Tag Archives: Content Marketing Strategy

4 attributes that make your content marketing successful

4-attributes-of-content-marketing-success

Successful content marketing rests on 4 attributes

  1. Alignment with your organizational goals: What exactly do you want to achieve through content marketing?
  2. Team collaboration: All the people who are responsible for content marketing use the same tools, use the same language and communicate the same message. They also know what are the success metrics.
  3. Content distribution: Content publishing should always be complemented with content distribution so that your target audience can access your content and respond accordingly. If there is no method of content distribution, your job is half done.
  4. Ongoing analytics: Always know what you’re doing and what you are achieving, and this can be best done by analyzing your effort and results.

How do you keep track of these four attributes for successful content marketing?

You need a documented content marketing strategy.

The word “strategy” may seem like a highfalutin word, but it is not. In the realms of content marketing it means

1
Clearly articulating, in writing, the overall aim of your content marketing. What do you want to achieve ultimately? In how much time?

2.
Whom are you going to target? This is very important. For whom are you going to publish and distribute your content. How should they react? What should they do after getting exposed to your content?

3.
What sort of content you want to create? Do you want to establish yourself as an expert or an authority figure? Do you want to become an information hub? Do you want to educate people? Do you want to make people aware of a new technology or a better way of doing something? Do you want to provide better support to your existing customers and clients?

4.
What content format your audience prefers? Does your audience prefer blog posts? Infographics? LinkedIn? Slides? Videos? E-books? White papers and case studies? Email newsletters?

It is very important to know where to focus your energies otherwise you will be wasting lots of time on creating content that people are not interested in, or don’t want to access simply because they don’t like the format.

5.
Content creation process and scope. In many organizations, especially larger organizations, individual employees are supposed to create content and take care of it. In some organizations there are dedicated content teams.

In multi-layered content marketing teams there are content creators, content editors, content publishers and content distributors. Assign the right people to the right jobs for successful content marketing.

6.
Editorial calendar. Once you set your content marketing in motion you will need to stick to a schedule. Publishing consistency is very important. If you publish two blog posts every week, you must publish two blog posts every week. If you publish one infographic every 15 days, you must publish one infographic every 15 days.

An editorial calendar also allows you to prepare a list of topics that you can cover in the coming days, weeks and months. This way you are never at a loss. You always have something to publish.

7.
Content distribution. The high-quality content that you are publishing needs to reach the right audience to be effective. You have to proactively promote and distribute your content. You can use your social networking profiles. You can make sure that your content is search engine optimized so that people can easily find it on Google and other search engines.

8.
Tracking ROI and analytics. This is one of the most important aspects of a documented content marketing strategy. You need to constantly track your ROI and analytics.

Is your content marketing helping you achieve your goals? Are you attracting the right traffic? Are people doing the right thing when they are on your website or blog? Is the level of engagement fruitful on social media and social networking websites?

The good thing about tracking constantly is that if some structural and directional changes need to be made, they can be made in a timely manner.

So, these are the eight vital components of a documented content marketing strategy that can ensure the success of your content marketing.

The importance of visual content in your content marketing

importance-of-visual-content-in-content-marketingWhen I started providing content writing and content marketing services more than 10 years ago, content marketing mostly constituted of publishing blog posts, broadcasting a newsletter and publishing articles and blog posts on other websites and blogs. People were quite happy writing lots of stuff. We were writing articles, tutorials, how to’s, and in the process, attracting decent amount of traffic to our websites.

Then a new breed of content marketers started experimenting with visual content. I remember, initially they used attractive graphics and imagery along with textual content. Gradually, in fact, not gradually, but quite fast, they started replacing textual content with infographics. They started presenting useful, insightful information, with the help of very attractive and slick visuals.

Along with visuals, videos also became an integral part of content marketing. GIF files for some time appeared here and there, but they lost to videos, but then again, they are in vogue with the advent of giphy.com.

In fact, visual content has become so mainstream that recently I came across a keyboard that types just emojis. There is an instant messaging app that just allows you to send emojis instead of text messages.

All mainstream instant messaging apps like Snapchat and Instagram heavily depend on images and videos. On Facebook and Twitter, updates that contain images and videos get more views and likes compared to the updates that contain just text.

