Content Marketing Tips You Can Use Right Now
If you work in marketing, there’s a good chance at least some part of your job has to do with content marketing, the transformative approach to inbound marketing that allows brands to build trust and provide their ideal customers with value immediately. Effective content marketing has the power to introduce your brand to new audiences, to empower those audiences, and to build strong relationships that turn them into customers.
But where do you even start?
Content marketing is such a huge undertaking that it’s often tough to figure out how to take the first steps—or to make sure those first steps you’ve already taken are the right ones. We’ve collected our top 11 content marketing of all time and grouped them into four main buckets. Think of this as a content marketing guide with none of the fluff. Looking to get started in content marketing? To make sure your content is actually effective? That audiences share it? That they love it? Read on.
How Do You Do Content Marketing?
When launching a new content marketing initiative, it’s important to follow structures and plans that are proven to nurture your ideal customers towards a purchase decision. Those same plans can help you produce consistent, engaging content your audiences will truly appreciate.
1. Follow a proven content framework.
People who don’t work in marketing but approve marketing budgets often like to ask questions like, “Do blogs actually work?” It’s a simple question, but the answer is anything but. In truth, no one tactic in content marketing will “work” on its own; blogs are a foundational part of any content strategy, providing material to be used throughout the funnel. On their own, consistently published blogs can help a brand increase its visibility in search engine rankings, but that reach means nothing without other key pieces of content that can nurture customers towards a purchasing decision.
In order to do content marketing right, it’s critical to adopt a content framework that includes content at every stage of the buyer’s journey. Think of that journey as a funnel with three parts:
- Awareness: At the top of the funnel, customers are first becoming aware of your brand. They may have a problem that needs solved and their search for a solution has led them to your brand’s top-of-funnel content. This includes blog posts, your company’s website, and even outbound elements like paid advertisements.
- Consideration: However your customers enter your content funnel, you need to give them someplace else to go as they continue to consider the ways they might solve their problems and how your brand can help them. That means linking from blog posts to key pages of your website, like case studies or FAQ pages. That also means a place to sign up for your email list so they can receive more information and links to your social media pages, where they can follow and gain further insight.
- Decision: Finally, each piece of content in the above sections of the funnel needs to eventually point customers to the bottom of the funnel when they’re ready to make a decision. In the B2B world, that often means premium content and lead generation forms; by providing high-value pieces of content that solve real problems, you can turn anonymous audiences into sellable leads. If you’re working for a B2C brand, you might offer introductory discounts or sale prices to close the deal.
Before you actually write any content, make sure you have a content strategy that includes tactical pieces of content at every stage of the funnel so no matter where your audiences come from, they’ll always be able to find their way to the end easily.
2. Audit any marketing and sales materials your brand already has.
Even if your brand is starting from scratch with content marketing, you might not actually be starting from scratch. Many companies are sitting on a goldmine of advertising media, sales collateral, brochures, flyers, old digital content, and much more. Taking stock of what you have, what can be repurposed or used as-is in new content campaigns, and what needs to be completely replaced can give you some firm direction for your work.
3. Inventory your brand’s unique resources and subject matter experts.
Part of what makes content marketing so effective is the opportunity it gives your brand to show what you know. No matter your industry, your company is successful because you have experts leading the charge. Those experts will have experience and, perhaps more importantly, a unique perspective that can make your content stand out. Think about your job as a content marketer as being about getting those insights out of your internal subject matter experts’ heads and into a format that will resonate with audiences you want to reach.
As you begin a new content marketing campaign, take some time to make a short list of subject matter experts you can call on to provide insights. Remember, these people are busy doing their important work, so it’s not a good idea to expect them to write or produce content themselves. Rather, establish a good working relationship with these experts and be respectful of their time. Ask for quick interviews and come prepared with questions that will allow you to turn one 15-minute conversation into the basis of several pieces of content. If you do this right, you’ll find that your internal experts will welcome the occasional distraction to support your efforts.
Keep in mind that your experts might not be the only resource available to you that your competitors don’t have. Does your company collect data relevant to your industry? Does someone at your company subscribe to important industry publications you could use to source information? As you speak with subject matter experts, ask for resources that could help fuel your content creation efforts. You never know when you’ll find something they wouldn’t think to mention, but is immensely helpful.
4. Think strategically about the content marketing tools you’ll use.
There’s a tool for just about everything in content marketing. Generally speaking, content marketers rely on tools that help with analytics, consumer insights, cross-channel content scheduling and publishing, email marketing and automation, lead generation, graphic design, and more. The monthly bill for these tools can add up quickly, but it’s also easy to double-pay for functionality.
For example, if you find yourself using a wide variety of marketing tools that each have their own special focus, you might be better off finding a single tool like HubSpot that can handle the majority of what content marketers need. At the same time, it’s perfectly fine to focus on a few tools that work best for your unique situation.
Let’s say you have a great website and help from a vendor or an IT department that can make updates for you; don’t pay for content marketing software with features you don’t need like landing page builders and form embedding. Maybe you don’t have the time to manage posting on every social media channel manually, but a single scheduling tool can buy back a lot of your time for other work; look for a tool like Agorapulse or Hootsuite that can tie all of your social accounts together in one place.
What is Good Content Marketing?
How do you tell if your content marketing is actually moving the needle? It’s one thing to produce and publish content, but it’s another altogether to effectively analyze that content and make sure it’s doing what it’s supposed to do.
