, the way you would present that product is still under content marketing. The wording, the tone, the visuals used — these are all part of content marketing.
8. Get the right expert for each type of content
A common practice among businesses is to hire a content writer to handle every aspect of content writing, whether it’s for a blog, website content, social media post, ad copy, or even video scripts. Some even require the writer to conduct keyword research and build backlinks. This is understandable considering many businesses don’t have the budget to hire a specialist for each type of content.
That being said, it’s important to remember that quality always trumps quantity in content writing and that this quality can only come from the right skill set and experience. For example, you can’t expect a blogger to be immediately proficient in writing ad copies. It’s like expecting a mechanical engineer to automatically be good at electrical engineering.
If you don’t have a big enough budget to accommodate other types of content, pick what you can afford and hire the right expert(s) to handle them. This is better than expecting someone to handle multiple roles and then ending up with mediocre content across the board.
There’s no business out there today that can survive without content marketing. And while it evolves every day, its core values remain the same — content marketing is always about your target audience, not your brand. The key to driving quality results with your content marketing campaign is understanding what your audience wants and then providing it for them.
Take advantage of these tips and level up your content marketing strategy.
If you need professional help with all these, B12 is the expert to call. In addition to providing an extensive lineup of online solutions, including AI web design, payments processing, and calendaring, we offer a number of digital marketing services like copywriting, blogging, and SEO. Talk to us today about your content marketing needs and let our experts position your brand for greater success.
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