We hear a lot about various forms of online marketing these days. Content marketing, email marketing and inbound marketing are but a few popular examples. There's a great deal that can be accomplished through developing engaging articles, graphics, podcast or audio snippets and even video, from lead generation to customer acquisition to SEO benefits to building a mailing list. Content marketing is all the rage in this new Information Age we're in and it isn't showing any signs of tapering off.
It seems pretty obvious that you can take the blog posts you've written and spread them across your social streams or link to them in future email campaigns. However, well-written, engaging, relevant content can retain its SEM value months, and even years down the line. In essence, one of the most valuable and strongest forms of content is evergreen content; stories and subjects that will always be important and interesting to your target market.
Equipped with that knowledge, one still has to carefully consider this question as they endeavor to create great content: How do I develop content that will engage now and continue to engage in days to come?
Organize Your Content
Make liberal use of lists, headings, graphics and anchor links (particularly if your article is long). Summarize what you're going to talk about at the beginning of the article, and use the body to deliver what you said you would. Use the conclusion to sum up the key points. Podcasting and video should follow a similar structure.
Make sure your articles and blog posts are easy to read and scan. Read them aloud to ensure readability. Not everyone reads every article word-for-word, and clearly marking your key points makes it easier to skim. Create smaller content blocks if necessary.
Leverage Your Team
Credit: pixabay.com - geraltIt's important to have articulate, engaging and interesting content producers that have a variety of interests; that much should be pretty obvious. Unless you work on your own, it's a good idea to leverage the ideas and talents of the many rather than the few. That way, your feed won't grow stale and you'll have a ready flow of new topics to tap in to and explore at all times.
Some people will be more confident at speaking than writing. Others might be good at acting. Still others like to develop graphs and charts. These are all strengths that can contribute to the greater whole.
Keep an Eye on your Competition
What is the competition in your niche talking about? How are they presenting their information? What are they doing well? What are they not doing well?
Understanding your peers and monitoring how they run their operation will help you to determine what you could be doing better or differently. You can even subscribe to their newsletters or RSS feeds and observe their activity as well.
Producing new content isn't the only way to engage your user base. You can also leverage cool things others have developed, whether you critique it, write up your own summary about it, or just share it on your social streams. This is one way to build authority and become the go-to place (or person) for information about your industry.
Watch Your Analytics and Social Data
Your analytics and social data are helpful in determining what is engaging well with your audience and what is not. Try making some tweaks based on the figures available to you and continue to evaluate how you are engaging periodically.
Utilize Social Media
The key thing to remember with social media is to engage your audience. You should check in occasionally to 'like', share, reply to comments and facilitate relevant conversations. You never know where new content ideas might come from.
- Facebook: The act of creating a Facebook page in and of itself won't necessarily guarantee added publicity, but it can be a great place to post, build a community and develop a loyal following.
- Google+: Google+ is one of the most important content publishing platforms out there. Posting your content to Google+ is known to get it indexed faster, and if you make use of Google Authorship, the author photo will show up next to your articles in search results. That, in turn, will increase your credibility and engagement.
- LinkedIn: LinkedIn may be painted with a "professional network" exterior, but in practice it's much like any other platform out there where you can post status updates and promote groups (which are incidentally some of the more important components).
Utilize Social Media Management ToolsCredit: pixabay.com - geralt
Perhaps you've heard about the fact that you can discover trending topics in real-time on social networks, particularly on Twitter. Using a social media management platform like HootSuite allows you to do broader searches across more networks and therefore find more relevant, top-of-mind topics to talk about. You can get into the minds of your audience, so to speak.
Encourage Social Feedback
Ask for ideas, suggestions and feedback on your social streams and use them to answer questions, debunk myths, address concerns and reinforce good reputation.
In addition to social media, you can also encourage your audience to fill out surveys or provide you with feedback via email. You can also test the engagement level of your content by exposing it to the greatest number of people possible.
Make Effective Use of Keywords
When it comes to keywords, there are a several different streams of thought. To summarize, overstuffing your content with keywords is sure to be penalized by search engines, and not using any keywords will confuse both your visitors and bots. Your keywords should be made up of words and phrases that represent what your article is about, and they should be used strategically in the title and the body of articles.
Make Effective Use of Story
Storytelling is a bit of an art-form, but it's not hard to learn. At all times, it's important to remember that your audience is more interested in why than how, and story allows you to put the why at the forefront. The power of story is unparalleled, and should be used wisely and honestly.
Leverage Templates and Expert Methods
Smart Passive Income's Pat Flynn often talks about the content trifecta and being everywhere. Benjamin A. Davis developed the Digital Media Pyramid, which is essentially a content development template. Regardless of what method you follow, find a couple that resonate with you and use them as guides or outlines for your content. Don't feel like you have to follow a formula, however.
Utilize Good Sources
Sometimes it may be necessary to point people to external resources and related articles, or credit some of your sources. Make sure that the sources you use are credible and trustworthy.
A wise man once said that a man without a goal is like a ship without a rudder. It's hard to competently steer a ship when you don't know where it's going. Your content marketing efforts should be used to achieve ends you deem worthy of your time and effort.
This list isn't comprehensive by any means, but it should provide you with new ideas for your content marketing efforts. What would you add to the list? What methods do you use to engage your audience? What works well for you? Let us know in the comments below.