Content Marketing Done Right: What Works And What Doesn’t

Business.com / Marketing Strategy / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Content marketing can be such goldmine for your business. That is, if you're using it right. Here are tips to get on the right path.

Just like in most things, there is the “right way” of doing content marketing, and there is the wrong way that will have you spending thousands of dollars, while getting you very little to no results at all.

Of course, we want to make sure that you don’t experience the latter, right?

Allow me to share with you some of the most critical points that  you need to consider when using content marketing in order to get it right.

Related Article: A One-Minute Video Is Worth 1.8M Words: Content Marketing's Newest Weapon

Publish and Pray?

Content marketers that are worth their salt know that creating quality content is just the beginning. Taking the time and allotting resources to market the post with a clear strategy is equally as important.

Thinking along the lines of, "as long as I publish quality content, I'm sure the content will market itself," is a critical mistake that you should never make.

Do you know that there are about two million articles written every single day? With that much noise, do you still think that your content can market for itself? Not a chance.

There are several ways you can go about marketing your content, and one of my favorites is to send outreach messages to niche-related websites (preferably via email), and ask them to share or link to my content.

I published an article at Lyreka.com where I featured eight UK musicians, and their best songwriting tips. In addition to the musicians that are mentioned in the article, I contacted several others from the UK and asked them to share the article to show their support.

Of course, I simply didn’t ask them to share, I told them that if they’ll share the post, I will feature them on the next article (which I did).

The result? I’ve gotten quite a good number of shares, and have received inquiries from other musicians asking about our website.

Key Takeaway: Sending a carefully crafted outreach email template can make or break the success of your outreach strategy. To increase the chances of them accepting your request, include a “hook,” or a bait of some sort that would entice them to help you with what you need.

Are Your Content Ideas Worth Reading?

You may think that the topics you’re writing about are important to your audience; however, you need to ask yourself whether they’d agree with you on that (or not).

While there are several ways to ascertain whether your audience will love your article ideas, I specifically use Ahrefs to help me with that. They have an awesome tutorial video that would walk us through finding niche-specific popular posts, that we can use as a basis to determine whether our audience will love our content ideas.

After I’ve identified the most popular posts on a specific niche through Ahrefs’ Content Explorer tool, I will then either create a more in-depth spin-off, or use the skyscraper technique by combining several of the top posts.

In addition to using Ahrefs, I also use these other techniques to identify what content ideas my target audience would love to read about:

  • Niche related forums. I look for the “hot topics” and write about them.
  • Q&A sites like Quora. I look for the topics with a decent amount of “follows”.

The Length of Your Content

Let’s get one thing straight; there is no one-size-fits-all length that you should remember when creating a content for your marketing campaigns.

Instead of focusing on how long your content should be, I suggest that you focus on adding as much value to it. After all, at the end of the day, your readers won’t really care (much) about how long your content is, but rather, it is all about whether or not your content answers their questions, or if they get the information they need after reading your content.

However, while I am telling you that there is no across-the-board-figure when it comes to your content’s word count, I have to tell you that most of the webpages ranking number 1 on Google’s search engine are those with about 2000+ words.

What that tells us is that people (and search engines) love lengthy posts.

Here’s a good example (you’ll love this if you’re a fitness buff): if you’ll check out the blogs published at KillCliff.com, you’ll see how their posts are packed with expert advice, are lengthy, and have tons of actionable tips that their readers can get tons of value from.

Considering how most people browsing the web would rather find all of the information they're looking for on one page rather than looking for more than one resource, it’s pretty easy to understand why people love lengthy posts.

Related Article: Building Content Marketing's Most Valuable Tool: The Style Guide

Use the Skyscraper Technique

I’m not saying that using the skyscraper technique for your content marketing campaign is a must. There are certainly other types of content that you can use for your content marketing that can bring you amazing results (e.g. case studies, expert rounds-up, detailed how-to guides).

However, I’d like to specifically mention the skyscraper technique since Internet marketers tend to get consistent quality results from it when trying to acquire links, grow their monthly web visitors or getting more sales (among others).

This is especially true when they add an infographic in the mix. An article I read from GoldSecurity.com about DDoS attacks pretty much illustrates the case. I noticed that other reputable websites like softpedia.com are using their professionally made infographic and are linking to them as the source.

