How to Level Up Your Brand’s Content Marketing Game
Content production and distribution are highly effective marketing strategies that brands can use to drive business success. High-quality content can contribute to branding, building awareness, boosting conversions, and nurturing customer loyalty. It’s also cost-effective. And most importantly, it delivers results.
In fact, a survey published in March 2022 discovered that 91% of marketers said content marketing was “at least somewhat successful” in helping them reach their goals.
But the simple truth is that most marketers don’t have a strategic approach to this type of marketing. They merely focus on publishing large quantities of content, usually limiting themselves to a company blog. And most never stop to think about the point of investing in the marketing activity.
So, if you want to level up your brand’s content marketing game, the following are the best ways to boost your ROI and ensure your business actually enjoys the benefits of a well-planned marketing strategy.
You may also want to read: Don’t Waste Money: Six Ways To Maximize Your Content Marketing Budget
Speak to a Consistent Audience
One of the foolproof ways to ensure publishing posts doesn’t result in business gains is not having a target audience. Yet, so many rookie marketers still make the same mistake.
When producing content — whether in the form of blog posts, eBooks, videos, or visuals for social media — an essential thing you need to establish is whom you’re trying to reach.
Don’t cast a wide net. More often than not, something made for everyone appeals to no one. When producing content, you need to define your targeted readers/viewers/listeners. Of course, make sure that your audience isn’t too limited either. After all, one of the most sought-after benefits of employing content marketing is being able to widen your brand’s reach. So, don’t undermine your efforts from the very start.
Instead, aim to define your (potentially multiple) buyer personas and produce content that appeals to them. Address their pain points. Use language that they’ll find engaging. And cover topics that will provide them with actual unique value.
This doesn’t necessarily mean you should create separate posts for every one of your different buyer personas. It just means that you should work on finding a balance in how your content appeals to your audience. For instance, check out this article from The Spruce Eats. You’ll notice that it’s meant to deliver value to two distinct buyer personas:
- People who want to declutter; and,
- Homeowners looking to equip their kitchen on a budget.
This example proves that delivering value to one segment of your target audience doesn’t necessarily mean completely ignoring other buyer personas. So, as you explore ways to up your brand’s content marketing game, consider whether there are ways you could make your blog appealing to a larger group of people without losing its focus and value.
HubSpot’s State of Marketing Trends Report for 2022 identifies interactive content as one of the most prominent trends to watch this year. According to the brand’s research, as many as 64% of marketers are investing in interactive content like polls, quizzes, games, and AR.
But the truth is, interactivity is not just a fad that’s “in” this year. On the contrary, it’s a characteristic of exceptional content that has the potential to:
- Deliver sought-after results.
- Attract more views.
- Drive engagement; and,
- Lead to higher conversion rates.
But how can you do it cost-effectively? The good news is that producing interactive content doesn’t have to be too big of a challenge. An excellent way to approach it would be to use interactivity as a way for web visitors to gain access to information they find valuable.
You may also want to read: Increasing Engagement and Leads with Interactive Content
For example, Transparent Labs includes a beautifully designed macro calculator for caloric intake on its website. The app asks web visitors to answer ten questions and provide their email addresses. In return, users receive in-depth personalized calorie and macro recommendations to help them reach their fitness goals.
Surveys are another superb example of interactive content that can deliver immense value to your business (and your audience).
Hootsuite, for example, asks email subscribers to complete its Social Trends survey every year. The brand benefits by accessing priceless information it can use to produce reports and whitepapers (which it publishes to support its reputation as an industry authority). And respondents are incentivized with gifts. For instance, the 2023 survey gave them the chance to win gift cards or an electric scooter worth $800.
Interactive Content Can Be Entertaining
Finally, don’t forget that interactive content doesn’t necessarily have to be used as a lead-generation or data-collection method.
Sometimes, your brand can benefit even from publishing interactive content that’s simply entertaining. This is perhaps best illustrated by Spotify’s Wrapped yearly report. This interactive report transforms customer data collection from a creepy practice to something people genuinely enjoy and want to share, effectively boosting the brand’s reach and attracting new subscribers.
Prioritize Reader Value Over Sales
One of the main reasons business owners invest in content marketing is to drive growth. But unfortunately, they often only perceive value if it comes in the form of conversions and revenue.
Now, it is true that great content can boost sales. However, if you’re looking to level up your brand’s content marketing game, know that aggressive sales techniques in blogs, videos, and podcasts usually backfire. Instead of increasing profits, sales-y approaches tend to alienate audiences. Plus, they send the message that your organization doesn’t care about delivering value but is only interested in lining its own pockets.
