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How To Improve Your Content Marketing Strategy

How To Improve Your Content Marketing Strategy

A few of the Loomies took a little trip to London to visit the Content Marketing Show; a conference dedicated to exploring fresh content marketing strategies, delivered by inspirational speakers in the industry. With 17 speakers included in the exclusive line-up, we picked out some of the most useful advice for both businesses and marketing agencies.

Penguin 2.0

In our recent blog post about Penguin 2.0, we revealed that creating quality content is regarded as one of the most important steps in achieving online success since Penguin rolled out its latest algorithm on May 22nd 2013.

To avoid enduring the wrath of Penguin, online marketers need to encourage natural social shares by building relationships with people in their own circles, as well as their target audience. Social signals are being recognised by search engines and this reinforces the importance of quality content and outreaching.

Marketers should be creating content that is shareable, thought-provoking and useful, demonstrating the benefits of their client’s products or services without appearing too ‘sales-like.’ As Dan Felder cleverly puts it: ‘content is the energy which drives our strategy.’ If you can create generous content, a relationship will begin to develop between your brand and your target audience. As you gain your audiences’ trust,  they will eventually reward you by sharing your content; developing a natural link profile, reducing the risk of your site being penalised by Penguin in the future.

Build The Best Content Team

Good content cannot be created unless you have a creative team capable of delivering winning content ideas.

@dannydenhard explained the importance of choosing the right team members to produce good content as being similar to choosing football players for a football match.

Each team member needs a certain attribute to bring to the table, no matter how big or small your organisation is. Do you have these players in your content team?

Goalkeeper – safe, attention to detail

Full Back – agile, strong, intelligent

Centre Backs – field leaders, communicators

Midfield Workforce – works for the team, often underrated

Attacking Midfield – creative, drives the team

Strikers – selfish, goal driven, money earners

Each team member must understand their role within the team as well as seeing  the bigger picture. Without a clear vision, it may be difficult for your company and your audience to distinguish your position in the industry.

Denhard believes that the winning ‘trophies’ need to be in the forefront of your mind. So ask yourself, what’s most important to your brand? What do you want your content to achieve? Do you want local, national or international coverage? Are you aiming for more social shares or conversions?

Without a great team ethic and regular brainstorms, content creation becomes stale, boring and un-imaginative – allowing other players to get the big wins while you’re left sat on the bench.

Use a SMART Content Framework

With billions of content pieces being distributed on the web every day, it is no surprise that un-prepared, thoughtless and disengaging content gets lost in translation. Matt Roberts argues that it’s not ‘OK’ to create ‘OK’ content. Only SMART content gets shared. So what is defined as SMART content?

Specific

Memorable

Appropriate

Relevant

Targeted

To improve your content production value, you need to set SMARTER objectives, and by that we mean identifying what your content can do.

You need to learn to measure the popularity of your content to find out what works and what doesn’t. If your content isn’t getting viewed, shared or liked you need to reassess your content production value and go back to the drawing board.

 Tell A Good Story

‘Great content marketing is about great story-telling,’ suggests Tony Samios, Chief Operating Officer (COO) at Caliber.

In Samios’ insightful presentation, he stressed the importance of great story-telling; the ability to compel an audience to action and bring energies to the masses.

The best stories are those which make audiences care emotionally, intellectually and aesthetically. It is about creating an emotional connection, resulting in the audience doing crazy things.

A good story allows readers to relate to their own experiences through content, causing them to change and take action. Creating this emotional connection between brand and audience encourages the audience to believe your story, resulting in an increase in revenue.

Be creative, be funny and think outside the box. No-one likes a boring story.

Use Data

Did you know that data can help your content strategy? According to @simonpenson it can! Using data as a part of your content strategy means that there is no room for guessing. You can let the data you discover lead your content.

It is widely recognised that the web is becoming more ‘semantic.’ Therefore, it is good practice to use semantic associated phrases in order to broaden reach and creative thinking.

Google’s Display Network ad planner is a neat little tool which tells you what your interest group is searching for, allowing you to create specific content for your target audience.

Google’s public data engine aggregates statistical data on a range of subjects, perfect for providing relevant, accurate and measurable data on a specific subject.

Zanran is a small niche search engine which is useful for finding statistics to pull information from.

Google Real-Time Insights Finder provides an insight into what particular subjects users are searching for.

