It takes a lot to stand out from the crowd, digitally speaking. You’re no longer an innovative marketer if you leverage Instagram to sell your stuff. Having a website isn’t an accentuating factor - it’s a necessity for business. And blogging? You better be getting some content out there, or you’ll be left in Google’s dust. Read on for tactics and strategies to take your content marketing from good to great - and reap the benefits for your business’s bottom line.
Spending on Ads vs Spending on Content
Spend all you want on ads; if your content marketing strategy doesn’t carry any water, you won’t make as much money. Studies show that, dollar for dollar spent, content marketing creates three times more leads than paid search. Why? Because content marketing is sustainable. It’s the difference between laying a strong foundation or building on sand. Search engine algorithms change, prices fluctuate, and your ad is only visible for as long as you’re throwing money behind it. When it’s done, it’s done. We’re not claiming that you don’t need any type of ad strategy to work in tandem with your excellent content, but if you don’t have a strong foundation of content to build off of, you will be stuck on a hamster wheel of inefficiency.
Be Where Your Audience Is
Here’s what: almost half of 18-59 year olds get their information from the internet - not TV. So, step one: if your online presence is lacking, give it some attention. If you’re spending a lot of money on TV, consider switching some of those funds over to the digital space. And, most importantly of all, listen to your audience. Do your buyer personas or target demographics read blogs? Enjoy engaging social media? Are they looking for solutions to their problems? Make sure you’re spending an adequate amount of time on each social media platform your audience is hanging out on - and remember: just because you don’t love Instagram or Twitter or LinkedIn doesn’t mean your audience feels the same way. Meet them where they are with thoughtful blogs, beautiful, striking social media, or helpful tips and tricks (or be an overachiever and hit all three!). You’ll see a difference in engagement right away.
Pillar Content is the Way of the Future
You may have heard the term “pillar content” tossed around lately. And if you haven’t, no worries - that’s why marketers like us have jobs! This is a seismic shift in the way content is organized on websites, and it’s all thanks to Google’s algorithm changes over the last five years (Hummingbird in 2013 and Rankbrain in 2015). With these updates, Google started looking at keyword phrases rather than keywords alone. So, the keyword conversation has shifted from “ice cream sandwiches” to things like “recipes for ice cream sandwiches,” “classic ice cream sandwich recipes,” and “ice cream sandwiches near me.” Smart synonyms, basically. It’s no longer enough to rank for one single word or small phrase - you’ve got to make like a yogi and get flexible. Again, this is a big shift - and it’ll have a big impact on content strategies moving forward. Stay tuned as we explore this topic in future posts.
What’s Cookin’, Good Lookin’?
There is so much content out there. And there are so many ads. According to a (somewhat controversial, but illuminating nonetheless) study by Microsoft, the average attention span of adults sits at eight seconds. If you’re not hooking them before then, they’re out the door. Bye, dollar bills! Create content that looks good, and you’ll get your customers to notice. And the longer you get them to spend on your blog or website, the more likely they are to make a purchase from your business. Keep these tips in mind for content creation that really sings:
1. Is your blog composed of fluff? If you were to rate it - honestly! - on a scale from 1-10 on how relevant and helpful it is to your customer, what would you - honestly! - rate it? If it’s anything below a seven, hop on the Google machine and find some relevant statistics that pertain to your blog, or ask an expert, or read up on the subject. The key word here is authority. Your audience can smell BS from a mile away - don’t be that business.
2. Are you posting frequently? Aim for at least once a week to start. With content, more is more (provided you’re following point #1). Google loves active sites, so the more you can push out, the better.
3. Blogs that are well-written, free from typos and grammatical issues, and easy to read are an absolute necessity. But feel free to get creative with the structure and layout of your content, like these companies do. Making room for “expert advice,” “buying guides,” or simply “lifestyle news” will pique your audience’s interest and encourage them to click over.
1. Again, if it doesn’t look good, you’re not making the most of your time in front of your audience. Are your image sizes optimized for the platform? Are your images pixelated, messy, or busy? Clean, simple, modern layouts and images speak to audiences - and they stand out from the barrage of other social media posts.
2. Use the right hashtags and emojis. It’s clear when you’re hashtag hunting and simply dropping every single even remotely relevant hashtag onto each and every post - we’re here to tell you to stop. Stick to 30 - at most. Even one hashtag is better than nothing, and it makes a marked difference in your post’s success.
3. We can’t stress this enough: typos and grammatical issues stick out like sore thumbs on social media, especially because you’re working with fewer characters than, say, blogging. Double and triple-check your social media before it goes out. A mistake or two is inevitable (nobody is perfect), but consistent issues will make your business look careless.
We hope this post has been helpful in taking your content marketing from good to great! Please feel free to reach out with any other questions, and make sure to subscribe to our blog or newsletter to stay up to date on the latest in content marketing and so much more.