The start of a New Year is a great opportunity to review last year’s content marketing activities and implement new practices to make 2015’s strategy more effective. With an ever-growing online consumer base, companies that don’t proactively establish their online presence may get left behind. Below are seven ways to adjust content marketing behaviors for optimal exposure.
1 – Survey Says…
One thing companies often forget to incorporate into their content marketing strategy is engagement. This doesn’t mean asking rhetorical questions and it doesn’t suffice to simply retweet or ‘Like’ a follower’s comment or post. True engagement involves asking an audience for constructive feedback and seeking information about their current interests, questions and frustrations concerning industry-related topics. Surveys and personality quizzes are a great way to find out basic information about viewers without encroaching on their privacy. For a higher volume of participation, discounts, drawings, and free gifts are always an incentive to convince someone to give a few minutes of their time.
2 – Longer Posts
A concise yet informative blog post usually consists of 400-800 words. Anything less and it might seem unfinished; anything more risks losing the interest of readers. However, recent research has shown that consumers engage more with longer posts that are as much as 2,000 words or more than with shorter posts.
This isn’t to say that adding an extra paragraph will automatically boost viewer interests. Rather, content writers are forced to provide better-founded information and give more in-depth analysis or exploration of the topic at-hand. If done effectively, the content becomes more robust, sparking interest in readers and hopefully growing a larger and more active following.
3 – Organic Research
The internet is a constantly-growing library of information and almost any one question can be briefly answered with a quick online search. There is also a lot of research and statistical information, some of which is useful, but a lot of which is made up or taken out of context to back a claim. Unfortunately, there’s no online farmer’s market that sells non-processed, non-GMO, organic, free-range research.
Instead, it is up to individual companies to do their own research if they want useful, accurate information to share with consumers. Fortunately, there are a lot of easy and affordable ways for businesses to do their own studies as long as they’re not afraid to the get creative.
Customer surveys and a company’s financial reports are easily accessible and can be translated into consumer demographics, sources of revenue, estimated ROI. Of course one company’s research may not look like another’s, but if they do it and then compare their findings to credible research found elsewhere, they’ll have a general idea of where they stand an how they could improve organic research. This process also gives a company’s posts more substance and provides great material for infographics, press releases, and blogs. Lastly, it’s an opportunity for a company to gain valuable company about itself, making the extra effort mutually beneficial.
4 – Mix it Up
If a company relies on routine blog and social media posts to keep their audience alive, they may lose viewer interest by becoming too predictable. Similarly, if the content regurgitates the same information week-after-week, readers are going to get bored. Fresh content and fresh perspectives are effective at keeping information relevant without an audience member feeling as though they’re being told something they already know.
Also, while the blog posts and social media profiles are the cornerstone of content marketing, using non-traditional formats could be the extra flavor an otherwise-solid strategy lacks. Podcasts, videos, and webinars are less popular formats but can liven up a regimented content marketing schedule. Using a new format allows companies to share their content with a new outlook. Viewers will receive the message differently and may be more engaged.
5 – Sharing is Caring
There’s nothing like a good friend, and, in the realm of online marketing, a good friend is someone who shares valuable content even when it come from a competitor or other player in the space. While companies may stray from posting their competitors content, consumers look at the big picture of a company and they’re more likely to trust one that shares useful and unbiased information. Plus, by sharing someone’s information, they may start to notice their friendly competitor and then be motivated to return the favor. In the long run, it will establish a trusting relationship with industry participants and make well-rounded content for the consumers’ benefit.
6 – Consistency is Key
Companies may get discouraged or simply bored of their routine content marketing plan; however, stopping altogether wastes the time and resources that have already been invested in the past. A consistent posting regimen will keep the content healthy and effective. There are ways to get more feedback if companies feel stuck in a content rut and viewers will most likely appreciate the creative thinking that goes into releasing updated, refocused material.
7 – Take a Back Seat
The content should not be a constant feed of humble-brag material. While a company’s strengths and achievements can be highlighted from time to time, the goal should be to inform consumers and provide them with valuable information so that they think of you when in need of your product or service. Content that only serves to talk up a company will eventually fall on deaf (or annoyed) ears. The overall goal of a content marketing strategy should be to inform consumers in a creative and meaningful way.
For more information on content marketing and how it will benefit your business, visit us here.