The goal of content marketing is, of course, to win new business. More precisely, it’s to win new business in a manner that is sustainable and profitable — you can’t spend $2 to earn $1. Below are thoughts on how to create content that will power a successful, high-ROI content marketing program.
Getting to Know You
Get to know your audience and their interests. Don’t assume you know – ask! And once you’ve asked, don’t assume the answer never changes. The goal is to create content that addresses the topics they love with answers to questions they have. And that’s a whole lot easier to do if you’re not guessing about what they want.
Let Google Guide You
If “let Google guide you” makes you think “SEO,” you are correct! But you don’t have to commit to a full-on SEO campaign if doing so doesn’t make sense for you. (It may not, depending on your target market, your offering or other factors.) There are all sorts of keyword tools available if you don’t have an SEO expert in-house or on contract. One caveat: if SEO isn’t right for you, there may be limited value to keyword research: the two generally go hand-in-hand.
(But It’s Not Really Google)
It’s worth splitting hairs to say that it’s not really Google that is guiding you here. They’re just aggregating the data for you. It is your audience and potential audience who are telling you (through their choices of keyword phrases) what they’re interested in and what language they use to find relevant information. Which brings us back to talking to your clients, prospects and all who interact with them (sales teams and customer service personnel) to find out what really interests them.
Personality and Perspective
Have a voice and a viewpoint. More than anything else, being “you” is the only thing that will make you stand out from the crowd. Don’t shrink away from showing your personality, whether through humor, a sense of wonder, or absolutely geeking out over the details of your niche.
And don’t worry about alienating some of your audience. You’re going to do that anyway, so you may as well help those members of your audience who aren’t a good fit to weed themselves out.
Worms, Roxanne. I’m Afraid of Worms
That subhead is a reference to Roxanne, the Steve Martin movie re-imagining the Cyrano de Bergerac story. The line in the original is “I’m afraid of words” but the worms paint a nice picture, no? All of which is a long way of reminding you not to forget visuals. Breaking up the printed word is critical, especially for longer pieces, so make use of images as well as white space, sub-heads, bullets, and other formatting.
And think beyond the printed word. Video, animation, and other tools will help bring your ideas to life and get your audience engaged.
An editorial calendar will help you stay on track throughout the year. And should also ensure that you pay attention to all audience segments and all stages of the buying process. IBonus: if you map out what you need, there’s much less “what am I going to write about” stress.
Take a Load Off
You wouldn’t dig fence posts with a teaspoon. Don’t do your content generation manually. Use tools to automate processes and batch tasks so that it’s not a never-ending death march of, say, social media posts. Do ‘em once a week, schedule ‘em with a tool like Hootsuite or Buffer, and get on with other work.
Track, Analyze and Adjust
Use the firehose of analytics data for good. It’s tempting to ignore it because it can be so overwhelming. Start small if you have to, and look at just one aspect of your data. Track it over time. Make adjustments to content and track whether they help or hurt your results.
Then add another dimension to the simple data you’re tracking. Do a little research and you’ll find out how to get the data you’re aiming for. (And your analytics dashboard will become a little less intimidating.)
Your goal should be to turn data into information and information into actionable insights. With that as your guidance premise, creating content that creates leads will be much easier and your content marketing programs much more successful.