15 Actionable Tips To Boost Your Content Marketing
Content marketing is a powerful tool for creating a meaningful connection to customers. However, in the age of constant online interaction, simply creating informative content is not always enough to keep your readers engaged. Even if you’re doing everything “right” – blogging regularly, posting on social media, writing interesting and educational material – it may not be enough to hold people’s attention.
If you’ve noticed your blog isn’t getting a lot of traction or your social media “likes” are all coming from friends or relatives, it may be time to revamp your content marketing and inbound marketing strategy.
Here are 15 tips you can use right now to keep your readers interested and make your content work for you:
- Use Great Visuals
Stop posting boring stuff.
It may sound simple, but it’s truly a key part of a successful content marketing strategy. Even if you write the world’s most eloquent, engaging content, readers will likely navigate away from your page if they see nothing but a block of text.
90% of the information our brains process is visual. This means that adding images to your posts should be, well, a no-brainer. Besides your actual content, adding visual elements like images, charts, graphs, or infographics is essential to capturing your reader’s attention and driving your message home.
However, simply creating a banner in MS Word is probably not enough to make your blog stand out. Bland, generic imagery can be just as off-putting for readers as plain text. To get an idea of what makes a great graphic, check out a few popular blogs or websites and draw inspiration from the images they use. This will help you get a feel for creating your own graphics and give you an idea of what sort of graphics are popular and effective right now.
Once you’ve got an idea of what you want your graphics to look like, it’s time to create them. This may seem like an intimidating task if you aren’t well-versed at using Photoshop, but don’t sweat it – there are plenty of tools out there created with you in mind.
Canva is a free design service that enables users of all experience levels to create eye-catching images and presentations without breaking the bank. Canva is great for making images for social media posts, featured blog photos, or newsletter headers. Choose from templates or upload your own images to create the perfect design for any occasion.
If you aren’t interested in making your own images, Fiverr is a great service that pairs individuals looking for a service with people who offer it. In this case, Fiverr will help you locate a designer to create the perfect image to add visual interest to your content marketing.
- Find Where Your Audience is and Engage Them
If you want to sell golf clubs, it doesn’t make much sense to go to a movie theatre. There are certainly people interested in buying golf clubs, but they are less likely to be picking them up at the box office, than, say, a golf course. Trying to sell your products in the wrong places won’t get you many sales.
Similarly, posting content in the wrong online places won’t help you connect with your audience. For instance, if you regularly post content on Facebook but your customers prefer to use LinkedIn, you are missing a valuable opportunity to engage with them.
Figuring out where your audience prefers to spend its time online is the key to engaging with them and making your content marketing work for you. In order to achieve this, you need the power of analytics on your side. Don’t be put off because analytics sounds “boring” or “dull” — proper audience analysis will be your ticket to a content marketing strategy as successful as Taylor Swift’s.
Google Analytics is the starting point for finding out who your audience truly is. Google’s powerful analytical tools will allow you to see where your visitors come from and what trends they are interested in, among other things. You can tailor as much or as little as you see about your audience, but the bottom line is that if you have a website, you need to have Google Analytics or some comparable analytics software installed.
Finding out who your followers are on social media is another crucial aspect of demographic analysis. These people won’t always be the same ones visiting your website, and knowing your audience is a big part of knowing what to post. Facebook Insights and Followerwonk are great tools for Facebook and Twitter analytics (respectively), and can tell you a lot about who your followers are, what times they are active on social media, and how successful your content is.
Once you know who your audience is and what they like, you can start doing research on Buzzsumo. Buzzsumo is a powerful SEO tool that enables you to see who is talking about your topic of choice, track your competitor’s content, run detailed analysis, and more. By searching for keywords, it’s possible to identify what content is doing well, who the major industry influencers are, and help your brand get the most attention.
- Don’t Just Blog
Blogging can be the lifeblood of a good content marketing strategy. However, if you find that your bi-weekly blog posts are only getting a handful of views, it’s time to rethink your approach.
If simply blogging isn’t cutting it, there are a number of other content marketing strategies you can try. Try them out and see which one works best for you — but don’t fall into the trap of putting all your eggs in one basket.
Applying a number of these different strategies will enable you to reach a broader audience than you would otherwise. Keeping up with the demand of blogging, email marketing, posting on social media, etc., may seem like a hefty task, but being able to engage with your customers will make it worth it. To avoid getting overwhelmed by the volume of your work, you may want to try creating a content marketing calendar to stay ahead of the game.
