More than 500 million blogs exist across 1.7 billion websites and whose authors write over 2 million blogs daily. If you are a content marketing strategist trying to boost traffic to a new blog, this is what you are competing with.
So, no matter how outstanding your content is if you’re not distributing it, and promoting it like there is no tomorrow, no one is likely to read it considering how much content is out there.
Image source: Rendia
The purpose of this blog is to provide you with 19 powerful tips that every content marketing strategist should know.
1. Determine your content marketing objective
If you do not have a defined objective for your content, not only will you end up writing a shallow piece, but you will also likely have trouble marketing and distributing it in the right channels.
- What’s the objective of your content? Is it to generate more top of the funnel leads, increase sales, enhance your content marketing, or create a community?
- What is the goal of the content that you intend to create?
- Do a competitive analysis to understand what the competition is saying on the same topic.
A content marketing template like this one from the Content Marketing Institute or this one from Hubspot will not just provide sample due dates but also help with formulating the topic, core messaging, and the focus keywords for the content.
2. A content marketing strategist should always know who are they writing for
If you don’t know and understand your target audience, you’re very likely to create irrelevant content and you will not be able to execute a successful content marketing campaign.
- When does the content marketing strategy fail?
You could fail either before launch or during the early steps of a content plan.
- Why does it happen?
Content is for the readers, not just for your business or brand. The only way you can succeed is if your target audience actually reads and interacts with the content.
Come up with a buyer persona, i.e., someone who would look like an ideal customer for your product. Let’s take an example of a buyer persona for expense management software.
CFO Cathy is 40 years old, lives in New York, likes to read Accounting Today and CFO Online, comments on LinkedIn posts about accounting challenges, and loves Game of Thrones as you can see from her reference to the series in a couple of her posts on Facebook.
Now that you have an understanding of what your buyer looks like, you can write content with Cathy in mind as it will be Cathy who will be searching for those keywords on Google leading her directly to your content. And because the content is written with her needs and interests in mind she has a very high chance of converting into a lead. Plus 20,000 other CFOs in New York who share similar traits as Cathy are likely to find your content.
3. Know your core content marketing message
Do you know what your content is saying?
- When does a content strategy fail?
This usually happens at an early stage when people just rush into the content marketing strategy without having a core message in place.
- Why does it fail?
Content has no meaning without a message. You should be able to sum it all up in a single phrase or two. If you don’t have a message, you’re going to be creating useless content.
It’s fairly simple. You need to know the purpose of the product/service you are trying to promote via the content. Content marketing then should communicate a core message serving that purpose.
Here’s an easy process for creating the message.
- Write down the company’s mission statement. For example, Drift wants to increase your revenue, shorten your sales cycles, and strengthen your brand without using forms.
- Now write the core message. What are the benefits for your customers? Drift’s core message: Accelerate your revenue
- Do you have secondary messages? Drift’s secondary messages: create a more qualified pipeline, hit your sales quotas in record time, increase your revenue without growing your team, et al.
This will ensure that the targeted traffic comes to your website in huge numbers plus you deliver a core message that your customers can relate to.
4. Focus on the content headlines
Which would you be more likely to click on?
“How to convert leads and increase your revenue by 30% in 30 days!” Or “Grow revenue with this software!”
The answer should be obvious. The first headline indicates that it will discuss specific results making it the clear choice.
No matter what type of content you are creating – videos, blogs, whitepapers, or podcasts, the content headline plays one of the more critical roles in successfully getting your hero content in front of your buyer persona.
Make your headlines click-worthy, and your conversion rates will skyrocket. On the other hand, boring and generic headlines can at the most get you a handful of views.
You don’t need to be a creative genius to write a good headline. In fact, you can use a simple formula like this one, from Buffer.
5. Dear content marketing strategist, don’t try to fool your readers!
In your endeavor to create good or rather great content, you have to realize that your online reputation is everything. It takes a lot of hard work to build your reputation, and yet it can be destroyed in a matter of minutes.
