As I’m writing this, we’re already three months into 2015. So I have to ask: how are your content marketing campaigns coming along? It’s unfortunately uncommon for marketers and entrepreneurs to set huge, sweeping New Year’s resolutions, only to see their motivation and effort lag after a few months.
If you committed to improve your business’s online presence and overall profits through the use of content marketing best practices in 2015 and you’ve started to drop the ball, use the following tips to get back on track:
Focus on quality over quantity
I’ve been saying this for some time, but it’s worth repeating: don’t just build content for the sake of building content! One of the most frustrating things I hear from businesses who are adopting content marketing as a promotional strategy is that they feel the need to follow a formula laid out by some so-called expert – as if publishing exactly three blog posts a week, releasing one infographic a month and sharing them all on a few specific social networks will guarantee traffic and conversions.
Many people recommend intensive publishing strategies like these to combat the excessive amount of digital noise online right now (did you know that an estimated four million blog posts are published every day?), but my experiences run counter to this conventional wisdom. I’ve always seen better results in terms of traffic and social shares when I publish fewer, longer content pieces than when I try to pump out tons of smaller posts. If you’re struggling to keep up with a grueling publishing calendar that isn’t getting you results, change up your strategy and set quality as your main objective.
Think beyond blog posts
Now, in the tip above, I talked about content marketing in terms of blog posts, but what smart brands are starting to realize is that articles are only the tip of the content iceberg. Take, for example, a campaign by marketing software company Kapost, which centered around the team’s ebook, “Content Marketing Hiring Handbook.” Certainly, an ebook represents a stronger value proposition to viewers than a single blog post, but what’s interesting is that Kapost didn’t just use the book as is. In addition, they transformed the content into:
- 2 infographics
- 2 whitepapers
- 1 video
- 1 guest blog post
- 15 blog posts on the Marketeer
- 1 SlideShare presentation
- 3 unique landing pages
- 3 outbound email campaigns (at least)
- 4 original photos
Because Kapost was able to expand their thinking, they were able to generate a wide variety of content pieces – all with the potential to reach different types of potential followers – without doing any additional research.
Add video to your arsenal
While you’re looking at ways to expand your content strategy beyond blog posts, I’d offer the tip that the next type of content you might want to create is video. According to research compiled by Mike Corak of ethology, video traffic, which represented 66% of all global traffic in 2013, is expected to account for 79% of all traffic by 2018. That’s a huge trend – and it’s one that your company can’t afford to miss out on. Fortunately, video is much easier to produce than it used to be – all you need is a good smartphone camera and a free video editing program to get started. Take a look at Lowe’s “Fix in Six” campaign to see how even simple videos can make a major difference in your content promotions.
Encourage followers to build your content
If the thought of creating big content is too overwhelming for you, keep in mind that you don’t have to build it all yourself. If you’re strapped for time or lack the resources needed to generate great content, take advantage of user generated content promotions. To see an example of this content strategy in action, check out Expedia’s “Find Yours” campaign, through which site users share videos featuring their best travel tips. In this case, users get the thrill of seeing their content published on a huge site like Expedia, while the travel site gets a tremendously valuable resource for free. You can take advantage of this tip as well by running your own user generated content promotions on your website or social profiles.
Don’t forget about SEO
Yes, earning organic traffic from the search engines is more complicated in 2015, but that doesn’t mean you can afford to forget about the practice of SEO entirely. Consider the following quote by Rand Fishkin, published in an interview with the Content Marketing Institute: “Google is sending out 10 times more traffic every day than Facebook does. There are six billion searches per day, each of those resulting in 1.5 to 2.5 visits on average.” That’s a potentially huge source of traffic for your site – and it’s one you won’t be able to take advantage of if you drop SEO from your digital marketing efforts.
Use keywords intelligently
On the subject of SEO, I’ve found that there are plenty of misconceptions going around about how keywords should be used. While you don’t want to go back to the days of keyword stuffed, nearly illegible SEO articles, you shouldn’t drop proper keyword research practices just because the search algorithms have changed. In fact, content marketing represents a great place to put your keyword research skills to work, as every content piece you create adds more potential keywords to your site. Build your content pieces around the high-level keywords that are relevant to your business and industry, but don’t get hung up on trying to optimize your content to a particular keyword density. Use keywords naturally, and you’ll see both SEO and content marketing benefits.
Worry less about “going viral”
It’s every marketer’s dream to have a piece of content “go viral” and attract millions upon millions of views. But if all you’re focusing on is bringing about this one, unlikely scenario, there’s a good chance your followers see what you’re up to. And there’s an even greater chance that the content you’re creating in this relentless pursuit isn’t actually meeting their needs. Instead, focus on how you can provide significant value to your followers. Sure, you can throw in a fun, viral-style piece every so often. But when you stop focusing on gimmicks and start building content that your readers actually want, you may find that the “going viral” part comes naturally.
Consider paid promotion
Finally, if you’re struggling to get your content seen, it may not be the quality of your pieces to blame. The amount of digital noise that’s out there today makes it difficult for every business to get its content in front of the right people – no matter how great the content may be.
Besides the tips above, one strategy for promoting your content is to simply pay for content distribution, either with traditional PPC programs like Adwords, native marketing platforms like Outbrain and Taboola, or marketing automation/outreach tools like Yesware, Content Marketer, Autosend, and others. Yes, these programs come with upfront costs, but the increased exposure can be worth it – especially if your content pieces are just sitting around, languishing, as it is.
This article was written by Sujan Patel from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.