Having worked with a lot of newer marketers as well as writers moving into content marketing roles, I’ve learned that there are subtle differences that separate a newbie from a more experienced content marketer.
For newer marketers or writers who are hoping to shift into more of a content marketing role, you’ll know that you’re getting there when the five things below become second nature.
Here are the 5 things that experienced content marketers do in their sleep:
Use strong visuals that play well in social media
Someone who’s checking the box of “post done, picture chosen”, often heads over to a stock photo site and chooses a picture that exactly communicates the message of the post. If it’s a post about email marketing, an image of an email or a person holding an envelope would likely be the type of image chosen.
More successful and experienced content marketers choose striking images that will stand out in social media (even in thumbnail format), that convey something bigger than just the “email” message, and will often add text to the image so that it reinforces the headline in very visual social media sites like Pinterest, Twitter or Facebook.
Use SEO-friendly keywords in titles (and in the post)
Good writers and content marketers both create compelling titles that draw in the reader. But when faced with a decision on whether to use “project manager” or “project management” in a title, do you just pick one? Or do you break out your favorite keyword tool and check search volumes? Do you consider using a third keyword so you get a longer tail keyword phrase like “agile project management”?
A successful content marketer knows how to use keyword tools, looks at search volumes, and understands how that choice may impact which keywords the post ranks for in Google. Note that the keyword you choose (and variations of it) should exist in the post as well.
Focus on content discovery (and actively look for ways to improve it)
The experienced content marketer knows that content discovery is one of the challenges of content marketing. Old blog posts or resources get buried and it takes proactive work to keep the valuable, evergreen ones available for discovery. Some strategies for enabling better discovery include putting them in the sidebar in a list (e.g. “popular posts”), sharing these posts regularly in social media, or putting links to them on related resource pages or summary posts for a certain topic. One thing that more successful content marketers proactively do is add links to older, relevant posts on any new post. This allows readers to get more details on that topic and it allows for more discovery of those old, valuable posts.
In addition, good content marketers will go through older posts and add links to newer posts on the same or similar topics. Remember that there is no single entrance to a website or blog, and that new visitors can come in through those old posts. In fact, you can check your website analytics to see which older posts get the most traffic and add links to newer posts now!
Mention people or companies featured in articles
Standby post types for many industry blogs include resource posts, reviews of content (like books, podcasts or presentations) or discussions of industry topics (including mentions of other companies). Better content marketers will @mention or tag relevant companies or people featured in those articles when posting to social media accounts such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Google+.
Sharing a post without adding relevant mentions is more of a checkbox activity. Yes, it went out. But mentioning the handles or accounts of relevant leaders, influencers or companies gives your content a much greater chance of being shared by them (to their often large audiences) and can also lead to backlinks or additional engagement with the people you mentioned.
Related Article: From Hello to Close: How Content Marketing Is The Salesman Evolved
Use relevant hashtags when sharing in social media
Similar to mentioning people, adding relevant hashtags is another way that good content marketers give their content more chances to be discovered. Search or keep your eyes open on Twitter to see what hashtags are being used for various topics related to your industry. Check relative volumes of them on sites like Hashtags.org.
You can use hashtags on Twitter, Intagram, Pinterest, Google+ and Facebook. For LinkedIn, posts written in LinkedIn Pulse allow “tags”, which can aid with that content being discovered there. So are you checking the box on social sharing or are you a content marketer - going the extra mile with hashtags (and @mentions)?
How are your content marketing instincts?
When you create content and share it in social media, do these things come instinctually? If not, take notice of how marketers you follow do these things and learn from them. Or better yet, make a list of these items and proactively do them with each new post. In time, they’ll become second nature.