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Content is the beating heart of communication with your customers and prospects—but sometimes the process can feel like a maze to navigate. Are you stuck at a fork in the road, not sure where to tread to create great content? From business blog posts to tiny tweets to comprehensive eBooks, if you want your customers to engage, share, and come back for more, your content needs to be compelling, current, and relevant to your industry and your audience.

No matter the road they take to get there—email marketing, web browsing, or social media—your content is what people see, share, and talk about. Great content drives traffic and creates buzz.

In a market drowning in information, how can you be sure you create a clear path to valuable content that your target market actually wants to experience?

Are you stuck at a fork in the road, not sure where to tread to create great content? Check out: 10 Paths to Outstanding Content Marketing

1. Stop overpublishing. Flooding your site with slapdash blog posts every day is not a substitute for quality and depth. Far too many businesses are cranking out shallow, self-indulgent blog posts without regard to quality—and they’re calling it content when it’s really just filler.

2. Address your FAQs. The best content answers your customers’ questions. It’s that simple. Provide your customers (and potential customers) with the info they want to know.

3. Narrow your focus. Some businesses indulge in scattershot content: linkbait, outrageous opinions—literally anything that might bring people to their site. You might attract traffic that way, but your conversions will be low. Be an expert—no, be THE expert—on your industry and on what your customers want to learn.

4. Consider the lifecycle of your customer relationship. Leads and customers will be at different stages of the Growth Cycle Marketing process when they experience your content. You’ll want to address customer questions at every stage in the buy cycle to successfully engage with that customer before, during and after the sale. Your existing customers are valuable, so be sure you continue to offer them new and interesting content. To better understand the Growth Cycle Marketing process, download our free guide.

5. Don’t worry about undermining your business. If you’re familiar with the “Nailed It!” meme, you know that sharing your recipe for success won’t hurt your business. Amateurs can’t do what you do—so don’t be afraid to show your stuff.

6. Make it portable. Always include buttons for easy sharing, tweeting, or embedding. If your content is good enough to share, make it easy to do so.

7. Make it diverse. Think of all the cool content formats you can create—short-form info bites, long-form whitepapers, videos, photos, reposts from other businesses and from your customers, case studies, infographics—the works. You have to think in 3D color, tone, and style to cast a wider net and attract more customers.

Side Door Thinking: Stop Knocking on the Front Door of Your Customer’s Mind When the Side Door Is Wide Open8. Hire professionals. Crafting your voice in writing or designing awesome graphics requires a specific and trained skill set. If you already have a frustrated writer with mad skills on board, great! If not, find a professional. Poorly written content with haphazard clipart makes you look unprofessional—and that’s really bad for business.

9. Forget ABC. Don’t confuse content for copy. “Always Be Closing” might work for Phil Dunphy, but it’s through the side door on the web. Stick with the 80/20 rule. 80% of your content should inform, engage, and entertain. 20% should sell in a direct manner. We suggest 20% or less for best results.

What is Marketing’s Impact on Innovation for Growth? Download this Free White Paper on Growth Cycle Marketing

10. Track your results. What good is great content if you don’t know how well it works? By tracking your pageviews, clickthroughs, and conversions, you can measure how your customers are responding to your content and use that information to provide more of what they like best.

Creating successful content requires talent, expertise, understanding your customer needs and wants, a comprehensive content strategy, and sometimes a little luck. The key is to start with your customers in mind and work from there. Keep your customers top of mind and you’ll make your own way down the path that leads to content marketing success.

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