Content marketing is becoming an increasingly prominent skill in the sphere of online marketing. As competition for link-building campaigns becomes more extreme, it’s harder than ever for your content to stand out from an already crowded online space.
From 15 seconds Instagram stories, to interactive infographics, podcasts, and 10,000 words guides, content marketing principles can be applied to just about anything that you are looking to promote online, indifferent of your chosen medium.
Through experimenting, we’ve made mistakes and (believe it or not) even learned a thing or two in the process. As a result, we have compiled 10 rules of engagement, to assist you with cultivating successful campaigns.
1. CONNECT WITH THE AUDIENCE
A big challenge marketers face is making a genuine connection with audiences on a personal level. Establishing an authentic relationship helps to humanise your business or brand.
Companies who communicate with a voice of authority in an authentic way gives them the opportunity to engage with users; this can be done by providing insightful blog posts, articles, infographics and interactive tools.
2. HAVE A STRATEGY
In the great words of Benjamin Franklin: “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
You need to have a strategy if you’re going to accomplish the targets you have set. Think of it as a guide to reach the campaign’s KPIs.
Creating a robust strategy doesn’t have to take weeks to put together. However, it helps when you have three key questions:
What is the aim?
Regurgitating content is a quick way to waste valuable resources and time which could possibly be spent more wisely elsewhere. You need to first answer the question of ‘why’ your business or brand is creating content and identify the objectives you want to attain.
Who are you targeting?
Your target audience will often consist of different groups of people which don’t necessarily visit the same websites, however the same needs. Therefore, it is critical to use the same social channels.
How best can we reach our targeted demographic?
Break down your goals into bite-size chunks – daily, weekly, monthly and yearly – will help you manage and focus on day to day tasks while keeping an eye on the bigger picture.
3. CONSTANTLY CREATE CRACKING CONTENT
One of the biggest challenges is coming up with original content. So it is wise to adhere to the mantra: “Curate, create, schedule, monitor, respond, update, reuse and repeat.”
Content which features an inside look at the culture of a business or brand, or offers real insightful help has proven to be most popular – evoking real human interaction.
Original imagery and video content also generates an excellent buzz around a social media channels.
4. INVEST IN QUALITY OVER QUANTITY
“Rome wasn’t built in a day”
People will naturally follow a business, brand or influencer over time, due to the content being concise and insightful, not for how often you bring out content.
5. PROSPECT LISTS
“Big doesn’t always mean better”
Don’t let large numbers dilute your intended results. Identify what angle you want to be allocated to each segment of your prospect list contacts, whether it’s those who always read your content, call you up or click through. This should influence the quality, not the quantity, of your list efforts.
Your prospect list-building efforts should blend in the additional insight and important information that complements and helps create a richer prospect list. Including relevant elements such as historical interactions, media channel preferences, and interests will help you target the right audience.
6. LOOK AT THE BIGGER PICTURE
Promoting content, capturing an audience’s attention and parenting up with influencers is a challenge in itself. This is where the “Compound Effect” comes in:
So, just imagine everyone on Twitter has 100 friends that follow them, and those 100 friends have 100 friends. Even if only 5% of the total friends share your content, that is still a massive amount of engagements and impressions. However, merely sitting back and hoping that your content is shared is highly unproductive. You need to actively seek out people who will benefit from your content, employing tactics such as:
Direct messaging influencers – in a genuine way.
Joining LinkedIn groups or online forums within your market.
Emailing co-workers and asking them to share it.
“Perseverance will be rewarded’
When outreaching, you’ll need to make the email clear, honest and most important worthy of reading. Let the contact know who you are, what areas you have expertise in and why you feel their audience would benefit/appreciate what you have to say. If you’re able to offer something useful, interesting and insightful, your chances of getting published will be greatly enhanced.
It is important to email/call the correct contact and follow up within a few days if you haven’t had a response. Editorial departments are often quite busy, so don’t be put off if it takes a few attempts to get a response.
Once you‘ve built up a portfolio of published work, perhaps from your own blog, you can also include links to samples of your previous writing, proving your credibility.
8. TRACK AND ANALYSE
Reviewing your campaign’s constantly and evaluating what has or hasn’t worked, what needs tweaking, rewriting email templates, trying different angles, can give you an insight of how to proceed forward with future campaigns.
9. USE STRIKING VISUALS AND GRAPHICS
Make sure that all the images and graphics used are appropriately sized, and the design of the visuals coincides with the business or brand’s identity.
10. THINK LONG TERM
Finally, a lot of marketers tend to focus on tactics first, instead of creating a growth process. Remember it takes a lot more time and work creating a community of engaged and informed advocates.
What helps is an understanding of the platforms you use, the audience your addressing, and making calculated, experimental decisions based on your findings.
Now it’s over to you. Why not tell us some of the challenges you’ve faced when it comes to content marketing? We’d love to know.
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