It seems that content is at the top of every marketer’s bag of tricks today, but it takes more than putting up a few blog posts to create content that will produce real results. We turned to some of the savviest marketers for their best content hacks, and threw in a few of our own, to help you launch your content to the next level.
1. The newsletter headline should be like an article headline – it should prompt you to read the article. Headlines that do best are those that are under 50 characters long, advise the minds at Storyteller.rs.
2. Avoid CTA clichés like “click here” or “go now.” Give the audience a compelling reason to submit a form or subscribe to your newsletter – even using humor or something surprising if you can. Try something less formal like: “Check it out now (you’ll thank us later!).”
3. Expert Hack > “Any time we produce content that has some potentially newsworthy value – such as survey results, data points from a study, or expert commentary on a breaking industry development – I look for opportunities to expand the reach of the message by either pitching the story to media or issuing a press release to promote the content. Finding the newsworthy angle in the content and then telling that story to the right journalist or blogger is crucial for acquiring new audience.” – Sarah Skerik, Vice President, Content Marketing PR Newswire//MultiVu.
4. Use the “tease” method for your longer pieces of gated content. Sure, the idea is to get people on your mailing list when you offer an awesome piece of longer content, but just a headline alone won’t entice them. Pull out a few excellent tips for a blog post (which in and of itself will be a useful read), and then add a call to action to opt in for the whole eBook, guide, or white paper.
5. Social is great for pushing out timely content, but don’t forget about your evergreen content. Buffer recommends recycling your timeless articles on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn often so it lives beyond its original publication date, and reaches a whole new audience each time.
6. Expert Hack > “To generate robust content on diverse subjects, create a content of culture within an organization. There are experts of all types within a company, depending on each team member’s role and even personal interests. Encouraging these employees to contribute allows them to express their own perspectives within a moderated setting.” – Dennis Shiao, Director of Product Marketing at DNN
7. Make sure every blog post is Pin-worthy. As Alisa Meredith of Scalable Social Media shares in Hubspot’s Content Hacks: 34 Tips & Tricks for Planning and Creating Content (which you should definitely download, by the way!) every blog post should have an image that’s at least 250 x 250, with a caption, and with alt text that will become the default pin description. If you have to make the “pinner” work too hard, they won’t take the time to share it.
8. Expert Hack > “I always like a few sets of eyes looking over a piece of content before it gets posted. If we are swamped, I’ll sometimes use a service like Draftin.com. They have a proof reading service that only charges $6 for proofreading work.” – Rick Ramos Consulting, Founder
9. Create an editorial calendar. Planning your blog content in advance and being able to see it at a glance can help inspire new ideas, ensure that you’re covering your key topic areas, and keep you on a consistent publishing schedule.
10. Repurpose old content into new formats. Why reinvent the wheel when you have amazing source material right at your fingertips? White papers can become a slideshow. A top 10 list can become an infographic. A stat can become an Instagram or Pinterest post. A bunch of related blog posts can become an eBook. Get the idea?
11. Expert Hack > “These days, prospects don’t have the time (or the patience!) to read a 10-page whitepaper or a long, text-based email. Marketers need to quickly grab the attention of their prospects. Do this by leveraging whiteboard-style images to tell your story in an engaging and effective way. Whiteboard-style imagery provides the ability to make complex and abstract ideas more simple and concrete. Because of this, these images create contrast that appeals to a prospect’s “old brain” (the decision-marketing part of the brain) to get him/her to do something different and choose the product or service your company is selling.” – Tim Riesterer, Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer for Corporate Visions, Inc.
12. Here’s an awesome way to boost your shares from KissMetrics: Add “Click to Tweet” calls-to-action throughout your content. This method adds the call-to-action within the article. You can use the Click To Tweet WordPress plugin, or create them manually using the ClickToTweet.com service.
13. Expert Hack > “Keyword research tools don’t just make it easier to optimize your content, they also provide a window into the topics your audience is interested in. When coming up with content ideas to fill out your calendar, try using a tool like Ubersuggest.org. It lets you plug in a broad keyword and returns a number of different phrase variations you may not have considered. This way, you are sure to fill your editorial calendar with content on topics people are already searching for, putting you in a better position to be found in search.” – Brendan Cournoyer, Director of Content Marketing at Brainshark.com
14. Incorporate a consistent theme or series into your blog (like “Wordless Wednesday” or “Friday Q&A”) to help with your content planning, but also so that readers will have a regular feature to look forward to.
15. Take advantage of the content your fans are creating about you, recommends Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs. “Monitor social feeds for fans creating content at your own establishments. Seek republishing permission and republish on your own feed. You’re recognizing your customers and making them a star for a day, while also sharing relevant content with your own audience. Win-win.”
Now that you’re armed with these content hacks, go become the content rock star that you are! Tweet us @NewsCred with your best content hack using #NCContentHack.
By Dawn Papandrea, NewsCred Contributor
Header image via Getty Images
Originally published on Sep 5, 2013 3:45 PM