Whether your current content marketing campaign is based off tons of research and planning or you've just taken a stab at what you think needs to be done, there are a few key signals that you're heading in the wrong direction. Don't ignore these five warning signs that might be trying to tell you that you're off to a rocky start.
Have You Run Out of Interesting Blog Title Ideas?
The content you create has a huge impact on the future success of your business: it effects everything from how prospects and customers perceive your company and how easily they are able to find you through organic searches to how interested will be in interacting with you on social media.
Use These SEO Content Tips to Make Your Content More Fit for Human Consumption
When people interact with a customer service team that sounds scripted and the solutions seem one-size-fits-all, they feel alienated and lose interest in doing more business with that company. The same is true for content marketing. If your content looks like it was rolled fresh out of a machine, with little thought towards the individuals who will read it, people will look somewhere else for solutions to their problems.
Has Your Business Gone Through B2B Buyer Persona Development?
A buyer persona is a hypothetical profile of a real person who buys from a business or influences the buying process. These profiles include basic information about a person such as gender, age, income, marital status, and professional goals. When used effectively, buyer personas help a company in numerous ways. Here are five important reasons that your business should take the time for B2B buyer persona development for your service or product.
Walt Disney has been hailed as a technological genius. His forward thinking in the entertainment industry revolutionized the trade and in many ways still has profound effects in today's entertainment world.
Although Disney has been gone for many years, his company is still at the forefront of technological evolution. Yet, it was his marketing genius that set him and his company apart from everybody else. You would be well served to apply some of Walt Disney's business ideas to your content marketing campaign.
It All Started with a Mouse, and Marketing
Walt Disney dreamed up Mickey Mouse and was on his way. Disney's acumen with technology is legendary but none of his success would have been possible without his marketing ingenuity. If he had not been able to fill up movie theaters, theme parks and sell tons of Disney merchandise all his fancy innovations would have been for naught.
Market like Walt Disney
Your content marketing campaign is vital to your business success. The way you present your company's brand shapes people's view of your organization.
Times have changed since Walt Disney's days but his marketing ideas are still a thing of brilliance. Let's take a look at a few Walt Disney marketing tactics you can use to market like Walt:
Develop An Online Content Strategy Before You Start Writing
If you're not using content to market your website, now's the time to start - almost. Many businesses produce content without a sound online content strategy, and they end up posting lots of content that neither boosts sales nor generates more website traffic.
You've heard it before: content is king. And there is some truth to that statement. Unique, high-quality content is virtually a prerequisite to successful marketing. But quality content can be ineffective without a content strategy. In reality, content is very important, but content strategy is king.
Kristina Halvorson has called content strategy the "creation, publication, and governance of useful, usable content." I would add one more element, and define the concept as "the creation, publication, and governance of useful, usable content which will advance business requirements." Let's break down this definition into its individual parts.
Advancing Business Requirements
Before launching a content strategy, consider your business requirements. The best content in the world means nothing if it doesn't tend to induce your visitors to take certain action. Ask yourself what you want your visitor to do. If you're selling a product, your ultimate goal is to induce your visitor to purchase that product. If you're selling ad space, your ultimate goal is to increase traffic.
Think about how radically different these two goals are, and how they both affect content strategy. One hopes that the visitor will pull out his credit card, the other hopes that the visitor will bookmark or share the page.
Content which seeks to induce a sale must offer credible information about the relevant industry or product. It must walk a fine line between overt sales talk (which generally does not read as credible) and failing to adequately inform the reader about the product or service being sold. And while all content must consider search engine optimization (SEO) principles, content which seeks to induce a sale must favor SEO. There's no room for error; if the customer finds another site first with an acceptable product, there will be no reason to look for your product.
Content which seeks increased traffic is in many ways more difficult. It must offer a recognizable theme, and one which appeals to a wide variety of potential visitors. It must offer some sort of non-pecuniary benefit to the visitor, such as new information or humor. Most importantly, it must be updated consistently, at intervals no less than once per week (and probably much more often).
For many, content creation will be the most daunting aspect of an effective content strategy. But even if content isn't king, remember that it's still very important. At the very least, your strategy should include a recognizable theme. Some examples are humor, shock value, or a running thesis, but the possibilities are virtually endless. Remember that for sites which seek increased traffic, the theme is even more important. Visitors must like what they see, but they must also come to expect that they will like what they see in the future.
Ahava Leibtag offers a checklist for creating quality content. His checklist can and should be tailored to your needs, but the concept is invaluable. Although it requires significant foresight and up-front work, abiding by a good checklist in creating content will ensure that each piece of content fits within your content strategy. If you're having trouble getting started, check out Adam Falls' six questions to get you pointed in the right direction.
Web users expect user-friendly and visually appealing content. Attention spans are now shorter than the time it takes to read the first sentence of your content. A content strategy that does not include a plan for optimizing the presentation of the content is bound to lose visitors and readers who are unwilling to sift through ads, confusion, and broken links or visuals. If no one on your team has any familiarity with web publication, it may be worthwhile to outsource this aspect of your content strategy.
This may be the most overlooked aspect of content strategy. The job is not complete once content is published. It must be continually monitored. Two issues are particularly important. First, if comments to the content are allowed, you must respond to those comments when appropriate. This increases credibility and repeat traffic. Second, the content must be promoted, probably using an effective social media strategy.
In a classic give and take relationship, quality content is what you have to give. But content strategy is what allows you to take. It pushes your visitor to certain action, such as making a purchase, bookmarking your site, or sharing your site with friends. Make your content valuable, but don't give it away for free.