A freight train. We’ve been around for, well, awhile (20+ years) and we’ve seen marketing on the internet develop and evolve. It’s not a slow process; many online marketing tactics have progressed at an amazing rate (look at social media!)—truly at the speed of a freight train. Content marketing is not immune from the rat race; creating content for marketing has evolved from blogging and producing short content to blogging with a few images to producing multiple types of content strategically that get results. Through it all, the principles of content marketing that get results have not changed—and neither have the “don’ts” that sabotage content marketing results.
Do make a plan.
Content marketing is not a tactic for the faint of heart. While writing a few blog posts or creating a series of graphics may get you short-term results, strategic content that follows a plan with written goals gets continual long-term results. Depending on your goals and tactics, content marketing can gain leads, raise awareness, and drive leads. Before the process of producing content is initiated, make a plan with clear goals, a target audience, and a schedule that follows your sales cycle.
Don’t steal from other sites.
The rules on plagiarism haven’t changed since school. It was wrong to copy other people’s work—even part of an article or work—-and it’s still wrong to duplicate text found on other websites. Beyond an ethical reason, duplicate content can prompt penalties from search engines that can take a significant amount of time to recover from.
Do know who you’re writing for.
A connection with a prospective customer is a valuable asset in your content marketing plan. That link with readers and viewers is not achievable if the content is produced without knowing the target readers. When drafting a content marketing plan, research the ideal target audience (i.e. gender, age group, interests, etc.) and include content ideas relevant to the reader.
Don’t take a “sell, sell, sell!” approach.
Even if the goal of content marketing is lead generation, not every piece of content produced should sound like a walking advertisement. People are surrounded by advertisements screaming at them on a regular basis; create a content calendar with approximately 20-30% produced with a strong selling message. Instead, produce content marketing that solves the reader’s problem and entertains them. Include clear call-to-actions and links directing readers to easy-to-use landing and contact us pages for optimal results.
Do answer customer questions.
Internet users search the internet regularly looking for answers to their problems. Answer them. Include sales staff into the production process on a regular basis. Ask them for frequently asked questions that customers ask often. Once the answer is produced, makes the sales team aware of the content so the content can be utilized on social media, blogs, e-mails, and communications with prospective customers.
Don’t miss a post.
Regular posts on web pages, social media, and blogs are an essential to content marketing success. Sporadic posts do not reach the audience on a regular basis and can negatively impact campaign results. Create a schedule of regular posts and stick to it. Use social media automation tools like Hootsuite or Buffer to efficiently use time and post when the target audience is online. Assign content to a staff member with clear deadlines or outsource the task to a quality content marketing firm that can supplement or manage a comprehensive content marketing plan.
Do post with an image or video.
Numerous studies have shown that blog and social media posts perform better with videos or images. Take those studies to heart; produce videos and images and include them strategically in the content marketing plan.
Don’t hesitate to outsource.
An ambitious content marketing plan is a list of steps: brainstorming topics, writing, creating graphics and video, optimizing for search engines. All of those steps need to be accomplished by the assigned deadline. There is no shame or blame in outsourcing all of part of those efforts; a content marketing firm can produce high-quality, optimized content that meets deadlines. When choosing a content marketing firm, use these tips to ensure that the end result is high-quality content that is optimized for search engines and plays an integral part in accomplishing content marketing goals.
Do use your content.
Content marketing pieces are not and should not be produced in a vacuum. Push it in personalized e-mails to customers (e-mail marketing or via sales staff). Promote it on social media. Use it in online advertising. There are many different tactics for using content, all of which should be utilized and executed.