Last week I wrote about the importance of creating and publishing original content as part of your overall marketing strategy (see Why Content Marketing is King). Today, I offer my 10 tips for better content marketing:
1. Be goal-oriented: You need to create a business-aligned communications strategy where everything links back to company goals. Without such a strategy, you're shooting blanks. Let your strategy dictate your communications instead of knee-jerk reaction to events or "we need a blog post immediately because something truly inconsequential just happened."
2. Use great writers: It's the quality of your thoughts that are on display and you need writers who can relate them intelligently, easily switching hats from being conversational for socially engineered content, to being informative and logical for articles, white papers and case studies.
3. Calendar everything: Plan your work and work your plan, and that starts with creating and vigilantly maintaining an editorial calendar for nearly all of your content (i.e., blog posts, strategic social media placements, white papers, case studies, webinars, videos, etc.). Share the calendar with your entire organization and ask for ideas from everyone for new content going forward.
4. Distribution rules: If content is king, then distribution is the ace. Putting content in front of the right consumers -- and lots of them -- is key. Without traffic, your content is worthless. This means distributing your content using social channels such as Facebook and Twitter, aligning with the right content curators and securing links from relevant sites.
5. Wear a white hat: The worse thing you can do is employ keyword stuffing and bogus blogs to serve as a link bait to your website. The best way to generate a high SERP (search engine result page) is to create great content over and over again.
6. Diversify your content: Content marketing offers you the opportunity to publish in multiple formats, settings and channels. Maintaining a Facebook Business or Brand Page or a Twitter account is a step in the right direction, but the mix might require blog posts, white papers, case studies, articles, webinars, FAQ lists, eNewsletters, videos, photographs, forum and message board posts, and online newsroom material.
7. Make it evergreen: Most of your content shold be perpetually relevant… I recommend a 70/30 split (70 percent evergreen, the rest relevant for at least the time being). Evergreen content stands the test of time, reinforcing your business-related goals. Example: You own a local coffee shop and you notice a trend toward siphon brewing individual cups of coffee. You write a blog post called Siphon Brewing 101 and three years from now it's still relevant and drawing upon search results.
8. Curate your content: Aggregating and providing access to content in your own branded environment -- your own website or eNewsletter or web portal -- puts you in the position of being credited for sharing, not hoarding, content.
9. Design matters: The formatting and design of your website, blog, eNewsletter, white papers, case studies, FAQ list, etc. must be great. If you don't nail the design or if you dismiss the importance of a professional layout, don't expect the majority of us to take your content seriously.
10. Analyze performance indicators: Analyze and adjust your approach to content marketing based on key performance indicators, including views, shares, response to calls-to-action, others' curation of your content and so forth. Creating content is job one; analyzing and adjusting as you go are part of job one!
Mikal E. Belicove is a market positioning, social media, and management consultant specializing in website usability and business blogging. His latest book, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Facebook, is now available at bookstores. For more information, visit MikalBelicove.com.