So yes, visual content is as important, if not more, as textual content for your content marketing. Text is important, as of now, because it is down to earth, and not everybody wants to see just images and videos. Sometimes you just want to read text so content writing isn’t going to be replaced very soon.

In fact, most business websites depend on content writing for their content marketing needs. Whereas visual content requires some sort of platform, content writing can be accommodated almost everywhere. Even the images need to contain some sort of text to convey a message. This is why, no matter how much importance visual content gains, content writing for content marketing is indispensable.

But this blog post is about the importance of visual content for content marketing.

Visual content is everywhere these days due to many reasons. It’s way too easy to notice an image or video in your rapidly changing timeline than text. According to these insightful statistics on importance of visual content for content marketing, 51% B2B marketers preferred to publish visual content in 2016. Here is another very useful blog post on the importance of visual content and how it is gaining traction compared to textual content.

There is a misconception that creating visual content is difficult compared to content writing. Of course it is, comparatively, difficult, it is not as difficult as it is perceived.

For example, there are many online image editing tools available that allow you to create very attractive graphics. Videos can be created using an average mobile phone. GIF files can be created using giphy.com. Simple text messages can be created using image files. You can create PowerPoint slides and then export them into video files and then upload those videos on YouTube. Later on, you can convert certain portions of those YouTube videos to GIF files.

If you have been ignoring visual content for content marketing simply because you think that it will be difficult to produce, just start with shorter images and videos. You will be surprised to know how easy and interesting it is to create them.

Content marketing should be fun, not stressful

Content marketing is no longer fun, stressful

There is a reason why content marketing should be fun, not stressful. I will come back to this after briefly sharing with you what my Guruji often says (he is my vocal music teacher):

When you are performing, you are communicating an emotion. In order to communicate that emotion, it needs to exist within you – you need to transmit it to your audience. If you are not enjoying your singing, neither will your audience. So if you want your audience to enjoy your performance, enjoy your performance yourself.

Coming back to content marketing, after all, it is a communication. It is in expressing art. Whether you are writing as a content writer or creating a graphic as a visual artist or creating a video as a videographer, you are expressing, you are communicating a thought or an idea, and your attitude, your inner psychology, mostly unbeknownst to you, permeates your creation.

So if your content marketing is stressful, if it is becoming painful, if you are not enjoying it, your target audience too will not enjoy it.

This Forbes blog post opines that if content marketing for you isn’t fun, maybe you’re overthinking it. Maybe you don’t have a strategy that gives you focus and peace of mind (that comes with a sense of clarity and purpose). Maybe you’re not targeting properly. Whatever are the reasons, your content marketing is no longer fun, it is stressing you out and it shows in whatever you do.

So what should you do to make your content marketing more fun and less stressful?

Personally I would suggest, find a purpose. You will no longer feel stressful if you know what you’re doing, what you are trying to achieve and whom you want to help, and why. Have a documented content marketing strategy so that at every stage you know what you’re doing and what you are accomplishing and accordingly, what you should do.

Also, this I can say as a writer, develop a conversational style. A pedantic style would be boring and uninspiring and it will eventually stress you out. Have conversations with people you are writing for. Keep yourself loose (no, I don’t mean become uncouth). By the end of the day, it will only be effective if your content marketing is fun.

So do you think content marketing is easy?

Just like any other marketing, content marketing has its own share of hardships that you have to go through in order to achieve results. Just because most of the content marketing happens on the Internet and just because it’s easier to do things on the Internet compared to the brick-and-mortar world, many people develop this false notion that content marketing should be easy or at least, if not easy, then dirt cheap. Both are misconceptions.

The author of this blog post rightly complains, “Hey, nobody told me content marketing was going to be hard!”

In the blog post the author quotes Joe Polizzi, the founder of Content Marketing Institute who says that in terms of content marketing, we may be entering the “age of disillusionment”.

Surveys show marketers are skeptical about the effectiveness of their content efforts. Many people are trying content marketing with high hopes, but they’re not seeing the engagement they expected. Professionals are confusing short-term campaign-based marketing with long-term content marketing endeavors and they’re not looking for the right kind of ROI as a result. Many are told by agencies that “going bigger” is the solution, but it often isn’t (even if they COULD justify more spend). There are great successes… But there are disappointments, too.

