Content marketing discussions among B2B, B2C and nonprofit marketers continue to take center stage. What tactics to use? What should the message be? And, does content marketing really work?
Some light has been shed on this by two recent studies conducted in 2012 and 2013 by the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs. The overwhelming majority of B2B marketers reported that in both years they employed content marketing and, further, that they used a wide range of different content marketing tactics:
- Social media (other than blogs) was used by 87% of marketers;
- Articles on their websites and Enewsletters were each were used by eight out of ten;
- In-person events and Blogs were used by three-quarters of marketers;
- Case studies, Videos and Articles on other websites were used by seven out of ten marketers;
- White papers were used by six out of ten, while about half used Webinars/webcasts;
- And, sixteen other tactics were employed by 10 to 44 percent of marketers.
Given the wide variety of tactics employed, it is not surprising that these marketers also reported using content marketing to achieve a number of different goals, chief among them – increasing brand awareness, customer acquisition, lead generation, customer retention and thought leadership.
So, while these studies confirm the popularity of content marketing (as do similar studies among B2C marketers), across many platforms and with a number of different goals, the key question still remains – what messages should you communicate through all of these tactics?
Understand Your Prospects And Customers With Market Research
With all of these opportunities to engage your customers and prospects, it strikes me that it would be prudent to fully understand their wants and needs in buying a product or service, as well as how these wants and needs are met by your brand and competitive brands.
Some marketers believe they understand their customers and hope they understand their prospects. But in today’s cluttered world of information, facts trump opinion. Without the right message, all of your efforts in content marketing may be perceived as just noise – and sometimes a lot of noise – by your target audience. Not a very efficient way to spend your money or resources.
Therefore, before you spend your limited time and marketing communications dollars, wouldn’t it be a lot smarter to learn directly from your audiences what they consider to be the most important to them in brand selection? Ask them what is most important to them – quality, reputation, price, distribution, delivery terms, manufacturing standards, reliability, eco-friendly, healthfulness, etc. Once you know this, and how these attributes are related to your brand and to competitive brands, you’ll be able to align your strengths to competitive weakness to meet you buyers’ needs.
In addition, this knowledge will also provide your employees with meaningful insights that will impact their relationships and dialogue with customers or prospects. And, as a bonus, the research you conduct for your content marketing efforts may lead to improved marketing and marketing communications across all of your programs.
Marketing Communications Consultants Or Internal Staff
Having the skills and time to develop your messaging, regardless of content tactic, is another issue to consider. Whether you use internal staff or external professionals, this type of research provides meaningful and specific direction on what to communicate to improve your ROI. Then the question becomes how to communicate this message.
Skilled professionals will not present the research findings as a blatant “brand speak” message. Rather, the objective should be to establish trust with your audiences through communications that meets their needs without a “hard sell”.
So, as you continue your discussions of when, where and how to employ content marketing, I hope you will agree that meaningful messaging, coupled with the right content marketing tactic – be it as simple as a post on Facebook or as complex as an in-person event – can improve your reputation with existing customers and prospects.
In a world where businesses seem to be falling over themselves to capitalize on content, one can not simply hope to pull an enviable traffic to their business website with a mere handful of great write-ups. A constant stream of good quality content needs to be flowing for consistent results.
But how does anyone keep generating quality content forever? After all, even the smartest of brains runs out of ideas. The answer to this is simple- look around for what's happening in the industry and see if it can be turned into 'readworthy' content. Yes, when coming up with new and innovative content ideas becomes laborious, trading on critical business events remains the best bet to ensure consistent content generation.
However, this is easier said than done. And one pain area to consider here is the difficulty one has to face in deciding on which events to cover and which ones to leave out.
No doubt, a business's journey towards its goal remains eventful. But everything it goes through can not be of interest to its stakeholders, customers or anyone, for that matter. Being able to differentiate between important, less important and unimportant events is a challenge, though. Whether or not a particular event has the potential to become a piece of engaging content is something genuinely hard to tell.
