Content Marketing: Make Yours Stand Out
- 09 May 2016
Successful content marketing really can prove to be a game changer. It can directly impact all aspects of your marketing from search engine optimisation (SEO), to social media, to email marketing, and to ultimately drive an increase in conversions.
Therefore, it is unsurprising to hear that in the past few years content marketing has pushed itself to the top of many a marketing managers ‘to do’ list.
However, content marketing can become quite a daunting task when you consider the fact that, on average, last year over 2 million blog posts were published on the internet everyday.
So, how exactly are we meant to ensure that every piece of content we put out there is read and appreciated? The simple answer is, we can’t!
However, this is not to say that we should all pack it in, close and bury the content marketing box forever and forget about it and move on. Luckily for us marketers, there are several ways that we can quite confidently tailor our content creation to the needs and wants of the predictable, yet, completely unaware internet surfer of today.
This article aims to highlight, explain and decode the most important tick boxes for any content driven campaign to ultimately unshroud the mysteries of the ever elusive successful content marketing campaign.
Know Your Goals
This is the golden rule for any successful content marketing campaign. It should be carved in stone and raised upon high. Never ever should content marketing be undertaken as a stand-alone activity. In the same way, that one-off pieces of content should very rarely be created.
Content marketing should never be just for the sake of content: Unless you have a carefully planned strategy to make sure what you write is read, content marketing can prove to be a great strain on your resources.
Knowing what you want to achieve with a content campaign – like any other campaign for that matter – is paramount. A detailed plan and overarching aim will enable you to mould your content around a purpose, your desired audience and media channel.
Before starting any content piece you need to carefully decipher what your end goal is. Not sure what your goal is yet? Ask yourself these:
Are you trying to get more clients? More conversions? More subscribers or followers? Or just trying to engage with your audience through an entertaining and informative content piece?
Once you have established your goal, you will then need to focus on your desired audience:
Who are they? What do they like? What do they want? How are they looking for information?
These are the vital questions to begin content marketing. The answers to each of these will shape your writing, from language used, to the medium it’s posted on and even down to its layout.
Only once you have a clear focus on the purpose of your writing, who you want reading it and where you want to see it, can you start to plan or even begin to create your content.
Humanise your content marketing
“Talk like a human for human’s sake!”
It seems to be a truth universally acknowledged, that corporate communications must wholly separate themselves from the customer and their viewpoint through impersonal and stuffy business speak. In reality, however, this could not be further from the truth!
It needs to be remembered that your customers are human, your employees are human, your followers and subscribers and human and more importantly, guess what? You are human!
Your company, therefore, is one run by humans for humans. So why do we all insist on talking like robots? Talk like a human for humans sake!
Take innocent as an example. If you browse their Twitter page you are inundated with a variety of different tweets that you can clearly visualise a real live person saying. In this, they truly are refreshing when compared to today’s haughty business twitter accounts.
This, it must be noted, does not mean that we all have to suddenly lower our tone and become overly colloquial and post an animal meme a day! No no no.
Instead, it’s a game of balancing industry jargon within your content with a professional yet real tone of voice.
Another example is General Electric, they hit the nail on the head, so much so that they have been labelled “the most strategic brand on social media.” Their Twitter feed, in comparison, perfectly marries real speak with an air of professionalism that comes across in a totally relatable and approachable manner. Which is exactly what you want your content marketing to do, drive consumer engagement on social media especially.
(Please note that social media is not at all in the slightest the be all and end all of content marketing, but it certainly is a great place to gauge and easily experience different brands and their specific tone of voice.)
Many businesses seem to believe that a human tone of voice cannot sit happily alongside pre-existing brand guidelines. This again is a fallacy.
Any brand’s tone of voice can be humanised in a way that coincides with brand guidelines. In most cases, this is simply a case of simplification and cutting out what is unnecessary and overly flowery.
Write your content for the web
For any online content marketing campaign to be a success, it crucially needs to be designed for the web. This involves tailoring every aspect of what you write to appear, function and navigate correctly when sat on a web page.
What looks good in your document often will not translate as effectively online.
There are three simple steps that can be taken here to ensure that your content will perform to its best ability when published:-
Firstly, you need to use simple vocabulary. For the most passionate writers, this is often easier said than done.
The average adult’s attention span, due to the rise in smart technology, has fallen from twelve seconds in 2000 to a mere eight seconds today – even a goldfish has an attention span of nine seconds! When you consider this, shorter vocabulary becomes a must.
It too ensures that you, the writer, think more clearly and in turn the reader then can quickly and easily understand. It also ensures that your article will have a larger reach globally and nationally as it will be accessible to all literacy levels and to those who can speak basic English.
Secondly, Use. Short. Sentences. The reasoning behind this one is the same as above and it allows your content to be accessed by a far wider audience.
Shorter sentences engage with, appeal to and captivate a reader more successfully than if you were to present them with War and Peace. Online users are, more often than not, on your page or article because they are looking for a specific thing. If you can present this quickly and easily, your campaign is more likely to float.
Thirdly, and finally, you need to ensure that your piece is easy to navigate. Research by the Nielsen Norman Group has found that people online do not read sentences in sequential order; instead, they skim read, in a search for the information they are looking for.
There are a few tips to help guide your reader to easily find what they are looking for. This will not only build loyalty but in most cases will bring your reader back to your site in the future.
It is best practice for content marketing, when necessary or suitable, to:
- Highlight important words
- Use meaningful sub-headings
- Use bulleted lists
- Keep paragraphs to single ideas idea
- Say less!
Always Create Original Content
“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing about.” – Benjamin Franklin
Arguably most important, your content marketing has to be unique.
You shouldn’t be creating content unless you feel like you have something to say. Similar to ensuring that you recognise your goals, your content should always have a direction, if not it will most certainly be felt by your reader and resultantly tossed aside and lost in the abyss.
Before writing anything, ensure that you have thoroughly researched your topic and what has already be written about it. It is fine to comment on another’s work, or news jack something relevant, but, simply creating duplicate or replicate content can have disastrous consequences and ultimately destroy the trust that people may have built up in association with your brand.
Content Marketing: Don’t Forget To Be Social!
Lastly, don’t forget to be social. Social media is, in most situations, the online human face of a business. As such, when speaking why would you not share it here?Social media is a
Social media is a two-way thing: It is a rare space where consumers can not only be led to your content and exposed to your content and wider marketing campaigns but it also enables two-way engagement.
It is an area where brand personas can be made and cherished. You become a listener, speaker and spectator.
For a business, this is something very unique. Corporations can become personified and consumer relationships can build and develop. Brands can show that they practice what they preach and become real and tangible.
Social media allows emotion to enter into the consumer engagement which can truly be very powerful.
However, it is vital to ensure that you pick the right channel for your target audience as each demographic social activities greatly vary.
So there you have it, 5 simple steps to tailor your content marketing campaigns to be as successful as possible.
How Rooster Can Help
Here at Rooster, we believe that content marketing and design have a lot on common. They’re both an art form, and yet they have a distinct purpose: to communicate a clear message.
We have a team of experienced copywriters who can develop your content marketing campaigns from scratch, or as part of a discovery process with your staff.
We can advise, research, write and edit copy in a range of contexts. Please do get in touch to discuss your next content marketing campaign.
Posted by Phoebe Ashley on 09 May 2016