This is something that I have repeatedly written on my blog too, that most of content marketing efforts fail because people have no idea exactly what they are trying to achieve. In most of the cases, they confuse content marketing with relentlessly publishing blog posts and articles trying to cover the keywords to improve their search engine rankings. Whereas there is nothing wrong in trying to improve your search engine rankings, this shouldn’t be the sole objective of content marketing.

The blog post further quotes

The most common mistake is also the most mistake easiest to correct — failing to establish a foundation, or starting point. You can’t just jump in and start producing content and expect to be effective. You have to have well-documented buy cycles, buyer profiles (personas), a library of existing content and an understanding of the tools/technologies you’ll need to effectively measure your programs. And most of all you need alignment from all key internal stake holders.

When it comes to content marketing most businesses apply the “jump first and worry about how deep the pool is later” attitude. You need to have both short-term and long-term plans. You need to figure out your content marketing metrics. You need to know what you exactly aim to do.

5 attributes that supercharge your content marketing

Attributes of successful content marketing strategy

Content marketing isn’t exact science, but there are many attributes that can help you decide how successful it is or what can make it successful. Although every business has its own unique requirements, there are some fundamental attributes that, if followed, can bring you assured success, and these fundamental attributes can also be applied to content marketing. 5 of such attributes are listed below:

  1. What do you want to achieve with content marketing? This is something that I have repeatedly asked through my various blog posts on this website. You need to have a clear idea of what you want to do so that your business or your ideology gets maximum exposure. Every business has, as mentioned above, unique requirements. Although content marketing isn’t exact science, the outcome that you get sometimes can be painfully precise. I remember in the early 2000’s my entire web design business was based on content marketing (although at that time I had no idea what it was) because I was publishing lots of content on my website (it was a compilation of articles as those days we didn’t have blogging as a concept) as well as on other websites about various aspects of web designing and JavaScript programming. Unfortunately, I ended up attracting wrong audience and within a couple of years I had to wrap up my business (there were other reasons also). Why? I had no idea what my content marketing was achieving for me. Please notice, I’m not saying that I had no idea what I needed to achieve (every business needs to attract customers and clients); it’s just that, I had no idea whether my content was attracting the sort of audience I needed or not.
  2. Are you putting your content marketing strategy in place? Again, although content marketing isn’t an exact science, particular actions lead to particular results. The sort of content that you publish and promote draws exactly the audience it should be drawing. The content that you are publishing, the channels you’re using to promote your content and the format in which you are publishing your content have a big impact on the way your content marketing performs. This is where your content marketing strategy can help. A well-laid-out strategy keeps you and your team focused on your main goal. Your strategy helps you decide what your goal is and what you need to achieve that goal.
  3. What are your content marketing success metrics? When you’re driving home from office (or going from point A to point B) what are the signs you look for to make sure that you are following the right direction? You know exactly where you need to take the right turn and the U-turn and the left turn. There is a familiar tree you always observe. There is that house with a peculiar red-tinted roof. There is that front yard with beautiful white roses. These are the signs that tell you that you’re going in the right direction and the same happens with your content marketing strategy if you know what are your success metrics. What are the signs that tell you that you are succeeding? Have your search engine rankings improved? Are more people submitting your contact form? Are more people sharing your links on social networking websites? Are your sales increasing? Are you getting more subscribers for your newsletter? Are more people downloading your e-book? These are all success metrics that you can closely observe while persisting with your content marketing strategy.
  4. Are you are signing definite responsibilities to your team? For a larger and a medium-sized company where multiple people are working on a content marketing strategy, it is important that all the team members know their responsibilities and they have the guidelines and the tools to monitor their performance.
  5. Are you able to maintain a balance between quality and quantity? This is a persistent dilemma faced by content marketers and people responsible for content marketing. You are in a highly competitive field. Your competitors are continuously publishing content and although it isn’t necessarily high-quality content but somehow, they are able to out-shout you and in the process, your content ends up getting ignored. You either spend more money marketing your content and making sure that it reaches your target audience, or you go on publishing high-quality content undeterred by all the noise being created having complete belief in yourself. This works. Striking a balance between quality and quantity. You need both. If you are a well-known brand, you can do with high-quality content and less quantity. But if you are a relatively new brand and very few people know about you, having lots of content is a must, without compromising quality.