If you’re unfamiliar with what the Skyscraper technique, here's a breakdown. There three are the critical elements that make-up the skyscraper technique.

  • Finding content worth linking to.
  • Creating something that’s better than that content.
  • Reaching out to the right people and telling them about your skyscraper content, and ask them to share it.

If you’ll work through the points above, you’ll end up with content so epic and value-packed that the people will find linking to your content and sharing it irresistible.

Does Your Content Have Subheadings?

What makes subheadings very important is that it improves your content’s scannability and readability, despite how lengthy it is.

Can you imagine how a 2000+ words article will look like if it doesn’t have any subheadings or bullet points? Pretty overwhelming, huh?

Even if you limit the number of sentences in your paragraph to about 3 - 4 sentences (which is an awesome technique to follow as well), your content will still appear to be overwhelming. Of course, one of the best ways to solve this problem is to use subheadings.

This article from intellectsoft is a solid example of how your article’s readability can drastically improve with the use of subheadings and bullet points. Even if you’ll spend just a couple of seconds to browse through the entire content, you’ll have a pretty good idea of what the article’s main points are because you can see the subheadings.

Readers love scanning through subheadings, because they no longer have to guess whether or not your content has the information that they are looking for.

Share Once? Share Twice? Share Thrice?

You're probably worried about your audience thinking that you're spamming them, aren't you?

Well, I don’t blame you. That’s a totally legitimate concern that marketers and business owners should be careful of.

The thing is, when your audience starts to feel that you are spamming them (even when you’re not), one of the first things they do is become apprehensive to whatever it is that you send them. Sure, they might not necessarily unfollow or unsubscribe from you right then and there, but there is a very good chance that they will do so in the future.

What’s interesting, however, is that several studies have already been made on how many times you can share the same content on the same social media platform. If you’re wondering how many complaints these marketers have had after running their experiments, you’ll be surprised how they got very little, to no complaints at all.

Apparently, no one really cares or even notices if you share your content multiple times. And in rare occasions when someone notices, you can easily justify your actions by telling them how your audience logs in on different times, so you had to share the same content multiple times so your target audience won’t miss them.

Add a Clear Call-to-Action on Your Landing Page

Whether you’re looking for email sign-ups, setting appointments, or straight up selling to your web visitors; adding a clear call-to-action on your landing page is a proven and tested strategy to help you with just that.

So much so that even reputable brands, and people who optimize websites (for conversion) for a living never fail to apply this very simple yet highly effective strategy.

How AvilaWebFirm added their call-to-action on their homepage is a good example. Did you notice how visible their green “Free Consultation” button is?

In addition to simply adding your CTAs in your landing pages, you need to make them as visible as possible. You can do this by simply enlarging the button, or using a color that contrasts the rest of the page.

Quote Industry Experts Within Your Content - and Tell Them

Sharing what the industry experts have to say about the topic you’re writing about will only make your content look more legit and value packed.

Of course, that’s not the only benefit you can get from using this strategy.

After publishing your content, you need to contact the industry experts either via email, or social media (whichever platform they frequent on), and tell them how you added them in your post.

On the expert round-up that I published last month about providing stellar customer support, I did the same thing.

After having published the article, I then contacted everyone that I featured in the post with this message.

Hello _________,

I just want to let you know that the article has already been published.

(Add the URL here.)

I would surely appreciate it if you'll take 3 seconds of your time to share it in your community, or link to it on one of your posts.

Likewise, if you have a new post or piece of content that you would like us to share with our large audience, then we would certainly be happy to do that for you too.

Signature

I’d like it noted that I contacted these webmasters before even starting the article. I asked for their expert advice on the matter, and sent them email above after the post has been published.

Although this expert roundup didn’t get as much shares as I thought it would, I’d have to say that we’ve been getting a pretty decent amount of leads through this page.

Important note - you may not see immediate results once you publish the post, but for as long as your article is published out there in the web, it’ll continue to bring you more traffic and leads.

What’s Next?

Did you find value in points that I shared above?

Are there other tips that you’d like to share which you feel will drastically help our audience improve the results that they’ve been getting from content marketing? If you answered with a “yes”, then please share your ideas in the comments section below.

You can also check out the recent content marketing checklist that I published on my personal blog.

Image via ©alexskopje / Dollar Photo Club

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