By Heidi Cohen published January 21, 2013

How to Solve Your Biggest Content Marketing Problem in 7 Easy Steps

problem-solving stepsCreating 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.

attract attention with presentation

  • 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).

connect with calls to action

  • 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

Author: Heidi Cohen

Heidi Cohen is an actionable marketing expert. As president of Riverside Marketing Strategies, Heidi works with online media companies and e-tailers to increase profitability with innovative marketing programs based on solid analytics. During the course of 20 years, Heidi has obtained deep experience in direct and digital marketing across a broad array of products including soft goods, financial services, entertainment, media entities and crafts-oriented goods. Heidi shares her actionable marketing insights on her blog. Find Heidi Cohen online at Twitter @heidicohen, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Other posts by Heidi Cohen

  • http://writtent.com/ Sergey

    Very interesting post, thank you.

    Can automated distribution really bring negative result to the quality of your content? Of course, it is always better to post accustomed content to every social network, but its next to impossible to do so, as there many social channels nowadays.

    Thank you in advance.

    • HeidiCohen

      Sergey–

      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.

      To clarify, writing tailored social media shares are optimal. That said, automated social media shares are better than not sharing our content on social media.

      As a business, there are tradeoffs marketers have to make.

      Happy marketing,
      Heidi Cohen

  • http://twitter.com/Create_Brand Create Brand

    Great post. A wise roadmap to successful content distrubution in 2013

    • HeidiCohen

      Glad you appreciated the post.

      Happy marketing,
      Heidi Cohen

  • http://geniusgeneration.us/ Dwayne Golden Jr

    Good info, just launched a blog like a month ago will be using this to get more traction. Thanks

    • http://twitter.com/heidicohen HeidiCohen

      Dwayne–

      Good luck with your blog. Consistency and patience are the biggest challenges for new bloggers. It’s better to blog once per week at the same time and day than to try to blog every day and not be able to keep it up.

      Happy marketing,
      Heidi Cohen

  • http://twitter.com/PollyPatterson Polly Patterson

    Nice job netting it out! Thanks

  • Lisa_Barone

    I love the recommendation to start visualizing your content. With this whole “content marketing revolution” thing happening we’re seeing a lot of words – blog posts, long articles, ebooks. And they’re all great, but it’s easy to get stuck in the noise if you’re not doing anything that’s really different or getting yourself out there.

    One of the things we’re encouraging clients to do is to think OUTSIDE of that. How can you visually convey your story? How can you use video or motion graphics or animation or even design elements to illustrate what you’re saying. Not only can this help you stand out, but I think video is a great way to break down complex subjects and make them instantly easier to understand. Hopefully we’ll see some more creative content types as businesses delve deeper into the area.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=719828697 Brett Schwab

    I also agree that visualizing your content can help lead to better conversions. Many users would rather see everything rolled up into a single photo, as opposed to finding the meaning hidden underneath a pile of written content. My experience, at least, is that people lose focus after the first 8 seconds and never get to the core message that the content is trying to convey. On the other hand, with visuals, it really helps speed up the user experince and allows the user enough time to interpret the information in a matter of seconds. It’s a win-win for everyone.

  • http://www.bridiestypingservices.com/ Bridie Jenner

    Another simple way to re-use content is to have podcasts and videos transcribed. You can then either add the transcript to your site as a blog post or use it to create other content, such as ebooks.