There are nearly five billion active internet users and over four billion social media users worldwide – simply put, this is a lot of opportunity for your brand to engage with an audience and generate massive growth for your business.
One of the most effective ways to spread brand awareness and attract new customers is through content marketing.
Content marketing is a marketing strategy that focuses on creating, publishing, and distributing valuable and relevant online content to reach a target audience and incentivize profitable customer actions. Ultimately, content marketing is a critical component for long-term, sustainable growth.
Despite the immense impact, many marketers don’t know how to implement a successful content marketing strategy.
To make sure you can come up with a really valuable marketing strategy, we’ve created this round-up of content marketing tips. Read on to become a real content marketing expert.
Content Marketing Tips
- Make sure your content has a clear, measurable business goal.
- Know your audience.
- Understand your buyer’s journey.
- Solve for the reader.
- Apply the column cluster model.
- Write detailed content.
- Rely on analytics to track your performance.
- Keep the content consistent and up to date.
- Assume a historical optimization strategy.
- Reuse your content.
- Make sure your brand voice stays stable across all channels.
- Personalize your content.
- Use data to strengthen your points.
- Publish original research.
- Go beyond written formats.
- Prioritize the user experience.
- Remarket your content.
1. Make sure your content has a clear, measurable business goal.
You may be overwhelmed by the amount of content you can create for your business – from Instagram stories to blog posts and e-books to podcasts.
However, Karla Cook, Senior Manager of HubSpot Blogs, notes: “[It’s critical] Every piece of content you create has a clear, measurable business goal in mind – and simply getting views isn’t a complete business goal. Take the time to think about how content can serve your overall marketing strategy and create parts that tie in with it. “
For example, let’s say you make a big decision on one blogging strategy. Simply creating and publishing content is not enough. Instead, it is important that you identify your target audience and decide how your content can best serve that group. Additionally, you should use analytics to make sure your content is reaching the right people with the right search intent.
Once you’ve figured out how to serve your audience, you’ll want to ask yourself, “How does this relate to business?” While it’s important to write quality content to grow your audience, it won’t attract potential customers if it’s not tied to your business.
Take a look at the strategy that helped the HubSpot blog break a year-long traffic plateau to learn more about developing a business-centric content creation strategy.
2. Know your audience.
Content marketing is about attracting the right audience – those who are most likely to connect with your brand and buy your products. However, you can’t write content that will attract the right audience until you know your audience.
You don’t have to interview every customer who has ever done business with you, although it could definitely help. Sit down with your team and create a buyer personality, the ideal customer who will be best served by your products. You want to consider both psychographic and demographic information and create a buyer personality document that your team can refer to.
Knowing your target audience allows you to create content that engages them on their way to the buyer.
3. Understand your buyer’s journey.
A good content marketer understands that their strategy must engage and engage readers at every stage of the buyer’s journey. While your content should initially attract new visitors to your business, it should also convince hesitant prospective buyers and encourage customer loyalty and long-term brand loyalty.
For example, some customers may be reluctant to purchase your product because they feel that you need extensive video knowledge to be successful with it. To allay concerns and support your sales team, you can create a video campaign to show customers how to use video marketing.
If you feel at a loss, learn how to create content for each stage of the buyer’s journey.
4. Solve for the reader.
When you create content, you have two main goals: to educate and help solve a problem. While the goal is to generate leads or get readers to buy, the first thing you want to do is establish your brand as a trusted source of information. After they trust you, readers can convert and turn into paying customers.
Each piece of content should be solved for the reader by answering their questions, providing useful resources and tips, and slowly introducing them to what you are offering and how you can help.
For example, if your brand offers vacation rentals, your content should focus on travel and provide important information that potential travelers need. You would write city-specific guidebooks, lists of the best places to visit, lists of best practices for solo travelers, etc. Once a reader continues to come to you as an authoritative source of information, they trust you enough to make you their provider.
5. Adopt the column cluster model.
If you want a better reading experience while improving your SEO, organize your content using the pillar cluster model.
In this model, one column side deals with an umbrella topic, then cluster pages support this topic. Then you use internal links to tie all the topics together and signal to Google that they are connected.
For example, if you are a web design company, your main topic might be web design. You would write a column page entitled “The Ultimate Guide to Web Design”. Then you would write pages like “UX Design 101” and “Using HTML and CSS” to support this umbrella theme.
