Do you want your content to be really effective? To work itself for you? Or maybe you just see that everybody around is talking about the content marketing and you want to be keen on it too? If YES, then - Let’s go!
Content Marketing is a tool, which really works in e-commerce nowadays. However, doing the job in content marketing you face some obstacles, like ‘what do the customers need?’ or ‘the lack of creativity’. Trying to deal with it, we provide you with some tips to improve your skills in content marketing or in other words - advice to become an expert in content marketing.
These are the most useful and objective issues you need to grow in yourself to be successful. There is no precise beginning or ending point of this list, you can start from whatever point you want
Social Media Monster
Content marketers network like crazy, but what for? First of all, relationships are the crucial part of content marketing. Finding right people gives you a chance to make connections, talk with experts to ask their opinion, engage ordinary people and those from your industry. Moreover, your name is becoming more widely-known and it leads to the respect and trust.
For example, use such a tool as LinkedIn which is an extremely popular way for building professional connections with other content marketers, even through them you can get people, needed to your job. Look at the Neil Patel's profile (the person, who does not need the be introduced), where he already has more than 52.000 followers. Just imagine the opportunities!
There is no doubt, that LinkedIn is about business-to-business and Facebook rules consumer. Use this information! As Jimmy Daly (Content Editor at Vero and curator of Swipe File) wrote in his twitter: "Making new friends is the key to getting content shared and promoted. In practice, networking just means staying in touch with friends in your industry, reaching out to new people..."(Twitter) It means that social media teaches you to promote the content you created and make it more available.
Research! Research! Research!
Working in the sphere of content marketing, it is important to have basic knowledge, on which you can create something new. It is all about the balance of experience and theoretical approach. You collect all the information, that can be useful, to your opinion, any time in the future. It is a kind of your own library with any type of information, which can inspire you, force to reflect and can be sources of the ideas.
Take into consideration the words of Joanna Wiebe (Creator of Copy Hackers and the Co-Founder of Airstory): "By living in research mode, I've got the data I need to write more convincing and share-worthy content without starting from scratch every time." (Twitter) Being an excellent content marketer you need to be involved in the process all the time, because details around are one of the most powerful driving forces for creative people.
Moreover, research is about the learning about the competitors. This information is very helpful! You compare your style, the content as a whole, strategy, main points, differences and common features. What to do with all this data? Use it to make your content more relevant, advantageous, looking different. Fill the gaps that you and your competitor both have.
So, you can divide the information you got into two groups: one is for the useful data, sources, statistics and articles and the other - for the inspiration and your personal development, for example, news of the industry.
This issue is connected with the previous one, because ‘watching others’ is not about the repeating after someone, but is about finding yourself. When you are creating content and promoting it everyday (and you really need to do it daily to be effective) you can face the lack of ideas, even if you are a very creative person. This is the situation, when you can gather knowledge from other people for a piece of content.
Organizing the data from different sources (interviews, articles, discussions) like a puzzle into one finished picture is one of the necessary skills for the qualified content marketer. If you do not have idea in your head - combine it from the elements around you!
"The habit that makes me most effective is watching how a ton of content in our space performs (via social media, feeds, blogs, and email) and seeing what works and what doesn't. That's a powerful process because it trains me to spot patterns in what resonates vs. doesn't, and it helps me be a better creator and amplifier." wrote Rand Fishkin, (Founder and former CEO of Moz and Co-Founder of Inbound.org.) (Twitter) The words of such authority have weight! Keep it in mind. Monitor the specialists of your industry, watch what works effectively and take only the best features.
Don’t Sink in Trends!
“Video marketing is the next big thing. Now replace video with any of the following: quizzes, infographics, SlideShares, listicles, flowcharts, podcasts, essays, and so on. There’s nothing wrong with any of these content types, but there is something completely wrong with blindly copying what your content competitors are doing.” Anum Hussain (Head of Content at Sidekick)
What is the point? If you want to try any new type of content - make a test. Do not change everything in a second to be in trend! You need to find out, whether it is engaging for YOUR target audience and worth relevant in your case or not. If your users are not fond of the new format, than what is the benefit from it? You are not an ordinary writer, but a combination of a writer and a promoter.
Learn the information, then keep it in your mind, overthink it and only after that - create something new. There is no doubt, that you should monitor the trends and be innovative, but do not push on it too much.
Target The Audience
“One of the best habits any content marketer should practice is to constantly look at your content through the lens of your readers and ask: Does this provide value?” Jory MacKay, the Writer and Editor for the Crew blog.
First thing you need to start with is to nail down your target market. Than to establish the quality lead.
Find the places, where the target audience lives online.Create a list consisting of the social media, forums, blogs, where the needed people usually appear.
You reach your target audience with the help of collected data. That is why it is important to have all tools fixed together. Analyzing the behaviour and interests of your users, you can find out, what content is the most valuable for them and what topics are the most attractive. You need to build relations with your users, to have common understanding.
