Generating a content marketing strategy can feel overwhelming and complicated, especially if you don’t have a dedicated marketing team.
We want you to see a return on your content investment.
In our experience with marketing, we’ve tried and failed several times—but we’ve also tried and succeeded a number of times.
So we’re here to give you the top Seller’s Choice “do’s and don’ts of content marketing” to ensure your brand sees productive results with your strategy.
1. Do understand your audience.
Your marketing should address a specific reader. You could have amazing content, but no one will read it if it’s not relevant to them. Write about what your audience wants to read about.
Key content topics address your audience’s passions or pain points.
Moreover, you want to ensure you’re reaching the right audience. You want your content to target readers who are potential decision-makers or who can share the content with potential decision-makers.
Your audience will determine the form, the subjects, the platforms, the metrics, and the success of your content.
The audience is the basis of your entire content strategy. Know them inside and out before you even get started.
2. Do produce relevant content.
The content you put out should be related to both your audience and your brand. Putting out irrelevant content creates inconsistencies that can confuse and deter your customer. Relevant content, though, can make you a thought leader and authority in your field.
For example, Quest Protein publishes healthy, protein-rich recipes. You can easily use another brand of protein in their recipes. But you would be more likely to use Quest protein because they’re providing so much value. They gave you the recipes, so you assume it might be best with their protein.
These blogs position Quest Protein as an influencer in the healthy protein market—which means consumers consider them the go-to for purchasing healthy protein.
Create content that applies to your products, market, and brand lifestyle.
3. Do use your brand voice.
Relevant content applies to not only your product but also your brand. Your content is a direct example of your brand voice in action.
For example, Disney’s brand is all about making dreams come true. Their readers would be shocked if they published a blog entitled, “6 Reasons You Need A Practical Job.” Practicality is not aligned with their magical brand voice. Their fans would be up in arms about this kind of blog.
But a financial planning firm might have a more serious and down-to-earth brand voice. In that case, “6 Reasons You Need A Practical Job” would be relevant to that company’s brand. This could be useful for readers who are trying to save for their future.
Your content builds your brand voice. Keep the tone, voice, and subjects consistent and aligned with your brand mission.
4. Do create a content strategy.
Think of your content strategy as you would any other marketing plan. What is your key objective? What do you hope to gain from this tactic?
You want to create a specific roadmap of your content that includes deadlines, goals, metrics, and processes. It defines the type of content, the brand voice, and the audience.
You need a formalized content strategy. In fact, research by the Content Marketing Institute found that those marketers with a documented strategy are more likely to see a greater return on investment and consider their content strategies effective.
You need to define the destination so you know the route to get there.
5. Do have a set schedule.
Consistency is key. It’s this consistency that builds a strong brand.
Steadiness in your content strategy makes it easier for your company to create and track content. You know exactly how much content you’re putting out and when, so you can schedule it into your other tasks.
This reliability also helps retain readers and customers. They’ll know when they can expect new value from you—and they’ll look forward to it. This keeps them coming back to your site and social media, creating multiple impressions and continuous opportunities for conversion.
6. Do promote your content.
You could have amazing content, but no one will see it if you don’t promote it. Publish your blogs on social media, send them to influencers, and post them in groups. You want to make your content as visible as possible.
But be wary of blasting out your content without considering the platform or market. Don’t slap the same banner across every profile you have.
For example, Instagram works well with a number of hashtags. This helps users find your content and feed. But if you copy and paste this hashtag-filled caption on Facebook, Facebook’s algorithm might ding you for including too many hashtags. If you posted this caption on LinkedIn, people might think it was spam since LinkedIn doesn’t use hashtagging at all.
Be mindful of how and where you post your content.
Learn about Seller’s Choice social media services here.
7. Do make it shareable.
You want your readers to share your content. And readers actually like sharing quality content.
New York Times Insight Group found that 73% of respondents process information deeper and more thoughtfully when they share it. This means that sharing not only increases reach and word-of-mouth marketing, but it also improves conversion. The person who shared your content is actually more likely to understand and relate to the content on a more intimate level.
How do you create shareable content? Make content that people want to read and are excited to share with their friends. It really can be as simple as that. If you use your brand voice to target your audience, your content will be more shareable.
You should also include a call to action that encourages your readers to comment and share the post. The CTA can include an incentive like, “Share this post for a chance to win,” or ask a question, “What are your thoughts on this? Let us know in the comments below.”
8. Do update your content.
Keep your content updated and fresh. If you wrote an article for 2017 strategies, it’s time to update it for 2018. If there has been a change in your market or industry, you should revise your content to reflect that.
