We’ve all heard the mantra: Content is King!
But what exactly does it mean? What are the business benefits of Content Marketing and where exactly do you start?
We’ll let’s start with what not to do.
The fundamental mistake that most businesses make is to create content for content’s sake. Maybe they’ve heard that businesses that create content on a regular basis get better rankings and get more traffic.
These days anyone can easily churn out blog post after blog post, create dozens of podcasts, or draw up an infographic, and upload them to their website.
But creating content without a planned, predictable approach can at best mean you are wasting your time and at worst it can distract large amounts of a valuable resource from where it is needed; growing your business.
Related Article: 9 Awesome Ingredients for Content Marketing Success
What You’ll Discover in This Article
- How to identify Influencers who will help promote your content for you.
- How to build relationships with these influencers.
- Which types of content are proven to work for more traffic.
- What to do once your content is live.
Great Content + Great Outreach = Success
When it comes to creating content the “if you build it, they will come” approach just doesn't cut it. You could write the most in-depth blog post or create the most insightful podcast known to your industry but if no one sees or hears it, you’ve wasted your precious time.
Instead of creating content and hoping against hope that you’ll get “discovered” like some talented singer doing karaoke in a dive bar you need to hustle to ensure your content gets seen.
In a nutshell, don’t just hope to get found. Make it happen.
The best way to make it happen is through Outreach. This is where you build genuine relationships with others within your industry. This includes audience members and consumers as well as other non-competing content creators who share your target audience, and even the big-name superstars within your niche, as well.
The key word to notice in the preceding paragraph is genuine. The last thing you want is to ruin your chances by coming across as spammy. If it’s clear to your audience that your main purpose is to sell your product or service, you’re going to turn them off your brand completely.
You want to show that your goal is not just to promote your brand but to help your audience. As an expert, you speak with authority and they will respond to the knowledge that you are providing for free.
Here's a suggested outreach strategy. Don't feel you need to follow it slavishly. As you get better at creating content and performing outreach you'll see what works best for you:
1. Follow Influencers’ Blogs and Social Media Feeds:
Following others within your niche on their blogs and social media pages is akin to planting a seed in their minds. They likely have hundreds, perhaps thousands, of other followers, but they’ll surely get a notification when you start following them, putting your name in their mind for at least a moment in time.
2. Interact and Communicate with Influencers:
Once you’ve planted the seed, you’ll want to reach out to those you’ve connected with. You might choose to simply retweet a message from their feed, or share a blog post of theirs on your own feed. Or, you could choose to be more personable and leave a comment on a post you found especially interesting. Most diligent bloggers will respond to your post with at least a simple “thank you,” but many will respond with a much more in-depth and personal message.
3. Pitch Your Ideas:
When pitching content ideas to other influencers within your niche, your ideas should be unique, thematic, and useful. Make sure your article topic hasn’t been visited in-depth before on the influencer’s blog. Try to make sure your pitch runs with a theme that’s currently trending on the influencer’s blog.
One of the best ways to do this is to check out recent posts and find areas in which you’d like to expand or reflect upon, or otherwise, respond to in some way. Lastly, it’s not enough to simply be informational, you have to provide actionable advice, as well. If your audience leaves your article with new information, but no idea what to do with it, your words will quickly be forgotten.
Types of Content That Are Proven to Work
How boring would the Internet be if there was only one type of content for marketers to use? If the only way to spread information was through, say, blog posts? Eventually, we’d all get tired of reading post after post from all of our favorite brands (and probably shut off our computers and go outside for once).
As a content marketer, you don’t want this to happen. You want your audience and customers to come back day after day to see what’s new and exciting within your niche.
For this reason, you need to mix it up when it comes to content creation. Luckily for you, there are a ton of intriguing ways you can present information to your audience. The following is just a sample of the type of content you should be creating:
1. Ultimate Guides
Ultimate Guides (also known as definitive guides) are long form pieces which dive deep into a specific topic. The goal of a definitive guide is to provide as much information to your audience as possible regarding the topic at hand be it plumbing, baseball, or visiting Venezuela. Creating an ultimate guide is a great way to position yourself as a true expert within your niche.