6. Write detailed content.
It is common knowledge that longer content on search engines, on average, performs better than shorter content. So when you’re writing content for your website, make it long – but not just to improve it.
When looking for a solution for the reader, everything they need to know should be included in one post about the specific topic they are looking for. You shouldn’t write long content with paragraphs over paragraphs of lint. Instead, answer related questions and bring up any tips to help you get all the information you need.
To find out what types of questions people need answers to, when you find the keyword you’re targeting, click the “People Also Ask Questions” box. Learn what types of queries Google has included in connection with your search.
Note that each post or page should only cover one highly specific topic and only contain one or two keywords. You want to do this for a number of reasons:
- You avoid self-cannibalization by not writing on general subjects.
- You strengthen current authority by writing in-depth content on a specific keyword.
- If fewer keywords are covered per page or post, you can target more keywords on other pages.
7. Rely on analytics to track your performance.
Good quality content is important, but it doesn’t mean much to your business if your visitors and viewers don’t turn into customers. This is why analysis is so important. By carefully monitoring, tracking, observing, and reporting the numbers, you can judge what is working, what is not, and what could work better.
Traffic is important, but it’s important that you focus on conversion rates as well. Maybe your Instagram account only has 1,000 followers – alternatively, your blog has 7,000 readers. However, your Instagram page has a conversion rate of seven percent, and your blog only converts at around 0.01. This should tell you that while your blog is important as an initial introduction to your business, your Instagram is essential to selling and shouldn’t be ignored.
Also, if you focus on analytics, you can refine and improve your strategy for the future. For example, let’s say you find that your blog readers are particularly interested in blog topics related to e-commerce. This can help you guide your future strategy. You can focus more on ecommerce topics, which increases traffic (which signals that your readers are happy with your content) and lets you spend time and effort where it matters.
8. Keep the content consistent and up to date.
Victor Pan, Head of Technical SEO at HubSpot, urges content strategists to implement simple SEO tactics to ensure content stays up to date and relevant to search engines. He says, “You can tell if it’s important to be up to date on your topic if you see” Keyword + Year “in the” Related Searches “of a Google search result.”
To make sure your content stays relevant and updated, Pan recommends the following three tips:
- Exclude the year in the url when optimizing your content. Great urls don’t change.
- Include the year in the title of your content.
- Schedule your editorial calendar to have this content revisited every year so you can keep it up to date. This can include updating the title tag, meta description, and the content itself.
It is important to note that if you are implementing an optimization strategy, do not update the URL. The URL should stay the same to make sure you don’t have to earn backlinks again. Plus, you don’t want to create unnecessary redirects.
Overall, consistency is key. Publishing consistent content will help you rank in the SERPs, but it will also build trust with your audience.
9. Adopt a historical optimization strategy.
A few years ago, the HubSpot blogging team discovered the importance of following a historical optimization strategy. By reusing old (yet high quality) content, the team was able to double monthly leads and increase monthly organic searches by an average of 106%.
Ultimately, you don’t want old content to be wasted. If a topic is particularly evergreen (e.g. “creating a blog”), it makes sense to invest time and effort in repurposing it.
10. Reuse your content.
It takes time and talent to create extremely useful and engaging content. So when you find ways to recycle existing content, you are ensuring maximum efficiency. You can also reach new audiences by reusing content. For example, let’s say your podcast team released a powerful episode. Why not turn the topic of this episode into a blog post?
Alternatively, you may have created a blog post that performed very well. Now you can create a YouTube video that covers a similar topic in order to reach an audience that prefers video over text.
Reusing your content also ensures that your audience has more than one chance to see it. Your readers, viewers, and followers are busy. Just consider implementing a new content promotion strategy for content that deserves to be reappeared.
11. Make sure your brand voice remains stable across all channels.
Whether you visit the Spotify Twitter page, YouTube account, or stumble upon one of the billboard ads, you can quickly get a feel for the brand’s fun, honest, and youthful voice. It makes me feel connected to Spotify – its unwavering brand consistency, regardless of which channel I’m involved in.
Even if you have a marketing team of 30, it’s important to create similar messages that align with your brand’s voice and values across channels. A viewer should watch one of your YouTube videos and then click a link on a blog post and think, “Ah, yes – this is definitely the same company.”
If you need help creating or refining a brand voice, see How to Find Your Brand Voice.