If you think all these are challenges, difficult to take on, then you should simply read on. Below, you find five unique and practical tips to leverage events for quality content –
1. Stick to the clichéd 'do some preliminary research' advice-
To extract the most out of an event, its agenda, purpose and goal must, first, be understood. You can start off by reading up on the speakers. Next, try to figure out the focal point of each of the delivered sentences. Having a layout plan for the entire project will immensely help you. For any information that you have not provided provided with, you should talk to the organizers directly.
Benefits of live-tweeting an event? It is effective, collective, interactive, cheap and most importantly, online. Post anything that you consider worth sharing with the world. Begin with creating a short, sweet, easy-to-remember and intuitive hashtag for the event and promote it. Every tweet, image, banner, webpage or email linked to the event should invariably entail this hashtag. Make your tweets catchy and be prepared with backup plans.
3. Find the crux of the story
No grand business event takes place without the 'frontmen' of the industry speaking their emotional and proud hearts out on stage. But that does not mean you will have to cover everything. Multiple booths and stations set up at the event venue to allow multiple activities to go on only worsen the scenario. The trick here is to find the 'hook of the story.' If you do not want your content to look like an event itinerary, you will have to provide it an angle; an angle that would add much more value to the event than covering it in an ordinary manner.
4. Weed out everything unimportant:
Neither every functionary speaking at an event, nor every word they utter is of importance. So, do not bother being too transcriptive. Remember! The crispier the content, the more impressive it is. So, focus on 'worth'- worth of everything- the speakers, speeches, sub-events, timings- literally everything. And build your content accordingly. Focus on stats, tweetable quotes or real data for maximum impact. For surefire success, you can try noticing audience reactions. If something excites them, it will excite your audience too. Include it in your content without much thought.
5. Do not cringe to spend some money:
If you think interviews of the speakers and other dignitaries present at the event will make amazing content, then you are absolutely right. But these people are hard to access and they like to be interviewed by reputed media homes only. So, what to do? Propose to be a co-sponsor of the event. This way, you will gain some authority over the event, enough to be able to interview biggies. You can also get the interviews video-recorded and upload them on YouTube. If you are planning to write blogposts, you will be making them more interactive with these videos. And no, you do not need a high-end camera to materialize this plan. All you require is a video enabled mobile phone and you are more than good to go.
Do you know what is most interesting and exciting about this entire event-content business? About 90% of the event attendees will not even care to publish anything linked to the event, except for a few social media posts and tweets. You, on the other hand, can have an upper hand with about 10 to 15 different content pieces from a single two or three-day-long event. All that is needed is the right approach and you will realize how easy it is to capitalize on industry events for quality content.
Do you want to know the most effective content marketing secrets?
High quality content writing plays an important role in marketing success for B2B (business to business) companies or even solo entrepreneurs. The most effective content can be more profitable to your business success. Every content we make makes our business run as we handle business on the right way.
Last month we covered 17.5 content marketing secrets of driving targeted, lucrative traffic to your blogs and websites.
And while no single method will provide an avalanche of traffic, combining your favorites can result in the kind of traffic that keeps you in profit, indefinitely.
This month we'll cover 17.75 more, including how to get major bloggers and influencers to gladly share your posts, how to piggy back off the best content on the internet, how to make your content interactive to garner more traffic and a whole lot more .
Let's get started:
1: How to get bloggers (big and small) to share your blogposts with their readers
This is so easy, yet few bloggers take the time.
And the benefits are two-fold: First, you will likely get extra traffic – maybe even LOTS of extra traffic. And second, it's a great way to begin building relationships with other bloggers.
Here's how it works:
Choose a topic for your next blogpost. Now search out other content related to the post you're writing. It could be articles, podcasts, infographics, blogposts, videos, etc., as long as it directly relates to what you're writing about.
Not sure how to find the best content? Use a tool like Buzzsumo to locate the highest shared content for your keyword.
Get in touch with these content creators right away. Let them know you're working on a post and you're going to include a reference to their work.
Ask if they would like to see the post when you're done. Be friendly and keep your messages fairly short and straight to the point. If you want to gush a little bit about how you live their (blog, videos, products, etc.) go ahead.
When your post is published, let them know they're featured in your newly published content. Even if they did not reply to your first email, let them know. Maybe they were just busy.
