If you were lucky enough to attend Content Marketing World 2022 in Cleveland recently, you will likely still be reeling from a great week full of knowledge, expertise and just an overall warming experience to be surrounded by top class marketers in person again! And you will probably already know everything there is to know about content marketing and how to be an expert at it – but, for those who couldn’t attend and digest the wealth of information and knowledge live, here is a high level overview of 5 of the key elements of content marketing that we should all be doing right now.
Understand your audience
You may be thinking “I already know my audience”, you may have in-depth personas built and high level targeting set up, this is great! But look deeper, do you know what your audience wants to read? Do you know what they search for, what articles pique their interest? Look beyond what you want them to know about your business or product, or what you think they will find valuable and look at how they actually behave online.
Start with their challenges, what do they struggle with, what are their frustrations? According to Michael Brenner (Marketing Insider Group), “If we understand the challenges and concerns of buyers, then we can meet them with empathy”. This is the key component; being able to understand and relate to these challenges will help us empathize with our audience, and our content will begin to matter to the reader.
The next step is knowing what our audience is looking for, what are they actually searching for? Instead of adding keywords we think relate to our product to the content, add the key words we know the audience are actively looking for. Look at tools like Google Trends, Buzzsumo and SEMRush to find the keywords your audience is searching for, find the gap in the content out there and write about it, with the empathy of knowing their concerns, and the articles they want to read about, and you will find your content will be found and read more.
Increase the volume of content you are producing (easily)
Now that you know what your audience is actually interested in reading, start building content around that. According to Mike Allton (Agorapulse), there is a really great way to increase the volume of content you are producing efficiently, and it starts with a live video.
Grab an industry expert who has the knowledge and expertise to talk about what your audience wants to know about, and host a Facebook live, or Linkedin Live stream; this has the potential to generate so much content! From this live stream, download the video and upload it to Youtube, and host it on your website. Turn the video into a podcast episode. Splice your video into shorter segments and post those to your social media channels. Transcribe it into a blog post. Take key quotes and make a handful of quote graphics for social media. Get your influencers to share the graphics. Build the content into a SlideShare and turn the topics into webinars. Take questions from the audience and turn these into blog posts. Do you see where I am going here?
There is sooo much content that can be produced from one live video stream, but make sure you and the expert understand the audience, what they want to hear, empathize with them and give them solid advice that they want to hear more about (over and over again in all your channels!).
Be consistent with your distribution of content
Now you have a plan for more content, you need to plan to be posting this content consistently, organizations that post content more often, get more traction. Those who post 3 times a week get more traction than those who post once a week, and those who post daily have more traction than those who post 3 times a week. The data is evident that more posts equals more traffic. So find a schedule that works for you and the resources you have available, and plan to post a few times a week. If you do this consistently, you will see an increase in your organic traffic.
But posting consistently is only the start, you also need to make sure what you are posting is relevant and relatable to the audience. So post what people want to read, and funnily enough, non-product related content is what shows Google you have a heartbeat (Michael Brenner, Marketing Insider Group), you should have the desire to show the world that you have something to tell them that they don’t already know, show them that you are the industry expert and you have knowledge beyond your own product. Posting this type of content consistently will dramatically increase your traffic and ultimately conversions.
Not all content should be *free*, gate it!
As content marketers, we all want to experience the pride that comes with highly read content. But don’t give it all away for free. Of course the majority of the content should be posted with no strings attached in order to get traffic to your site and get the audience interested in what you have to say (and ultimately your product). But put some gates up around your best stuff. Once a quarter write an E-book, make it appealing, and make people give you their email address in order to read it. This is the best way to increase conversions on your website and gain leads. Things like “ultimate guides”, Ebooks, research reports or comparative analyses are a fantastic way to get more leads, write 4 – 6 pages of high quality, highly designed content and ask people to give you something in return to read it, and you will see your lead numbers sky rocket. But again, do it consistently, keep adding fresh content and new value to your website and you will see returns.
Connect it all together
So you get a click from Google to your new blog post, the user reads the blog and likes the type of content you are putting out there, now what? Make sure you have mapped out what you want your reader to do next, and how to keep them engaged so they don’t hit back, return to Google and never visit your page again.
There are easy ways to do this – start by connecting your content. Do you have a piece you wrote 6 months ago that is on a similar topic to this blog? Backlink it. This gives your reader somewhere to go. Or add a “you might find this interesting” or “what to read next” section, this will encourage them to keep reading your content. Then go back to your old blog posts and forward link them to your newer, related content. Add snippets throughout your blog that are easily shareable to social media platforms. Hyperlink product related elements of your content to your product page, or video library. If you have content that relates to other content on your website, make sure it is all connected. The longer the reader stays on your website, digesting your content, the more interested they will become, and the better the chance of a conversion, or a share that will put your content out there for others to get interested in.
There were obviously days worth of truly engaging and educational content that came from Content Marketing World, but these 5 takeaways offer good insight, are actionable and don’t require a lot of resources, and if you can put them into place you will start seeing results soon. So remember, know your audience and empathize with them, produce more content, more often, tie all that content together, and put a price on your best stuff. Doing these 5 simple things will yield higher traffic, increased engagement and hopefully more sales!