Creating enough content is a major issue for more than half of B2B and B2C marketers, according to research by the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs. Just adding more content marketing to your plans by itself isn’t sufficient to yield the most from your marketing investment.
Therefore, somewhat contrary to the above data, it seems that marketers’ biggest content marketing challenge is maximizing each content marketing effort’s effectiveness. As a result of doing this, each element of content would be better able to achieve its marketing objectives.
To ensure that each piece of content yields optimal results toward your business goals, here are seven steps you need to follow.
1. Plan for content reuse: To make the most of each content marketing effort, plan your related content, and alternative presentations of the content, in advance. This approach enables you to create different pieces of content on the same topic at the same time. You can also cross-promote a piece of content and extend its usability in the following ways:
- Slice and dice content for extended use. Break longer pieces of content into shorter content chunks to distribute to other outlets.
- Visualize information. Create visuals, including photographs, images, and infographics, to spotlight various aspects of your content and expand its reach into additional platforms, like Pinterest.
2. Optimize content for search: Your SEO strategy should be integrated into your content marketing strategy so each piece of content supports your organization’s overall findability. To do this:
- Focus each piece of content on one keyword phrase.
- Use keywords in your URLs, whenever possible.
- Associate keyword-rich text with non-text content (such as images, photographs, videos and audio).
3. Format content to attract attention: Being the “Plain Jane” of content hinders your ability to appeal to a broader audience. Try alternative presentations, like in the example below, to make your content stand out.
- Think about your content’s “sex appeal.” Make your content stand out in the context of how it will appear to potential readers. Where are they seeing it? Will they view it as a subject line in their smartphone’s email client or as a tile on Pinterest?
- Consider creating bite-size rather than long-form content. Ask yourself when your readers are most likely to consume your content? While they are on the go or when they have time to concentrate? If it’s the former, think about ways to make your content brief, yet still meaningful.
4. Incorporate a relevant call-to-action: You can’t expect that readers will innately take the next step you want them to after reading your content without making it easy for them to do so. To guide your prospects, include a call-to-action that’s relevant to the content you are presenting (see the image below, for an example).
- Include a trackable promotion code. This helps you monitor the attention your content is receiving and, in turn, provides measurable results. (Here’s a downloadable list of content marketing metrics to get you started.)
- Use targeted landing pages. Don’t just send readers to a sales page, or worse, your home page. Provide them with a targeted experience related to your content.
5. Make content mobile-friendly: Regardless of the type of content you’re posting, assume potential readers will read it on a variety of devices, such as PCs, smartphones, and tablets. To make sure your content is as user-friendly as possible, follow these tips:
- Use responsive design. The goal of responsive design is to enable your presentation to adapt to the size of the screen on which it’s being viewed. This can be a big issue for marketers, since there’s a large diversity in mobile screens and a lot of concurrent content consumption, especially at home (think television and smartphones or tablets). Designing your content to be responsive from the outset helps alleviate questions of readability later on.
- Provide both mobile website and app options. Since mobile users on smartphones and tablets can choose to access your content through a browser or through a dedicated app, it’s a good idea to offer both options — especially if you’re trying to capture the elusive on-the-go customer.
6. Market your content: Just because you’ve created and published a piece of content doesn’t mean your target audience will necessarily be able to find it. You need to promote your content to maximize its potential to reach interested consumers. Here are some considerations for content promotion:
- Post your content on relevant social media networks. To maximize results, you should tailor your content post to the social platform you choose. While you can automate content sharing, it’s better to customize your content and make it look unique and distinct on each channel. (Note: Automated distribution of your content on social channels is still better than not posting at all!)
- Highlight your best content on your website. At a minimum, spotlight your recent articles on your home page.
- Include links and descriptions of your content in your emails — even those that aren’t sent as a promotion.
- Use advertising to support your content marketing, where appropriate.
7. Socialize your content: Social media runs on content marketing. As a marketer, you can expand the audience for your content by encouraging and enabling readers to share it across relevant social media platforms:
- Incorporate social sharing buttons. Place buttons for the most relevant social sites (like Facebook and Twitter) at the top and bottom of your content, so that readers can share it with a simple click.
- Encourage conversation through comments. Add a comment area to each piece of content and, where appropriate, respond to readers’ comments to show you are paying attention to what they have to say.
Once you’ve invested in creating a piece of content marketing, you need to make sure that it reaches the biggest audience it can and encourages that audience to take the actions you desire.
How do you extend the effectiveness of your content marketing?
For more advice on optimizing the ways you use content to address your greatest business challenges, read “Managing Content Marketing” by Robert Rose and Joe Pulizzi.
Image via flickr.com