A Roundup is a curated list of articles published by other giants within your industry. They just involve a roundup of dozens of blog posts featuring new information and trends within your niche. Roundup articles show that you are dedicated to staying up-to-date with what’s hot in your industry, and it also pays tribute to the other dedicated individuals within your niche.
Another form of Roundup is the Expert Roundup where you involve the experts up front and get them to contribute their expertise on a particular question. This is a great way for you to develop your relationship with them because most people are happy to answer your questions.
Ok, they've been done to death, but a good infographic is still a great form of content. They appeal to visual learners and those who simply don’t have the time to read through an entire blog post to find the information they need.
Infographics do away with verbosity, getting down to the specifics immediately. They often report statistics in the form of charts, graphs, and percentages, and make such information noticeable and readily available for those just doing a quick scroll-through.
The trick with infographics is to make one or two main headlines and use up to a dozen points maximum to support your argument. Any more than that and you risk diluting your infographic or at worst making it a jumble of statistics.
Just created some great, in-depth written content? Great, why not convert it into a short video or audio to compliment it. It doesn't need to be a 60-minute epic, just a short two or three-minute summary condensing the main points. Or maybe you sell products and you can just jump on the back of the unboxing phenomenon.
Don't think that they necessarily need loads of expensive equipment or lighting. These days mobile phones have incredible cameras in them and it can be a quick selfie-type video.
The takeaway here is that different audiences like to consume their content in different ways so you can cast a wider net when it comes to content.
After Content Creation
After you’ve created your content, you still have work to do in order to actually get it seen. This includes optimizing it for search engine visibility, repurposing content for various audiences, and promoting it manually.
If you’re still hoping that your content will simply “get discovered,” search engine optimization is your best bet. While it isn’t the end-all, be-all of content marketing, without a proper SEO plan you’ll absolutely miss out on potential leads.
Since there’s so much to discuss in terms of SEO tactics, we couldn’t possibly dive into them within this article. Just know that everything that goes into your content counts toward getting your content noticed by Google and other search engines. This includes everything from keywords used to metatags, URLs, and internal and external links within articles.
As search engines get smarter, you have to be on the cutting edge of these advances if you want to rank as high as your competitors in your niche.
2. Repurposing Content
We’ve gone through just some of the content types you should be offering your audience, and how they sometimes go hand-in-hand with each other (such as with podcasts and blog posts). We’ve also mentioned that some content works better for specific audiences (such as podcasts working best for audience members who don’t have time to read full blog posts).
Think about that for a second. Say you create a blog post that gets an overwhelmingly positive response from your audience. Even though the content was seen as valuable, it may not have reached those who only have time to check out an infographic, or can only listen to a podcast.
You should always offer your best content in as many formats as possible. In doing so, you ensure each area of your customer base is getting the same information, and that nobody misses anything that could have been of value to them.
Related Article: Content Is King In 2016: The Year Evergreen Content Will Explode
3. Promote Your Content
Once your content goes live, you need to work to get it noticed. Based on everything we’ve discussed so far, this should be fairly obvious.
As with creating content, you want to promote it in various ways, as well. Post links on social media. Share updates with your mailing list. Promote posts in the comments sections of others within your industry (in a tasteful way, remember).
Position your content not as promotional material for your brand, but as information that will help further the cause of your industry as a whole.
Finally, don’t just promote your new content once and move on. Create a calendar detailing when you’ll share each piece of content you’ve created over time. As with all things content marketing, don’t go about this haphazardly.
Figure out times throughout the months and year in which specific content is most relevant, and allow your audience to revisit it.
Content is only king if it continues to be relevant as time goes on.
Creating content is increasingly important. But if you are to get the most benefit from content marketing then you need to focus as much on promoting your content as you do on creating.
Identifying influencers and developing mutually beneficial relationships is at the heart of this approach. You can use tried and tested content formats such as Ultimate Guides, Roundups, and Infographics to get started.
Once your content is ready you need to work hard at promoting it and don’t forget to repurpose it. Creating content takes time and just by presenting it in a different format you can squeeze every last ounce of content juice from it.