2017 Content Marketing Guide

2017 Content Marketing Guide

Content Marketing Guide 2015

For an online business, your content is everything.

Content is KING! Likely the phrase you’ve heard time and time again.

When we discuss search engine optimization, you hear a lot about content, but content isn’t just an SEO strategy.

Content marketing is vital to the success of your business. Great content can equal success, bad content can lead to failure.

Content marketing brings huge opportunities as content is at the center of the digital marketing world. Content marketing is used for organic search, email marketing, paid search and beyond. Our content is a part of all your marketing campaigns.

One of the most important keys to developing a content marketing strategy is to make sure your content is carefully planned. You have marketing channels that you rely on, some more than others.

Your goal with content marketing shouldn’t be to perform high on a given set of channels. Rather, it should be to develop a content marketing strategy that works on ALL channels and a strategy that succeeds on such platforms.

(1) Research And Analysis

One of the very first orders of business for any content marketing is researching and analyzing how you can solve your consumer’s problems and concerns with your product or service. This will help you generate topic ideas and subjects that you can focus on to give your audience the answer they seek. This also allows you the opportunity to get to the main points that will lead a consumer to ultimately choose your product or services. And that my friend is everyone’s goal.

Your company should think about issues that would lead someone to buy your service or product. Once you know these issues, you can begin delivering answers and solutions. This should be a vocal point of the research process. Find the key issues, plan how you’d address those issues and then develop your content marketing plan to provide solutions.

(2) Competition In The Content Marketing Landscape

One of the biggest issues with content marketing that any company will face is competition. It doesn’t matter what market or niche you operate in, you’ll always have competition fighting to share the “already crowded” digital world. There’s no escaping it. Think about how your consumer behaves. They see countless options, they see similiar services, similar products. What makes the difference to the consumer? It could be several things. Your goal is to find the answer.

Here’s the thing about competition in the digital marketing market, it’s highly competitive. Do you know how much content is published daily? You’re talking about millions of pages. That’s a lot of noise. How will your company break through the noise? How will you reach your target audience among the crowd? While great content gives you a good start, it’s only a portion of the battle. The real struggle is reaching your audience and making sure they see and get your message. And that’s where so many brands fail.

(3) Content Marketing 101

A lot of brands using content marketing feel that getting their content out there to a multitude of channels is enough to succeed. B2B marketing uses those same marketing channels to reach their audience. They deliver countless pages talking about their products and services. They shed the most positive light on their products and services. Many companies feel this is enough, but this is a common content marketing mistake. Content alone is not enough to get readers to your content. Great content serves no purpose if your audience can’t find it. As you can see below, B2B content marketing uses a wide range of tactics to reach buyers.

Content Marketing Channels

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The solution? Content marketing is effective when you can find the right marketing programs and channels to deliver your content to your audience.

(4) Content Marketing Channels

When we talk about content marketing programs and channels, there’s a vast range of incredible sources that companies and brands can target.

Social Media

One of the most commonly used content marketing channels in this age is social media. There’s dozens of social media platforms online that have millions of users. And these are just some of the top tier social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. There’s hundreds more that are mid-tier social platforms and these can be effective too.

One of the keys to content marketing on social media is finding the right social platform for your business. It all depends on the type of audience you’re targeting in your content. For business professionals, you may see more success on LinkedIn than compared to Twitter. Photographers would likely see more success on Pinterest or Instagram because of the way these two social platforms portray pictures.

Organic Search

Organic search is another content marketing channel available to companies. While organic search is highly competitive in most markets, the value in ranking for keywords is priceless. This is why SEO is so competitive as thousands of companies compete against one another to rank first page on the internet’s most largest search engines. Purely based on conversions alone, organic search is often the most converting type of traffic to target.

The key to building organic search and SEO rankings is content. Learning how to use best SEO practices for your content and the structure of your content is helpful. There’s believed to be over 200 different SEO ranking factors, many of them pertaining to on-page SEO and content.

Paid Search

Paid search is also a content marketing channel that can help you get results. With paid search, you want to ensure that you’re getting ROI, money back for your investment. Different brands rate ROI differently. The key is determining a proper value for your efforts. If we are using Google Ads to drive traffic to a piece of content offering one of our products, we want to know (A) how many sales are a result of our paid advertising (B) total cost of our paid search campaign.

