This is the year of content. Without a doubt, content marketing is expected to really take off in 2013. This is thanks in part to Google’s updates over the last couple years, which pushed the quality agenda and helped clean out much of the junk online. The rise of quality content and the need to constantly deliver fresh and engaging material is driving a variety of trends. Using these 5 content marketing tips will help your clients to harness those trends and get the most out of them.
Tip #1: Use Gamification
Girls just wanna have fun. Well, so do boys, and content marketers are seeing increased engagement with content that offers incentives for interaction, such as entertainment, reward and learning opportunities. Human nature being what it is, the introduction of a competitive aspect drives users to aim higher, work harder and consume more content in the quest to reach the ultimate level.
LinkedIn’s progression bar is an example of gamification; by constantly telling you how far you still have to go to complete your profile it spurs you on to greater lengths, so to speak. And the more information you upload, the more user-generated content you’re delivering to LinkedIn!
Tip #2: Start Retargeting Your Ads
A fairly new addition to the list of content marketing tips, retargeting came to the fore in 2012 when a bunch of new tools made it possible for sites to target ads at users who were already engaged with their brands.
Retargeting works by enabling marketers to “tag” users who visit their (and competitors) websites and then “follow” them around the web, showing them related advertising wherever they are. If you’ve ever read an article on, say – nutritional supplements, then gone on to look for an electrician and seen ads for supplements alongside it, that’s retargeting in action.
A recent study found that the practice increased ad response rates by 400%, so this is likely to become big news this year.
Tip #3: Implement Social Commerce Options
Shopping online is set to undergo radical changes this year, and this will have an impact on everything you do. To date, the role of social media has been mostly to engage in conversation and drive traffic to your site, where you can capture it and convert it into leads or online sales.
With options such as Facebook’s online store, users no longer need to leave the safety of the social platform to buy. In fact, Mashable predicts that by 2015 50% of all sales will take place on social networking sites.
This is going to necessitate publishing content directly onto your profiles and driving interactions there, instead of only on your website.
Tip #4: Develop a Unique “Voice”
Since Google’s demand for quality content beefed up the material that’s being published online, it’s harder for marketers to stand out from the rest. Publishing optimized, keyword-rich quality information no longer guarantees that you’ll come up in search or that anyone will read your content when you do.
You have to find new ways to separate your brand from the competition, and developing a strong brand personality and voice is one method. This is seen in the increasingly informal tone (hey, dude!) of some content, and while it works for some users it’s offputting for others.
Identify a happy balance between a dry, scholarly tone and chatroom speak, and you’ll be in the ballpark.
Tip #5: Link Building
Link building has had something of a bad rap lately, with multiple sites having been penalized by Google for participating in link scams. That doesn’t mean all link building is bad, though; one of the vital content marketing tips for 2013 is that collaboration with others delivers credibility – provided you choose the right partners.
Including links in your content from legitimate, relevant sites (and being linked to from their content) has never been a bad thing. The problem comes, to quote link building expert Eric Ward, when marketers link Earl's House of Hubcaps with Dr. Scholl's Bunion Reliever in their content.
It’s going to be a good year. Scratch that – 2013’s going to be a great year for content marketing. Exciting things are happening, changes are taking place that will benefit those who put in the time and effort. Don’t be intimated by the hype; identify one or two content marketing tips that fit with your client's business model and implement those. When you have these working 100%, you can start thinking about what comes next.