Every business is setting up a blog nowadays. You either need to get on the bandwagon, or feel its wheels rolling over the top of you. A 2012 survey of Australian marketers by CMI, concluded that of the 96% of Australian marketers who used content marketing; only 29% thought this was effective.
The challenge for these businesses isn’t primarily the budget required for content marketing; it’s in creating content that’s engaging, and enough of it to keep the fans and followers happy. So how do you change your content marketing strategy to be more cost-effective and engaging?
Recruit A Fresh Pair of Eyes
You understand your business, and the dynamics of how it operates. So much so, that this intricate knowledge can obscure the truth about what the audience finds interesting. So recruit a fresh pair of eyes and ears to brainstorm article ideas with you. Preferably someone with a content marketing background who understands how to write for social media and engage with an audience. The encyclopaedic knowledge is where you come in. The new recruit is where the fresh perspective comes from.
Source: Chris Heiler on Flickr
For most industries, you can bet that somebody has already laid the groundwork, with an abundance of content written about your specific industry, product or service. Take inspiration from this content, but don’t copy it directly – obviously!
There’s nothing stopping you from making lists of recommended blog posts, sites or snippets. You can talk about this content and generate a valuable curated list. Some examples could be: ‘The Top Ten Best Typefaces of 2013’ or ‘The Best Free Games for iPhone in 2013’ or ‘Five Killer New Workouts Taking the World by Storm’.
People search on these common terms and when they do, it will be easier for them to find you. They will stick around if the content is interesting and informative enough.
The idea of ‘linkbait’ may sound sinister, but it’s not. Its simply content that’s placed on a reputable website. This links back to your site and boosts web rankings. Linkbait generally has a lifestyle or soft news angle that’s slightly provocative or interesting to a general audience. Sometimes linkbait articles include pictures, to make them more engaging. Sub-headings are the norm, to make paragraphs scannable and easy-to-read for web users. Most importantly, there is a ‘How to’ headline, or a ‘Top Ten’ headline that’s irresistible to a casual visitor.
Using these parameters brings you up to speed with more prolific bloggers. Not only that, it’s become a sort of tacit, unspoken rule that readers expect these conventions when reading. It’s much easier to scan through, to get what they need. Breaking the article into sub-sections also makes it easier for you to stay focused on the topic too, and not digress too much.
If you’ve enjoyed reading articles by certain bloggers in your industry, then invite them into your world for a guest post. Most bloggers will relish the opportunity for exposure. Firstly, make some editorial guidelines clear.
Don’t allow them to directly promote a specific product or service. Also, in many cases, you can avoid having to pay for a guest post, unless the blogger is enormously famous. Their pay-off comes at the end of the guest post, with an included brief about themselves, their expertise and a link to their own website.
A guest blogger’s writing can be like a breath of fresh air to a business blog. The guest blogger automatically becomes a powerful brand advocate, sharing the post all over social media. It’s a powerful way to immediately increase the reach and virality of the post.
Repurpose Your Existing Content
Use your existing collection of content to create a video tutorial, slideshare presentation, infographic, magazine article or any other type of new content. Most of the work will have already been done, it’s just a matter of tweaking the content for the new format.
Share Interesting Tidbits on Social Media
Collect all of the interesting and industry-relevant content that you find on other people’s blogs and social media. Then combine this with your content that’s created in-house, and other little golden nuggets of information that you find elsewhere on the web. Posting this in a steady, uninterrupted flow onto social media is going to keep up the momentum of interest.
Think Telephone Not Megaphone
Make sure that your social media communication is like a telephone and not a megaphone. Social media is about engagement and getting people involved and interested in your story. People want to see you as a friend on social media, not a brand or business. So keep the content entertaining, light-hearted and amusing – as you would to your friends. And don’t sell to your followers and fans, they will abandon you quicker than you can say ‘Sign Up Now’.
Don’t Be Boring!
Marketing megalith Seth Godin sums it up best when he says that people pay attention to ideas that are bad or shocking or weird, because these ideas aren’t boring. Enough said!
Do you have any more tips for making your ideas spread? Surely there’s thousands more and I didn’t have time to cover them all. Let us know if you have some amazing ones…