What’s the purpose of your content marketing strategy? While brand awareness, improved SEO, and fresh leads certainly aren’t the wrong answers to that question, your primary goal should be to useful to your potential customers. As companies worldwide embrace content marketing, consumers are increasingly turning to blogs and whitepapers to answer basic questions.
In fact, HubSpot has found that 73% of consumers prefer to learn about a company through a series of branded articles, and 90% of consumers find custom content useful. However, it’s up to you to create a strategy that’s focused on being useful.
We’ve compiled some tips to help you create content which helps:
1. Provide Specific Answers
Content marketing expert Marcus Sheridan believes the key to creating useful content is thinking more like a consumer. He’s found that in “a lot of industries, you don’t get great search results because most businesses…want to talk about their company.” Remember, when most consumers go to Google, it’s in search of a specific answer. Map your content strategy to providing objective, in-depth answers to common prospect questions, and your usefulness and SEO will soar.
2. Embrace Google’s Quality Guidelines
Google doesn’t hate marketers. They simply don’t reward anyone who tries to take shortcuts. You’d be amazed at how helpful their content quality guidelines can be for evaluating your content strategy from a customer’s perspective. Highlights of their recommendations include:
- Make pages for people, not SEO results.
- Don’t use deceptive optimization tactics for quick results.
- Distinguish your website.
Providing a unique take on your industry can do wonders for your search rankings, and the usefulness of your content.
3. Communicate, Don’t Lecture
The tone of your content marketing is an integral of how it’s received by your ideal audience. Structure your articles as though you’re having a conversation with a prospect via phone. Neil Patel points out that “essays put people to sleep; conversations keep people engaged.”
4. Be Ruthless About Creating Value
Content marketing isn’t a silver bullet for success. In a study by Altimeter Group on why companies to see results from content, the analysts pointed to the amount of noise that’s dominated virtually all target markets as the volume of blogs and eBooks increases. CMO’s Nadia Cameron believes the goal of content shouldn’t be to achieve thought leadership. It should be ruthlessly creating valuable content which inspires behavioral changes.
5, Make Data an Everyday Practice
Metrics are one of the most effective ways to determine exactly what “useful” means to your audience. It’s relatively easy to look at your blog marketing metrics, and adjust your editorial calendar to emulate your best-performing content. It’s much harder to integrate data-driven content marketing into your daily workflow. Take inspiration from Nestle’s Pete Blackshaw, who created a highly-visible “content leaderboard” in the brand’s marketing department, to provide impossible-to-miss insights to his team members.
6. Jump into Webinars
Webinar production may be far outside the comfort zone of some content marketers, but it’s an insufficiently-utilized powerhouse for generating fresh leads. If your readers respond well to visual content, consider replacing your next eBook with a scheduled broadcast to provide value to visual learners. Patel has found that webinars are the single most-effective method of capturing prospects’ contact information.
7. Provide Timeless Answers
While creating real-time content around breaking news stories can bring remarkable results in the short-term, investing in articles which will be useful for years to come is a better use of your marketing budget. Cover topics in more depth than any of your competitors, and update your best-performing evergreen articles as needed.
How have you updated your content marketing strategy to provide more value to your audience?