If they like your content, many of them will share it with their readers and social media. Be sure to THANK THEM profusely when they do this.
2: Offer bribes in exchange for social media shares
When you create a new piece of content, create what you might think of as a bonus, too. It could be an infographic, a resource list, a pdf of the article, the largest, baddest and best technique of all, etc.
Sign up for a Pay with a Tweet service and create a new campaign.
Integrate the campaign button or campaign link into your content page. Feature it prominently, and talk up the benefits of what they will receive in exchange for a simple share on social media.
3: Optimize Your Facebook Posts
Things to know …
- Run tests to see what types of posts, headlines and images your audience prefers.
- Avoid clickbait heads, as these will hurt your new feed rank.
- Definitely use hashtags whenever appropriate, since they increase interactions by 60%.
- When appropriate, use a question to get 100% more comments than non-question posts (Source: KISSMetrics)
- Link titles should have less than 100 characters
- Publish between 5pm and 1am for the most interactions (Source: TrackMaven)
- Engage with photos because 93% of the most engaged posts contain photos
- Use videos as well for even more engagement
- The most engaging length for a Facebook post? Is between 50 and 99 characters. (Source: Simply Measured)
- Posts with emoticons receive 33% more comments and are shared 33% more often. (Source: AMEX Open Forum)
- Saturday and Sunday posts have much higher average engagement (Source: TrackMaven)
4: Join Facebook Groups
Facebook groups are excellent way to connect with people interested in just about any topic – including yours.
In Facebook groups you can really get to know your audience, and always promote your content. Here's how:
Create a list of keywords that best describe your niche.
Enter each keyword or phrase into the search field, click search and click on 'groups.'
Join the groups that look the most promising, but do not share your content right away. Read the rules, participate in the conversations, help others and answer questions.
When someone asks a question that your content can answer, then share your content.
Or share your content as updates, asking the group for feedback.
5: Share your content on LinkedIn (Maybe)
This one depends – can you find your target market on LinkedIn? If so, this is a great place to share great stuff, keeping a few things in mind:
Many LinkedIn groups are nothing more than spam groups. In other words, everyone is shouting, "Look at me!" But no one is listening.
You've got to find relevant groups with lots of activity and very strict anti-spam rules.Try different keyword variations, and use group filters in the search settings. As you gain experience searching, you'll get better at finding the right groups.
Once you're in a group, read the rules and see how people interact. Help others, like, comment and ask questions that move conversations forward. Do this for a few weeks before sharing. Remember, you've got to give first if you want to receive.
When it's time to share, ask for comments and feedback, opinions, questions, etc.
The main goal of LinkedIn is to build your network. It's quite possibly you could meet someone who has a list of buyers who would love your product. It's also possible you'll meet your next joint venture partner, or your next $ 10,000 client.
But you do need some patience and the willingness to be in it for the long haul, helping others and initially expecting nothing in return.
6: Sending traffic from LinkedIn to your blog
Is your audience on LinkedIn? Then every time you write a new blogpost, also write a 300-400 word teaser post for LinkedIn.
This post will give the gist of what your blogpost is about and provide a link back to your blog so they can read the entire post there.
Remember to use teaser bullets demonstrating what they will discover when they read your blogpost, as well as a direct call to action to go read the post.
7: Driving traffic from Google+ to your blog
Contrary to popular belief, Google+ is still alive with 300 million active monthly users.
The key here is the communities. Joining and taking part in conversations will get you more engagement on the platform. Here's how:
Search for your niche keywords on Google+, then scroll down to the 'communities' section and click 'more' to see the results.
Join the communities and start building relationships. Share your thoughts and ideas, answer questions, be helpful and keep the conversation flowing.
Now get in touch with the owner of the community and ask if they could use your help. If you get approved as a moderator, you should see a big spike in followers and engagement.
Bonus: If your business page is a moderator on a Google+ community, then all of the plus one's from that community will be added to your business page. Remember to link your business page to your website, so the plus one's pass on to your homepage.
8: Get 10,000 new Instagram Followers
The more followers you have, the more traffic you can potentially drive to your blog, your website, your offers, etc.