So, all the content that you create and publish online should be thoroughly researched, checked for any factual errors, and should deliver value to your readers.
If you start writing clickbait content that does not deliver what the headline says, your reputation will go straight into the bin and can take years to build back.
However, if you even tell an ugly or hard truth via your content, you will earn the trust of your customers and a reputation that will be very hard to tarnish.
6. Is your content actionable?
When people see content, especially informative articles, they don’t want abstract ideas or hypotheses. They want actionable content that they can use right away to achieve a certain result.
You can include a Call to Action at the end of each of your blogs or simply write in a style that creates actionable steps for your readers. But you have to make sure whatever you do, your audience should be able to take away something and act on it.
You could use this model to make your content actionable.
Image source: Inbound Method
Let’s look at this article you are reading now as an example:
- Create value and fix pain: The headline for this article offers a solution to a pain point all content marketers face. And this blog is obviously offering insight and solutions making it valuable.
- Build a relationship: I’ve got your attention. Now, I want to build a relationship with you. If you’ve been a regular subscriber, or simply know about WriteForMe, you may already have a relationship with me.
- Earn the trust of your audience: In this blog, I’m saying that you deserve my trust. How? By presenting well-researched and experience-based knowledge.
- Take action: Based on these four points, you can create your own plan for an actionable content marketing strategy.
7. Write original content
The Internet is full of bad content, and if you want to succeed, you have to create engaging and original content.
Take, for example, this article by Ryan Law on the Animalz blog on how to sow, grow, and harvest great blog ideas.
He could write about anything generic considering everyone knows that the Animalz blog is one of the best but he decides to write about an original idea called ‘The Idea Farm’, a single document that serves as the collection point for every nascent thought, opinion, or idea you have during the course of the day.
So don’t be afraid to create original content as long as you know it will be engaging and will create value for your readers.
8. Creating consistent content is key to succeeding as a content marketing strategist
It’s astounding how many content marketers talk about the importance of content marketing but then don’t even have a plan! The quickest way to fail is obviously having no content. Or to start producing content and then stop suddenly.
Content marketing is all about consistency. You can’t expect 2-3 pieces of content to generate traffic for 10 years. Google ranks your site better if you are consistent which is why a lot of thought has to be given to creating consistent content. This is the same reason why we ask you to update your content regularly.
When Google is analyzing content for ranking, it prefers content that has the authority and is original and fresh.
So, why do people stop creating content, and what’s the solution?
9. Videos and pictures are critical
How many times have you heard that a picture is worth a thousand words?
Humans process visual information faster than text.
If you want to increase the engagement of your content and the number of shares it gets on social media, start adding images and videos to your articles.
Imagine if this 2500+ word blog had zero images, would you still be reading it?
10. Get a cool quote from a thought leader
We all love social proof. And when you can get it from a leading thought leader, the good content that you created becomes epic.
The process for reaching out to industry leaders is pretty simple. You could use this template Nadya Khoja, a marketer for Venngage, used to reach out to SEO influencers to provide a quote for her article on creating good content.
Image source: Ninja Outreach
11. Emotionally connect with your target audience
All human beings are emotional to some extent. And if you can create an emotional connection with your readers, your content will have an amazing impact.
So, how do you build that emotional connection?
According to OkDork and Buzzsumo, you should create content that triggers the following emotions and additionally use images and stories in your content to trigger them.
You may be thinking why are these emotions important. Well, think about the reasons why you share an article with your network. I can fairly assume you share due to one of the following reasons:
- You like sharing entertaining content with others that can make them laugh or be entertained
- You want to bring the same joy, you felt while reading, to your friends
- You want to stay connected with them
- You like to feel involved and thus, get self-fulfillment
- You feel strongly about a cause and want others to feel the same empathy
12. Include images of faces
Imagine a scenario where you are with people who do not speak your language. Would you communicate with words? No.
But you can still understand facial expressions and decipher if you can trust the people.
In fact, that’s how babies largely understand the world. Before they develop speech, they rely upon their parents’ facial expressions and tone of voice to understand the situation and react accordingly.
