By Amanda Milligan published October 14, 2019

6 Content Marketing Tips That Will Give You an Aha Moment

As you know, a lot of content exists about content marketing. It’s not uncommon for people to wonder how to distill everything they see and hear into action.

That’s why Joe Pulizzi, founder of Content Marketing Institute, recommends that people jot down one key takeaway from every presentation they see. You can apply the same tip to every article, infographic, webinar, video you consume to advance your knowledge and expertise in content marketing.

Jot down one key takeaway from every presentation you see, says @joepulizzi. @millanda #CMWorld Click To Tweet

If you keep it to one thing you can execute, it’ll be a manageable, productive amount of work, and you’ll be guaranteed to gain some of the value the content creator intended to provide. (You also should think about the one-idea-takeaway for your audience and your content.)

I took this approach from my experience at Content Marketing World and wanted to share six ideas you could use today.

1. Don’t blindly accept best practices

You’ve been taught a great deal about producing great content. You’re told to use subheads, bold key items, include images, etc. – and it’s all great advice.

But Smart CRO owner Chris Dayley said something that really caught my attention.

He presented three calls to action in different formats:

  • One sentence
  • Brief bullet list
  • Full paragraph

He asked attendees which formats performed better. Most guessed the single sentence or bullet list beat the full paragraph of text, knowing that simple is the best practice. And people love bulleted lists.

We were wrong. 

The paragraph call to action did the best. I walked out of the presentation remembering that we can’t take anything for granted – test everything.

Don’t blindly accept best practices. Test everything, says @millanda. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

2. Break through your own noise

Amanda Lordy, managing director of digital content at NASCAR, offered something simple and poignant:

You can’t just fight to break through the general noise. You must remember to break through your own noise.

Your brand might be a prolific content producer, but don’t treat all your content equally. Prioritize key events, topics, and moments, and double down on your efforts on the content that means the most to your brand.

3. Consider traffic potential

When looking for opportunities to create content people want to read, marketers often turn to keyword volume. It indicates how many people search for the topic on Google, which can indicate the level of interest in the subject.

However, Dan Shure, consultant at Evolving SEO and host of Experts on the Wire, says keyword volume doesn’t tell you enough. It doesn’t indicate how much traffic to expect after ranking for those keywords.

Keyword volume doesn’t tell you enough to figure out what drives traffic, advises @dan_shure via @millanda. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

Instead, take the top result for a search query and put it into SEMrush or other keyword-related tool to see the kind of traffic it’s getting and the types of keywords driving that traffic. And that’s your traffic potential.

4. Think about labels

It turns out that people enjoy being labeled if it’s a positive label.

That’s according to Daniel Codella, senior manager of content strategy at Wrike, who shared the psychological triggers he believes all marketers should know.

The “label” trigger fascinated me. He talked about how labels can become aspirational, thus encouraging people to act so they continue to qualify for that label.

He talked about a study in which one group was labeled “politically active,” while the control group received no label. The labeled group ended up having a higher voter turnout, fulfilling their “politically active” denotation.

Think about how you can positively label your audience and customers. Then offer ways for them to interact with your content and brand to maintain that positive label.

5. Be relatable – always

Leave it to Ann Handley to perfectly sum up how we should think about our attitude toward our audiences.

Do not ask: “Can I have your attention?”

Do ask: “May I have your trust?”

She delved into a lot of great ways to achieve that trust, but my favorite was that while your audience wants to make sure you understand their problems, they also want to like you.

What’s a great way to be likable? Be relatable.

What’s a great way to be likable? Be relatable says @MarketingProfs via @millanda. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

Ann calls relatability a content superpower and an excellent relationship builder. Consider how to make your brand voice more relatable to your audience.

Not sure where to start? Review your personas. Talk to your audience and listen to not only what they’re talking about but how they’re talking about it. Look for ways your brand can develop content or simply tweak your language to better reflect what your audience likes.

6. Don’t treat all web metrics equally

Many of us have been told that we need to pay close attention to engagement metrics, particularly time on site.

However, Scott Spjut, assistant vice president of social and digital content at Fifth Third Bank, provided an excellent reminder: Always consider metrics in proper context.

For example, a long time on site doesn’t necessarily equate to a positive user experience. What if your content provides a quick answer and the user leaves the page quickly but satisfied? A short time on site would be a sign of success.

A long time on site doesn’t necessarily equate to a positive user experience, says @scottspjut. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

Or what if someone is searching for information but can’t find it? Their long time on your site could indicate weak content or poor navigation.

Organic traffic is the metric that measures and matters the most. Google knows what it’s doing. If it’s ranking you well and sending your page traffic, it means you’re on the right track.

Which idea are you picking?

As you review these six ideas, which one resonates most with you and your business? Which one could you put in place today?

And when you’re done with that takeaway, come back and pick the next one. With each implemented idea, your content marketing can be more successful.

What’s one takeaway you’ve benefited from that others might want to execute? Please share in the comments.

No human can attend every Content Marketing World session in person. But you can see them all with our video-on-demand subscription. Get yours today. 

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

Author: Amanda Milligan

Amanda Milligan is the marketing director at Fractl. Throughout her career, she’s managed the creation of 200+ content campaigns, led strategy for 20+ clients, and run a 30-episode podcast, "Ask Amanda About Marketing." She spoke at 2019 SMX Advanced and served as the keynote speaker at Danaher’s 2018 Digital Marketing Summit. Her content marketing advice has appeared in Forbes, Content Marketing Institute, MarketingProfs’ Marketing Smarts Podcast, CMO, and more. Follow her on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Other posts by Amanda Milligan

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