And it's easy to get followers if you have some time to kill.
NOTE: Instagram makes you do this manually, so when you have spare time, here's how to do it:
Open Instagram, tap on the search icon, select 'tags,' and search the hashtag associated with your topic.
Choose a photo and start following the account. Like their most recent three photos.
Soon you will see people following you back.
9: Get More Shares (and traffic) With Interactive Content
People love to discover more about themselves, what their spirit animal is, what their personality says about them and so forth.
This is why for decades the Cosmopolitan Magazine Quiz has been one of the favorite features of the entire magazine.
And it's also why you can use simple quizzes to drive more interaction and more shares from your readers.
Register for a free account at apester.com.
Click 'create new' and select the type of content you would like to create – polls, quizzes, personality, video or countdown.
Add your questions and mark the right questions.
Press 'publish' and install the Apester plugin to your WordPress site.
Copy the code and insert it on your website, where ever you want it to be.
10: Run a Contest
Offering a contest on social media is a great way to get lots of engagement, traffic and new subscribers.
But be careful – you've got to tailor your prize to the audience you seek. Otherwise you'll end up with a ton of subscribers who care nothing about your niche, your blog or your products.
For example, do not offer a free electronic device (as so many do) unless it's 100% directly related to your niche.
If your niche is gardening, offer a big selection of free bulbs or your latest book on growing vegetables.
If your niche is online marketing, offer free access to your latest marketing course to bring in super targeted leads, and so forth.
Here's how to set up a contest:
Sign up at Rafflecopter to launch and manage your giveaway.
Click 'new giveaway.' Put in the prize (s) your winner (s) will receive.
Choose how people can enter to win the prize. Subscribing to your newsletter? Tweeting about the contest? Etc.
Set points for each method. The more points they get, the better their chances of winning.
Choose a start and end date and click 'preview and install.'
Either embed the contest to your website or run it on your Facebook page.
Want to have even more options? Upgrade to the premium version.
11: Use other people's great content to drive traffic to your site
This is a great technique on several levels. First, you're sharing relevant, timely content via social media, so your followers and fans benefit.
The person who content you are sharing will see you're sharing their stuff, which can help build relationships with these marketers.
And in the process you can actually drive traffic to your own content as well. Here's how:
Find articles and posts related to your newly published post. You can use Google Alerts, Mention, or simply do a Google search for new content on the topic.
When you find an article your audience will likely enjoy, use Sniply to share it via your social channels.
To do this: Go to Sniply and register for a free account. Insert the article's link and click 'create snip.'
Then customize the call to action that visitors to that article will see, and link it to YOUR blogpost.
Click 'snip' and you're set.
12: Create Roundup Posts
This is a great way to get social media shares from other bloggers and marketers, and even begin building relationships with them.
Each week, biweekly or monthly (you choose a time frame) you will create a collection of the best content related to your topic.
To find this content, you'll want to subscribe to relevant blogs, set up keyword trackers, or use a notification service like Feedly.
Choose the best posts and write a few sentences of introduction for each one, linking back to the original source.
Notify your sources before you publish your post. Let them know you're working on a roundup post and their article or post will be included.
Once you publish, let everyone in your roundup know you are live.
For those who do not promote your article via social media, it is okay to politely follow up in a few days just in case they missed your email. When they do promote your article, THANK THEM very nicely.
Rinse and repeat at your next interval.
13: Create News Posts
This is generally done weekly and it's similar to the roundup post. Only in this case, you are focusing on newsworthy items from your particular niche.
Your traffic here is likely to come more from people sharing your post than the sources you are quoting, since many times those sources will be actual news sites.
However, for sources that are regular sites, blogs, etc., be sure to let them know you'll be including them, and then let them know when you publish.
14: Do Influencer Roundups
Want to create something epic that really stands out and gets shared by a lot of people?
Then doing an influencer roundup on a hot topic could be exactly what you're looking for.
Choose a question that will appeal to both your readers and your influencers. For example, in online marketing you could ask what one piece of advice your influencers most wish they had been given before they got started, and why.
