As the versatility and ubiquity of the internet has rocketed beyond the stratosphere, it has created a populace of laptop, tablet, and smartphone dependents. They sit, cross-legged on the grassy knoll of a digital Cape Canaveral, taking for granted the way in which the web pervades and shapes their lives. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but the pros and cons of a life reliant on the internet isn’t the topic we wish to explore this time. Instead, we’d like to reflect on the fact that with this versatility and ubiquity, has come a lot of online content. As in a lot. In fact, it is predicted that the entire word count of the internet, at any given moment, is the equivalent to nearly 220 million copies of Tolstoy’s ‘War and Peace’. That’s every square inch of the UK covered in copies of the book. Three times over.
With such vast reams of content, it’s vital for content marketers to be producing material which catches the eye of the reader.
As seasoned content marketers ourselves, we have set out what we believe are ten ways to ensure you have the best chance of doing just this.
Have a strategy
Sounds obvious, but you’d be amazed the number of businesses that decide more content needs to go on their site, only to begin aimlessly posting blogs and guides with no real targets, schedules, or means of sharing considered.
It’s great such businesses have realised the benefits of content marketing. Especially when one considers that on average, it costs 62% less than outbound marketing, yet generates more than three times as many leads (Content Marketing Institute, 2016). But there must be a strategy to achieve such results. Businesses need to draw up timetables of when content will be produced and uploaded. What topics will be covered, how the content will be presented, how it will be shared, and what results they’d like to see from it.
It’s a vital first step too often overlooked.
Know your audience
We’re referring more to the subtleties here. The language you use and the tone of voice you pitch it, can either lose or lure you readers. If your client base is largely made up of younger people within upcoming industries, you should dare to be a little edgy. Remove the corporate spin and adopt a chatty tone that utilises humour and contemporary references. Likewise, if you service more traditional, exclusive industries maintaining an air of straight-talking authority is more appropriate.
Build a picture of what your customers and prospective customers are interested in, and what products they use and rely on. If your client base are predominantly entrepreneurial, Millennial types, it’s no good writing about how to set up the right email. Chances are good they’ll know already. But you could write about innovative ways to use emails more effectively. It’s these seemingly minor tweaks that will either keep your readers reading, or have them looking elsewhere for content.
Update content regularly
Hopefully your content schedule will ensure that material is being posted frequently. But you should be aware why consistency is key.
HubSpot’s recent Marketing Benchmarks survey of more than 7,000 businesses provided some startling figures. They discovered that small businesses (those with 1-10 employees) can double their sales leads by increasing their number of blog posts from 3-5 to 6-8 per month. Businesses that blog more than 20 times a month generate five times more traffic than those who blog fewer than four times a month, and 82% of marketers who blog daily have converted readers into customers. As opposed to 57% of marketers who blog monthly.
So, once you’ve drawn up your content schedule, make sure there’s plenty going in, and stick to it.
A nod to SEO
In the digital space SEO is everything. No doubt your website is peppered with keywords, alt-tags, links, and metadata to keep you as close to the first few search engine pages as possible. But here, particularly blogging, can make an enormous impact.
TrafficGenerationCafe discovered that by adding at least 52 blog posts, traffic to a site increases by 77%. 59% of SEO professionals rate blogging as one of their top inbound marketing activities, and have subsequently created a blog or increased their blogging efforts (Moz 2012 SEO Industry Survey). It has also been found that companies that blog receive 97% more inbound links. Volume, as already mentioned, is also important: a repository of at least 52 blog posts (that’s just one a week for a year) doesn’t just result in an incremental increase in traffic; it leads to a big spike.
The power of the infographic
In time, the power of the infographic will merit a blog-post all of its own on the Kontent Engine site. They really are an extraordinary weapon in your content marketing arsenal. People love well written web copy, blogs, guides, white-papers and more, but sometimes they’re on a schedule and they just want the headlines. Infographics can be used to deliver those headlines in way that is visually stimulating; colourful and laden with images.
They’re also great for sharing as they are essentially just a picture, meaning their potential to go viral is profound. As infographics can also be branded, should an infographic of yours go viral, it’s not just the information users will see. It’s your company name and logo as well.
Use social media
It’s funny to think that only five years ago, employees could be disciplined for spending time on Facebook or Twitter in the office. Now there are workers who can be disciplined for not spending enough time on such sites.
As of June 2017, there were 328 million Twitter accounts and two billion active Facebook profiles. And then you have Snapchat, Instagram, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn, on and on the list goes amounting to an audience across all platforms that covers half the planet’s population. And it’s free to join. That’s why so many companies dedicate such resources to their social media presence.
Of course, you’ll want to think about which platforms are most apt for your business and will reach most of your desired customer base. But you should have a social media presence, and you should be sharing your content on it.
There are certain topics that are timeless; traits of great business leaders, best sales techniques, how to have difficult conversations in the workplace. However, it’s a good idea to branch out and talk about what’s happening in the here and now. Keeping your finger on the pulse of current affairs means you’ll spot stories that relate to your business and your client base. Producing content and commentary on such stories doesn’t just allow you to provide insight to current and prospective clients. It also gives you an air of authority, expertise, and relevance. Not bad traits to have in the business world.
Reshare and repackage
The beauty of content is that it’s not a case of ‘one strike and you’re out’. If you’ve produced a great piece of work and shared it, but it didn’t get the response you wanted, that doesn’t mean it needs permanently consigning to the dust-laden archives of your website. You can just share it again at a later date.
It might be as well that you’ve produced a piece that was highly relevant and popular amongst users, but you still want to diversify its reach. In this instance, there’s nothing wrong with extracting the key points and sharing them in another format. In fact, sharing the same pertinent information via the written word, visuals, video reinforces the message.
As was pointed out in the intro, there’s a lot of content out there. The average person now consumes, through the various multimedia channels, enough information to fill 16 standard capacity PC hard drives (University of California). Getting noticed amidst such an overwhelming glut of information isn’t easy.
Having a go at producing your own content is admirable, and in many cases successful. Particularly for those organisations with the capital to fund dedicated content teams. Producing quality content though is a time-consuming process which requires a knowledge of SEO techniques but far more importantly, a flair for the creative. If getting noticed is your goal, and you lack the confidence to produce content yourself, it might be something you look to outsource.
Sleep on it
This is for you committed DIY-ers, and it’s a tip you’ll likely not hear elsewhere. If you’ve pledged to produce a piece of content by a set date, do what you can to finish it the day before, then leave it overnight. On the morning of the deadline, revisit your work with a fine toothcomb, and we promise there’ll be things you’ll change. There always is. It might be you pick up on a typo, think of a better analogy for something, realise there’s room to use a certain keyword another time. It could be anything. It’s these minor tweaks that make the difference. After all, if we’re not going to strive for perfection, then we’ll never get close to it.