Google continues to be the most widely used paid search company in the world. Google Adwords is the name of their paid search program. With Google Adwords, you can choose a small selection of different paid search approaches. Some advertisers may find the best results with Google’s Search Display while others may choose retargeting for their paid search. There’s a lot of different factors that must be met before you should consider using a paid network

Business Partners And Associates

One of the most important keys to content marketing and online marketing in general is building meaningful relationships with others. This is a crucial step not only in content marketing but ALL forms of online marketing. The more online business relationships you can build, the better. Take the time to connect with influencers of your market and niche. Be genuine with your communications, feedback, concerns and suggestions.

Having business partners and resources can help you kick your content marketing campaigns into high gear. You can use these resources to share content, share links, share strategies, share case studies, collaborate and so much more. And you never know, these are the types of relationships that bring on bigger and better things, the sky is the virtual limit. You never know when you’ll need to go to your resource list for help. Connect with others and make it work. Often, we find that these types of relationships benefit both parties.

Email

Email list can be great for driving rich high quality traffic to your website. Nearly all companies can benefit from an email list. And most often than not, if people are willing to take the time to give you their personal information, than you likely have a high quality list. Email marketing is one of the most effective ways to drive traffic to a website. And in terms of conversions, email often ranks 2nd just behind organic search.

Before you can send out email blast to an audience, you have to build your email list. Now, there’s a number of different strategies that content marketers use to build email list. Website forms are one of the most common methods, asking you to join for content updates, a free download, a free gift, an ebook or some other type of small promotion. You can also test different methods to determine which content delivers the most subscribers.

Content Marketing Strategies

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(5) Find What Types Of Content Work

Another key component of content marketing is finding the right type of content to cover. Taking the time to research how past articles performed through the use of Google Analytics and other tools will help give you insight to the type of content topics that work with your audience. You can also test different types of content to see the results. Some brands make look to ask their audience what they want to see.

There’s a number of different types of content that you can consider to promote. One of the most common is blog post. Typically, we think of blog post as short articles covering a topic. For companies, this could be a particular service or product. In-depth articles is another content type. Exactly as described, this type of content is often detailed and long.

Other long types of content include guides and case studies. Not only is longer content favored in ranking higher, both guides and case studies are great link bait. Having the ability to create engaging content for your audience and content that others will link to is vital for organic search results. Guides and cast studies are often detailed and full of useful content to readers.

Videos and podcast are great for directly engaging your audience, one visually and one through audio. We’ve seen it through social media and multiple case studies, consumers respond to visual elements more than regular content. You can use videos alone or you can place them in content. This is also a useful way to add SEO value to a page. Podcast have become very popular over the years, yet another way to deliver your message to an audience.

Infographics are another option that you have for content. Infographics have become very popular over the years and many brands take advantage of that very fact. They provide visual appeal and a visual way to connect with your audience. And pointing back to organic search yet again, infographics are also great link bait. And when domains build backlinks to a specific page, that pages increases organic value and SEO rankings.

Emails are great for reaching your audience and have been for years. Email marketing is considered to be the second most effective method of creating conversions, only 2nd to organic search. I always suggest building an email list because they are pure gold. This is one of the best ways to create traffic to your website, to your landing pages, products and services.

Webinars have become really useful to companies and brings engagement with the consumer to new levels. Webinars give you the opportunity to deliver your content to a specific audience interested in the service or product. Webinars are commonly used in training as well.

(6) Content Should Keep Your Audience Coming Back For More

Your content marketing program needs to have an everlasting affect on your audience. If you don’t make that connection with your audience, your content marketing program will fail. Not only do you want to make a great impression with all new readers, you want to make an impression on them that keeps them coming back for more.

Content Marketing Audience

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(7) Quit Looking For The Biggest Audience

Another common mistake that many brands make is looking for a big audience. I get the thinking behind it, let’s get our content in front of 100K. But in all reality, it’s a mistake. Rather, the focus shouldn’t be quantity but quality. It’s all about getting your content marketing in front of the right audience, in front of the consumers that will buy your product or service.

It’s easy to believe that the biggest audience would make sense. Targeting the platforms and outlets that have established traffic and a lot of it. This is a great technique, but only when the audience is that of your market. If your target consumers are on a specific website with established traffic, that’s fine. But thinking about content marketing on a platform that doesn’t relate to your services or products, that’s a mistake.

(8) It’s Ok To Try New Things – Greatness Awaits

For many of us in business, we like routine. If it’s not broke, why fix it, right? Rolling with what works, nothing wrong with it. If I’m running my content marketing campaign and we’re seeing a constant 20 percent increase in sales, I’m going to keep trucking on. As I said, nothing wrong with it. Knowing what work and what will get results is priceless.

While we like the “if it’s not broke, why fix it” policy, we also know the importance of trying new things, bringing new ideas and strategies to the table. It’s ok to try new things. Often, this is where some of the greatest inventions have come from, the greatest marketing slogans of all-time have come when companies stepped away from the norm and tried new things. You may just be surprised at what you find and how great you can be.