Search for your influencers. Odds are you already have a list just from the blogs you subscribe to, but you can find more by using sites like Buzzsumo. Check Klout for more info on each one.
Next, get in touch with each influencer with a short message. Tell them you're working on an expert roundup and you want to include them, and give them the question.
If you do not hear back from someone within a few days, you can make one more effort to contact them. If they do not respond the second time, leave well enough alone.
Once you've written your post, send it to your experts for any feedback they might have. Some of them might want to agree or change their answers slowly, based on something else they thought of or answers others have given.
After you publish, let your influencers know your article is live so they can share it with their followers if they choose to.
But do not get pushy. If they share, that's great. If not, you do not want to ruin your budding friends before they start.
15: Get Social Share from the Tools and Resources You Recommend
Here's something almost no one thinks to do …
When you write a "how to" post or article, do you recommend resources and tools?
If so, here's a little trick:
Locate the email address for each of the resources. Then get in touch and let them know you'll be recommending their tool / resource to your readers in an upcoming post. Ask them if they would like to know when it goes live.
Once your article is live, let them know and politely ask if they might like to share it with their subscribers. After all, your endorsement is validation that their product works, plus their readers may find a new way to use the product, too.
16: Share. A LOT.
You've just finished a brand new blogpost and you are proud as can be at the way it turned out. Time to tell the world, right?
Yes! Tell your followers on every social media avenue on which you're active.
But do not make the same mistake most marketers make.
Most folks do not want to 'bug' others. They're afraid if they're over promote, 'then people will get mad, unsubscribe, stop following, etc.
Actually, the exact opposite is true. You're going to have to share your content many times before some people ever see it. Think of Twitter – do you see all of your tweets the first time? Not likely, but let's say you do. Do you click all the links the first time you see them? Of course not. You're busy, you're distracted, things get in the way …
Your followers and fans want to see your content, so make sure they can share it multiple times.
Create different versions of the posts and tweets you'll make – maybe 5-8 variations. Change the titles, use different pictures and even emojis to boost engagement.
Set up a sharing schedule in advance by using a service like Buffer.
Share right after the post is published, and again an hour later, 3 hours later, 7 hours later, the next day, the day after, the next week, the next week after, the next month and the next month after that.
Track how your posts perform and adjust your schedule accordingly. Also, try to share both during the morning, the afternoon and the evening for full coverage.
17: Use Jump Links to Share Even More
You wrote a great post and you shared it several times via social media. But you do not want to get obnoxious about it, so you stop sharing.
But … what if your post is a list? For example, "10 Great Ways to Drive Traffic" or "7 Key Secrets to a Great Relationship."
Then you can continue to share without getting redundant, simply by using jump links.
For example, you want to share tip # 3 from your list, so you create a jump link that takes readers directly to that specific tip on that post.
If you've never created jump links, here's a great tutorial: https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/jump-link-same-page#sm.0001raqtw6hekf26y7914pn0o9ev5
Create a new social media message for each tip and use the jump link to point to that specific tip.
Then add relevant, interest-provoking images for each tip, so they stand out and apart when you share them on social media.
17.75: Keep Your Readers Coming Back Without Social Media or Email
This tip is not so much about driving new traffic, as it is bringing traffic back to your site time and time again.
No doubt you're already building a social media following, right?
And of course you're building your email list, too.
But … what about all those readers who either do not fall into one of those two categories, or who ignore social media and your emails?
You can still bring them back to your website with push notifications for Chrome and Firefox. Here's how:
Register to get a free account at Pushcrew.
You'll get a unique code to insert in your website. Or if you have WordPress, you can install their plugin.
Customize your push notification. Just edit the title, subtitle and button text.
Then set up automatic scheduling notifications for your subscribers. Your subscribers will be notified 30 minutes after you publish a new post.
And there you have it – 17+ more content marketing 'secrets' that drive wicked traffic. You'll notice there is not a difficult one in the bunch. It's simply about taking the time to do these things and watching the traffic flow in.
Once you do, it will not be long before you have a huge loyal following, an ever growing list of subscribers and continuous stream of sales notifications in your inbox!