12. Personalize your content.
Have you ever visited a website and each time the experience becomes more and more tailored to your taste? (Think Amazon.)
Personalizing the content of your website is vital. Your company does not have a social media site. This means that you cannot personalize content there based on the behavior of your followers. That is why it is so important to personalize the content of your website. On your website, you have complete control over what certain users see based on the pages they visit, their time spent there, their account activity, etc. You can also personalize by device and buyer personality.
One way you can get started is by adding a reorder button on a product page for users who have previously ordered that product. You can also create a popup that contains a CTA to download a guide that will help you get the most out of the product. To better serve any prospect or customer, you should use content mapping to find out which content serves which buyer personality at certain stages in the buyer’s journey.
You don’t have to implement personalization manually: you can use the personalization software to trigger certain actions, display certain content and send personalized emails.
13. Use data to strengthen your points.
83% of marketers don’t use data and statistics for their content marketing.
Just kidding – I made that up. However, using data is a great way to highlight the importance of a piece and strengthen your points.
The use of statistics and data provides an irresistible catch and allows you to show why the piece should be read in the first place. For example, I opened this piece with statistics on how many people are online and highlighted the fact that content marketing can help you reach a large segment of the population.
The great thing about data is that it can be used on both your website and social media platforms. If you use one, be sure to tie it to the value of your product or use it to validate your points. For example, if you’re a water bottle brand, you could write a headline that says, Did you know that people who don’t drink water regularly are 15 times more likely to become dehydrated? Stay hydrated with yours [water bottle brand].
I made these statistics too, but you can see my point: statistics and data can prove the value of the product or back up your arguments.
When using statistics, cite current research whenever possible (no later than two years). Most importantly, make sure you are using factual, accurate data from reputable sources. Data integrity is vital – especially if your blog is read frequently.
14. Publish the original research.
Publishing original research can help you look more authoritative and knowledgeable, build brand trust, and give your content an edge over your competitors.
While you will often see Fortune 500 companies doing this job, it doesn’t have to be left to big names in the industry. You can also publish original data by taking surveys of your customers or asking your followers on social media to fill out a questionnaire. You can ask them about various product, service or industry-related topics.
For example, if you’re a content marketer at a travel agency, you could conduct a survey on how people are grappling with the lack of travel options during the pandemic. You can then cite this original research in a blog post on restarting travel plans after the pandemic is a thing of the past.
15. Go beyond written formats.
The rise of videos is not going to stop – and since large packages of video and image take precedence in SERPs, you shouldn’t include video in your content marketing strategy.
Content marketers have long touted infographics as one of the best multimedia formats for blog posts. In fact, infographics have the advantage of being pinnable and easy to scan. And while they’re still important, it’s time to diversify.
Creating a YouTube video is one of the easiest answers. However, you don’t necessarily have to go this route, especially if you’re not sure how to create a video marketing strategy. You can also include other formats such as interactive photos, editable code modules, interactive diagrams and graphics, and more.
16. Prioritize the user experience.
User experience is king. You can have the best-written and best-researched content. However, if your website’s user experience is flawed, you will lose readers and make them bounce off the page – which is an extremely negative ranking factor. Mostly, these are leads that you are not converting.
Make sure your website loads quickly, is mobile-friendly, and has navigation features like a table of contents and a reset button. Your content should be easy to read on all devices, with a set of clear, consistent headings and a sans serif font.
Make sure you optimize the standards for accessibility websites as well. You should provide alternate text for all images, add subtitles to videos, provide a high-contrast setting for the website, and ensure that your content can be read aloud by software.
17. Remarket your content.
When you use your content for other purposes, take a topic you covered earlier and convert it to a new format. When you recompose your content, you will take what you already have and try to re-include users who have interacted with that content but not converted.
There are so many variables that are not on our side. A visitor may not be looking for your product right now. it can’t be her payday; It may not be the right day. By deliberately giving your content to those who have already shown interest, you increase your chances of getting their interest at the right time. And that’s exactly what content marketing is all about.
Content Marketing Tips For The Modern Marketer
Content marketing is here to stay. As it evolves every day, its essence never changes: content marketing is all about the reader, not the brand. In your content marketing campaigns, try to know your target audience, meet their needs, and solve their problems, and you will soon have an army of brand evangelists marketing your brand for you.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in April 2019 and has been updated for completeness.