When I think of big brands that are the definition of marketing, I always think of Coca-Cola. For decades, the brand has been superior over Pepsi and continues to reinvent the brand to appeal to the audience of today. Think about the simple idea of putting names on the bottles. Simple, easy but pure genius!! Who doesn’t want a Coke with their name on it? Brilliant content marketing, look at the brand awareness and popularity from this campaign alone. Coca-Cola tried something new but simple and hit a homerun.

(9) Standing Out In The Crowd

We discussed all the competition you face on a regular basis earlier in this content marketing guide. Competition is everywhere, i doesn’t matter what niche or market. You’re always going to have someone that wants what you have. I prefer it this way —- right? Who doesn’t enjoy a little competition? What you have to figure out is how you and your brand can stand out in the crowd.

We’ve discussed a lot of different aspects of content marketing. Remember what I said about content marketing and having the ability to be a game changes. You have to find your audience. Once you do, your content is going to determine if you have a paying customer or not. How can your brand be different from company XYZ? How can you be the solution to customers? Know your products and services like the back of your hand. Understand what your audience wants and why.

Content Marketing Among Social Channels

Image Source: Thinkpragmatic

(10) Effective Content Marketing For Your Audience

Take a moment to think about how technology has changed the buying process. Decades ago, television and commercials were a big influence on buyers. Today, the landscape has did a 180. Technology has made buying simple but you still have to connect with your audience. Sure, customers read about your products and services. They know all the features, they know all the benefits.

If you are buying from a specific brand, you trust that company. If you didn’t trust the company, products and services, would you buy from them? Likely not. It’s great to cover all the benefits and services that your company offers. But your consumers want to read more about the brands they buy from.

(11) Use Your Content To Persuade Customers

Using your content to persuade an audience is a common content marketing technique. The biggest mistake concerning this is the fact that most of the content generated is hyped BS. Useful helpful content is enough to persuade a buyer to purchase your product or service. You don’t want to make it to good to be true though. You know the old saying, “if it sounds too good to be true, it is.

This type of thinking and action comes along with a variety of benefits. If you focus on writing quality content that the user will find helpful, you’ll build trust with your consumers, even when they are not interested in purchasing your products or services. Loyalty and trust play big roles in the buying process. Even if they don’t buy now, you create future customers by doing so.

(12) Creating Inspiring And Engaging Content

While you have a multitude of content marketing channels at your disposal, the battle begins on paper. Everything that you do with content marketing reflects back on the type of content you’re creating. Your content should be useful, engaging and inspiring. While the ground work certainly starts here, it’s how well you manage all your content marketing strategies that will determine if you succeed or fail. Big brands like Coca-Cola, Red Bull and Apple have been successful because they create high quality content day in and day out.

You goal should be to become the best solution and answer to your consumer’s needs.

Building Trust in Your Brand

(13) Create A FAQ To Build Trust And Answer Questions

In content marketing and B2B marketing,  a rockstar FAQ page can be a benefit.

Also known as Frequently Asked Questions, this page should cover any questions or answers that relate to our product or service. Take the time to write down common questions that may be asked. Even better, go in good detail so your potential customers fully understand the answers you give.

Another benefit to this page is that it can be picked up by search engines. You can never go wrong with a solid FAQ page.

There’s a lot of different ways to build trust with your audience. Ask you audience to help.

  • Endorsements
  • Reviews
  • Testimonials
  • Social Proof

(14) Building Your Brand Through Content Marketing

We’ve discussed a lot of different things in this content marketing guide that pertains to all businesses and markets. When done correctly, content marketing is a great way to build brand awareness. Effective content marketing strategies take time to develop and implement. But you can’t think short-term or short-term ROI. Content takes time to develop, needs time to age and you need patience to learn what content marketing channels work and which don’t.

Content marketing is a long-term investment that can help your business grow for years to come, even decades.

Content marketing allows us to interact and engage customers on a whole new level. Content marketing allows us to engage customers via websites, blogs and social media. It opens the doors of opportunity and is one of the most effective online marketing strategies in the world. It’s no wonder that billion dollar companies and Fortune 500 companies invest in content marketing and there’s been plenty of success stories from major corporations.

The better you understand your audience and what they want and need, the better off you’ll be. With growing numbers of companies moving toward content marketing strategies and planning, there’s more competition than ever. But if you take the tips and experience I’ve shared in this content marketing guide with you, you’ll have those same opportunities to not only grow your brand, but you’ll prosper.