- Share Your Content
You’ve probably heard the one about the tree that falls in the woods when nobody’s around, but have you heard the one about the blog post that never got shared? Probably not – because nobody ever read it.
Content that never gets shared might generate a little bit of organic traffic (through search engine results), but it will never take off unless you share it. In fact, according to Neil Patel, “you should probably spend more time sharing your content than you do creating it. It’s that important.”
Share a new blog post you just wrote on Facebook. Find an old article you really like and tweet about it. Share content in your newsletters and through email marketing. Branch out onto other social media platforms like reddit, Tumblr, or Instagram to appeal to a wider audience. You should share your content carefully, strategically, and frequently to make sure that people are seeing your great work.
- Create How-To Posts
If you’ve ever been on Pinterest (or know someone who has), you’re probably aware that the DIY craze has taken the internet by storm in the past several years. Posts that teach people how to make or do something are extremely popular because, simply put, they are useful.
Capitalizing on people’s interest in how-to articles gets at the main goal that drives content marketing; by creating interesting, valuable, and relevant content, you will help build customers’ trust and engage them with your brand. “How-to” posts provide a service by teaching people how to do things on their own, and giving customers this sort of knowledge will reinforce that your company is knowledgeable and trustworthy.
Even if your company doesn’t necessarily work on the creative side of things, you can still make a “how-to” post that is relevant to your brand. If you sell home and garden equipment, write a post about how to choose the best lawn mower. If you own an utility company, write an article about how to save water. If you work at a marketing agency, write a post about how to connect with buyers. You get the picture.
When creating your “how-to” post, it pays to think outside the box a little. Instead of writing a traditional blog post or newsletter, consider creating an image or whiteboard video to deliver your message (see #10).
- Answer Your Viewers’ Questions
Engaging with your customers is essential to any content marketing strategy. You can provide all the great content in the world, but if you leave your readers with unanswered questions, your chances of maintaining your audience aren’t very good.
There are several ways to engage with customers while answering their questions. If you get a lot of questions about the same thing, consider creating a blog post about it. This will save you time, since you won’t have to answer the same question over and over again, and new readers will have their question answered before they even think to ask.
If you add a comment section to your blog, this is also a great place to engage with readers and answer any questions they may have. Answering comments gives the impression that you are extremely involved in your content and want to provide your customers with an excellent experience.
Engaging with your followers on social media and answering questions there is also a great strategy. According to HubSpot, 80% of marketers indicated that their social media efforts increased traffic. Besides just creating posts, responding to questions in comment sections or tweets is an excellent way to boost your presence on social media and help customers answer any questions they may have.
- Ask Your Customers for Feedback
Customer testimonials are a tried and true method for attracting new buyers. In fact, 88% of consumers say they trust online testimonials as much as a personal recommendation from a friend or acquaintance, and that number is only increasing. Many people read online reviews to determine the quality of a business, and showing that your previous customers have had positive experiences can make all the difference.
Providing space for customers to offer their feedback could prove truly invaluable for your company. A “let us know how we’re doing” box gives you the opportunity to use positive testimonials in your content marketing and use negative feedback to actually make changes to improve your business.
Once you have collected positive feedback to use, it’s time to incorporate it in your content. Creating a testimonial page, or better yet, placing testimonials strategically throughout your website is a great way to show prospective customers that your business stands out.
- Write Product or Service Reviews
Just as personal testimonials are a great way to recommend people to your company, professional testimonials are a great way to recommend customers to your products.
If there is a service or product that your company provides that you think is really outstanding, writing a blog post about it can help draw your customers’ attention to it. If there is a certain brand that your company carries, write a review of it to help show buyers what you think is best. If there is a new service that your business recently started offering, make a blog post to hype it up.
Reviews of trustworthy brands, products, or services is the sort of writing that content marketing is all about. By providing your customers with an insider perspective, you will help inspire trust and confidence in your knowledge and abilities while helping to market your products.
- Share Company News
Has something great happened in your company lately? Let your customers know! Keeping readers informed about what’s going on is a great way to connect with them (and brag a little, too). Winning awards, expanding your location, or celebrating an anniversary are all great events to share.
