Eight Cheat Codes To Step Up Your Content Marketing Game Effective content marketing requires substantial amounts of time, money and effort.
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Tips. Hacks. Cheat codes. We all want shortcuts to success. Silver bullets that save time, money and energy. But well, those are hard to come by.
As soon as someone uncovers a new hack or tactic, it quickly spreads across the internet and loses its effectiveness. And the truth is, if you're looking for a quick, easy way to improve your brand's online visibility, content marketing isn't the answer.
I'm not going to sugarcoat it for you: effective content marketing requires substantial amounts of time, money and effort.
Now that the bad news is out of the way, here's some good news: there are tricks, or hacks, that you can employ to boost the effectiveness of your content marketing efforts. While none of the following eight "cheat codes" will give you the instant gratification that you crave, each allows you to make the most of your content and strategy.
1. Breathe new life into stale top-10 lists
Online readers like scannable, easy-to-digest content. No wonder then why lists, or "listicles," continue to draw people in. Top 10 lists are particularly effective, but hasn't every conceivable topic already been covered? The internet is, indeed, flooded with top 10 lists- so how do you stand out?
A great hack is to find lists that specifically resonate with your audience and then tweak and reimagine them for your own purposes. No, I'm not telling you to copy other people's top 10 lists. I'm not even saying to use that now-famous "Skyscraper Method."
What I'm suggesting is to get inspiration from top 10 lists that perform well on Google and to produce newer, better lists from them. Your research should be cut in half, and you'll have a tried-and-true topic ready to go.
2. Be a fantastic guest
Patience is a major virtue when it comes to content marketing. Without a recognizable byline or well-established blog, much of what you produce is at risk of going completely unnoticed.
Until you gain the following that you need, write guest blogs for relevant blogs and websites. Include links to your website, of course, as well as information and you and your business. Be sure to reciprocate by allowing the blog owner to write guest blogs for you too.
Related: Five Essentials For Your 2016 Content Marketing Plan
3. Think viral
Creating viral content is easier said than done. In fact, it's largely the luck of the draw. Still, there are ways to craft content that is more likely to go viral--or to at least be shared among a decently large pool of people.
Viral content elicits "high arousal emotions" like laughter, fear... and even anger. According to a survey by Business Insider, content that is shared the most elicits feelings of awe, laughter, amusement or joy. It also never hurts to focus on trending topics or to chime in regarding controversial topics.
4. Go multimedia
If you primarily focus on written content, it's time for a change. The written word is wonderful, of course, but all of your content marketing efforts will benefit from a bit of diversification.
Boost your overall content marketing endeavors by adding some podcasts, videos and even webinars into the mix. If you're stumped for ideas, simply reimagine some of your existing written content as videos, podcasts and the like. It really is that easy.
5. Stay on top of current trends
Striking when the iron's hot regarding a trending topic is a terrific way to boost the visibility and effectiveness of your content. You've probably seen this strategy in action on social media, with pages that you follow deliberately mentioning trending topics in order to appear more prominently in your feed.
Don't be disingenuous when employing this strategy. In other words, don't just drop the name of a trending topic but devote the rest of the post to an entirely different topic. Instead, find a way to make your content relevant to the topic at hand while still promoting information that matters to your niche audience.
Related: Penetrating Your Online Target Market
6. Craft enticing headlines
The headline has one purpose: to be clicked. If you spend the majority of your time creating the content and only a second or two writing the headline, you're doing it wrong.
By putting extra thought into the headlines that you create, you're more likely to get results from your content. Study up about the types of headlines that compel people to click. The best rule of thumb here is to prompt curiosity from your readers. Leave them guessing and wondering.
Give them no other choice but to click the headline to learn more. Need an example? Look no farther than Upworthy.com, which has headlines down to a science.
7. Delve deep with your content
While there's a time and place for short, snappy pieces of content, Google undeniably loves long-form content. Indeed, the average length of the top 10 results of any given Google search tend to fall within the 2,000- to 2,500-word range.
In addition to ranking better on Google, in-depth content is more likely to be shared. After all, it actually delves deeply into a topic, so it provides a lot more useful information.
8. Keep the most important info above the fold
Don't make readers scroll down their screens to get to your main point. If you want them to stick around long enough to read what you have to say, include your main points "above the fold," so that they can digest it all quickly.
Essentially, then, you want to summarize your main points in the first few paragraphs of your content. Don't give away everything that you will expand upon later, of course. Just allow readers to understand what they will be reading.
In a perfect world, you could just press a button to instantly produce amazing content that goes viral, converts visitors and helps you to achieve all of your marketing goals.
Such a button doesn't exist, so you'll have to make do with the tips above. Luckily, they should help you go far.