5. Focus on the right elements of analytics reports.
At the base level, you’ll want to understand which pieces of content your audiences actually like, which ones are the most popular, and which ones are the duds. A content marketer is always learning from analytics data to improve future content plans. And while what’s relevant to you might be different from what’s relevant to another marketer working for another brand, there are a few metrics that will always be relevant when evaluating the quality of your content:
- Average Time on Page: No matter the number of visits your content gets, the average time on page metric in analytics reports can be very telling. This figure tells you how much time your audience spends on a given piece of content on average. If you published a 2,500-word blog post and see that the average time on page is thirty seconds, you know your audience isn’t engaged with what you wrote. Think about how long it might take the average person to consume a piece of content and compare that to what you see in this number. The higher the time on page, the more likely it is that you’ve written content that resonates.
- Bounce Rate: A page’s bounce rate reflects the amount of its visitors who left without taking a further action. If a visitor doesn’t click on another link or fill out a form, they’re considered a “bounce.” Whatever they were looking for, they did not find it on your page. Target bounce rates can vary widely by industry, but the lower this number, the larger portion of your audience was compelled to see something else on your website.
6. Set realistic, attainable goals for your content marketing.
In addition to those general metrics, there are other measurements you can take on your content depending on the goals you have for it. For example, a large surge in traffic is a great sign if you’ve recently launched a new advertising campaign. But if your ultimate key performance indicator (KPI) is the number of leads you generate, all the traffic in the world is meaningless if none of it converts to a lead. Rather than setting blind goals for your content like a certain number of pageviews or email opens, think iteratively about your goals. Start with the goal to increase email open rates by 5%, then experiment with different subject line treatments to find the best way to achieve that goal.
What Type of Content Gets Shared Most?
The magic of content marketing can be found in the social nature of today’s internet. It’s critical to make sure your content is good—and that it’s eminently shareable. With each social media post share, each mention, each forward of an email, and each new set of eyes on your content, you extend your brand’s reach.
7. Establish cross-channel analytics to understand how your content works together.
Looking at your website analytics alone won’t give you a complete look at a typical customer’s journey through your content marketing funnels. Each social media post, email, and advertisement a user sees counts as a touch that nudges them further along towards becoming a lead. Prioritize marketing tools that can take every platform into consideration when reporting numbers like traffic, shares, and engagement.
8. Make your content as shareable as possible.
Consider this: Facebook video ads cost 10% of image or text-based ads. That’s no accident; Facebook knows its users prefer video content, and it has adjusted its platform to favor video over anything else. Video content gets 135% the reach that other forms of content get on that platform. The same can be said for engaging visual content like infographics over static text content; Facebook posts with images get three times the shares as plain text posts. Make visual and video content a part of every content marketing campaign to maximize organic reach.
9. Don’t be afraid of paid tactics in content marketing.
Content marketing is considered a form of inbound marketing because it’s designed to capture audiences when they’re looking for something—they come to you. This is opposed to inbound marketing like a billboard or radio ad, which brings you to them even when they aren’t necessarily looking for you. That said, paid advertising has a significant role to play in effective content marketing strategies. Case in point: Hootsuite found that on Facebook, the average organic reach of a business post is just over 5%. If you have a following of 1,000 on your brand’s page, you’ll likely only reach 50 of those followers without boosting your content.
A big factor in how high your brand’s blog posts and webpages show up in search results is the amount of traffic you receive. The more people come to your website, the more search engines trust that you are an authority that will provide real answers to users entering search queries. With that in mind, it’s important to do whatever you can to drive traffic to your new blog posts, both to increase the potential for conversion down the funnel, and to increase your domain’s overall authority with search engines. One of the most cost-effective ways to do this is to boost social media posts sharing links to your blog content with paid advertising. Be sure to build budget into your content marketing plans for these kinds of paid tactics to jumpstart traffic, increase social engagement, and improve your brand’s overall visibility online.
Content Creation Tips
For some content marketers, the toughest nut to crack is the content creation itself. A blank screen can be a daunting thing, but there are plenty of best practices any marketer can follow to produce engaging content in a variety of formats.
10. Longer content tends to perform better on search engines.
According to HubSpot data, blog posts that are 2,100-2,400 words in length perform the best on search engines. Not every piece of content you publish needs to be that long, but for those topics you are most interested in capturing traffic around, longer is better. Develop “pillars” of content that are 2,400 words or more in length, and then support those longer pieces with shorter supporting pieces of around 750 words.
11. Use outlines to make writing easier.
Much of the work of content writing happens before you actually start stringing words together to make a sentence. Start with your keyword research to find out the most important questions and topics to cover in a piece of content. Research other content written on the same subjects, and organize those keywords and questions into sections you’ll need to cover in your article. As you group sources and keywords together in sections, your content will quickly take shape—making the process of actually writing prose that much easier.
Transform Your Content Marketing with Online Marketing Tips from DemandJump
If we haven’t made it clear enough already, the best content marketing tips you can find are the ones hidden inside your brand’s data. With every piece of content you publish, with each individual who interacts with it, the picture of how effective your content marketing truly is begins to take shape. With DemandJump’s powerful content marketing platform, you can tap into those insights through cross-channel analytics and consumer insights that show you how your efforts stack up against your competitors—and what questions your best customers are asking online.
Take the guesswork out of content marketing analysis and ideation with a free trial of DemandJump today.