Content marketing has been growing exponentially in popularity and there are now over 500 million blogs on the Internet (1.6 billion websites, but only half a billion identify as blogs). As with any great marketing channel, content marketing has become saturated and is less effective in 2019 than it was ten years ago.
So should we just give up now? Well, if you don’t leverage content marketing you will not only be missing out on a lot of leads, but you will also be swallowed up by the competition that knows how to leverage it effectively.
Even though the days of content mills are long gone, there are other, much more valuable ways to leverage content marketing. We are going to give you some insider tips that not only prove that content marketing still works, but that it continues to be one of the strongest strategies to drive conversions.
If you’re running your own online store, then you know that having a blog is critically important for generating traffic to your store. A blog significantly improves search rankings and gives you a chance to connect with more customers.
But what if you’re not an amazing writer? And what if you don’t know what to blog about?
Don’t worry. The first blog post is always the hardest. That’s why we collected examples of different kinds of posts for your inspiration.
Take a look, and consider writing to tell your story, announce a sale, or give a guide to your products today.
How do you come up with content marketing ideas?
Good content marketing will result in loyalty and trust from an audience you want. Once you have that, more good content gives you strong customer relationships, increased profits, and an engaged subscriber base.
Content marketing extends past the actual content to cover the content marketing strategy. You have to consider things like:
- Distribution tactics
- Defining your target audience
- Budgeting time, manpower, and money for projects
- Getting the resources to create what you want to create, like editing or design programs
Just to name a few. Content marketing is an equal partnership of content and distribution of that content, all towards a common goal.
Content marketing takes a lot of work, and a huge part of that is coming up with actual content marketing ideas.
So…how the heck do you do that?
As content marketers, we not only have to come up with ideas but keep coming up with them—so here are 6 things to help you keep the creative rivers flowing:
- Look at your analytics
- Know your audience
- Ask the audience
- Use research tools
- Keep up with marketing trends
- Learn from other content marketing veterans
Right now, I want to call attention to number 6. Because there are some really smart people who can help you come up with great content marketing ideas.
Even Picasso was inspired by others. As he famously said:
“Good artists copy, great artists steal”
Obviously, don’t steal ideas. But DO get inspired by great content marketing.
For example, one thing I struggle with is writing headlines. A great blog headline needs to:
- Be intriguing enough to get someone reading
- Be clear enough (so they know what they’re reading about)
- Be SEO-friendly, and look good to Google
Write Relevant and Actionable Content
In order to be a great marketer and business owner, you must first understand your customer. Regardless of the niche you are in, you should know your customer’s problems and pain points like the back of your hand.
And to truly develop a piece of content around your customer’s pain point, make sure that it is actionable. Are you giving them the specific steps and tools they need? Could you take this piece of content and replicate the steps? If you don’t think you could carry out the advice in the article, you haven’t finished it yet.
Develop Content Marketing Goals
A shocking statistic from a study done by CoSchedule shows that 26% of marketers don’t even have a marketing goal. Of those that do, only about half are meeting their goals fairly often.
Offer FREE Value through Your Content
Do you know what most of today’s consumers want? They want to hear the word “free.” Think about how many of your friends like to brag about the great bargain they just got. The same goes for your customers. While most marketers and brands are asking for money in return, you can offer free tools and high-quality information to build your brand.
Use Content to Drive Leads into Your Sales Funnel
Content marketing is one of the most crucial aspects of a sales funnel. From pulling customers into that initial stage with specific content pieces to getting them to click the “buy” button on the sales page, content is everything.
Start by creating amazing content that drives awareness, whether that is a video, blog post or infographic. Within this content, make sure that you are enticing the reader to move into the next stage of the funnel. This could be by asking for an email address before providing access to gated content. Continue to be aware of how your prospect is feeling at each stage in your marketing funnel and adjust your copy to reflect that:
Keep in Mind that Longer Content Perform Better
Longer content gets more attention from both Google and people:
You’ve probably heard this before, but what you might not have heard is that higher rankings also increase conversion rates. A study on Quicksprout showed that when they A/B testing landing pages, the longer ones not only performed better, but also had more qualified leads.
So why does long form content work better? More often than not, a blog post of around 2,500 words will:
- Capture attention and offer more relevant information
- Incorporate more keywords and SEO optimization
- Develop authority of the website that published it
Understand Your Target Audience (and Buyer Persona)
Any marketing campaign, whether it’s content marketing, social marketing or search engine marketing, needs to be directed towards a specific target audience. Although you may wish that every single person in the world was your ideal customer, that’s rarely the case. Make sure that you understand whom you’re creating content for – and figure that out before trying to sell anything.
Gain Authority Links with Guest Posting
Guest posting is an amazing way to get more people familiar with your brand. Think about it. If your friend Bill introduces you to his friend Sally, you’re no longer a complete stranger to Sally. She will probably make a lot of positive assumptions about you based solely on the fact that you are Bill’s friend.
Guest posting works in a similar way. You get to tap into the host blog’s whole new network and promote your brand. If they have a strong and loyal following, you should get a pretty good ROI. This is a super easy and cheap way to get lots of prequalified eyes to your website.
Offer Exclusive Content to Your Email List
With an ROI of 4,400%, email is still one of the most powerful marketing channels that you should be leveraging, because the people on your list are already your fan.
If you aren’t already offering exclusive content to your subscribers, you’re missing out. People love to feel special and when you tell them that only they (the subscribers) are going to receive the “best of the best” information, they’re more likely to opt in.
If you want to take it up another level, try segmenting your emails. A study done by Campaign Institute showed that segmented campaigns produced a 760% increase in revenue. That added level of personalization goes a long way.
