Content marketing is an essential aspect of any business’s marketing efforts if it hopes to make a serious impact that will eventually lead to conversions with more sales. This is especially true as traditional marketing becomes less and less effective as the years go on. Content marketing is a massive endeavor, however, that can take quite a bit of effort in order for it to lead to worthwhile returns. To make sure your content marketing efforts aren’t wasted, it’s important to learn how to make your content stand out. Here’s everything you need to know about content marketing.
What Is Content Marketing?
To begin with, it’s important to know exactly what content marketing is. Put simply, content marketing is a form of marketing in which consistently reliable and valuable content is distributed to your audience in an effort to drive a particular customer action in accordance with your overall marketing plan. The idea is that this content will lead to members of your audience or potential customers becoming more informed not only about relevant topics they’re concerned about but also about how your particular goods and/or services can help solve their problems.
It’s important to remember that content marketing is distinct from other similar forms of marketing like native advertising, branded content and product marketing. Content marketing specifically refers to creating content that is useful and informative for your audience rather than merely content that’s sponsored or disguised as a news story. Even when content marketing is designed to push a specific product, the information that the content contains should still be useful apart from the product itself.
How Does Content Marketing Help?
At its core, content marketing is designed to help with three major aspects of your business. First, it should ultimately lead to increased sales. Second, it should offer overall cost savings. Finally, it should help attract better customers with more loyalty to your brand. Quality content marketing will enhance all three of these aspects for your company simultaneously, if not always directly. After all, it can take a while before you see cost savings, but that should ultimately be accomplished.
Think of content marketing as a one-size-fits-all solution for every customer in your target audience regardless of where they are in the sales funnel. The information that content marketing offers will always be useful and valuable, and building trust with your audience is never not helpful. Additionally, content marketing isn’t hidden by browsing tools like ad blockers. In most cases, your content will be something that users will actively seek out.
Considering that the vast majority of customers use the internet to find information, you’ll want your content to come up first in their search results. That’s why content marketing serves as an excellent companion to your search engine optimization efforts. More people will come across your brand when you rank higher in searches, and content marketing adds the value that search engines are looking for to your site. Even with sponsored search results, the top of the organic results list will always be the most trusted source because most people are savvy enough these days to recognize the difference between actual results and an ad.
The Importance of Evergreen Content
When you think of evergreen content, you may conjure up images of a holiday tree or any other kind of pine or fir that retains its vibrant green coloring all year long. Evergreen content functions much the same, as it’s meant to have perpetual life rather than shedding its relevance over time. Put simply, evergreen content on your site is content that is sustainable and lasting to the point where it will always be useful.
Content that merely exists forever doesn’t qualify as evergreen. Usefulness and value are the most important factors to keep in mind when crafting evergreen content. This kind of content should continuously draw traffic to your site for the foreseeable future, so it’s not content about news items, statistics or current trends. Instead, evergreen content includes articles like how-to tutorials, product reviews, lists and top tips. While these article types aren’t always evergreen, evergreen content is almost always these types of articles. Keep in mind, however, that evergreen content shouldn’t be the only kind of content you develop.
Types of Content Marketing
When you’re looking to develop content for your marketing efforts, there are quite a few different types you can explore. Only by mixing and matching several types can you find success in your overall content marketing efforts. Just make sure you don’t go all-in on a type of content marketing that functions better as supplementary material rather than primary content.
The most common type of content marketing is blog posting. If your brand doesn’t have a blog, you’ll want to develop one right away. Blogs can contain a wide variety of content on their own, with plenty of ways to draw more traffic to your site. A blog is where most of your evergreen content will be. You just need to make sure your blog is consistent in terms of an upload schedule and quality of content.
You may also want to consider different kinds of content such as infographics and e-books. Content marketing is ultimately meant to convey useful information to your audience to help build trust with your brand. A 500- or 1,000-word blog post can do that just fine, but an infographic can make dense information easier to absorb.
Publishing an e-book can take information to the next level by combining all the value of several blog posts and infographics together in a singular, easily accessible source. Depending on your cost/value assessment, you can even offer the e-book for free, as the trust you’ll build with customers will more than offset the cost of development.
Developing Engaging Content
There are several strategies available when it comes to developing engaging content, and you’ll likely have to implement quite a few if you want to create successful content that will actually drive traffic to your site and end up increasing sales and trust in your brand. Remember, it’s always essential to strategize beforehand to ensure you get as much as you can from your efforts.
