If we are to pick one key inbound marketing tactic that most B2B and B2C marketers are betting big on, it has to be content marketing; with 86% of B2B and 77% of B2C marketers saying their organizations use content marketing, it is very popular.
But this also means the competition is tough and you'll need to make the most of your content creation and distribution efforts, if you want to optimize ROI. As a content marketer, it's of mission critical importance that you're able to get your content strategy right; this can only happen, if you don't ignore certain crucial components that go into the making of a successful content marketing campaign.
Let's take a look at 5 of them:
1. Format Diversification
Both the graphs are from a B2B and B2C content marketing survey conducted by Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs; if you look at both graphs, you will realize there isn't a particular format that towers over others, with respect to effectiveness. This is why you must make it a point to use diverse content formats for your marketing efforts.
For e.g. if you are using blogging you need to mix it up with eNewsletters, videos and social media content, to optimize content marketing deliverables. Diversification is the name of the game. Don't limit yourself to just one content format; otherwise you'll be limiting content reach.
Think about it for a second, there will be a section of target audience who'll love going through articles on your website, but there'll be others who are partial to videos. If you use different content formats, you will cater to the content consumption needs of a diverse audience; this helps you reach out to a wider audience.
2. Visual Focus
Take a good look at the following stats:
- Videos receive an average of 1 billion views everyday on Facebook. (Source)
- The most shared posts on Facebook are the ones with photos. (Source)
- Tweet engagement shoots up, if you add a photo URL. (Source)
- Well-made infographics are 30 times more likely to get read than text. (Source)These stats leave no room for doubt that visual content works and works big time. Ignoring it means you aren't doing enough for maximizing potential from your content marketing efforts. The content formats you use must be tilted in favor of visual content.
3. Evergreen Content
One of the biggest challenges of content marketing is consistently coming up with high quality content. You cannot have an off day vis- -vis content creation. One bad content piece and down goes your brand credibility.
What's more, you need to come up with quality content regularly. Content creation needs to be a continuous process and as can be imagined, you will be putting yourself under tremendous pressure to create content that will strengthen your marketing efforts.
Some would say this scenario cannot be avoided. One doesn't have the luxury of time with content marketing. While this may be true, you could give yourself some more time to come up with new content, if you focus on creating 'timeless content'. The kind of content that can be read again and again and which has a long shelf life.
If you are able to get such pieces out, you can take some more time for content creation, because you know existing content pieces are delivering sustainable long term results. Take a cue from companies like Buffer and KISSmetrics, who've made it a habit of publishing such evergreen posts.
A word of caution here - It's not easy to come up with such content, but an effort needs to be made. Take a look at Buffer's post on evergreen content ideas to help you with your content creation efforts in this regard.
4. Build Your Brand With Content Marketing
High quality content not only helps market your products and services, but also builds your brand. Content marketing can only work for you if you look at it from the brand building prism. Remember, you will need to think long term when you are making content a key driver of your marketing campaign.
It doesn't deliver returns in a hurry.
So, you need to think in terms of deriving long term benefits rather than short term gains; think in terms of improving brand reputation, niche authority and brand trust. Content has overarching benefits, provided you don't look at it with sales tinted glasses.
The whole idea behind content marketing is to provide your target customers with value added information that acts as a solutions provider. You mustn't use content purely as a means of selling your products and services.
5. Involve Everybody
You must build a culture of content in your organization. Involve various departments, and not just your marketing team, when it comes to content ideation and zeroing in on the kind of content you believe will be a right fit for your audience. For e.g. there is a very good chance that your software development team (if you are a software company), will be conversant with the needs of the target audience; so ask for their inputs while creating content.
Each and every person in the organization is a potential source of great ideas or information that can lead to great content ideas (yes, even evergreen content). By embracing a culture of content in your organization, you are actually making the whole organization a part of your content marketing efforts, which essentially means each and every employee is invested in your efforts to market the brand with content.
These 'ways' are often ignored, because they usually fly under the radar while identifying ways to optimize deliverables from a marketing strategy. But, more often than not, it is these often ignored tactics that determine the success of a content marketing campaign.