Consistently creating high-quality online marketing content that is creative, compelling and audience-centric can be a challenge. Here are 10 actionable marketing tips to help you feed the content beast:
- Create content calendars
Every marketing program needs a roadmap and content marketing is no exception. With your strategic goals set and marketing plan in place, it’s time to create your content calendars. Much like the editorial calendars you would build for a public relations program, these helpful documents outline what you are saying, at what time, through what channel and to which target audiences. Maintaining content calendars is also a great way to make sure gaps don’t emerge when busy seasons strike.
- Embrace blogging
Blogs are powerful tools for educating prospective clients and showcasing thought leadership. Blogs also offer opportunities to dispel myths and answer common questions – more on the latter to come in tip #6. When launching a business blog, commit to maintaining a consistent presence. A blog that is outdated can be more damaging to a brand than never having blogged at all.
- Incorporate email marketing
To be effective, content marketing programs need content distribution mechanisms in place. Email marketing can play a key role in helping to achieve that objective. When setting up your email marketing program, consider how best to segment lists to ensure audiences are receiving the most relevant content and what frequency is most appropriate based on not only your audiences’ communications preferences, but the bandwidth of your internal (and capacity of your external) marketing teams.
- Repurpose presentations for SlideShare
Are you maximizing the value of conferences and tradeshows? Conferences and tradeshows are great places to gather fodder for blog posts, whitepapers, webinars and workshops, and provide opportunities to repurpose what you are already doing to market your company for new applications. Take workshops and presentations, for example. Consider extracting the top five or 10 takeaways from the presentation you gave at the latest industry association conference and transforming it into a short presentation for SlideShare that links back to your website.
- Maintain a list of “go to” sources for third-party content
Sharing your own news and thought leadership is an important component of content marketing, as it sharing credible third-party content. Building a top-10 or top-25 list of “go to” sources will make it easy to source content to populate your social media marketing channels. It can also help to identify media for whom you can serve as a future source of expert commentary.
- Answer common questions
As noted in our second tip, answering common questions is a great starting point for generating inbound marketing content. By demonstrating a keen understanding of target audiences’ wants and needs, you can showcase your company’s thought leadership and build trust in your brand. Answering common questions is also a great way to help draw more traffic to your website from organic searches.
- Invite guest bloggers
Do you have strategic partners with whom you collaborate on behalf of clients? Do you have a direct line to leaders in your industry? Are there lead generators and referral sources in your network who have valuable and relevant insights to share with your existing and prospective clients? All of these contacts are great people to tap for guest blog posts. Diversifying the voices on your blog can help to attract new audiences and ensure readers are receiving a fresh stream of educational content on an ongoing basis. In some instances, you may be able to structure a reciprocal guest blogging arrangement that is a win-win for both parties.
- Be a storyteller
Whether you are writing a marketing email or scripting a video, great content is built around great stories. Stories help to illustrate key points, demonstrate impact and allow prospective clients to envision what it would be like to collaborate with your company. As part of your content marketing plan, identify a collection of stories that can help to make your marketing program more dynamic and engaging.
- Maximize the value of conferences and tradeshows
As we touched upon in tip #4, conferences and tradeshows are ready-made content generation opportunities. Think of yourself, the conference attendee or exhibitor, as an on-the-ground reporter who is gathering information to report back to their colleagues, clients and partners. You can share this information in a wide variety of formats – blogs, vlogs, email marketing, whitepapers, etc. Regardless of the format(s) you choose, ensure you are tailoring your top takeaways to suit the needs and wants of your target audiences.
- Integrate traditional marketing
Effective content marketing programs, also referred to as inbound marketing campaigns, integrate online and offline marketing activities to achieve a common set of goals and objectives. When laying out your tradeshow calendar for the year ahead or planning your public relations activities for the coming months, focus on how the content you are generating, events you are hosting or attending, and sales and professional development activities in which you are engaging can help to fuel your online marketing efforts.
Content marketing allows companies to integrate sales and marketing to achieve measurable results. By showcasing expertise and thought leadership, serving as a source of credible third-party content, and weaving together online and offline marketing activities, companies can set themselves apart from the competition and deepen audience engagement through content marketing.
Looking to launch a content marketing program for your business? Download our Beginner’s Guide to Inbound Marketing for a host of helpful – and actionable – tips.