When you’re writing this sort of content, consider steering away from a more formal tone and trying something a bit conversational. This will help your audience feel as though they are a part of what’s going on and keep them from getting bored reading industry jargon. Think “business casual,” but for writing.
- Make Infographics
Infographics are popular marketing tools for a simple reason: they work. It is estimated that readers are 30 times more likely to read an infographic than a plain text article. Infographics are powerful tools for engaging with your audience and can help boost your readership significantly.
When making your infographic, it’s important to…
- Promote it – infographics don’t go viral on their own
- Create it with your target audience in mind
- Take advantage of white space – nobody wants to read a cluttered infographic
- Think of a catchy title
- Cite your sources and make sure they’re accurate
Ready to make some infographics of your own? Although we use an assortment of professional level software, Canva is a great place to bring your ideas to life — it has lots of design features that are easy to get the hang of, empowering you to create your own designs regardless of how much experience you have.
- Get Quizzical
Online quizzes are all the rage at the moment. They are usually quick, fun, and allow readers to engage in their online experience.
Making a quiz for your blog or website is a great idea for drawing in your audience, but you should try keep it relevant. Think a mix between “Which Disney Princess are You?” and “Which of our Products/Services is Right for You?”. This will allow users to get a tailored suggestion and allow them to participate in the decision-making process.
Remember to include a reminder to your customers to get in touch with you at the end of your quiz – getting a pre-programmed answer is great, but talking to a professional is always better.
- Create Lists (Like This One!)
The popularity of listicles (list-articles) on the internet is no secret; the most successful online brands create them almost constantly, and readers engage with them again and again. There are a few different types of lists that you can create:
- The Ranking
Lists that rank things (from best to worst, world’s biggest, most popular, etc.) have always been very popular. They make great content for the simple reason that they appeal to human nature. According to one scientific study, the effectiveness of ranked lists “is based on the mental tendencies to use categories and to exaggerate the differences between them. These tendencies are part of the natural human readiness to perceive the world in terms of discrete things.”
List ideas like “Top Ten Best Ways to ____,” “World’s Best ____,” or “Worst ____ of all Time,” are ones that could easily be applied to your product or brand to generate more traffic.
- The Chunk
Lists, like this one, that break information into readable chunks are great ways to keep readers engaged with what you have to say. Instead of presenting your content in one big block of text, dividing it into a manageable list helps make it more palatable.
- The Ranking
- See Which Blog Posts are Performing Best…
…and write follow ups. If you notice that a certain post is generating a lot of traffic and is being shared frequently, let it keep working for you! Writing follow up blogs about subjects that your readers have demonstrated an interest in virtually guarantees that subsequent posts will also be popular.
For added impact, link to your updates in the original blog posts themselves. Users are more likely to find your follow-ups if the end of your article has a “click here to read more about ___” link at the end of it.
- Create a Beginner’s Guide to Your Industry
If you’re like me, you take pride in your work. Going to work every day is fulfilling; it gives you purpose and pleasure, and it (hopefully) makes life fun. So why not share this pride and enthusiasm for what you do with others?
Creating a beginner’s guide to your industry is a great way to drive traffic and engage with people who are already interested in what you do. By encouraging traffic from these users, you help foster a community of people with shared interests — one of the main goals of content marketing.
Besides advertising to people who may be interested in your field, creating a beginner’s guide is a great way to give your customers an idea of what it is you do. By showing them what it takes to succeed in your industry, you will help your audience understand what you do every day and foster a connection through understanding.
- Let Others Know Who Influences You
Is there another company in your industry that you really admire? A blog that you read regularly? A service that you think is really outstanding? Let your customers know!
It might seem counterintuitive to advertise for another company, but what you are really doing is creating a network within your industry. Paying the compliments forward makes other companies more likely to return the favor. Inbound links from other companies in your industry have a huge impact on your search rankings and also add to your company’s credibility. So spread the love — and reap the benefits!
If you don’t have any relationships with influencers in your industry, there’s no better time to build them than right now. Tools like Followerwonk and Right Relevance are great ways to find industry leaders and engage in conversations with them, which can not only help you gain insight into tricks of the trade, but help build lasting professional relationships as well.
By Scott Rehnberg, @thescottrehn
Scott is a husband and father to the most amazing people you will ever meet. With his passion for marketing, Scott helps create great content, connect with influencers, and advocate for brands across the globe. You can follow him on twitter @thescottrehn