Make Social Sharing on Your Blog Easy
This is one of the easiest hacks to implement. Add visually attractive (and prominently placed) social sharing buttons throughout your website pages and blog posts. Use an easy, one-click sharing button, because if it’s time-consuming or otherwise difficult, nobody will use it.
Update Old Content
Speaking of optimizing your older posts…. In this rapidly changing industry, a year or two is all it takes for your content to become outdated. Or it might be ranking for keywords that you were not initially targeting. Rather than going through the hassle of writing an entirely new post, a better idea is to just update it. That way you don’t lose any SEO juice on the original URL.
Updating older, well-performing content involves:
- Performing some research to see what has changed on the topic
- Rewriting parts of the article to reflect these updates
- Citing new, authoritative sources
- Making sure that all the links are working (and updated – generally you don’t want to link to a source that is more than a 1-2 years old)
- Replacing any obviously outdated images
- Refreshing the intro and conclusion
How do you know which blog posts to update? You should conduct a thorough content audit on an annual basis to discover any insights into your blog and content marketing strategy. Click the link below to learn how to do this.
Pay a Lot of Attention to Your Keyword Research
Keyword research is super important. The better you rank for specific keywords, the better you’ll perform in the SERPs. I’d say that this is one of the most common mistakes that marketers make: they neglect the keyword research process. It’s not that they don’t do it, but they’re not really finding the best possible combinations of keywords for their purpose.
Choosing the right keywords can attract the right audience, which could propel your content marketing strategy into the largest driver of new customers for your business.
Educate Instead of Trying to Sell
Content can be considered a selling machine – indirectly. However, if your content marketing strategy includes free content (blog posts, newsletters, social media posts), you should have a clear purpose for this content. I’d say that the perfect goal would be to bring the prospect from point A (not interested) to point B (very interested) to doing something/getting a problem solved (become a customer).
And the best way to do this is: only once you’ve educated your prospect should you start to suggest your service or product.
Pay Attention to the Analytics
Analytics matter a lot. A content marketing campaign is actually dependent on statistics, as you’ll always want to optimize and eventually scale your efforts.
The reason why you should be looking at analytics is because you need to see where people are dropping off in your sales funnel. Unless there is a technical error with the site, you will want to A/B test the copy. You can even track it right in Google Analytics:
More often than not, you’ll find patterns and “winning” content, and soon enough you’ll know what works and what doesn’t so that you can double down on what does work.
Leverage Data to Optimize Your Content
Data collection is huge today. Every company is trying to acquire leads. Most will ask for your name, email, phone number, gender, favorite food, high school locker combination, etc., in order to create a description of you (called a buyer persona) and deliver the best possible products, services or advertisements for their audience.
Doing this will increase your sales because you won’t just be pushing products at everyone on the web; you’ll be able to target specific people with specific offers, making it more probable that you will get the sale.
And you should do exactly the same thing with your content: use the information your target audience shares with you to better satisfy their needs and problems.
Use Conversational and Simple Language
Exceptional content is never complicated. Most people don’t get excited about reading a textbook, but they do get excited about having a conversation with a friend. Write with a conversational tone, not a monotone.
This is also a great opportunity for you to leverage your brand by creating a unique voice. If you’re a funky startup, you can “chat” with your readers and use casual jargon. If you’re an accounting firm, you’ll want to sound professional, but you can make the topic more palatable with cool examples and easy-to-understand language.
Engage with Your Prospects as Much as Possible
Think of it like a friendship. The more you talk, the stronger the relationship becomes. How frequently are you connecting with your prospects and customers? Once a week? Once a year?
Your content is a great tool that can serve you well in this regard. While writing articles, for example, or when recording videos, address your audience directly. Use the second person (“you,” “your”) and ask them a lot of questions. Encourage them to deliver their answers in the comments, through an email, or on your brand’s Facebook page (and be sure to respond quickly!).
Note: If you do ask for comments (as you should!) YouTube doesn’t like for you to actually say the words “leave a comment below” or make it otherwise obvious that you are asking them to comment. Instead make it more natural by saying something like “let me know what you think of…”
Offer Strong Calls-to-Action (CTAs)
CTAs are essential. People generally don’t do stuff unless you tell them to. So next time you want to them to like your social media page, ask them for a page like. When you need more subscribers, create a strong call-to-action that encourages sign-ups. The trick to an effective CTA button is to inform the user what’s in it for them:
Most people also don’t realize that you can A/B test your CTA. Here are a couple factors that will change the CTR of your CTA:
- Value Prop
Understand Which Traffic Channels Are Worth It
Your content is usually not worth posting everywhere. For example, it might not be worth it for an e-commerce store that sells women’s shoes to be posting on Medium. Some traffic channels will be hard to leverage, so it’s much wiser to focus your energy on the platforms that bring increased results.
To get an idea as to where you should start, look at the channels that your competitors are using. If they are investing money into those channels, guess what? They work!
You need to test, test and test again. Figure out which channels work best for your brand/product and then double down on them.
Keep Up with the Marketplace
The digital environment changes practically every day and the speed of progress is phenomenal. That is why it is so easy for online marketers to fall behind: they get stuck with something that used to work while ignoring the reality of a growing and changing market. As technology and techniques advance, the marketplace will inevitably fluctuate.
Your role as a content marketer is to pay attention to what’s going on and be one step ahead of your audience so that you can inform them. Figure out what the latest marketplace rules, trends, disasters, technologies and topics are and pay attention to them!
Content marketing works. That’s why so many people are using it today. The key to ensure that it continues to work is by leveraging new and innovative tactics like setting clearer content marketing goals and A/B testing various content. Stepping away from the content mill and into a customer-focused strategy is how you will make content marketing work.
For more great tips & tricks just send me a message or comment below..