No marketing campaign is complete without the use of content marketing.
Creating audience-focused content is one of the most effective methods to gain exposure, trust and authority in your field.
According to Kissmetrics, content marketing is 62% less expensive than other methods, and delivers triple the amount of leads.
However, content marketing involves a lot more than writing keyword-rich blog posts and laying them out on your website. In order to curate successful response rates, you have to make sure your content is engaging and share-worthy.
Here are some content marketing strategies to keep your audience reading.
1. Incorporate powerful visuals
One of the things a blog gets its power from is its pictures.
Seeing a stream of long, uninterrupted text without any visuals to break it up can be headache-inducing. In the age of Instagram, we’re used to scrolling through feeds with endlessly changing views, our attention spans shifting and refocusing in mere seconds.
That’s why images can provide so much value for blog posts. They strip away any dullness and keep the reader from being overwhelmed with too many sentences. And, since the brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text, your reader is more likely to retain information that’s layered between (or inside) images.
The key here, though, is to use engaging visuals.
Your average run-of-the-mill stock photo just won’t cut it.
Oftentimes marketers make the mistake of viewing their blogs as a package with a checklist of spare parts that need to fill the empty space. Headline? Check. Word count? Check. Call to Action? Check. Photo? Check.
Beyond that, sometimes little to no thought is put into the quality of said-photos. If your visuals are bland and lacking vivacity, then the eye will simply glaze over them in the same way it can tire of text.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you have to hire Annie Leibovitz to run your photography department (or that you even need a photography department) but it does mean that you need to invest more time and thought into the visuals adorning your articles.
Consider downloading free, high-quality stock photos from websites such as Unsplash and Negative Space, which offer thousands of professional options.
Another thing you can consider using is infographics. Infographics let you merge your data into an interesting, visually appealing exhibit that condenses complex information into something understandable.
And if you don’t have any design skills, don’t fret. Free tools such as Canva that make infographics for you are available so the process doesn’t have to be too daunting.
2. Look for qualities that make you share-worthy
So often we marketers tend to get lost in a sea of stress and deadlines. We forgot who we’re writing for and end up regurgitating information that only the most avid reader will find and finish.
That has to change.
A shareable blog post is one that’s overflowing with personality.
Be bold and humorous – maybe even a little bit risqué, if the subject calls for it.
You’ll notice that oftentimes the things that go viral are the things that take chances. Either in their topic choices or in the way they’re written.
According to BuzzSumo, articles that go viral share a few common characteristics, including images, an appeal to the emotions, a trustworthy vibe, a long length (3,000 to 10,000 words), a listicle/how-to format and at least a few retweets by an influencer.
The fact is that even if you have a Ph.D. in the field you’re writing about, if your article reads like a textbook, it won’t do much to stimulate the mind, attention span or share post button. Word of mouth spreads for posts that are brimming with exciting information that’s not oversaturated with thesaurus-worthy adjectives.
We’re not saying to go all out and use emojis, but try to be enthusiastic about your stories and offer a fresh perspective. Push yourself to write more. Crafting a 2,000-3,000-word article may take a few more hours, but the difference in end-results is definitely worth the effort.
Don’t be afraid to try out something new and out of your comfort zone.
3. Know your ideal audience, and then find them
To kick off any successful marketing campaign, you need to know exactly who you’re marketing to.
Start with creating in-depth buyer personas. These are fictional generalizations about your ideal customers – characteristics you need to know in order to be able to formulate copy that attracts them.
You can analyze your customer data base or conduct thorough interviews with existing customers to come up with your personas. If you’re a startup without a lot of data, you can dig into your competitors’ buyer data to create your customer profile.
Once you know who you’re looking for, you need to do the next step: find them.
This is something many people fail to do. They dedicate themselves thoroughly to writing content and then aimlessly share it on their Facebook pages without a second thought as to who is reading it.
Do research on where your ideal buyer is online, and then go there. They might land on your blog organically though search traffic, or they might stumble on there through somewhere else such as LinkedIn.
Make sure your content is then written with your ideal buyer in mind, and that all your headlines and extra copy are formulated to stimulate their interest.
4. Focus on usefulness
Another note on writing your blog posts: you don’t have to shoot for a Pulitzer, just for practicality.
Sometimes content writers push themselves to create Fitzgerald-worthy prose, getting lost in the narrative instead of in its function, which is simply to be useful.
Don’t put so much pressure on yourself. Just think about what your ideal reader needs, and try to fill that with your words.
Your sentences don’t have to flow like Hemingway’s or convey deep truths like Austen’s. You just have to write in the type of way that would let people benefit from the overall experience. Focusing on content that is helpful is one way to do that.
5. Repurpose your greatest hits
Repurposing your content is all about taking the best aspects of your previous pieces and breathing new life into them.
When you do this, make sure you’re only focusing on content that’s evergreen. If you turn a previously trending topic into an infographic a few months later, the initial interest may have expired. Instead, think about stories that are always being searched for.
Repurposing old content takes a lot less time than creating entirely new bodies of work. It’s all about shifting mediums here. You can turn an article into a video, a video into a listicle, a listicle into a podcast.
Think about the type of content you’re strongest in and build off of that. For example, if your blog posts tend to be on the photo-heavy side, then consider making a Pinterest board out of that content. NewBeauty Magazine, a popular beauty blog, has a dedicated Pinterest filled with sleek snapshots of skin, hair and nails complemented with excerpts of their advice.
The benefits of doing this are extensive. You have the potential to reach new audiences, strengthen your message and gain more organic search engine traffic.
6. Always test your content
Once you have the content that you think fits your profile, don’t stop there. Make sure it’s perfect by testing it over and over again.
Sometimes what you think works for your target demographic doesn’t always do its job.
There are plenty of different mediums to explore. Videos, podcasts, e-books, blog posts – think about all of them and test them out to see which one works best.
Don’t just make assumptions, see the results. You can do this by tracking click-through-rates on a web analytics tool or by seeing which type of posts are most engaged with on social media.
- To get the most of your content marketing endeavors, make sure you fill your blog posts with photos
- Study your buyer personas to find out who your ideal audience is, and then find them on specific media outlets
- Try to write posts that are longer and backed by an influencer
- Repurpose old content into different mediums
- Focus on usefulness by writing what a reader needs
- Measuring your content’s progress by testing it
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