With 88% of UK marketers using content marketing, there is no doubt that the creation and promotion of useful branded content forms an integral part of the marketing mix of many UK businesses. And with three in every four British brands planning to increase their content marketing budget in 2014, there are no prizes for guessing content marketing is going to become bigger and more competitive this year.
So, what are the big tactical shifts in store this year? What are the new innovative strategies that impact your content creation and distribution initiatives? How do you beat the competition that is equally gung-ho about content marketing?
In order to answer these questions, it will be a good idea to take a look at some of the tactics that will play a huge role in successfully executing a content centric marketing strategy. But before we begin, it’s important to clarify that the fundamentals of content marketing won’t change; good actionable content will always be the foundation of any solid content marketing strategy. Everything begins from there.
Now let’s take a look at the tactics:
1. Picking the Right Content Creators will be of Paramount Importance
Who’s developing your content? Is the right team in charge of content creation? Think beyond strong writing and communication skills. Your writers should have a good eye for visual content and a strong ability to research. Your content creators should also be details oriented and must be aware of the differences between content that is used for sharing versus something that’s written purely for lead generation purposes.
More importantly, they must also be well aware of the current trends and latest happenings in the business niche. Your content creator in 2014 must be the perfect blend of a writer, internet marketer, and researcher.
2. Create a Place for Content Manager/Director
According to the 2013 State of Inbound Marketing report released by HubSpot, companies that have clearly defined marketing and sales roles in content marketing reduce their customer acquisition costs. In 2014, businesses need to go a step ahead and create a role for Content Manager/Director. This allows you to increase investment in content marketing knowing there is somebody in charge of ensuring this investment delivers results. If you aren’t able to optimally control and manage the creation and dissemination of content, you’re going to miss out. So designate somebody whose sole responsibility is to shape, define and execute your organization’s content marketing strategy and ensure it is aligned with your business objectives.
- 3. Know the Best Time of the Day to Share Content
If you’ve got some great content you want to share with your target audience, make sure you do it at the right time. To leverage the immense shareable potential of your content, knowing when to share is critical. Identify the best day and time to share your content on each of the social networks.
Tools like Tweriod give you the best times to Tweet. If you want to know the best time to share content on Facebook, 7 Powerful Facebook Statistics you should know for a More Engaging Facebook Page, is an article you must definitely go through.
Study your existing data, test it, play with it and post at different times of day to identify the best time that target audiences are most likely to come across your posts, read them and share them. You will be able to zero in on the right time with a little trial and error.
4. Quality is the Buzzword
Quality wins over quantity any day, and this fact remains true for content marketing as well. It’s not the number of articles, guest posts, videos, infographics, case studies that you produce that is important, but their quality. So, in 2014, focus on creating content that is thought provoking, creative, factual, and is different from anything that your consumers have read before. Creating such content requires painstaking efforts, but that’s quite alright. One piece of quality content delivers more value compared to 10 uninspiring and insipid content pieces. This will also allow you to go one up over your competitors in the content marketing sweepstakes.
5. Use Content to Build Relationships
At the beginning of 2014, Matt Cutts asked internet marketers to stop using guest blogging to gain links. It’s important to extend this thinking to your overall content marketing as well. Do not share your content to build links, but as a means to build relationships with your audience, brand influencers and advocates.
The whole purpose of creating informative value added content in 2014 will shift from a link building to relationship building exercise. This helps you build more authority for your brand; improve its reputation ensuring other reputed websites/brands do not think twice of interacting with your brand. And every such interaction will allow you to build natural links – A win-win situation for you.
6. Spend but Spend Wisely
Think of a scenario wherein your business relies heavily on textual content (guest blogging) as a part of its content marketing strategy. Now, you’ve decided to incorporate the use of videos in this strategy.
Take a cursory glance and this seems like a very good strategy, but scratch the surface and you might start seeing some problems with it. Have you thought how many of your target consumers will take time out to watch a video? Have you factored in the high cost of video production (as compared to content creation)? Do you have a plan in place to recover the investment made in these videos?
If you haven’t done your homework, you might not be making a wise spend. Make sure you understand the pros and cons of what you are getting into, before investing in it.
7. Mix it Up
Variety spices up your content strategy. Variety refers to the types of content, and also relates to the various types of topics you choose. But make sure that your content is as information-rich as possible. Your target readers want to read something different all the time, and it works if you deliver content in line with their expectations. This will improve its social sharing, which will lead to better word-of-mouth about your brand, this in turn increase lead generation and conversion.
8. Keep Calculating ROI
No point in adhering to a particular strategy if it isn’t delivering value. So, make sure you keep evaluating its ROI, regularly. We are living in a world where time is of the essence and a flagging strategy needs to be corrected immediately. You can’t continue with it hoping it will deliver expected results in some time. There is absolutely no time to waste and this is why you need to keep refining and optimizing it, and this will only happen if you keep tracking your content marketing ROI.
9. Don’t Get Blindsided by New Innovation or Tech
You’re going to come across plenty of internet marketers holding forth on a great new tactic that everybody must use and which can revolutionize your content marketing strategy. While this might or might not be true, it is important that you do not change a successful strategy just because somebody says a new tactic will deliver better results. Make informed decisions or you might find yourself blindsided by a particular strategy and find your carefully crafted content marketing plans deliver little or no value at all.
10. Don’t Worry If you Get it Wrong
Content marketing is difficult and there are plenty of pitfalls you’ll need to avoid and there are also chances you might fall into one of them. Get up, dust yourself and begin again. Nobody really gets everything right about their content marketing. So, don’t worry. Also keep reimagining your strategy, correcting your mistakes and move forward all the time.
Keeping these tactics in mind will definitely help your business maximize the potential of your content marketing strategy in 2014. But, this is going to be a tough year for content marketers and it’s important you get all the help you can find. So, do not limit yourself to these tactics; keep looking for and implementing tactics that you believe will work for your business.