To say blogging has “caught on” may be the understatement of the century. In fact, according to an infographic shared on Digital Buzz, two million blog posts are written and published every 24 hours. While not every one of those may be on the same topic as your latest post, it’s still an outstanding number that puts into perspective the difficulty marketers face in driving website traffic through content marketing. There’s a lot out there to sort through and choose from – so how can marketers create an engaging content marketing plan that works?
Copying is the finest form of flattery
Many marketers spend time and money attending (or sending their team to) workshops and conferences on the importance of blogging and how to create blog success. It’s been promoted as the pseudo-holy grail of marketing: Do this right and your website traffic, as well as your sales, will skyrocket! But how does the content manager for an automotive manufacturer know the right way for a software company to improve site visits and bounce rates? The best way to find out which content works best for an audience is to check out what other organizations in that industry are doing.
Look for yourself and find the most shared content by your competitors. Consider infographics, blog posts, ebooks, whitepapers, videos, etc… What are they writing about and how can you do it better? How is your organization’s opinion on a topic different than others? Consider a popular blog post as the topic for an upcoming video or infographic. There’s no need to re-invent the wheel, but certainly, don’t plagiarize others’ work.
Also, it’s a good idea to spend time in discussion groups and forums dedicated to your industry to see what customers (yes, even those who aren’t yours) are talking about. Are they more focused on one thing or another? Are they asking questions? These are great topics that already have interested audiences waiting for content.
Now that you have idea of what you are going to publish, it’s time to consider how you will get it in front of the right audience.
As much as content marketers may hate to admit it, design is more important than content. If content doesn’t look good then it likely won’t capture an audience’s attention or be shared with others. Think about it, before you tweet a blog post or another piece of content, what do you consider? Topic, headline, and design. We are all visual beings!
Stop using Google Images and put an end to your stock photography subscriptions! Take the time to make custom header images to make content stand out. The good news is, this isn’t too terribly expensive and your competition probably isn’t taking the time to make their content look good. Consider using images instead of sub-headers and even quotes to mix up the look of your content.
Remember, engaging content is more than words. It’s about creating visually engaging content that resonates with your audience and provides real information and solutions they can use and share.
We’ve all wondered how we can improve search rankings for our content; however, one person actually stopped wondering and started researching. Brian Dean of Backlinko published Google’s 200 Ranking Factors: The Complete List earlier this year and made it easier for all of us to find answers.
But how your content performs in search is just one part of the equation. You still need to get your content in front of your target audience. Most marketers focus on “influencers” for their specific industry but they are missing the boat! For example, retail marketers are not the only folks looking for email marketing tips. Marketers in manufacturing, agriculture, and logistics are also looking for guidance when it comes to improving deliverability, open rates, and click-throughs. Reach out to influencers in these industries and you’ll likely be surprised by their reach and ability to persuade others to check out your content.
It’s also imperative to ask others to link to your content. This can be as simple as reaching out to the folks who linked to your competitor’s content that you found earlier in this process. They’ve already shown interest in the topic, so prove to them why your content is different. Is it more up-to-date? Easier to understand? In a different format? Make your case!
Keep in mind, this isn’t a one-time gig. Going through these steps to building engaging content marketing before publishing an infographic or video is always a good idea; however, to get the most out of your content, even the shortest of blog posts requires research, engaging content and design, as well as smart promotion. Publishing three or four blog posts a week won’t move the dial for any organization. But, publishing one well-written and graphically interesting piece of content each week can make a huge difference in website traffic, bounce rates, and conversions.
What other content marketing tips can you share?