As social signals are becoming increasingly recognised by search engines, social data is hugely important. By downloading Facebook power editor to your profile, you will be able to view data and understand more about your audience.

MOZ’s fresh web index reveals news led content, providing an idea of what people are writing about on the web, provoking inspiration and creative thinking based on current events.

Use Advanced Content Promotion Strategies

When planning your engagement with bloggers, you need to reach out in a way that’s personalised, relevant and scaled. CEO Co-Founder at BuzzStream Paul May explained the best way to ‘execute a campaign’:

Most bloggers who struggle to build relationships give up too easily. A lot of time needs to be invested in creating and promoting content to build relationships.

Paul May argued that the old outreach process is broken. Simply emailing a blogger writing: ‘Hey, can you link to my article please?,’ isn’t going to win you exposure, neither is false flattery.

You need to carefully harvest opportunities by planning your engagement which reaches out in a personalised, relevant and scaled way.

Firstly, you need to identify your target segments. Who is interested in your brand? Who would benefit from your product/service? Think about and understand why your product/service is valuable to your target segment.

You can expand this research further by ‘chunking.’ Chunking Up is a technique used in order move from a specific and detailed topic, phrase or word to its more broader general sense. It enables you to see the bigger picture and discover many possibilities within your area of interest.

Think big, but act small. Research hard before you outreach, so you have the best chance of securing relevant relationships.

Don’t waste your time sending automated emails. This is a dead-end strategy.  Emails should be personalised, positioned, persuasive, with a clear Call To Action in order to make the most of your outreaching opportunity.

 Share Good Content

@LauraHelen described the way we execute content as ‘screwed up.’ There are so many businesses out there doing it wrong, writing a load of content which will seamlessly disappear in the web without a single glance. Quality content comes down to investment and effort, a lack of preparation will only lead to despair.

It is largely beneficial to take some time-out to research what your audience is searching for. By looking at certain demographics, you will be able to strengthen your creative content ideas.

Laura Helen reinforces how important it is to ‘execute’ content. Follow this simple checklist with every piece of content and you’re onto a winner.

  • Give your account a URL or handle
  • Give a reason to follow
  • Share buttons must be well-placed at the top of the blog to encourage shares
  • Make the content easy to share

 Grow Social Media Communities

UK Editor of BuzzFeed @LukeLewis stressed the importance of using ‘relentless’ strategies when growing social media communities. Developing strong social media connections is a continuing process that needs to be plugged daily.  The more time and effort you put into your social activity, the better results you’re likely to receive.

With each piece of content you must establish your metric. Are you hoping for click-throughs, on-page engagement, virility or revenue? This will help you gain a clear vision of what you want your content to achieve.

As I mentioned previously, a piece of good content needs to tap into people’s passions emotionally, intellectually and aesthetically. The problem is is that everyone is writing about the same thing. So, how can your content be different? Well, have you ever thought of planning spontaneity? Lewis believes content can go viral if you exploit big events in real-time.

Luke’s six tips for sharing content via Twitter.com:

  • Be relentless
  • Use Photos
  • Tweet greatest hits (if it worked once, it will work again)
  • Use analytics
  • Be geeky

Make Content Convert

@JustinGraphitas believes we spend too much time measuring our vanity metrics. Sure we like to get shares, tweets and likes, but what our clients really want to see is conversions. Therefore, if our content isn’t converting revenue, we have a problem. So what can we do? Firstly, we need to understand how to commoditise our content by looking past social shares, by defining our objectives and focusing on the end goal.

This is a ‘sexy’ busy and people are drawn to seductive content. Seduce them instantly by a securing a captivating headline which sells the story and reflects the content. Adding an equally gripping sub-heading will encourage users to continue reading.

Entice your audience by researching their needs and desires and create content using their language, jargon and tone of voice. As well content, images are equally important. Content which is visually appealing is more likely to attract viewers, so make sure you include seductive imagery and cool graphics, making the content a little easier on the eye.

The only way you will understand your audience clearly is by continuing to test your content marketing strategies on a regular basis. This will encourage innovation, creativity and competition. Remember you are competing against other brands for your audience, so you must always be one step ahead of the game.

If you want some more advice on how content strategies work as a wider online marketing tool then get in touch with Loom. We love chatting about how to transform businesses online. Call us on 0117 923 2021.

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