"Content is King" and "this is the year of content" are thrown around on a regular basis, and have been for the past several years. Many of those references pertain to search engine rankings and algorithm updates, even though that's not what content creation should be focusing on.
Businesses should be creating content for what really matters—the person who could potentially convert and ultimately pay for a product and or service offered by the content creator.
Let's be real for a moment and agree that excellent content has the power to turn readers into cold hard cash. The following eight tips can help create a solid content marketing strategy.
1. Publish only good content
That might sound like common sense, but unfortunately not everyone understands that content should not be something thrown together or outsourced to the company with the lowest price. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but $5 content purchased from Fiverr is not going to benefit a content marketing campaign. If anything, it will turn away anyone who comes in contact with it.
Now, not everyone can sit all day and crank out content, so it makes sense to bring someone on board who is an expert in creating great content.
2. Write for your target market
Keep all of the content focused on your target market. When content begins to expand to subjects that are only slightly related or entirely off topic, it can cause your reader base to lose interest quickly and devote attention elsewhere—to other content that does address their subject of interest.
Once they leave, they may be forever lost to you. So stay on track and make sure all content is created with your target market in mind.
3. Create useful content
Creating content that just isn't useful is a big mistake that many companies make. A useful benefit must be associated with reading or otherwise consuming your content. The purpose of content isn't to fill pages and blogs; it is to offer useful information that causes people to interact with the company producing the content.
Focus on the quality of the information presented and the benefit it offers to the reader rather than focusing on length or keywords, or other SEO considerations. Search engine marketing professionals should worry more about the content's impact on the reader. The people engaging with the content are the ones (not the search engines) who open their wallets and purses.
The age old principle "Keep It Simple, Stupid" applies to content perfectly. It is important that the content relay your message in an easy to understand format that the audience will absorb and learn from. This isn't a contest to see who can use the fanciest words or unearth the most creative synonym.
Write content in a way that gets the message across directly, without extra fluff that the reader must wade through. Use good formatting practices by including headings, bullet points, and numbers (where appropriate).
5. Get analytical
Every website should have analytics tracking installed—Google Analytics or something similar; use that analytics software to help with your content marketing—to help determine which content was successful and which was not.
Take into consideration the amount of time readers engaged with the content and what occurred afterward. Did they immediately leave the website? Did they turn into a lead or a sale? Using analytics data can help determine what topics the readers respond better to, allowing your campaigns to be adjusted accordingly.
6. Stay current
Keep at least some of your content focused on current events and news rather than always rehashing old information. If the reader has been exposed to the same or similar information in the past, he will subconsciously associate the content with lower quality and low value. This point is related to point No. 3: old and outdated information isn't going to be useful to the reader.
7. Make sharing easy
One of the benefits of high-quality content marketing is the social sharing it can potentially receive. Our culture is addicted to social media and to sharing information deemed valuable and informative. If readers feel that what they are reading is useful, they will share it, so make sure that option is readily available and easy to access.
Many free sharing tools are available, and they be installed on a website via simple HTML code or a plugin, such as AddThis. When good content receives a lot of social love, the reach can be enormous.
8. Website layout and design should be clean
Maintain a simple website layout and design that keeps your content easy to read. If the website is too busy, readers will lose focus. Avoid multiple popups, opt-in forms, and exit redirects—surefire ways to ensure the reader will never return.
Many websites and content marketing strategies are designed to generate leads, but there is a right way to do it... and an obnoxious way. Great content and a clear call to action are all that is needed. If the reader isn't interested in converting, then additional popups are not going to change his mind.
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These eight tips are simple to implement, but they can help kick-start a content program the correct way—and keep it on track.
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