Content is one of the main pillars that hold up your business’ professional reputation and brand image. Content is used to attract, engage and provide value to your audiences, as well as demonstrating your expertise through how-to guides, case studies and client testimonials.
With content being such an important addition to your marketing arsenal, you need to make sure you are making the most of the content opportunities you are given and adopt the following content marketing habits.
#1 - Keep Your Content Fresh
When creating content, you need to remember that you shouldn’t just publish it and then move onto the next project. Aside from promotion and interacting with audience members that engage with your content, you need to make sure that your content is up-to-date in terms of accuracy of both information and your brand.
Say you post an article covering a particular topic extensively; a year or so down the line, some of the information you have provided in that content may no longer be accurate.
By looking into the main topics of your content from time-to-time, you may come across some new information that would improve your content in terms of accuracy and quality. By regularly checking your content, you can maintain it and make sure that it never goes out-of-date.
Over time, your brand may also change. You might have changed the layout design for your content, the colour scheme or have a new company logo design.
This will make content that you post now, look a lot different from content that you have posted in the past. Giving your older content a visual overhaul can help to maintain a consistent brand image, and once again prevent your content from going out-of-date.
#2 - Repurpose Your Content
Most of the time, your content will not need regular updates in appearance or accuracy, and in this case, it can be hard to keep them from collecting dust.
Repurposing your content is a great way to breath new life into old pieces of content, by developing a new format that can help to give a different viewpoint, to a different audience.
Taking an old article that you have posted on your blog and turning it into a video to be posted on sites like YouTube or Vimeo, or turning it into a presentation and uploading it to SlideShare, can help you reach new audiences. What this means is that you can turn one piece of content into five or six that can be posted onto multiple platforms.
Of course, you should still create content that is unique for certain platforms, but repurposing is a great way to get the most out of your content and maintain consistent posting of valuable content, even when you are limited in terms of time.
#3 - Interact With Your Audience
Generating an opportunity for two-way engagement from your audience through your content can be quite a difficult task. When you do generate interest and engagement from your audience, make sure that you reciprocate this engagement.
If someone comments on an article that you posted on LinkedIn saying, “Interesting read Mark – Definitely got me thinking about my current marketing strategy.”, you should take the time to reply to the comment using the same tone, such as “Thanks, Steven! – I’m glad you found it useful.”.
By doing so, you are showing consideration for your audience and that you are putting the effort into engaging with each audience member individually.
Of course, with larger audiences this can prove quite difficult, so you should dedicate a good chunk of time to engaging with these members of your audience. Alternatively, you can take on a digital marketing assistant, whose responsibilities can include maintaining the relationship between you and your audience.
#4 - Focus on the Audience
To be blunt, 90% of your audience will not care about your products and services, at least not yet.
By focusing on your product too early on, you are likely to drive away any potential customers as you will not be providing them with much or any value through your content.
Think of it this way: if you are meeting someone for the first time and all they do is talk about themselves and all the amazing things that they can do, you’re probably not going to think much of them. It’s the same with content marketing, if your only goal is to promote yourself, you’re not going to see much in terms of results.
When creating content, you should have your audience at the front of your mind. What would they like to see? What would they expect to see? Is your content going provide value to the audience?
You don’t need to talk about your business 24/7 to effectively promote your products or services. In fact, you are far more likely to see better results from a highly valuable piece of content that includes relevant call-to-actions, than you would if you were writing solely about your offerings.
#5 - Study Your Competition
With so many businesses and content writers out there, it is highly unlikely that you are the only person creating content on a particular topic. That’s why it is so important to create content that fills the gaps left behind by your competitors.
Studying your competition and what they are doing in terms of content, can help to identify what you need to do to make your content unique. You can also provide a more detailed insight or a new perspective on a chosen topic.
Aside from researching what your competition is NOT doing, make sure you know what they ARE doing. If you develop a good understanding of their content structure such as their posting times, content topics, layout structure, tone etc. you can use this to create content that covers similar topics but in greater detail, giving your content an edge over your competitors.
#6 - Take on Criticism
Criticism is often seen as a negative reaction, but with content, it can result in development and growth. You may think that your content is fine how it is and is perfect for your audience, but if you receive criticism from your audience should you just ignore it? Absolutely not.
Ultimately, your audience is who you are writing for; your end goals for creating content might be to increase website traffic and inbound enquiries, however, to achieve those goals, you need to make sure that you are listening to your audience and delivering the level of content that they want and expect.
If you post a piece of content and then receive a critical comment such as “The design of this article is awful. The paragraphs are too long, and the text is very hard to read due to the colour of the background”, you need to take a look at your design. Are the paragraphs too long? Is the text hard to read? Even if you may not think so, get another opinion. Ask a colleague to review the design, they may feel the same as your audience.
Also, make sure that you respond to criticism. Sometimes this can be hard if the criticism is delivered in a harsh manner, however, responding in a professional manner will be beneficial.
A possible response to the example in the last paragraph could be “Thank you for your feedback, David. We are sorry that you had a hard time reading this article, we will revise our design ready for our next post.”.
This response could be delivered as a public response which will show other audience members that you are actively listening to your audience, or it could be sent via a private message which will show the recipient that you have taken the time to address them personally.
Listening to your audience is vital for improving and tailoring your content for your audience's needs and preferences.
To Wrap Up...
There are many different successful, and unsuccessful approaches to content marketing. By adopting just a few of the above habits you can begin to improve your content marketing effectiveness, and positively affect how your message is perceived.
Listening intently to your audience and then creating valuable content to fit their needs and preferences, can not only help boost your engagement but also shows your audience that your goals aren't just to increase sales.
When you have created valuable content for your audience, be sure to maintain it to prevent the content from becoming dated and inaccurate, this helps to provide value to new audience members, through older content.
If you have created content for a specific audience and it is well received, identify other platforms that the content can be posted on to reach a wider audience. Repurposing your content for additional platforms can help to grow your audience and maximise your productivity.
We hope that you have enjoyed this article and that you found something of value to take away. If you have any feedback, we would love to hear it!
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