July 13, 2021
6 Top Content Marketing Tips
Content marketing as a concept has grown enormously in popularity recently.
Although the term is relatively new, content marketing has been a staple of corporate marketing practices for decades. In this article we will review seven content marketing tips for producing a strategy and supporting tactics to help guide your efforts.
What is Content Marketing?
The purpose of content marketing is to establish credibility, build trust with a target market, and simultaneously move prospects toward a desired action. Typically considered a long-term marketing strategy, content marketing is relevant at each stage of the marketing funnel and can be used for lead acquisition, lead nurturing and customer retention or advocacy initiatives. Some companies execute such a well-planned and effective content marketing plan that customers return for their products and content with similar passion and interest.
While it’s often planned, executed and measured as a standalone strategy, content marketing is actually the engine that feeds essentially all other marketing channels.
Here are a few simple examples of how content marketing supports other tactics:
- Email marketing is still a common and highly effective marketing channel if used effectively. However, for most companies, email is only one of many channels and it’s a fairly limited medium. In most cases, email marketing is how content gets delivered to a set of customers or prospects. If the content doesn’t resonate or isn’t pertinent to the audience, it may seem like email is the wrong channel when bad content is the real culprit.
- Social media platforms are all about the creation, curation, discovery and sharing of…content! The most successful brands (regardless of their platforms) have mastered the process of monitoring, understanding and responding to topics of interest to their audience in a variety of content forms.
- Blogging is still one of the best ways to acquire organic traffic. It’s become much harder to outsmart organic search results as Google continually seeks to reward the most authoritative, expert and trusted content it can find. Accordingly, blogging is still one of the most effective content marketing tactics.
Each of the examples above demonstrates how content marketing supports specific delivery channels and will ultimately determine the level of success achieved through those mediums. Getting the desired results out of content marketing will be easier if you apply basic principles to help guide your planning, execution, and KPI reporting.
Here are the 6 Top Content Marketing Tips and how to make the most of them.
Tip 1 | Develop a Content Marketing Plan
Content marketing is no different than any other marketing efforts that require detailed planning, budgeting and oversight to ensure performance metrics are met.
Your content marketing plan should address at least the following areas:
- High-level content marketing goals
- Which channels (e.g., website, email, social media, syndication networks, etc.) will be used and why
- Budget allocated to content marketing efforts
- What resources are needed to create content assets
- Detailed content calendar to guide the production process
- Personas of your target market, including where and how they consume content
- How to repurpose content across all relevant channels for optimal efficiency
Tip 2 | Align Content Marketing to Your Funnel
Content can and should be used throughout the marketing funnel to support broader marketing goals.
Your organization’s marketing funnel should inform key decisions about content planning and reporting. Most content marketers have three distinct sections to their funnels: awareness, consideration and decision. However, these sections each require an intentional, sequential and logical progression of content that educates prospective customers and moves them toward the next desired action.
Pair specific content with buyer intent, too. For example, buyers who are merely seeking information will favor content that is highly educational and unbiased. However, buyers with transactional intent might be specifically comparing your brand to a competitor’s or investing specific product features. Buyer intent is a key component of creating content that actually converts.
Tip 3 | Measure Your Results
Without a map and desired destination you won’t know where you’re going or when you’ve arrived.
Set specific goals for our content efforts and ensure that the goals are realistic and in accordance with the type of content you’re producing. For example, not every piece of content will drive traffic to your website or result in direct conversions. A simple report structure that’s regularly updated will help you understand what’s working, where to invest, and what’s causing people to take notice and maintain their interest over time.
Here are just a few of the metrics to consider tracking against goals:
- Organic traffic acquisition
- Direct traffic from content publishing platforms
- Social metrics: likes, shares, views
- Keyword rankings on specific topics
- Email engagement: opens, clicks
- Conversions: total leads generated
Tip 4 | Content Marketing Needs Base Hits
Not every piece of content will be a home run. In fact, the most reputable content marketers admit that only 1 in every 10 attempts might reach the intended audience size.
This ratio is quite a bit worse for highly competitive topics where seasoned marketers are continuously honing, editing and refining their content for maximum performance.
Don’t let a series of underperforming content pieces get you off-track, especially since virality alone does not produce sales or lasting brand recognition. Remember that your goal might be as simple as earning downloads from your email audience to move them down the funnel, not getting 2 million views on YouTube. Conversely, if you do hit a grand slam, be sure you understand why and then develop a plan to keep that content updated and relevant.
If your goals are clear and your content marketing plan is based on reliable research, focus on consistency and the results will appear.
Tip 5 | Consistency is Key
While you should try to keep people wanting more, you also need to give them the “more” they crave!
Even the best content marketers will suffer audience attrition if they stop publishing new material. People continue returning precisely because they want more of the same content. Your content marketing plan and calendar should outline a consistent production and distribution schedule.
Tip 6 | Quality over Quantity
Content marketing perfectly embodies the principle of quality over quantity. As the tools for creating, promoting and distributing content become cheaper and more powerful, the playing field for content marketers has flattened with surprising speed.
It’s now possible for small businesses to look and sound almost as good as their biggest competitors. This also means that any space where attention can be earned or bought has become utterly flooded with C-grade content.
Because marketing channels across all industries have become saturated with content, consumers are increasingly selective and opinionated about the type of content that they prefer. While the proliferation of mediocre marketing activities has drowned out the voices of companies that are just doing enough to get by, those who invest in exceptional content can earn a significant share of their market’s attention and respect. One of the hallmarks of good content is originality. Disingenuous, lackadaisical or downright phony content comes in many forms (e.g., poorly placed sponsored content on platforms that are supposed to be unbiased), but your customers and leads are getting better at finding it and tuning it out. Developing a reputation for high-quality, thoughtful content is an excellent way of reinforcing other brand standards and the overall impression of being a market-leader or trendsetter. Exercising discretion that favors quality will not go unnoticed by customers, and it can be a significant factor in driving brand preference over time.