Although some content marketers can be as productive as a team of factory workers, it’s important to remember that you’re not creating widgets.
The assets content marketing teams produce — whether it’s white papers and eBooks, blog posts or videos — always need to ladder back to a business objective.
In some cases it’s simply about getting the attention of prospects.
Sometimes, it’s helping them choose between your firm and others.
There are also critical content marketing assets that can help influence a final purchase decision and close the deal.
It may sound obvious to say content marketing should be useful and relevant to the audience, but there are times when other factors get in the way.
Sometimes you might not be working with tools that can effectively measure the impact of your content marketing assets. There might be an urgency to just spend your budgets out of fear it will be cut back otherwise. Sometimes you might not have the data to align content with your ideal customer persona.
Even if your content marketing efforts are already pretty good, there are always ways to make them even better:
We often focus on what happens once someone is reading the blog post or watching the video. Equally important, however, is the journey they took to get there.
Were they thinking about the impact of a newly-discovered competitor? Have they lost business due to a product defect? Have they gotten a new CEO who has laid out more ambitious goals?
Beyond creating personas, make sure to occasionally think through the scenarios your target customers and prospects might be dealing with to ensure your key messages are giving them exactly what they need. This can translate directly into the keyword research you do to develop topics and content.
Good content marketing is often based on an interview with someone on staff who really knows your target customer community well. This might be a sales rep, a product marketing manager or even the CEO.
Much like journalists try to get more than one source into a major news story, better content marketing double-checks for the relevancy of what’s produced by talking to multiple Subject Matter Experts (SMEs).
These people might not always disagree with their colleagues, but they could offer valuable additions or insights that would otherwise get missed. End every interview or discussion with a SME by asking, “Who else would be good to weigh in on this?”
You produced a 40-page eBook? Great, but not everyone’s going to have time to read it.
They might, however, look at individual chapters if you broke them up into blog posts, or as a series you publish in an email newsletter.
The same applies to videos. Long ones can be edited into teasers, or roughly the length of a movie trailer.
This works the other way too, where you can cluster shorter pieces of content together in ways that save your customers from doing it themselves.
Create a playlist of your most popular videos. Create an eBook omnibus that becomes a sort of training manual for your customers. The more choice, the better.
Ever watch one of those renovation shows where they take a dilapidated home and turn it into a palace? You should be doing the thing with every page on your site to ensure its search engine optimization (SEO) potential is maximized.
You might have a great blog post or landing page, for example, but double-check the keywords that were initially used. New terms may have emerged that would work better based on your customer journey.
Update meta descriptions, alt texts and headers, which Google frequently uses to index the most useful content.
It may have received tons of engagement when it was launched, but your top-performing blog post may no longer reflect your firm’s strategic direction or the realities of the market.
Unlike traditional media like newspapers and magazines, though, there’s nothing wrong with going back and rewriting your history, so to speak.
In fact, you should be regularly auditing your resource libraries for additional metrics you can add to a case study, fresh stats to enliven a white paper or even just a few more links in a blog post.
Calls to action (CTA) drive content marketing results. Period.
Why then, are there so many eBooks that end with little more than a copyright notice, or blog posts that simply end with automated suggestions to read more, (often unrelated) blog posts?
Map out how someone might read a blog post about an industry trend, and then wants to learn more about who else is acting on that trend.
Link to an example within your case study library.
At the end of the case study, link to a white paper that shows how it’s done.
At the end of a white paper, link to a webinar or event registration where they could meet a sales rep.
It’s not always about creating new content, but making your content work harder for you.
You might have created the bulk of your blog posts and white papers before Instagram ever became a key marketing channel. That doesn’t mean, however, that all your Instagram content should be developed from scratch.
Use the best infographics and call-outs from your whitepapers as Instagram posts. Have a SME read aloud a few lines from a blog post as part of your firm’s Instagram Story. Go back to your case study subjects and get their permission to share their experience on Instagram the way you did for Twitter or LinkedIn.
Instagram is just one example, of course. As more touch points emerge where customers are gathering and exchanging ideas, make sure you repurpose your content assets as much as possible, rather than put off participating in the conversation.
Some of these content marketing tactics may involve a little extra work, but they could also lead to a better payoff for the entire organization.
Sure, you’re probably doing your best as a content marketer — but the best have a tendency to keep getting better.