Content marketing is becoming hotter than ever. When done effectively, it helps companies build relationships with their audience, and is becoming one of the favorite tools among marketers.
In fact, the latest stats show that compared to 2015, 76% of B2B marketers and 77% of B2C marketers say they have a goal of producing more content in 2016. With that in mind, there’s no doubt that anyone who wants to stay competitive this year will need to craft a powerful content marketing strategy.
Effective Content Marketing Essentials
Technological progress is affecting the way users consume content. The plethora of content pieces affect the changes in consumer interests, needs, and behavior. If you want your message to shine in the sea of marketing in 2016, it’s crucial to learn the essentials and latest trends in marketing content.
1. Know Your Audience
The ancient rule of communication still applies today – you’ve got to know your audience!
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Before you start creating even the smallest piece of content, you need to know who you are trying to reach with it. Knowing the persona of your target audience, you’ll be able to craft content that immediately resonates with them.
Try to learn why and how your customers buy. You can learn this by surveying them, by interviewing your customer service teams, or by tracking custom Google Analytics reports. If you don’t have paying customers yet (to collect hard data from), start with assumptions and test them.
2. Favor Quality Over Quantity
If you want to excel with your marketing efforts, you’ll have to make quality content a priority. The trend of favoring quality over quantity which was evident in 2015 will only continue to grow in 2016. Instead of trying to improve your SEO with tons of content, focus on creating clear and concise messages that will have a stronger impact.
Make sure you offer content that is interesting, relevant, valuable, and reliable. Write clearly, using a consistent tone of voice. Always check your spelling and grammar. Edit and proofread until you are sure everything is flawless. Don’t forget you are creating content for people, not for search engines.
3. Tell a Story
Storytelling is one of the best ways to develop deeper connections with your target audience. Why? Psychology says (and experience confirms) that people are more likely to remember and react to great stories. Fed up with ads wherever they look, today’s consumers demand content in which they can get involved, without feeling targeted. Learn more about this in our article, Why Storytelling Marketing is More Important Than Ever.
Using stories in your content marketing strategy, you can attract, engage, and even spark a conversation with your audience. You don’t need “once upon a time” stories. Just focus on informing and educating your audience, thus moving them towards your desired conclusion.
4. Pay Attention to Visuals
Even the best content can be improved further with good design and high-quality visuals. Moreover, as the marketing space is becoming more and more saturated with textual content, consumers increasingly ask for visual forms of marketing messages. In order to achieve more successful marketing results, you’ll need to pay attention to the use of visuals.
Apart from their positive aesthetic effect, visuals are growing more popular due to another reason as well. With the improved wireless connections and Internet speed, there’s a rapidly increasing number of people who access content marketing pieces on the go.
The environment in which they surf the net makes them impatient, looking for more instant forms of communication. This translates into using more gifs, infographics and similar forms of visual content whenever you find it appropriate.
5. Embrace Video Content
Videos have always stimulated, engaged and grabbed the attention of consumers. With the use of the Internet via mobile devices, YouTube alone draws over a billion unique visitors monthly. According to marketing predictions, video will account for approximately 70% of all online consumer traffic by 2017.
If you’re looking for an effective content marketing strategy for 2016, don’t hesitate to add videos to your plans. The important thing to remember is that your videos should be short, concise, entertaining and of high quality!
6. Enforce User-Generated Content
Another thing that will be huge for content marketing in 2016 is motivating your customers to create content for your business themselves. Studies show that consumers tend to place peer recommendations and reviews above professionally written content. The information about a product or service from the perspective of the user always draws people’s attention since it’s authentic and more trustworthy.
Therefore, if you want to gain the trust of more people for your business, use the magic of aggregated content. Encourage your customers to share their stories about their experience with your product or service. Display those stories on your site, social media pages, or even in your brick-and-mortar store.
7. Promote Your Content
Promotion is essential for marketing strategy in 2016. If you don’t promote your content, your marketing messages will probably get lost in the sea of content out there. As soon as you publish your content, share and promote it on various digital channels. Just don’t try to shine on all possible channels. Choose the most appropriate ones for your business and make the most out of them to connect with your audience.
You can adapt the content for each channel and promote it in the form of graphics, infographics, guest posts, etc. Don’t forget about social media marketing. Include social sharing and like buttons on the post as well as ready-prepared tweets. Allow the readers to share and promote your content instantly.
8. Have a Plan
Let’s face it – creating effective content marketing campaigns takes time and effort. Your blog can’t be an overnight success. You’ll need to craft a long-term plan and have patience and consistency while crafting and implementing your marketing strategies.
First of all, define the goals you want to achieve with your content beyond SEO. Having a clear sight on where you want to go will help you shape your content in favor of your goal. As soon as you have an idea about your content marketing strategy, draw up an editorial calendar to keep your content creation on track.
9. Measure Your Progress
When it comes to content, marketers don't always pay attention to analytics. They focus on publishing lots of content to keep the audience entertained. Don’t fall into this trap. Each piece of content that you publish needs to serve a particular goal for your business. Therefore, it’s crucial to know the level and type of effect it has on the market.
Track the number of views and shares your content pieces get. Find out what topics resonate the most with your audience, which keywords they use to find content related to your business, etc. The more information you get about the performance of your content, the easier it will be to understand your audience. Thus, you'll be able to make each content marketing strategy more successful than the previous one.
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