Drift, Gong, and other brands use faces across their website to build trust.
Image source: Drift
13. Using colors to elicit emotion
Did you know that users make a decision based on visual cues more than 90% of the time.
Each color has a different meaning so using the right color can elicit the right emotion.
For example, if you want to elicit energy or joy, using a shade of yellow might be a great idea. Yellow conveys energy and cheerfulness.
The key is to identify the particular emotion or feeling you’re targeting and include the related color(s) in your content.
14. Focus on solving pain points
This is self-explanatory. If your content does not solve a reader’s pain points, they are not going to come back to your site.
Whenever you are writing an article, you have to first and foremost understand the pain points and focus on relieving those pain points.
For example, this current article is trying to solve the pain points of content marketers who want their content to generate results.
15. The law of reciprocity
What do you do when someone does something good for you, without asking for anything in return?
Let me guess.
You try to do something good for them as you feel a sense of gratitude.
This is the law of reciprocity.
So, when you give away a valuable resource or an ebook for free, the chances are that the readers will come back to your site to check out your product.
This is the same reason restaurants offer candy at the end of the meal along with the check. It tends to increase the tip.
16. A content marketing strategist should use the power of scarcity
How many times have you wanted to buy something because it was limited edition? Even when you don’t actually need it?
This phenomenon is known as the scarcity effect.
A psychological study conducted by Worchel, Lee, and Adewole studied the effect of scarcity on the audience.
The researchers put 10 cookies in one jar and 2 of the same cookies in another. And guess what? The cookies from the two-cookie jar received higher ratings, even though the cookies were exactly the same.
What does this mean from a content marketing viewpoint?
It means that you’re far more likely to maximize the impact of your product by leveraging the power of scarcity.
For example, you might say that there’s a discount on your product on Black Friday, or you may have a sale that only lasts 12 hours, or you are giving away the product for $1 for the first 50 users, etc.
17. Content fatigue is real
As I already said at the start of this article, 2 million blog posts are being written each day. Every content marketer is trying to generate more traffic and get a larger chunk of the overall traffic available.
All this is leading to one thing – Content Fatigue (and a lot of poor quality content).
And not only the audience but the writers themselves are getting tired. So, you need to take a moment to pause and think about how much content is enough.
Image source: SparkToro
I know I said earlier that you should create consistent content. But if you keep creating for the sake of creating new content, readers are bound to feel overwhelmed, and they won’t have the time to read your content.
What would be a better approach is to have consistent frequency but create fewer pieces. For example, create 4 blogs in a month but keep the quality so high that it immediately adds value to the reader.
What I’m trying to say is that you should find the sweet spot between posting content consistently and giving your audience the time to read it, and take action based on it.
Check out this post from Buffer for some great advice on this topic. It will give you an idea of how much posting is too much posting.
18. Long content does not always mean better content
You have always been told that long content is key to content marketing success.
But have you heard of Upworthy? Have a look at their growth without writing 1000-word blogs.
Upworthy’s content marketing proves that not only can you get millions of visitors with a few hundred words per blog but that you can also rank for competitive keywords like “tattoos” with their content strategy.
If you are writing for businesses, you may consider writing long posts as it helps build trust plus get more backlinks, and improve SEO rankings.
However, if you are writing for B2C, you may consider writing shorter ‘image and video-heavy’ blogs with exciting headlines like Upworthy.
19. Do not forget internal links
A lot has been said about internal linking. So I won’t harp about it.
In short, if you don’t focus on internal linking, your website’s SEO won’t be as strong as it should be.
For every blog that you write, add a link or two or three to some other content or product page that is relevant for your target audience.
Yes, work for a content marketing strategist can seem overwhelming. There are numerous channels to choose from, thousands of keywords to focus on, and millions of visitors to target. But what’s most important is that you should create epic content that you care about and people would like to share. By putting the above 19 powerful content marketing tips to practice, you should be able to get the results that matter. Reach out to us for more tips on content marketing to help build your content marketing playbook today.