Content Marketing – How to get cut through in a very cluttered market
Everyone’s talking about content.
Because everyone’s reading more and more digital content, like you are, right now.
We’re reading more digital content because we have the tools to do so in the form of smartphones and tablets and because we want to, because we’re fed up of believing in advertising and we want to understand things for ourselves, judge them, make choices about them. Knowledge is power.
So the first rule of content creation is to remember that it’s about enabling the reader to gain understanding.
It doesn’t matter so much about the “message” (that’s advertising) or pushing your agenda, it matters firstly whether you added to the reader’s knowledge about your business or a topic related to your business. If you can get your agenda across at the same time, well aren’t you clever, but never allow pontification to overshadow education.
The second rule of content creation is that no one will read it. Seriously.
But even if you nail great content creation that’s only a third of the battle. There are thousands of articles published every day, your beautiful creation is, I’m afraid, a grain of sand on a very large beach.
This article is all about marketing content successfully, not just creating it and that means you need to work on two key areas around your content creation.
Research and preparation
Marketable content stands out because it’s relevant, valuable and consistent. So before you write one sentence you need to know that what you’re about to create stands up to that test.
Relevancy isn’t just about choosing the right subject; it’s about making sure you infuse the text with the right keywords to get you found. That’s a whole article in itself, so here is one.
Value is about really doing your research to make your article “best on the web”. Don’t be afraid to include lots of hyperlinks to supporting information, the advantage of being truly informative outweighs the danger of people clicking away and not coming back.
Consistency is just about discipline. Your readership wants you to be a trusted source of information on your area of expertise. Sticking to your brand values and personality is essential if you’re to gain trust, there’s no place for flimflam.
Amplification: Made and earned
The final part of your successful content marketing strategy will be about reach. This is where it’s more like advertising, we still need eyeballs! And in the world we live in now where presence is largely controlled by algorithms, it means you have to give your content a big initial push before it will start rolling of its own accord.
You can make amplification begin by using your network, get people in and around your business sharing your content.
Also look further outside your business for influencers who can back your viewpoint or collaborate with others who share similar audiences. Just make sure you think about that before you start writing, not the day before you want to start sharing!
Once you’ve got some initial reach happening, you’ll be hoping others join in to power your engagement.
What’s going to make them?
Most likely by getting a reaction. We don’t tend to share things we mildly agree or disagree with so there is nothing wrong with taking a strong stance on subjects and letting a little emotion bleed through in your titling and descriptions.
Finally, make sure you have used all appropriate marketing channels to distribute the information. “Create once, publish everywhere” is a popular maxim but can easily be the start of spammy behaviour.
Let’s not be those guys, huh?
Instead let’s publish enthusiastically, reaching out via email to chosen clients or publishing to select online groups where you can genuinely say “I know you’re going to be interested in this”.
It’s also ok to post more than once on platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn where the presence of any one post in people’s feeds may only be a matter of minutes or hours.
The final qualities for success in content marketing are perseverance and analysis. Pareto’s principle applies, 80% of your engagement will come from 20% of your content, so don’t give up if the first few articles don’t go massively viral.
Take the learnings and focus on the subject areas that do gain more traction, by their reaction and engagement your customers are telling you something too!