By Heidi Cohen published July 8, 2013

10 Content Marketing Best Practices for Greater Efficiency

Effective-content-marketing-efficiencyEvery businessperson, regardless of the type of organization they work for (B2C, B2B, not-for-profit, or solopreneur), wants content that drives traffic and helps build its audience. To this end, it’s a great idea to make your readers feel special by creating effective content marketing that provides exclusive access to information.

To minimize costs and to leverage related distribution and promotion, it’s helpful to have a plan in place from the outset of your content program. The following content marketing best practices and tips will help you build this plan in the most efficient and effective way possible.

Efficient content creation

Regardless of whether you offer physical products, services, and/or media, these tips and ideas will help you increase the volume of content you can efficiently create to support your business goals.

1. Give your audience a behind-the-scenes glimpse of your company: Think theater, applied to content. You need to answer the question of what your audience will find interesting to know about. The strength of this type of information is that it doesn’t need to be created in the same format as the rest of your content. In fact, it’s often better if it’s complementary. 

Actionable content marketing tip: Provide a backstage show-and-tell for your audience, whether it be through storytelling, additional photographs, videos or other formats. Even “boring” businesses can leverage the power of talking to employees to make a product come to life. Find those members of your team who are passionate about your product, regardless of what their roles are within your organization. It’s these internal evangelists who can really bring your brand to life.

2. Special content: Provide exclusive information that your audience won’t find elsewhere. It’s useful for getting people to visit your other content and social media locations, and you can utilize a wide range of content formats, such as checklists, videos, how-to articles, and worksheets.

Actionable content marketing tip: Develop a plan for creating this content at the same time as you create your main content, so that you can get more value from the talent and resources you are paying for, as well as ensure that your content has a consistent look and feel. For a great example, check out what Pat Flynn did for the rollout of his book, “Let Go.”

3. Interviews: While many media companies use interviews as the core of their content offerings, take a page from Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart, who specifically extends his on-air interviews to be used as unique web-only content. 

Actionable content marketing tip: Assess the potential to explore additional information on the topics you use for your main content assets. Also, consider talking to key people related to the topic. For many businesses, this means your employees, as well as outside experts.

4. Q&As: Extend the value of your content by answering questions that have been posed to you by your audience, or your industry colleagues and peers. As with the behind-the-scenes information, you can collect this data as part of your overall content creation process. Once again, this content can be developed through the use of video, audio, and/or text.

Actionable content marketing tip: Be creative in terms of the people you talk with. Don’t limit yourself to those who you feature in your main content. If you’ve just done a presentation or a webinar, use your audience’s questions. Alternatively, use your communication channels to send questions out to a wider audience to get their input, as well. As an example, here’s a round-up in which I asked experts to define content marketing.

5. Outtakes: Learn from the movieindustry, which packages its DVDs with special extra scenes. No movie promotion is complete these days without additional content that entices the audience into developing a deeper relationship with your business.

Actionable content marketing tip: Plan to film additional footage when you are capturing content for movies, videos, and photo stills.

6. Content curation: The goal here is to offer related resources for your audience that underscores your insight and expertise in the field. This is particularly useful for adding value to an in-depth piece. It’s also a good way to repurpose your older content and give it new life.

Actionable content marketing tip: Rather than producing a collection of links, add commentary to existing content to help your audience better understand the issues involved. As it does for many organizations, including the Content Marketing Institute, this curated content can serve as the basis of a weekly newsletter that you deliver to your audience.

7. Background: Don’t assume that your audience will be familiar with all the ins and outs of your chosen topic. Create content that delivers the information they need to better understand the issues you discuss in your content offerings —without talking down to them.

Actionable content marketing tip: Curate your past content (as well as content from other resources) to fill in the gaps on more-complex topics. Make sure that you add commentary to guide readers and provide additional value and perspective.

3 additional tips to make your content more effective

  1. Create your exclusive content at the same time as your core content: By doing this, you ensure continuity across your information and take advantage of external resources and talent.
  2. Use different content formats: Don’t just limit yourself to text. Understand that people take in information differently. Consider photographs, video, podcasts, and presentations.
  3. Ensure that talent contracts give you rights to repurpose and distribute any of the content created across multiple formats and platforms: While this is a legal issue, it’s critical to ensure that you’re protected and don’t need to spend extra.

Businesses, regardless of focus, continually need new, fresh content. Each time you brainstorm a new content marketing effort, make sure that you also include access to additional, exclusive information your audience wants.

Have you used any of these content marketing best practices to extend your marketing? If so, what has your experience been? Are there any other types that you’d add to this list?

Want to learn about and share info on making your content more effective for search? Join Joe Pulizzi and Content Marketing World speaker Lee Odden for a Twitter Chat about search strategy on July 9 at 12 PM EST.  Follow the conversation @CMIContent and #cmworld.

Cover image via Bigstock

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://www.shopletpromos.com/ Shoplet Promos

    Great job adding “actionable tips” to each recommendation. Too often blogs offer great general advice but don’t offer any specifics or actions. There’s countless information out there and easy to read articles – it’s not as easy to buckle down and start performing actionable steps. Thanks for this.

    • heidicohen

      Thank you. My goal is to make the advice “actionable”. Happy marketing, Heidi Cohen

  • Signal Group

    Heidi, this is a very good and thorough article, gave me great insights, and it´s relation to efficiency on marketing content creation is a desirable value added

    • heidicohen

      Research shows that content marketing budget is one of the top issues facing marketers up there with creating enough content. Therefore, you must be smart and plan your content ahead to minimize costs and maximize content offering. Happy marketing, Heidi Cohen

  • http://naomirochellegarnice.wordpress.com/ Naomi Garnice

    Some great tips here, love the ‘behind the scenes’ and ‘special information’ ideas.

  • http://www.plasticprinters.com/ Nate Johnson

    Great article Heidi, I am currently bringing on a new blogger to our team and will pass this on for inspiration. Definitely an actionable article!!

  • http://www.behance.net/adardarnov Adar Darnov

    I’m always looking for ways to do this. Thanks for the article.

  • rollingthunder

    Damn!!! your good! thank you for your insights!

  • JimYoungPRBrigade

    As so many others have said, this is a really
    nice article Heidi. With Vine, and especially the longer format videos from
    Instagram, video is an even easier option than it used to be.