Category Archives: content marketing tips

5 Elements of GREAT Content Marketing that Stands Out From the Crowd

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content marketing pro trying to make her content stand out in a crowd

Make your content stand out in the crowd

There are so many benefits of content marketing, and it seems almost every business—small and large—is pumping out content, both visual and text, both good and bad.  If you’re one of those businesses, or want to be, one of the biggest challenges is to make your content stand out from the crowd—to produce good content that is as good, or better, than the best.

So how do you produce quality content?  What qualifies as “good” content marketing that people want to click on, and search engines want to deliver on the search engine results page (SERP)?  While you can find dozens of articles with complex explanations, here is the recipe for a solid content marketing strategy in straightforward terms that you can use to produce solid content.

Plan

You wouldn’t go on a road trip without a GPS or map, would you?  Use that same attitude when approaching your content marketing trip.  Before you start, plan out your trip: who you’re writing to, what they want, and how you can drive them to your goal.

This is where a one-size-fits-all approach won’t work (and an approach that too many businesses take).  Instead, customize your content, in the voice you use, choice of headlines, and the topics you cover, to your audience for optimal results.

Research

This comes in two forms: relevancy for your target audience (who you’re writing for) and the search engines.  What does your audience want?  What problems do they need to solve?  What entertains them?  Remember you’re trying to reach your audience and not turn them off, so try to avoid creating content that sounds like a blaring radio advertisement (at least not all them time).  If you can reach the first group with good content, the secondary audience (search engines) follows—if you write about relevant topics and use significant keywords and images.

Don’t get us wrong; we’re not telling you to stuff your content full of keywords.  Keyword stuffing can get your website penalized.  Instead, ask yourself what your audience wants to know and what relevant keywords your audience would use.  This is a fine art (writing relevant, optimized content); you can’t write so much for search engines that you turn off your primary audience and vice versa.  There’s no shame or blame in outsourcing this skill to the pros; companies often use marketing agencies for all their content or supplementary content that complements their marketing efforts.

Timing

A strong content marketing plan is built with relevant content published on a regular basis.  This is where many content writers go wrong; they plan an ambitious calendar of posts but don’t keep up with regular, relevant content.  You can find evidence of this on company blogs throughout the internet: blogs started with regular content, then abandoned because of a lack of time and knowledge (if the latter is true, it’s time to consider outsourcing your content marketing).

We’ve seen this firsthand as well; some of our clients started blogs with good intentions, but couldn’t keep up or wrote sales-focused posts that didn’t yield results.  At a loss for time and expertise, they contacted us to continue their content marketing efforts.  Now, they contact us on a regular basis with information about their customers, business, and sales cycle—and reap the benefits of regular, relevant content.

Images

Content marketing without an image or video is only half a full content marketing effort; statistics have consistently shown that content marketing promotion without images and video perform worse than blog and social media posts with.  Simply put, you’re not putting all the ammunition in your content marketing cannon.

To clarify, your video and images don’t always need to be taken by a professional photographer; when appropriate, a video taken on your phone or a candid snapshot can give your content marketing an advantage.  These images (again, if appropriate for your brand) can give you the opportunity to tell a story and establish yourself as an authority/professional in your field.

Promotion

Good content that isn’t promoted is like a really good secret that no one can hear—and is not going to get your company results.  Ensure that your content is sharable, mobile-friendly, and part of a good content promotion plan.  The last step of any solid content marketing plan is to promote your content (more about content promotion here), coordinate it into your digital marketing plan, and integrate your online and offline marketing.

What makes a good, quality blog post?

blog at center of targetMarketers throw the term “good, quality content” around in content marketing conversations and articles because it’s the center of a solid online marketing strategy—and flippantly, like it’s the easiest thing to achieve (you just write a great post, right? ha!).  Most often, that content is written for a blog, one of the most common content marketing tactics in online marketing today.  But what actually classifies a blog post as good, quality content?

This is where we issue a disclaimer: there is no hard-and-fast rule for a great blog post.  Just as everyone is looking for a different version of the “perfect house,” when house hunting, the same goes for a blog post.  That being said, there are some basic elements that should be included in every good, quality blog post.

Relevant Subject

Start every blog post with a subject and a goal—and know that both might change as you write.  That’s fine as long as you write a post with purpose.  Choose a subject that fits your target audience; for good content marketing ideas, use common questions from your customers, hot industry topics, calendar or seasonal ideas, or related search engine query phrases (we’ve given you a few content marketing ideas in a recent post).

With regards to search engines, a good blog post with keyword phrases is worth its weight in gold.  However, keep your posts human-focused, not keyword-focused.  The days of keyword stuffing are over; the top search engine optimization experts deliver optimized content for humans and search engines.  Don’t hesitate to use their expertise to get quality content for your blog—and to keep getting quality content on a regular basis (the key to content marketing success); we’ve said it before: there’s no shame or blame in outsourcing.

Strong Headline

A strong headline grabs your readers’ attention (higher click through rates!) and a good intro keeps them reading. A good headline draws a reader into the post and is TRUTHFUL. Avoid click bait headlines; you may see an increase in traffic, but you’ll also see an increase in bounce rates. Good headlines include questions (How can I fix this?), lists (5 Ways to fix your problem), or strong words (5 Horrible Mistakes You’re Making Fixing Your Problem).

(Good) Images

We never publish a blog post without an image, and there’s a good reason why.  Images enhance a blog post, giving the piece an essential visual element and breaking up a big block of text.  When choosing a good image, be selective; your image should be high quality, relevant, and free to use (no stealing…you can’t use just any image you find on the internet).  Note the first criteria listed: high quality.  The days of posting a blog post with a sub-par image are over.

“Teacher-Approved” Content Your Audience Can Read

Write a blog post your high school English teacher can be proud of: with proper grammar, perfect spelling, and correct sentence structure.  Any mistakes or typos are an instant turn-off to readers.  Don’t just write; edit and re-edit until your blog post is ready to be published error-free.

Call to Action

Once your audience is done reading, what do you want them to do?  Make this crystal clear when you write, and realize that the answer is not always “buy our product!!!”  A call to action can be “for more information…,” “get regular updates,” or “learn more…”  The goal of content marketing is to build trust.  You’re not going to build trust if every blog post is a screaming, high pressure sales pitch.

Share Buttons

What good is a quality blog post if it can’t be shared?  Make it easy for your audience to share your blog post via social media and email—and that you set a strong promotion plan so your content is read.  After all, you don’t want to write a good, quality blog post only to have it end up like the proverbial tree in the forest that fell with no one around to hear it.