If you are like me, you are sick and tired of reading the same old clichés about how the internet is changing the way we do business. In fact, the last thing you want to read is another ‘guru’ article offering the latest strategies and tips that will help make your online presence more visible.
Fortunately for you, this post is not about that. In fact, I will do you a favor and spare you the fluff and talk about an aspect of online marketing that many know about but few are able to have any real success with – content marketing.
Over the last year, content marketing has become the “sexy” term in tech. Copywriters and content producers today earn top dollar for their work and demand for their services has never been higher. In light of this, I decided to share with you a 15 step check list that will help you create a successful content marketing campaign.
1. Map out a strategy
Having a strategy is one of the major steps in ensuring your content marketing efforts are successful. Frankly speaking, generating and publishing content without a strategy is like running a marathon without training. It’s not only a waste of time, but it’s also a waste of valuable energy. An effective content marketing strategy will:
- Help you maintain consistency
- Allow you to know the type of content that appeals to your target audience
- Help you gauge vital statistics of your business (big data yay!)
Take the time to develop a good strategy because it directly has an impact on how successful your marketing efforts will be. Joe Pulizzi created a slideshow on how to create an effective content marketing strategy. Check it out here. Coca Cola Content 2020 is another great resource to help you create your content marketing strategy. Take a look:
2. Create a calendar
The next step after developing your strategy is to create a calendar. Your calendar should have all content publishing dates and times. In his post, “3 Components of a Content Marketing Calendar that Works” Joe Pullizi states that content marketing is a long- term strategy aimed at attracting, retaining and converting customers and that one of the most effective tools to manage this strategy is a content calendar.
3. Write genuine content
When it comes to content, the one rule you should always follow is this: ‘If in doubt, leave it out.” Avoid hearsay at all costs. Unfortunately, this is where most writers go wrong and to be honest, there is nothing worse than reading an opinionated article from someone who claims to be an expert.
Your article should be backed up by cold hard facts. Your audience is not interested in what you think; they simply want to know why they should listen to you. Be unique and original and you will find that that is what will draw large audiences to your content.
Bonus Tip: When creating an infographic, DO NOT come across as “self-promotional” because infographics that conclude with the “winner” being the company promoting it WILL NOT go viral. It’s ok to brand an inographic at the bottom but don’t mention your product in the graphic itself.
4. Use a professional writer
If you find it too hard to be original with your ideas, your best bet will be to hire the services of a professional writer. Be warned however, they don’t come cheap. The rates for a top notch writer today vary, however it’s good to know that most charge highly for their work and take orders of only a set amount of work.
Sometimes you will have to pay half of the entire cost upfront just to prove that you are serious. The good news however, is that you can learn to write. It might be a little hard at first, but if you stick with it, not only will you become better, but you will also find it easier.
5. Know your USP and articulate it well
Every business has a unique selling proposition and your business should have one too. Your USP is what distinguishes you from your competitors. In essence, it is that cutting edge service or product you offer that none of your competitors has. That said, in order for your audience to know about your USP, you need to be very explicit about it.
You need to make sure that you not only promote it, but that you promote it well. The content you create should always seek to attract your audience to your business. This can only be done if you have a strong USP.
6. Avoid focusing on SEO
When it comes to content marketing, you shouldn’t be concentrating on SEO. As mentioned above, the major aim of content marketing is to attract, retain and convert your audience, thus you cannot expect to do that if you are busy calculating keyword density right? Content that converts is content that comes from the heart. Take a look at this post by Jonathan Morrow.
Do you think Jonathan was worried about keyword density or meta tags? I highly doubt it. Jonathan had a story to tell and he did it by speaking from the heart. You will find much more success if you focus on trying to connect with your audience as opposed to writing for the search engines.
7. Avoid jargon
You won’t attract, retain or convert your audience if they consistently have to look up your words in the dictionary. There’s a chance that some of your audience is very new and don’t know the industry lingo so do them a favor and avoid it.
Your aim should be to write content that an 8th grader would understand. Be simple and clear but don’t be boring!
8. Avoid long paragraphs
Have you heard the saying “People who have a lot to say probably don’t have anything of value to say?” If you haven’t it’s probably because I coined the saying. However, that doesn’t make it less true or more real.
People are impatient and nobody likes to be kept waiting. If you like writing long boring paragraphs be warned your readers will most likely skim over your content rather than actually read it. Get straight to the point with your content and do it innovatively and you are more likely to build lasting relationships with your readers.
9. Plagiarism is a BIG NO – NO!
Plagiarism is the worst offense a writer can commit. However, thanks to services like Copyscape, its occurrence has become very rare nowadays – unless you are a content farm that uses spun content. Plagiarism may not only cost you a job, but also a career. A bad review is all takes for you to never be in business again. In this respect, originality counts a lot that is why it is very necessary for you to maintain a high level of credibility by offering genuine content.
10. Always have a call to action
If your readers fail to take action on your content, it’s either because they are not interested in what you have to offer or your call to action sucks. In most cases, the latter is usually the culprit. Your one and major aim at all times is to write content that captures attention and inspires action. This can be achieved using the AIDA rule. AIDA simply stands for Attention, Interest, Desire and Action.
Your call to action therefore needs to be clear and compelling such that it forces your readers to take the necessary action. “Buy Now/Get your copy now” and “Only 10 copies in stock” are two similar call to actions which are guaranteed to give very different conversion rates. The second is stronger because of the sense of urgency it creates. So it is worth remembering that your call to actions should have some urgency to them if you want them to have a higher probability of converting.
Our friends at IncomeDiary have a good call to action on their homepage popup.
Note: Try to only have one CTA per page. You don’t want to confuse the user with multiple call to actions.
11. Offer valuable stuff for free
People love free things and one way to attract them to you is by offering solutions to their problems. This can be done through reports, videos or anything valuable that relates to your niche. In exchange for the free stuff you offer you get users to opt in to your mailing list. These opt ins will allow you to build relationships with your users over a period of time before turning them into loyal customers.
12. Don’t be afraid to get personal
One way to keep your readers engaging with you is to let them know what is happening in your life. It feels good to know that the person behind the post is a real human who has other likes apart from what they are doing to make a living. This is where a personal blog becomes very important.
In addition to creating content with the purpose of brand awareness and conversion, it is also good to share stories about your everyday life on your blog which you can USE to drive home a point. This approach is so powerful, the results will literally blow you away! Jonathan Morrow’s post above is just one example.
13. Make your content social
Why is this so important? For starters, most of the social media sites are some of the most trafficked sites on the internet. YouTube, Facebook and Twitter receive millions of visitors everyday and all it takes for your content to go viral is just the right person seeing it at the right time. Reaching out to the right influencers in your niche isn’t a bad idea either.
14. Always test
By this point you should have a working framework for your content marketing campaign, however, it is advisable to test and see if there are any ways to improve on it. Use surveys to ask your audiences questions. The survey can pop up in the bottom corner of the screen and can simply as “What kind of content would you like us to produce next?”
Take the time to learn from top marketers like Neil Patel and Danny Iny concerning the latest marketing strategies available. Get all the information you can, test to see what works and then implement.
15. Rinse and repeat
Once you have found what works, rinse and repeat the process every week. Now it’s your turn. Be consistent with your content schedule so that you keep your readers wanting/expecting more from you.
Once you have the user engagement you don’t want to lose it by not continually producing quality content consistently.
Do you have any content marketing ideas that produce results rather than waste your time and energy? I would like to hear them. Share them with me below.