Over the past few years, content marketing has gone from something that only a small number of companies invested in, to a complete essential to overall digital marketing strategies. But understanding and knowledge in the area is still growing and evolving, so what can you do to improve your content marketing?
Here are six tips that can help you be more successful in 2018.
- Content marketing as SEO
Going into 2018, it is still the case that many businesses consider that their SEO department and content department are something separate. But this couldn’t be further from the case; content is arguably the most important aspect of SEO and your content marketing strategy can have an enormous impact on how your business ranks on Google and other search engines.
It is essential that your business allows the work it does on SEO and content marketing to overlap and integrate. Creating articles or videos as a part of a content marketing campaign impacts heavily SEO, so for the best possible benefits, SEO and content marketing campaigns should be planned concurrently.
- The potential for Internet of Things content
Much has been made of the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT), but we are only at the early stages of the kind of content marketing that could be carried out. The IoT has created amazing new opportunities for marketers that go beyond simple written, audio or visual content. Every IoT item is unique, creating different potential experiences for users.
Now is the time to consider how your IoT products can use content, or how your content can be integrated seamlessly on IoT devices.
- Authenticity is vital
Customers are becoming far more aware of the tricks that companies use to market to them. Indeed, even apparently positive marketing angles such as ‘green’ claims or charitable events can be met with cynicism by savvy audiences. Clearly, then, businesses need to start being more authentic, rather than simply doing the things that they think will impress their customers.
For your next content marketing campaign, make sure that you put an emphasis on authenticity signifiers such as user-generated content and ‘earned’ content.
- Marketing for different stages of the customer journey
There are often missed opportunities for companies to create content that interacts with individuals on different stages of their customer journey. Far too much of overall content marketing strategy is aimed at customers in the final stage of the buying process, when they are in the phase of deciding which of a range of models or services they are going to buy.
That means there is plenty of content such as case studies and product comparisons looking to convince a customer at the end of their journey that this is the exact product they need to choose. But before you put too much focus on this and your own products, it’s important to address customers on different stages of their journey.
- Analyse your own successes and failures
Every company is different and appeals to specific segments of the market. This means that the audience for the content that your company puts out is unique – applying blanket content marketing advice will only go so far.
Fortunately, however, your past content provides you with a ready-made resource that can show you exactly what your audience does and does not respond to. It’s important for you to take the time to analyse and evaluate your past content marketing to understand what worked and what didn’t. From this you can learn what you need to do in the future to maximise the success of your content marketing output.
For example, many content marketing specialists are enthusiastic about the importance of video, but that doesn’t mean that video content works for every company. Don’t start spending money based purely on expert advice – follow the patterns of your own successes for the best outcome.
- Tap into challenges
Too many businesses try to market their product or services by focusing on all the positives. But once again, in 2018 you need to remember that customers are wise to marketing tricks – they understand that any positives come with a ‘but’ that you’re not admitting to. So you should never shy away from these negatives – in fact it is often worth talking about them directly, as this allows you to look at the barriers stopping a potential customer from purchasing and re-framing it so the weakness becomes a strength.
A good example of this is the We Buy Any Car advert that tackles head on one of the biggest weaknesses in the company’s business model – that you could make more money by selling your car elsewhere. Of course you can get a little more money selling privately, the advert admits, but doing so would incur significant hassle, so it’s worth it for the simplicity of We Buy Any Car’s service. It takes the weakness (price) and turns it into a strength (convenience).
Take the time to understand the challenges and weaknesses of your product or service, and then create content that answers those questions.