Before you start writing, you’ll have to come up with a topic. While virtually anything is allowed, the literal title of your blog or any other kind of content can have a massive impact on its effectiveness. For example, if the title of your blog is a question, it will likely get more clicks, as people often use search engines for questions more than anything else.
Even if your title isn’t a question, it can still lead to quite a few conversions if it uses particular adjectives. Typically, these are adjectives that are less common among other sites, so check out what your competition is doing and try some different words, even if you’re writing about the same topic. Don’t, however, consult a thesaurus for synonyms that may not be very common. You still want your title to rate high on search engines, so restrict yourself to using adjectives people will recognize and relate to.
Knowing how to make the ultimate title won’t mean much if you can’t come up with a topic in the first place. While there are plenty of topics that your audience will be interested in, it’s not uncommon for brands to simply run out of ideas at times. Fortunately, you’re not on your own during the struggle. You can consult other members of your company for answers. Your support team will know what customers struggle with the most, while your sales team will know what people want to know most about your brand before becoming a customer.
In addition to turning to your own company for ideas, you can also turn to your audience at large. While directly asking for blog topic suggestions doesn’t really go over well, you can be a bit sneaky about it. You can simply ask members of your audience what they need help with via social media, email lists or blog comments, among others. Sometimes you’ll get irrelevant and nonsense answers, but other times you’ll get answers that translate well into blog topics.
Another major aspect of creating content is search engine optimization. Remember that your SEO efforts must be simultaneously robust and invisible to the average reader. No one likes to find a blog that’s so transparently stuffed with keywords that it reads horribly. Besides, keyword stuffing doesn’t increase search engine rankings anymore anyways. Instead, you’ll want to implement keywords about once every 500 words in any piece of content. Don’t be afraid to use keyword variations as well if it fits better with your content.
Getting the Most Out of Your Content
Once your content is written and published, you then have to work on marketing your marketing content. This is known as promotion, and it’s what you should spend most of your time doing. In fact, about 80% of your time with any given piece of content marketing should be spent promoting it, while 20% of the time is spent creating it. There are quite a few ways you can quickly promote your content, and it’s generally best to hit as many methods as you can with each piece of content you create depending on relevance and function.
First, you can send your content to your email list. This won’t take long, especially if you’ve automated your email marketing process. Then, you can post about it on social media in a scheduled post. Additionally, you can email anyone you directly mentioned in the article. For example, if you mentioned another brand’s service or strategy in an article, you can email that brand directly to let them know that you’ve given them a shout-out. Syndicating content works as well, but that takes quite a bit of time as you’ll have to develop relationships with entities like Medium and LinkedIn. Finally, you’ll want to create some graphics that are easy to share on social media that represent your content’s value.
After the initial promotion, you can let content sit for a while, but that doesn’t mean it needs to fade into obscurity. In addition to writing evergreen content, you can also repurpose content you’ve already created to put it back into the forefront of your marketing efforts. For example, imagine you run a heating, ventilating and air conditioning business and you wrote several blogs awhile ago about ductless air conditioners. You can take the information from those old blogs and use it to create a new blog that covers everything a customer may need to know about ductless AC.
You can repurpose far more than just blog posts. If you have an extensive image gallery, you may want to repurpose information into an infographic. Additionally, you can turn any previously hosted webinar into a video that anyone can watch rather than restricting the effort to only people who attended the webinar live. You can also use old blog posts to create an e-book, which is a format that a lot of people prefer over blogs, rather than writing an entire e-book from scratch.
The podcast world is growing increasingly popular as well, so you may want to turn some of your old blog posts into podcast episodes. Just remember to edit the wording a bit to make it sound more conversational. Don’t worry if you don’t have the voice for it either. With the amount of outreach you can accomplish with a podcast, it can be worth it to hire someone with a better voice to read a script for you.
Enhance Your Content Marketing With M16 Marketing
If you’re looking to take your content marketing to the next level, these tips are only the beginning. Help from the experts at M16 Marketing can go a long way toward turning your marketing efforts into actual conversions thanks to newfound brand loyalty. We have an entire team of content creators, SEO experts and marketing strategists that we’ll put to work for you. Contact us today to learn more about everything we can offer!