Fortunately, avoiding this faux pas isn’t too big of a challenge. Something as simple as prioritizing reader value over sales can ensure that your brand comes off as customer-oriented. Moreover, it can ensure your brand has the highest chance of attracting buyers through building authority and trust.
You may also want to read: How To Scale Up Your Content Marketing (As A Solo Blogger)
Prioritize Reader Value Over Sales – An Example
For an outstanding example of a blog post that prioritizes reader value over sales, check out this guide on finding cheap flight tickets from Scott’s Cheap Flights. Instead of doing everything in its power to sell potential customers on its service, the brand chooses to educate its audience with an insightful post.
And sure, the article may help some of this company’s potential customers book cheap flights without subscribing to the service. However, there is a much bigger chance that the consequence of people reading the article will be that they’ll form a positive perception of the brand. Gaining value from the guide will help people see Scott’s Cheap Flights as a trustworthy source of information and a business they’ll more likely buy from.
Or, for a slightly more commerce-oriented approach, you could also explore product roundups, as Clockify does on their overview of the best time-tracking apps of 2022.
This brand uses its company blog to create a roundup of multiple time-tracking apps. But, where it differs from the norm is that it reviews its competitors’ products in a way that’s (relatively) objective. Naturally, Clockify also includes its own product in the article. But what stands out is that it points out how its app is meant for people wanting a simple and free solution.
You may also want to read: Topic Clusters In Content Marketing: Here’s What You Need To Know
Supplement Your Written Content With Media
How your content looks can massively impact how it performs once you’ve hit the publish button. In fact, Adobe’s State of Content report found that almost 60% of internet users prefer to consume beautifully designed content over that which is simple and plain.
With this in mind, don’t hesitate to spice up your articles with images, videos, infographics, or other multimedia. It won’t just turn them into attractive resources people will want to explore. But, it will also boost the accessibility of your written pieces and increase their chances of ranking higher on SERPs.
For instance, if you look at Wyzowl’s State of Video Marketing Report for 2022, you’ll see that employing video helped marketers:
- Boost website traffic (87%).
- Increase dwell time (82%).
- Aid product understanding (94%).
- Generate more leads (86%).
- Boost sales (81%).
- Grow brand awareness (93%).
So, you could consider exploring ways of incorporating video in your content marketing efforts. Remember, you don’t have to go out and start vlogging. High-performing video doesn’t even have to be visually stunning or try to position your products as aspirational.
Sometimes, all you need to do to reap the benefits of video is to record a multimedia version of your articles. This is especially beneficial when publishing long-form posts, like in this example on the Feynman Technique from Thomas Frank. The approach makes it easier for web visitors to gain value from the content. And it encourages them to stay on the page for longer (and perhaps even convert).
Affordable Media Options
If you feel that producing videos necessitates too big of an investment, look for other ways to enrich your content with multimedia. Infographics also make an excellent choice for spicing up your company blog.
Research from Venngage discovered that original graphics were the most widely-used type of visual in 2020. As many as 32.5% of marketers employed them in their content strategies. And they also proved to be effective. In fact, more than 40% of respondents listed graphics as the most effective type of multimedia for reaching their goals.
With this in mind, it might not be a bad idea to look up to organizations like McKinsey. Explore ways in which you could visualize the information you share in your written articles. And think about whether adding a visual element could allow your readers to get through your article more quickly and efficiently.
Note, however, that visualizing data doesn’t have to look like a traditional bar or pie chart. You could very well do what FE International does on their deep-dive into establishing the value of a website.
You may also want to read: How to Use Hashtag Tracking to Optimize Your Social Media Content
Simply summarize your content in a simplified table form, which is concise, shareable, and helps readers quickly find the info they’re after. Or use custom graphics to separate article sections. You could even do something as simple as framing important pieces of information with a color, so it attracts users’ attention and helps information retention.
Create Content Specifically for Your Social Media Profiles
Marketers often think content marketing only happens on-site, which is a rookie mistake. In truth, distribution is just as crucial as publishing. And for content to deliver next-level results, each piece needs to be “released” into the real world.
So, if you want to attract new customers and maximize reach, create content specifically for the channels where your audience spends their time. If you look at the research, you’ll find that those channels usually consist of social media platforms, where people spend 147 minutes per day on average.
For example, if you know that your target audience consists of Gen Zs, you’ll want to aim to create as much content for TiktTok — the most popular social network among this demographic. Or, if you’re targeting millennials, create images for Instagram, as done by Create & Cultivate, to engage your audience and build a community.
