It’s a content jungle out there.
Here are 5 points to consider before producing and marketing content, that will give you a better chance of getting a lion’s share of the online audience.
1. What kind of content will get you engagement?
Format; video, photos, infographics, keep the text short as a general rule! Make sure photos are visually strong, funny or interesting. If you want to go into more depth provide a link in the copy to a blog post, longer video on your YouTube channel/ website etc.
Content; How to do stuff- make sushi, take better photos etc. Listicles- Top 10 garden design ideas for Summer, Top 5 reasons to write a blog.
Viral; If your Facebook video is, for example, showcasing the best plants for a small garden, tag the shop you bought them from and chances are they will share it. Abracadabra, you’ve got an instant relevant audience! On almost every social media platform, visuals and particularly video is what gets shared most. Don’t fight it!
Articles; Remember I said keep it short? However, a longer ‘resource’ type blog post or an article sharing expertise on a professionals publishing platform like Linkedin or Medium could give you a stream of regular visitors over a longer period. It can also position you as an authoritative source on a subject. A link in the text to a sales message or call to action is fine, but making the content attractive/ useful to the visitor should be your first priority.
2. Why are you producing content?
What is your goal? To get bookings, newsletter sign-ups, sales, or to raise awareness? This is the foundation of your content strategy. After this comes the content marketing stage. The vast majority of content marketing on social media, blogs, websites etc sucks! By that, I don’t mean I think it sucks- that’s just my opinion, which is subjective- I mean it sucks because it has no engagement. Nobody is reading/ watching, liking, retweeting or sharing it. The internet vote has been counted and it lost its deposit, it had fewer votes than the Flat Earth Party and it resigned to spend more time with the family/ rethink the way forward/ take painting classes. If you don’t start with a strategy that puts visitor engagement in the driving seat, you will end up producing content that looks good only to you. You will be talking to yourself. Seems obvious, but go look on 100 random Facebook or Twitter feeds and it is evident that most content is not produced with that criterion in mind. This leads us to the question.
3. How do you get good engagement?
It’s actually pretty simple. Give the people what they want! This is the core of what content marketing is. In a digital age with an unprecedented amount of options vying for customers attention, the old push/ interruptive marketing message is no longer getting through. The customer can now choose what they want to see, hear, buy and they are. To get your customers to check out your Instagram feed or watch a video on your Facebook Page, you need to give them something they value. What you have to provide is content that is entertaining, amusing, incentivizing, useful to them. Social is now a Pay to Play game, but the core idea of content marketing is to give your visitors content that makes them come back. That way you don’t have to pay every time you want to talk to your audience.
4. Play the Numbers
Your content must be data-driven. If not, then what? Data is your friend as it can cut out a lot of wasted time and resources, guessing about who your audience is. If your content is a sales message targeted at senior executives in a company then email marketing is more likely to succeed than a long-form blog post. When is the best time to post that great article you’ve spent the best part of a day writing? When you have a better chance of having it read obviously and platforms like Linkedin have already done the research on this for you. So, increase your odds by using the data. Learn to at least understand the basics of Google Analytics, but the bigger picture is about understanding what your reader wants and giving it to them. If you don’t someone else will and they are just a click away.
5. Go With the Flow
If you produce a blog/ website and run occasional ads on Facebook, then you already have a workflow strategy. The question is, is it a good one? Get buy-in from employees, managers, and stakeholders involved from the start and you will have better regular content that is more customer-focused. Put a framework in place for the generating and publishing of most of your content. Draw up an editorial calendar, have a good stock of ready to use the content for future posts. If you are posting more than a dozen items on more than one platform a week then you should look at using software like HootSuite or Buffer to automate at least a good chunk of your social media content. If it is only Facebook then use the schedule option to post ahead in blocks of say 3 months forward. This will leave more time to be able to react to the ‘in the moment content that you can’t plan but is still a vital part of a successful content marketing strategy. Try to leverage employees and customers through incentives to produce their own content that you can utilize. Test and tweak as you go.
Content marketing is a method for you and/ or your organization to engage directly at a relatively low cost- compared with traditional marketing methods- with your customers to get a competitive edge in sales and marketing. Following the points outlined above will produce a higher engagement rate than a posting for posting’s sake approach that most organizations pursue with predictable and unfavourable outcomes.
About: Paul Henderson has developed content strategies for companies including Bloomberg and Microsoft and developed profitable digital tourism businesses. In 2020, his content received over 2 million engagements on social media, websites and blogs.
You can view more articles about content marketing on [his blog….]