The most influential leaders in the industry will agree, 2014 was a big year for content marketing. More companies are shifting away from traditional advertising campaigns and looking for more effective and authentic ways to connect with their customers. As 2015 quickly approaches, consider the following resolutions to help improve your marketing efforts and jumpstart another great year filled with awesome content and boost business.
Develop a Marketing Strategy That Includes a Content Calendar
Today, the leading websites offer more than just information about your company, contact information, and your product offerings. They provide resources for solving customer problems and post new, engaging content to keep their audience coming back for more. But even after the initial boom of content marketing, HubSpot reported that 56% of survey respondents said they still did not have a content marketing strategy in place.
A great editorial calendar should plan a company’s content strategy a year in advance, every piece of content that the organization intends to publish, including not only the date of launch but the steps included in meeting those goals. The content strategist or team should frequently review the calendar and make improvements based on results, manage current projects, and brainstorm new ideas.
Spend More Time Researching Your Audience’s Needs
Consistently producing useful content will establish your company as an industry leader, and offers information or help to the audience. A smart content marketing strategy begins with understanding what the customer needs rather than what you want to offer them.
When developing a content marketing strategy, it’s vital to first create content that answer your audience’s questions. People ask questions about all kinds of things on nearly every topic imaginable, and as you analyze what people are asking, you can spot trends.
Before making a purchase or selecting a service, people ask questions and diligently research before making a choice. These questions can reveal some very distinct trends and help you generate a long list of content ideas. The first step in creating useful content that will attract visitors is establishing what your target audience is asking.
By searching for questions that include your targeted keywords, you can discover what people are asking about. If you find a common theme, you can create content that answers those questions. You can even title your content in the form of the very question people are asking. This gives your content the best chance to be found in the SERPs when someone types that question.
Start Optimizing Content for Mobile
About four out of every five people in the world now have a mobile phone. Think about it, that includes the poorest people on earth, and the vast majority can’t go a single day without their phone.
A little less than half of Americans say they can’t even go a few hours without checking their mobile phones. One in four people check their phone every 30 minutes, which is a lot of checking when you consider how many mobile phones are in the world. It is projected that the number of active cell phones will reach 7.3 billion by 2015, which is actually more phones than there are people on the planet.
Today, mobile devices can access the internet from anywhere in the world, which has made them the go-to tool for just about everything online.Be sure to create content that is not only going to generate traffic to your pages, but is also readable on mobile devises and easily shared from mobile platforms.
On Facebook, people share images more than any other kind of content. Photos on Facebook receive 53% more likes, 104% more comments, and 84% more click-through rates than the average post. With mobile, your company’s graphics or behind the scenes photos often hold even more merit in your follower’s feed. This form of content is great for user engagement, but keep in mind these details, if you want your images on mobile to get shared:
- Are your fonts and text easy to read?
- Is the photo the correct size?
- Will it be visually pleasing?
To optimize for mobile, evaluate the content your audience actually engages with, and respond with stuff that they can digest easily.Content gets shared on mobile devices today more than ever before, and the trend shows no signs of slowing down. Depending on your market, you could miss a huge untapped audience if your content is not optimized and distributed for mobile users.
Leverage More Social Media Channels for Content Promotion
Even though Facebook and Twitter are arguably the most popular of the social networks, diversification is a huge trend in this modern marketing landscape. Depending on the audience you're targeting, being active on a single network is simply not enough. According to The Content Marketing Institute, the most successful B2B marketers are active on an average of 7 networks.
Companies and content marketers need to start taking social media seriously, and become active in the various social networks related to the audience in their industry. Brands that can build a following by being genuinely interesting and posting engaging, entertaining, and relevant content create far more opportunities for themselves to sell to consumers.
By leveraging social media interactions, you can circulate your content and put your brand in front of potential customers or new audiences. Promotion is the work of announcing what you have to offer and ensuring that it gets distributed to the people that you want to see it.
Every business will have a unique approach to how it promotes content, based on the industry and customer profiles. Decide on what kinds of social media are most relevant to your industry. There are a number of possibilities to choose from, including: blogging, commenting on blogs, participating in discussion groups, and posting status updates on social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn!
Look closely at your competition’s activity in social media and ask the following questions:
- What channels are they using?
- How many friends do they have on Facebook?
- How many followers do they have on Twitter?
- Are they working in blogs and forums? (If not, why?)
- Are there any niche forums out there with audiences that might be interested in your work?
Start Reusing and Distributing that Awesome Content
The difference between promotion and distribution is that promotion is all about generating a buzz around your content and distribution is a matter of finding a lot of different ways to get your content to appear in the search results. Spending time researching and discovering different channels that will allow your company to distribute ideas and claim even more real estate online.
Distribution channels create more opportunities to deliver content to potential customers and to possibly include a link back to your products and services. To maximize your ability to distribute your content, diversify or repurpose it so that you can reach a variety of new channels.
For example: LinkedIn, the popular social network for business professionals allows you to post new content on your profile. Share your great content among industry leaders and tap into their audience for maximum exposure.
When repurposing blog posts or outdated articles, make sure that the URL’s included in the post are still working and up to date. Any referenced statistics or images should be updated in order to provide the most value to the readers. And most importantly, ensure that the talking points or industry insights are still relevant for the readers in your field.
Continuously Measure Your Content Marketing Progress
You can’t measure success until you’ve defined it. In order to start tracking the success of content (and guide future efforts) you need a content marketing strategy with specific objectives. By implementing objectives or goals, you’ll be able to determine what makes great content within your industry. Your team can then make the necessary adjustments along the way to improve an effective formula.
With any marketing strategy, accurately measuring and tracking efforts against targets and goals is essential in proving ROI. Content marketing is no different; when specific goals are set in place, the measurement of different metrics will be easier to track – making your content marketing strategy more effective.
Though there are many different tools available to measure the value of your content; most website owners utilize Google Analytics to effectively measure their content’s success. This tool offers a huge amount of useful data, but it can be difficult to choose which metrics to track.
Whatever your marketing goals– from measuring overall traffic and time-on-page to conversions, referral traffic and more – Google Analytics provides a robust amount of information that can be used to measure content marketing success. And obviously, tracking your Conversion goals will be the most important metric as that shows how much of that traffic or downloads lead to a sale.
Through this continuous measurement, you can focus on the kinds of content that have generally worked for you and your competitors. With these analytics, you have the ability to adapt your content marketing strategy toward success and not waste time producing content that doesn’t have a chance.
Brad Kuenn is a Content Writer, Editor and Strategist living in Nashville, Tennessee, and he provides research, content topics, writing, editing, and content development expertise to clients. He has a passion for writing as well as art, which shines through in his work. His creativity and attention to detail makes him a valuable asset for a wide range of clients. During his time off he enjoys spending time with his wife, family, and his two dogs Brutus and Kane.
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