Keep the Pulse on the Industry
Marketing, social media, public interests, fashion - all of these issues are connected and moreover they are fastly changing ones, especially in today’s world. You need to create the content, which will help you not only nurture the customers, but also generate new leads. Of cause, you can create some kind of ‘evergreen’ content, but if all the information is commonly known, than visitors will not be interested in reading it permanently. Such strategy can lead only to the short-term success.
But then how to engage people to check the updates of your content? Bring fresh facts, statistics, topics - experiment with it! As it is written above, do not change your style every time, when the trend is moving, however, listen to the fashion and innovations and use the patterns and certain points, acceptable for you tactic.
You need to be innovativeto be faster than the competitors are, to attract the attention of the potential customers. So, keep the eye on some resources with the ‘hot topics’ from the industry. For example, when it comes to engagement check the Paper.li or Alltop, where people share both the experience and news.
Moreover, visit the events, connected with you sphere. Exhibitions, presentations - everything, to know what is going on, what ideas are represented and to listen to other experts’ opinions. Show curiosity and passion!
As an example you can see the Forrester Event - Marketing 2016.
Editor’s Eye, Journalist’s Ear and Novelists’ Heart
To create useful content you need well-prepared data, including the information about the customers and leads (here the marketing automation tools help a lot), passion to make a research on the topic and excellent skills of journalist to put all the materials into laconique and attractive form, pleasant for eyes and easy for understanding.
Be ambitious to create not just ‘some stuff for the website’, but the best work, no matter what the topic is.
“It's only the best and most interesting work that’s going to make an impression, and that's what we all need to shoot for,” - as Sam Slaughter (VP of Content at Contently) said.
Be better than not only the competitors, be better than you previous time! Use descriptive and expressive means to target the audience, show your knowledge and interest, qualification. It can sound pathetic, but today content marketing is a strategy to get to the human heart and brain. To say more, it is considered as a form of modern art.
But all these aspects are only about the journalist and novelist approach. What does it mean to be an editor here? Everybody understands, that creation of the brilliant content is only a half of the work, now you need to edit it, to make the content work. Every content marketer should be an expert editor. It’s not so much about the grammar and style, but how your readers consume content online. While editing the content put attention on details and elements, that attract the visitor’s view immediately, that can be scanned on the more, but are remarkable at the same time. Have a fresh look on what you have done and make some corrections to organize it.
Moreover, from the editor’s point of view it is necessary to be familiar with the SEO to make the content more visible and available for the larger audience.
Write Everything Down
“I've learned how to cook up a story in the hectic, short-order kitchen of news journalism, but for me inspiration usually needs more time to marinate. So I’ve learned how to sneak in a moment or two of reflection while on a run. While my conscious mind takes a break from that new project, my subconscious keeps working at it, simmering until inspiration finally boils over.” writes Steve Wiens (Managing Editor of Microsoft Stories)
If you have an idea that makes sense for you - write it down! Maybe not now, but in an hour or in two days it will turn into a huge plan. Give the idea a chance starting from writing it down in your notebook or laptop.
Some ideas are home runs and some are strikeouts, but always need something in your pocket to be prepared for unexpected situations. Your creative mind can not collaborate the ideas one by one, like a machine, that is why it is necessary to have fresh ideas to incorporate into content whenever you need them.
What else to write down? Everything, especially the strategy. According to Content Marketing Institute 60% of the most effective B2C marketers have a documented content strategy. With a documented content strategy, producing a variety of engaging content for customers will be easier.
Learn From Feedback
“While your job is to ensure that your voice gets heard by others, the most effective habit you can build is actively listening to your audience,” - advises Alex Turnbull (Founder and CEO of Groove)
It means that you need to monitor the comments, feedbacks and analyze it to find out what problems, desires and suggestions the audience have. You cannot figure out, what people struggle with without taking their opinion into consideration. Let your users guide you to the right way. In such case you will not have the question ‘what subject to write about?’.
You need to show that you carry about your users. The readers will see, that you respect and appreciate their time and attention and you do care about their satisfaction. Look around - your team-members are also a part of the target audience. Take a chance to get information even from them!
In this manner, content marketers can gain insight into what type of content people like. Learn and understand what is relevant. Creating a meaningful connection with the leads and loyal customers curates relationships that eventually become valuable commodities.
To sum up, on the way to becoming guru of content marketing you need to put attention on:
- Social media connections.
- Research process.
- Analyzing the competitors.
- Staying original.
- Identifying the target audience.
- Keeping pulse on the industry.
- Being the Editor, Journalist and Novelist at the same time.
- Writing everything down.
- Learning from the feedback.
Always be passioned to do your work! It is the thing that you simply cannot fake. Your own interest to the process will attract people, they will involve into the conversation with you.
Producing the effective content is not a sprint, it is a long game – a marathon. Don’t forget about it. Keep on moving and you will receive the results!