Almost every business is now using content marketing in their business strategies – content marketing was rated the most important technique for driving incremental sales this year by ‘Smart Insights’ in their 2017 marketing trends article
Content marketing can offer huge potential business growth in many forms and mediums.
However, if the content you are offering isn’t high quality then it’s unlikely to have the impact you are looking for.
A slideshare created by Doug Kessler called “Crap: the single biggest threat to B2B content marketing” puts this thinking into perspective.
“Content that doesn’t connect is as worthless as a blank screen” @JoeElliottSYDJ
What’s going wrong currently?
You want to ensure that the content you are publishing will get the best response from customers, and project the best image for your brand. As the majority of customers will often check out your website and social platforms before making a decision as to whether or not to use your services, it makes it imperative that you create a good impression through the content your are producing.
There are a number of ways in which you can make your content stand out from the crowd, and make sure that you don’t put customers off.
Is your content the best it can be?
Most importantly, don’t publish content for the sake of it. Think about how to make that content the very best it can be before it gets seen by the public. Take into account Rand Fishkin’s
10x content ideology and you’ll start to understand how to separate your content from the masses of other content being produced.
Always have your target audience in mind
It is important that you generate content that will interest your target audience. If you create content that is too broad, or if you talk about yourself too much, you are less likely to convert your visitors into customers.
The purpose of your content is to inform and engage your audience, and keep them coming back for more. Think about all of your user personas, along with the various journeys they will take from researching what they want, through to completing a purchase, and try to ensure they are getting the best possible experience along every step.
Keep it consistent
Although you shouldn’t just focus on yourself, you should ensure that your content style fits in with your brand. Your look and tone should remain consistent in order to make your brand more recognisable. Customers need consistency in order to keep your brand at the forefront of their mind, and to be able to associate you with any colours, fonts, images etc. that may relate to you.
Inject some visual content
A study of 2,000 people carried out in 2015 discovered that the average human has an attention
span of 8 seconds – shorter than that of a goldfish (at 9 seconds)! Another study shows that humans are able to process visuals 60,000 times faster than text-based information.
This makes it hugely important that your content contains interesting visuals – fail to do this and you risk your readers losing interest altogether.
After all, creative content is shareable, and creates enthusiasm around your brand. Having an image can break up your text and can make the difference between someone clicking the big red X, and carrying on reading your content.
However, it’s also important that you don’t just dump a random image between paragraphs. You need to ensure that:
- The image is relevant to your content
- You have the authority to use the image
- It’s not an image that has been used by many other businesses within your niche. (Original images work SO much better! They set you apart from your competitors, and allow your brand to become unique and recognisable).
Being a small business means it can be hard to separate yourselves from your many other competitors, making it all the more vital to have a variety of creative content on your site that can make your brand stand out. This will supply your audience with a whole load of different ways to digest your information.
Visual formats can include:
- Stock imagery
A great example is ‘Vouchercloud’s’ infographic on “How the cost of a Freddo has increased since 2000”. Other than the cost of their in-house design team, this work didn’t cost them a penny. All they had to do was pull the information from the web, and put it into an infographic. And voila, you have a visual source of information which is relevant and easily re-published – as the topic is constantly talked about. (Never underestimate the power of the Freddo).
Reuse, Repurpose, Republish!
If a piece of content has worked well for you in the past, reuse it, repurpose it, re-publish it! Even, if a piece of content hasn’t served you so well in its previous guise, now could be the time to redeem it.
It’s very easy to think that once a piece of content has been published that it cannot be used again. However, If there is a relevant update you can make, or you want to recreate the content in an alternative format then there’s no reason why this isn’t possible.
For example, you can use a recent study or report and repurpose it into an infographic or perhaps as a series of tweets. Whilst you may have a target audience, within that you’ll have a variety of preferences when it comes to consuming information. Some may prefer more to read text, whilst others may prefer more visual or audio content. It’s therefore a good idea to have a variety of content that can cater for all users.
To sum up
Whilst content marketing should be seen as a vital part of your business strategy, if it’s not used correctly it could be doing more harm than good. The content that you create needs to promote you in the best way possible, as well as be recognisable for your target audience. The best way to do this is to have a unique and consistent style which is presented in a variety of different forms, and be high in quality.