There is no shortage of online content. 4.6 billion pieces of content are produced every dayEach competes for your consumer’s limited attention.
The industry is saturated to say the least. On the one hand, a Flash deluge of content is good for searchers as they can find information about pretty much anything they are looking for. On the flip side, content creators must fight for their chance of grabbing these searchers’ attention.
This is meant to be encouraging, not daunting. Here’s why:
It doesn’t matter if you are a brand new company or a seasoned marketing veteran – you can play the content marketing game and win it.
While you should keep an eye on your competitor’s efforts, content marketing is about meeting the needs of potential customers through high quality, original content.
Let’s see how to do that.
Why should you care about content marketing?
Content marketing has one main purpose: achieving your business goals by creating and distributing content. It’s not about selling – not directly – but rather about directing potential customers in the right direction.
Whether you want prospects to sign up to your email list, download an e-book, or buy your product, content will get you there. But only if it’s the right type of content at the right time.
Generic content is buried among the piles. Generic content is weak.
Content creation won’t scale your efforts or give you enough perspective. People will bluntly find better sources elsewhere.
What you need to do is create content that shines. Content that gets noticed and answers all your prospect’s questions. Content that can be used and shared again and again for different purposes.
Would you like to learn how to do it yourself? Continue reading.
This is how content marketing works in a world full of content
1. Watch what your competition is doing. Then do better.
Let’s talk about the “skyscraper” content strategy.
Brian Dean, CEO of Backlinko, has tested and proven this strategy Search traffic increased by 110 percent in just two weeks. Talk about a tip!
The skyscraper technique has two parts: creating content and then finding the right people who can backlink you to it.
Let’s just focus on creating great content for now.
This strategy is by no means intended to replicate or plagiarize content. “Doing better” means creating something original, more valuable and more readable than the current winner.
Will it take time and work? Yes. But it also gives you the traffic you’ve been craving. And when you have traffic and a good content marketing strategy, the results will follow.
So … how can you improve your content than the guy who positions himself first in search engines?
- Adding expert quotes and sources. Notice Google’s EAT guidelines for 2014? Here’s a refresher: EAT stands for expertise, authority, and trustworthiness. If your website meets all three of these requirements, you’re not only creating content that Google loves, but also content that your audience will keep coming back to because they know it’s legitimate.
- Adding expert quotes to articles, linking to reputable sources, and including a professional bio on your website will ensure that your page is run by an expert whose inputs can be trusted.
- Add graphics to your blog posts. Infographics, visual examples, videos, checklists … anything that adds value by making it easy for the reader to understand what the page is about. Also, visual elements can easily be pinned and shared by readers for future reference.
- Create pocket PDF versions. Offering downloadable PDF versions of your written content is another way that readers can access it when they need it most. It’s even better to make it a “snack version” with key points and takeaways.
- Write a longer copy. While this isn’t always the case, a longer copy has been shown to work better because you are one-stop shopping for all of the customer’s objections. Of course, you should always A / B test your copy to make sure long-form content works better for your readers.
While the steps above aren’t a guarantee of top Google rankings, they are a smart way to increase traffic to your website simply because the content is well-put together and distributed. Instead of thinking about positioning, think about adding value to your readers.
In the end, it’s about creating content with sharing potential. It’s about creating “greatness,” as Google search attorney John Mu once tweeted in response to a curious marketer:
2. Use social media and social trends
Brands like NBA, Guess, Chipotle, and even The Washington Post use TikTok as one of their content strategies.
Why? Because they saw it massive growth and marketing potential.
Part of TikTok’s strength lies in the trendy strips of content that any business can borrow and shape into their own brand. Any company or professional is up for TikTok trends – whether it’s a law firm, a healthcare professional, an e-commerce brand … you name it.
Additionally, TikTok users can launch and pursue challenges to go viral. An example of a famous challenge is Guess’ #InMyDenim, where users record how they go from “disheveled” to “fabulous”. Only the latter had to contain Guess denim clothing.
Same goes for other platforms like Instagram and other types of media like memes.
Laffin, a plush toy company, saw an opportunity in current events and created the following meme:
And the response was incredible.
It just takes a little creativity to come up with interesting ideas. Nothing will ever be 100 percent original, but you can get pretty close. After all, your brand is unique.
The question you should ask yourself is: How can I link breaking news and trends to my content? And how can I make it interesting enough to be liked, commented on and shared?
3. Create evergreen content
Many of these huge “ultimate guides” that you see on the Internet were written years ago. This is also why you see hooks like “Updated for 2021” on title tags, for example.
This happens because some principles change so often that they need to be constantly updated. A good example of constantly changing content is Search Engine Optimization (SEO), where new guidelines and rules are introduced every year.
However, the changes or possible additions are so small that a complete revision of the SEO instructions is not necessary and some important rules still apply. Authors can easily tweak these guides for clarity and upgrades, and they can be republished.
You too can only create your own e-books and instructions once and update them every year. This type of long-form content has several advantages:
- You will only do the hardest part of the job once.
- It’s an extensive, free source of knowledge for your readers that you can use to turn visitors into potential customers.
- You may not have to write all of the content. You can combine existing blog posts into one large e-book, creating a single point of contact for your audience.
When it comes to content creation, there are plenty of options to explore here. You can:
- Compare your product with others on the market.
- Create detailed instructions.
- Put together a free guide and add a subscription fee to those who want to see more.
You know your potential customers like the back of their hand.
What kind of content do you want to see? A smart strategy is to send out surveys and respond to their wants and needs.
4. Grab prospects at each stage
Educating and promoting prospects with outstanding content are the most important steps in making a purchase decision.
A smart content strategy will send prospects down the marketing funnel if the right content is well placed at every stage of the buyer’s journey: awareness, consideration, and conversion.
Attracting potential customers at every stage means creating content they both need and enjoy consuming.
Take videos for example. According to research by Brightcove Inc., 85 percent of millennials confirmed that they purchased a product (or service) after watching a video. It turns out how the enjoyment of video ads is said Increase purchase intent by 97 percent.
With that in mind, there are ideal types of content for each level of the funnel. Here you are.
Awareness. At this stage, you attract people who most likely have never heard of your brand. You need to educate them and give them a great first impression in order to activate a positive brand association.
Types of content:
- “How to” blog posts
- Include social media posts
- Free guides and e-books
- Handy checklists,
Recital. It’s when the previous “strangers” have now turned into prospects and you need to send them deeper down the funnel.
Types of content:
- Personalized email marketing
- Case studies
- Free webinars
- Free samples
- Free advice
Conversion. Congratulations, you have a customer! Just because you’ve won your business once doesn’t mean your job is over. You still have to delight your customers or they’ll opt for another location.
Types of content:
- Free trials
- Discount coupons
The central theses
As much as you don’t want to read this, your newly created content isn’t getting the attention it deserves overnight.
Remember, there is an overflow of content out there.
You may need to create dozens of pieces of content to meet your conversion goals, a top position on Google, or the big prize you’re looking for: cash.
So stay tuned. Establishing yourself in your niche and earning authority takes work.
In the meantime, have fun! Most importantly, creating and marketing original content should be fun. The big break could come when you least expect it.
Author: Matt Janaway
Matt Janaway is a successful digital marketer and entrepreneur based in Nottingham, UK. He started his digital career journey midway through the internet retail boom in mid 2000 developing more than 10 ecommerce stores that had great success with a successful and evolving SEO formula. Matt is now CEO of Marketing Labs, one … Show complete profile >