We all know that without good content, it’s hard to engage audiences beyond an initial interaction. This is why a solid content strategy is crucial. According to Joe Pulizzi at the Content Marketing Institute, nine out of ten companies have content marketing programs. These companies spend about a quarter of their budget on content marketing efforts.
This being said, producing consistently engaging content has its challenges. Every once in a while we hit a wall in our content marketing efforts. It's not necessarily that our tried and true methods aren't working, but sometimes our audiences are simply looking for a new way to consume the type of content we share. Take infographics for example.
Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the last three years, you know that infographics are a popular way of providing and consuming content. Because they became popular so quickly, many are already lamenting the death of the infographic, but more than likely, infographics are going to transition from being a trendy content item to a consistent part of content strategies.
As with any new tactic or approach, make sure that the benefits directly align with your overall content strategy, and that you set clear metrics for success. Below are a few examples of tactics that may align with your overall marketing strategy to help energize your efforts.
1. Guest Blogging and More
This can be a powerful way to attract new visitors to your content, get visibility on new outlets, and save internal time and resources required to produce new content.
There are three potential ways to use this tactic. First, consider letting other people guest blog on your own company or organizational blog. This allows credible experts on topics related to your organization speak on the issues that you want to speak to your audience about. It lends third-party endorsements to both your company and your position in your industry. It also benefits you with additional audiences and exposure that you’ll get from having your guest blogger broadcast his or her post to their channels. In all, you’ll reach a new user base and the guest blogger serves as a great referral to your organization.
Second, take advantage of guest blogging opportunities on other sites that your audience is reading. Make it easy on yourself and go where your audience is! Make sure you’re targeting the right people when you do this though. Some industry blogs can be filled with an audience comprised more of your competition than your customers, and this can dilute the effectiveness of your efforts. When done correctly, this also has that element of lending the credibility of a referral from a trusted source to your blog and your organization as a whole.
Third and finally, it goes without saying that customer testimonials are a great tool for building confidence and talking about you in ways that only a trusted third party can credibly do. Why not take this a step beyond a quote on your site and work with your client to create a more in-depth testimonial for you. In addition to guest blogging opportunities, create presentations, webinars, videos and other types of content that allow your customers to reach an even larger audience. All the while, you are benefiting from their testimonial, and it serves as a win-win for both you and your customers.
2. Revisiting the Past
If your company has an interesting history, look for opportunities to create content centered around memorable events in your industry or the world at large.
Even if your company is younger, use this as an opportunity to point out how much you’ve grown in such a short period of time. For instance, was there an important employee hire, or a significant number (e.g. “3 years ago today, we hired our 20th employee, and now we are at 5,000 employees!”), or a significant revenue figure or customer/client that was awarded?
Find ways to make small holidays out of important milestones in your company’s history. It gives context to where you are today and illustrates the momentum you have moving forward. It draws attention to important leaders, to your customers, and to how your company fits into the historical fabric we all share.
3. Unique Lists and Weekly Digests
It’s your job to know what is happening in your industry, and what trends, products and news are relevant to you and your customers. You are already doing research, either personally or as an organization, on the latest best practices and happenings, so why not establish yourself as a reputable go-to source of the ‘”best of the best” each week, month or even quarter?
There are several reasons why this works:
- You are establishing yourself as the authority on the topic; able to distinguish what’s important and what’s not.
- You are providing a timesaving service by weeding through the noise and sharing what is truly valuable to know.
- You are able to establish a viewpoint on the important things happening in your industry, thus reinforcing your company’s philosophy and value proposition.
- From a time/cost perspective, you most likely are already following this information anyway. You are simply collecting what you already know and framing it from your organization’s perspective as a resource to your audiences.
Start off with a manageable frequency, so you don’t bite off more than you chew from a time and resource perspective. If a weekly list is too much, start off with a monthly list or even start with a single item once a week. Many companies do this on their Twitter accounts with a themed day such as Follow Friday (#FF). It allows a consistent content strategy without a commitment to producing a specific amount of items in a list.
4. Personalize Your Content
This one may not work on every platform you have or with every tactic you’re using in your digital marketing, but there are many ways to do it. The most typical way of personalizing content is to allow account creation so that when a user is logged in, they see “members only” content that is only accessible behind a login. Or on e-commerce sites, you can enhance the users’ experience by showing them things related to what they’ve already purchased.
On your website, use personalized content to show users who performed certain actions, are referred from certain sites, or located in certain geographic areas. For instance, if you visit a retail chain with a store locator, once someone (whether they are logged in or not) searches for a location, find ways to tailor the content you show him or her to that location. You can do this beyond your website as well. Perhaps there is a store special going on or an event coming up at that store. You can utilize email marketing, whether through marketing automation or a strategic program of list segmentation, to tailor information to individuals who fit certain criteria.
As always, make sure you are engaging in tactics that directly support your digital strategy and marketing goals, and make sure that you put some measurements in place to make sure that you can assess their effectiveness after a short while. For more advice on this, read my blog post “Don’t Get Lost in Tactics.”
Hopefully, these ideas have inspired you to add new energy to your content strategy. If you have other ideas or tactics that have worked well for you or your organization, please leave a comment below and share your ideas.