Content marketing is a proven way to generate audience engagement, draw positive attention to your business and boost your ROI. It means creating great content and telling the right people about it at the right time, in the right way.

Here are nine of our favourite ways to make the most of the opportunity.

Set goals

It sounds too simple for words, but unless you know what you’re aiming for you can’t tell if you’ve got there. There’s no point in marketing into a vacuum. Make it count: set realistic, achievable goals depending on what you want the content to achieve.

  • Content for engagement usually focuses on thought leadership, link bait and brand interaction.
  • Content for conversion focuses on direct response, driving people to act in a certain way i.e. Buy your stuff.

You can do both, of course. Say you have a short piece of content like a blog post, and you link it to a longer piece, for example, a white paper. Et voila… you’ve created something that can fulfil both of the above and please more people.

Use keywords

It’s simple. If you want your content to be found when people use a particular phrase to search Google for information, you need to use that phrase in your content. Only then will search engines pick it up and present it to the people who are looking for it. The simplest way to get a picture of your best keywords is to use the Google Keyword research tool. It’s so straightforward you’d be mad not to.

Where to start? Use logic and common sense. If you sell green widgets, for example, your prospects might search Google using the phrase ‘buy a green widget’. Use it in your content and you stand a chance of being found for that term. If you’re lost in space, you can always ask your customers, your mum, your brother, the man in the corner shop, anyone with a bit of imagination what terms they’d use to search Google for your stuff. Then take things from there.

Tell a story

You can dress it up any way you like and use as much marketing jargon as you like. But great content is all about telling stories, as is TV, radio, film, theatre and every other medium that humans engage with quickly. Create great content on a favorite topic and you can more or less guarantee an audience of people who are already interested in the subject.

Take your keywords. Find interesting news, reports, research or whatever on the subject. Then craft a compelling story including those keywords and you’re half way there.

Make a plan for promoting your content

Do you market your content willy-nilly? No. Think about creating some touch points instead of just one. You might build out a handful of pieces of content that point to your main one, harnessing things like this to make a bigger impact:

  • Paid and free social network promotion
  • Guest blog posts
  • Video and Infographics
  • Distribution partnerships
  • Email marketing

Add real value

Make sure your content genuinely adds to the pot of wisdom, not just mimicking what’s already been said. You could do your basic research to add an extra dimension. Or add your unique slant in some other way. For example, including customer comments, answering customer questions clearly and eloquently, providing a much deeper insight into the subject, taking a wholly different angle, even playing devil’s advocate or creating a whole new story focused on the way you are experiencing a situation or phenomenon.

Get creative with your headlines

You can build totally excellent content, but if the title of the piece is as dull as ditch-water, it’ll probably sink without a trace. People love titles that include numbers, for example ‘7 fresh tips for content marketing success’. You could create a ‘definitive guide’ to something, tell ‘the truth about’ something, release the ‘latest developments’ in an ongoing story. You get the picture.

Don’t be scared to express a personality

The digital world is incredibly noisy. You want to stand out from the crowd. Take a look at the very best trending content and you’ll see it’s almost always expressed with verve, enthusiasm, personality… sometimes even with humour. The last thing you want is to create yet another magnolia piece, acceptably useful and kind of interesting but no better or worse than a million others. Don’t create wallpaper. Create art! The more fun/stimulating/exciting/rebellious/contentious/ authoritative/detailed you can make your content, the better people will enjoy it.

Make it easy to share

People adore your content. It’s brilliant. But you’ve made them jump through hoops to share it, and because time is so short and precious, they don’t bother. It’s your job to make sharing as simple as possible with well-placed social share buttons on every piece of content you create as well as ‘follow me’ buttons in the right places.

Track your results

If you don’t track your results, you won’t know how your content has performed or whether it has achieved your goals. Use free tracking tools to monitor all your promotional channels, establish which approaches appeal most to your audience, tailor future content to meet their needs and test which work best.

What about your recommendations?

What’s the single most powerful way you’ve discovered to make your content marketing go with a swing? We’d love to hear it – feel free to contact us.