Updated content has a three-pronged effect:
- It’s good for SEO. Google prefers to optimize recent content as opposed to older content. If you have the exact same content published twice, Google will push the one with the newer date the one higher in the search.
- It keeps your audience informed. Updated content ensures you’re a newsworthy, trusted, and credible authority in your field.
- It’s an easy way to create new content. It takes fewer resources to revise an article, but you get a number of the effects and benefits of a new piece.
9. Do make your content emotional.
Emotions are a key part of the decision making process. Dry content doesn’t attract or convert.
The emotion doesn’t have to be the core of the piece. You don’t have to make each blog wickedly funny or heart-wrenchingly sad. Rather, write in a way that makes your reader connect with the piece.
For example, you could write an article about how to avoid chemicals in your home goods products. This elicits an emotional response from the reader because they care about the wellness of their family—but you don’t necessarily need to write in a specific emotional tone.
Focus on making the call to action especially emotionally appealing. Create an emotion at the point of decision.
10. Do measure your efforts.
Don’t assume your content is succeeding or failing. Utilize metrics to show where you are and what your trajectory looks like.
There are four key types of metrics:
- Consumption: How many views and followers do you have?
- Sharing: How many people are sharing your content?
- Leads: Which of your pieces are generating genuine leads?
- Sales: What percentage of sales is a direct and indirect result of your content?
Be sure to compare these metrics as well. If consumption is high but sharing is low, you want to figure out how to make your content more shareable. If leads are high but sales are low, you need to tweak your conversion call to action.
We recommend starting with Google Analytics as a basis for metric tracking.
Don’t get discouraged by the numbers. The goal of measuring your metrics is to figure out ways to optimize and grow. Keep one eye on your successes and another on your areas of opportunity.
11. Don’t focus on selling.
Avoid turning your content into a blatant shill for your product or service. You don’t want to sound commercial or sales-y.
The goal of content marketing is to provide value. When you provide legitimate value, your customers will naturally come back for more.
Nevertheless, don’t be afraid to shy away from selling altogether. The goal is not to not sell. You don’t need to pretend that you don’t want your customers to purchase from you.
Rather, you want to provide them so much value that they see you as the ultimate solution to the pain point you’re addressing in the content.
12. Don’t worry about frequency.
As discussed in #5, the goal is consistency. You don’t have to worry as much about frequency as long as you have a consistent strategy in mind.
For a number of businesses, frequency is what holds them back from content marketing. They feel they don’t have the time or resources to put out the content needed for an appropriate strategy.
But this limiting belief is false. It’s not about how much content you put out but the relevancy and value of your content. Even just one blog can go viral if it’s good enough.
It’s much better to have a reduced frequency at a higher quality than a high frequency with reduced quality.
13. Don’t have more than one call to action.
Each piece of content should have a specific direction for conversion. You want to lead your reader to a singular part of your sales funnel.
Overloading the reader with multiple CTAs can confuse them. Too many options create indecision. Give them one, specific action that is relevant to the piece and to your sales funnel.
Keep your CTAs consistent.
Be sure to include this when planning your content strategy. When you decide a blog topic, decide what the accompanying call to action and metrics will be.
14. Don’t get discouraged.
Don’t be overly critical of perceived failures. There will be days where you lose followers and have unsubscribes. Your progress might be slow as it builds.
Remember that content marketing is the building of an asset. You’re creating a library of content for your blog, SEO, and social media. This isn’t a one-and-done pay-per-click campaign that is meant to give you an instant boost.
Content marketing is a slow burn—which can lead to a larger fire!
15. Don’t be stagnant.
Don’t stay with marketing strategies that aren’t working for you. It’s okay if your content strategy changes along the way. Every time your audience, product, or market changes, so should your strategy. If your metrics aren’t what you want, change your approach.
Content marketing is flexible and changing. Learn as you go and be willing to change course as needed.
16. Don’t ignore engagement.
One of the benefits of content marketing is that it’s interactive. You want people to comment and share your posts to improve engagement and reach.
Create a conversation with them. If someone writes a comment, respond to it, even if you’re just acknowledging that they took the time to comment. You can retweet or reply when they share your posts.
Users want to interact with their brands. Take the time to be responsive—and your customers will respond back with loyalty and conversions.
17. Don’t overextend yourself.
There are a number of content do’s and don’ts. From building a strategy to generating consistent and branded content to tracking metrics, there are a lot of moving parts.
Don’t take on more than your team can handle. Overextending can hurt you in the long run by creating a lackluster campaign that wastes time and resources.
Don’t be afraid to outsource. One of the easiest ways to create quality content is handing the reigns over to someone who already knows how to market.