Have you taken the content marketing Kool-Aid, believing that publishing is probably your best shot at attracting an audience of relevant prospects? Nice going – you’re probably right! According to Ascend2’s recent “Content Marketing Trends Survey,” 89% of participating companies believe that their content helps them to achieve important objectives.
Content Marketing Strategies
To generate significant business impact with your publishing efforts, though, you’re going to need to develop a best-in-class content marketing strategy. At the very least, a content strategy needs to spell out your content program’s goals, KPIs, and division of labor. If your strategy is going to position your marketing assets to drive business, then it needs to do more than that.
This requires paying close attention to the latest trends in B2B audience building and formulating a strategy that addresses the way your buyers connect with content today. Here are some of the most important parameters to take into consideration.
Overcoming Content Shock with Strategy
Perhaps the biggest challenge facing content marketers today is, with so many businesses investing heavily in publishing, the Internet has become oversaturated with content. As a result of this “content shock,” as thought leader Mark Schaefer calls the phenomenon, it’s become harder to stand out from the noise and get people to pay attention. Competition for eyeballs is intense – let alone the task of getting your audience to pay attention to what you have to say, opt-in and eventually convert!
The challenge, therefore, is to create content that’s so awesomely engaging and primed to resonate that your ideal customers can’t help but love it. This is what Rand Fishkin calls “10x content,” because nowadays, your content strategy needs to aim for the stars, positioning you to publish items that are ten times better than everything else out there.
That's why your content marketing strategy needs to be razor sharp. Don't just slap some content up on your blog and hope for the best. Don't just publish because someone said you have to. You need to be more strategic than that. Remember what your content is meant to do and consider the strategies and tactics that are proven to perform.
Make Sure You Address Content Distribution
No matter how good your content is – and it had better be stellar if you aim to compete – you should be devoting a significant portion of your attention to distribution. The way people use search is undergoing major flux, and organic social media reach is bottoming out.
As a result, content and distribution can no longer be considered distinct. Rather, they are interdependent, and should be considered together as you plan for long-term growth. How are the right people going to see your content at the perfect moment? Where and how do your ideal customers discover content? What kind of media consumption experiences are they partial to, and what benefit do they want to derive from content?
Which distribution channels are most likely to impact your bottom line?
Don’t Overlook Key Newer Emphases
Why is the marketing ecosystem going gaga over hot topics like the evolution of SEO and the importance of email automation, video content, and mobile-friendly websites? Because these are some of the top-performing ways to acquire eyeballs. They aren’t emerging anymore – they’re ruling the roost.
Over half of all searches are now performed via mobile devices, and Google’s algorithms are taking this into account. Hence, the supremacy of local SEO and “intent” signals that are enhanced via new types of markup. A mobile-friendly design is both more sparse and more sophisticated from the get-go. Moreover, the very fact that your content will be available on many devices means that you stand a better chance of more people accessing your content.
By the same token, you will want to ensure that your content includes the elements that draw people’s attention most these days. Visual content – especially video – commands disproportionate attention, for example, thanks to how easily it is digested. Leveraging onsite audience behavioral signals, moreover, to trigger automated messages that are optimized to match interests, is likewise justifiably hot.
Use Formats That Maximize Social Shares
Like it or not, Facebook drives somewhere between one-fourth and one-third of all online referral traffic, according to a landmark study from Shareaholic. With brands increasingly confined to paid amplification to reach people on Facebook, organic peer-to-peer shares are now pivotal for distribution. So what kind of content experience is share-worthy in the minds of your audience? Those are the formats that your strategy needs to favor.
According to data from OkDork and BuzzSumo, the content formats that drive the most results regarding social shares are infographics (again with the visuals), listicles (likewise easily digestible) and explanatory articles (audience empowerment).
Image Credit: OkDork
Always Be Improving for Performance
Achieving ROI from your content takes considerable money, time, and effort. Formulate a strategy that addresses the parameters proven to be pivotal to performance. Of course, every situation is different, and what works for one company might or might not prove to be cost-effective or scalable for another, but if you can figure out what resonates best with the people you’re trying to reach, you’ll be off to a great start.