Keep in mind that the point of creating content specifically for social media isn’t just to have an online presence on these platforms. Nor is it to emit a specific visual vibe. More than that, it’s to deliver valuable content to your target audience.
With this in mind, it might not be a bad idea for you to focus on distributing high-quality educational content, something that MarketBeat does quite well on its YouTube channel. The stock market news portal has built a strong brand around its credibility and insight into the industry. The videos they produce specifically for YouTube do a fantastic job of keeping their audience informed as well as reinforcing their authority in this space.
You may also want to read: Does All Of Your Social Media Content Serve Your Whole Audience
Promote Your Content on Social Media
While we’re discussing social media networks, don’t forget that they’re not just content distribution platforms. They can very well be used as a promotional channel. And, if you play your cards right, they could be a prolific source of organic traffic to your site or eCommerce store.
Think about ways you could use your social media profile to promote the content you’ve already published on your website. Whether you reshare or repurpose is entirely up to you. In fact, both of these activities hold the promise of driving traffic to your on-site content. And some may even help you generate hype, which can be especially beneficial if you’re planning a new product release.
Just look at how PetSmart implements this tactic on its Twitter profile. This brand understands that including photos in tweets boosts engagement by as much as 35%. That’s why it regularly shares links to its landing pages coupled with endearing images of baby animals.
When looking for ways to employ content marketing in a way that will allow you to drive business success, your initial temptation may be to focus your energy on popular niches. After all, many entrepreneurs go into business thinking that even being a small fish in a big pond leads to profits. (A little portion of a lot of money can still mean big gains.)
However, following this strategy isn’t always the right choice. Sometimes, zeroing in on a less popular niche and becoming a go-to for a smaller audience could offer just as much (if not more) opportunity for success.
Yes, if you choose to go hyper-niche with your content, you will be targeting keywords with a much smaller search volume. But, the benefit is that the competition will also be lower, making it easier for you to win position #1 on Google, become an industry authority, and allow your business to grow along with people’s interest in the type of products you offer.
Gili Sports, for example, takes a geographic approach to niching down. Instead of trying to have its guides rank for high-volume keywords with a lot of competition, this brand chooses to create paddle boarding guides for specific countries and cities, like this one they did on Austin’s best paddleboarding spots.
The result is a higher chance of winning the featured snippet for geographic-based search terms, automatically boosting organic traffic and positioning the company as a go-to amongst its target audience.
Another excellent example of a brand distributing hyper-focused content comes from Tombow. This brand chose to create downloadable practice worksheets specifically for its left-handed customers. And even though lefties make up only 10% of the world’s population, Tombow recognized that investing in content targeting this audience would allow it to gain business.
You may also want to read: A 6-Step Formula to Write Copy That Sells
Focus on Readability
Lastly, as you explore ways to level up your brand’s content marketing, don’t forget that the easiest way to make your written content appealing (and effective) is to use good grammar and aim for a high readability score.
Employ free online tools that will help you remove any writing issues from your articles. And consider reading up on the benefits of prioritizing readability.
For instance, research from the NN Group reveals that 79% of internet users don’t read articles word-for-word. Instead, they skim and scan content, focusing only on the areas they find interesting or valuable. So, to ensure your hard work on producing content actually delivers results, know what structural changes you can make to help your readers have a better reading experience:
Employ text chunking. Separate long paragraphs into smaller parts, each covering a single concept or idea. This doesn’t just make scanning easier. But it also drives comprehension and recall, making it a superb formatting strategy for long-form content.
Shorten your sentences and paragraphs. Moreover, avoid using jargon and, instead, try to make your content accessible to as many people as you can.
Use the right layout to make content easily consumable, in addition to employing bullet points. You could also organize your written content to align with people’s specific reading patterns.
And finally, employ visuals, which aren’t just more engaging than text but also make it easier to communicate specific concepts.
Eachnight shows us a terrific example of a long-form post that remains highly readable despite its astonishing amount of content. Reading their 14,000-word opus on the best mattresses of 2022 could easily have been an overwhelming experience, but thanks to some smart layout and design choices, the post remains accessible and highly engaging.
You may also want to read: What Marketers Should Know About the Psychology of Visual Content
Content marketing can be an excellent investment for driving your business venture forward. But to enjoy a high ROI, you first need to know what you want to achieve. So start your journey by defining your goals. Then, see how you can implement the strategies from this guide to level up your brand’s content marketing game.
Sure, the results won’t come overnight. But stay consistent, and you’re guaranteed to see gains.
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