Content marketing is still a new field, and it remains dynamic and evolving. Every day, we have access to new statistics, which are based on the increasingly fine and detailed data that can be collected. These all reveal the importance of content marketing to businesses, and the very management of day to day operations.
However, despite all the buzz about this topic, it’s still important to keep basic principles and good sense in mind when crafting your content marketing strategy.
This article will highlight some basics to keep you current with the state of the industry.
Content is king
We have all heard this, and interpreted it in our own ways. However, as always when immersed in the daily pressure of running a business or maintaining a website, it is easy to become distracted by all the new developments and forget what is essential – the content itself. Have you lavished days of work on landing page graphics and shortchanged the text? Have you obsessively counted characters for the title of your post, and then rushed to try to produce a graceful composition fulfilling your title’s promise? Have you invested seemingly endless hours poring over website analytics, while forgetting to check in on what your audience is actually saying about your webpage?
Your readers always have time for what helps them get through their day, makes their life better, improves their business, or saves them effort or money. No landing animations, graphics of pretty models, website optimizing keywords, or urgent and appealing calls to action will compensate for rushed and poorly-thought-out content.
Automating your content marketing can be dehumanizing
Oh, it is soooo tempting to automate your content distribution, isn’t it? It can save time, exploit time zone differences, target readers’ likeliest moment for accessing their email, and help manage frequent communications – there so many upsides. But what are the downsides?
Marketing automation distances you from your audience. It can create a vacuum between you and the people who matter most to your business, a vacuum where you are not engaging in social exchange with your readers, and receiving real-time feedback signals. Make sure you have your priorities straight – real communication must take precedence. The words “social” and “automation” are sort of incompatible, after all, and automated communications are unlikely to provide a vivid understanding of your audience’s needs.
Best practices are good. Statistics on your audience are better
It is wonderful to know the best practices for any business, including those for a content marketing strategy. However, your audience is unique. The received wisdom of content marketing may not apply to your readers. This means that when you try to follow some best practice, and it does not work, this may be an indication that it does not fit with your audience. To avoid disappointment and wasted resources, always test your ideas on a subset of your own audiences, even if they seem illogical or improbable – who knows what will motivate reader action before you try it?
“If it sounds too good to be true….”
Tons of online offers promise improved traffic, engagements, sales, and business reputations (not to speak of an enhanced love life) via instant download, after you provide your email and business details. They look so appealing, don’t they?
Most are utter rubbish. While some wonderful guidance is available from the nice folks at Hubspot, and Marketo, most sites offer you “useful white papers” or “templates” to entice you to buy their (questionable) consulting services. Sadly, there are no shortcuts. No guide or template is going to help you share what is crucial about your business, your cause, or your expertise. Your own experience communicating with your audience is likely to be your most effective aid in achieving success with content marketing. However, for experience to be most effective, you should be planning ahead for what you want to do, documenting what you actually attempt, and then tracking the results. Exploit the increasingly cheap and easy availability of data on your customers’ response to assess the effectiveness of your efforts.
Go deep into your content when marketing!
Content is not only king but it is also ubiquitous. You can find some webpage on almost any search topic. This means that the bar is higher for setting your content apart from your competitors’. How can you make your content more useful and more interesting?
Provide greater depth of detail or proprietary background by researching the topic more than others have. Sift some numbers yourself, and provide your readers with a proprietary analysis of data. Use graphics wisely to make the topic easier to grasp. Use video (well-made and fully audible, please) to make stunningly dull subjects livelier. To summarize, in all your content marketing efforts, look at your competition and do them one better!
Stay positive. Work your @ss off. Educate yourself and remember these basic principles for successful content marketing. Good luck!
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