In order to have a successful marketing campaign, solid content is essential to bridging the gap between your services and your prospective clients. Though it may seem intimidating at first, providing strong content can be achieved through several key recommendations.
Our team has compiled a list of strategies to help you take your content marketing to the next level.
Focus On Goals
A solid foundation involves establishing well-defined goals for your content marketing efforts. They must be clear, direct, and specific. Some goals for your business to consider include establishing yourself as an influencer, attracting new clients, working on client retention, and/or increasing sales. The list can be lengthy, with short-term and long-term goals separated. Add realistic timelines for when you anticipate results. While some of these goals can overlap, completing one may lead to another in a domino effect of success. Your goals will determine the message you share with your audience, and content is the vehicle for that message.
Understand Your Messaging
Knowing what message you want your content to send will help you determine what platform is the best choice to help drive your point home. Your website, social media, emails, newsletters, online, and print advertisements all reach a different type of audience and send a unique signal to them. The more clearly defined your goals are, the better positioned you’ll be to know how to make these various platforms work for you.
Grammar Still Matters
While many of those middle school lessons of grammar may have faded, proper grammar definitely still matters! Using the Oxford comma will provide clarity, and using active voice instead of passive voice will perk up your writing in seconds. Don’t hurt your credibility with poor writing and simple mistakes.
Oversharing is Overwhelming
The rule of thirds is a crucial rule in content marketing, and it’s a great tool to keep track of what you’re sharing. It serves as a reminder to not go overboard in one area or another. You want to have the right balance of content to avoid alienating your audience. Our recommended formula begins with ⅓ brand promotion, defined as the sharing of information about your services, your team, and your brand. Another ⅓ is outside content, from other thought leaders or partners in your industry. And the last ⅓ is custom, or original, content that comes from your business. This breakdown is also true on social media and can be a vital tip for platforms such as Instagram.
Watch Your Sharing
Outside content may seem like the easiest third of content marketing. We see brands do this all the time on social media, but it’s not as simple as googling a few relevant articles and popping them up on your pages. There are some pitfalls to avoid. Watch out for competitor articles and websites! Strategic cross-promotion can be a powerful tool, but make sure it’s purposeful and determined ahead of time through a partnership with the other business. The last thing you want to do is share a link on your social media page that sends people to your competitor’s website!
Research Your Visual Appearance
Your website might display perfectly on a desktop device, but how does it look on a smartphone? Some people will be looking at your social media pages, reading email blasts, or following your website links on their smartphones. People may also find your site by searching on their phones, but be unable to view all of the information concisely. Few people today will battle through a frustrating experience on their smartphones when they can find a different site in seconds. Do your research ahead of time to know what aspects do and don’t work on mobile.
In fact, we’ve encountered this issue in the past on mConnexions’s own social media pages. Though we had found some great outside content to use, we later realized the site wasn’t properly formatted for mobile, so the article wasn’t readable or useable for a large part of our audience. Be sure to check websites and links for paywalls or too many popups. Poor formatting, paywalls, and popups are all significant roadblocks to users who want to go on your website
Authenticity is Essential
When talking about sharing and sourcing content, no matter what type, the key is authenticity. We talked about this in our 2019 Trends blog by discussing the importance of the human element for brands and business. Use your content to establish trust and communication. You can encourage and facilitate discussion, ask questions, interact with your audience, and show them who you are. All of these aspects make your brand personal. If an individual feels a connection with your business on a human level, they will develop loyalty, and they’ll keep coming back.
Part of authenticity is being smart about your own recommendations. Sharing content helps to form a relationship with your audience. Just like you wouldn’t send your friend to a stranger’s home without knowing who you were sending them to, don’t send your customers or prospective clients to a website or business without knowing whether or not the site is safe and secure, and that their business is a trusted authority.
The Next Steps
Once you understand your goals and have an idea of what platforms will provide the right support, then you can start the process of actually curating and creating quality content. Now you’re ready to share your content, which means it’s time to tell your story.
The storytelling structure is the perfect tool for sharing content, regardless of your platform. This is because the structure of storytelling creates an inherent emotional response. While we often like to think that we make decisions based on logic, research shows that we actually make many of our decisions based on emotion. Creating an emotional response from your audience is the best way to get them to connect with you. There are several easy ways to do this, including:
- Use inclusive language, like we, us, and our.
- Within the scope of your brand, use a conversational tone.
- Vary the length of your sentences the way you would if you were speaking out loud.
There are two types of similar content formats to procure: brand promotion and original content. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by them at first, but what you might not realize is how much original content you have at your fingertips already, without reinventing the wheel. Understanding them is the start of increasing your content marketing skills.
Brand promotion is content that can help to attract and convert new clients. This involves sharing:
- success stories about your business
- current or past projects
- highlighting the services you provide that set you apart
- tips & tricks
These give prospective clients your personal information, with your own spin.
Original content involves sharing information about your business that’s not necessarily related to promoting specific services. As an example, mConnexions has a current client who provides a very niche service in their industry. Recently, an article on the effects of not using that service popped up in the news, and we were able to take that content and share it on behalf of our client, alongside their perspective as an industry leader in their field. You can create original content out of current or newsworthy events in your field or industry, highlighting your community involvement, by partnering with other businesses in your community on projects, or to provide cross-promotion.
The process of establishing and understanding your content marketing goals, using the right platforms, balancing content types, and writing compelling content will all help to drive your message successfully. Practice will make perfect, and as you become more familiar with these recommendations and content types, even your long-term goals will seem closer than ever.