In this digital age, internet use continues to grow year on year. In 2017, 46.8 percent of the global population accessed the internet, and this figure is projected to grow to 53.7 percent in 2021.
Most consumers today use Google and other search engines to get the answers they need, which is why online content has become integral to digital marketing. When you get it right, useful and engaging content can turn readers into buyers, but content marketing success isn’t guaranteed.
We know that having a content strategy is important, but why do some businesses have more success with content marketing? Below, we’ll go over the main points of how to create digital content that strengthens your brand and gets more prospects to take action.
1. Know Your Audience Well
Having a clear picture of your target customer before you create any content will ensure your content has more power to engage and convert. But most businesses still fail to address this. According to the latest report from the Content Marketing Institute, only 42 percent of content marketers are taking the time to actually talk with customers to understand their needs.
- What problems do potential customers have?
- What kinds of content do they really crave?
- Why are they hesitating to buy your products and services?
- What are they telling your sales team?
- What are they saying about your business on social media?
To get the answers, conduct customer surveys via email, talk to customers on social media, and ask your team members for customer feedback. You can then focus on creating the kind of content that is more likely to attract and retain customers.
2. Know your Goals
When you know what you want to achieve with your content, it’s much easier to come up with content formats and topics that support your goals. You might focus on one or two goals, such as:
- Building trust with your audience.
- Attracting new customers.
- Solving customer problems.
- Highlighting product benefits.
- Building customer loyalty.
- Developing new business ideas.
For example, to show how you can solve customer problems, create a case study. To develop new business ideas, create an email survey. Focusing on these goals will also help to improve your search rankings.
3. Include Calls-to-Action (CTAs)
It’s easier to craft engaging CTAs when you know your marketing goals. Whether it’s a short blog post or long white paper, try to include at least one CTA to encourage readers to take action that supports your objectives. For example, offer a free product guide in return for an email address, or encourage users to find out more about a product by clicking through to a separate landing page.
4. Create Truly Valuable Content
Before you create any content, ask yourself:
- Is it useful to my target customer?
- Is it interesting and informative?
- Is it entertaining?
- Is it inspiring?
- Is it shareable?
Producing valuable content can be difficult, but if your content can fulfil these objectives, it’s more likely to generate traffic, attract leads, and fuel sales. Use storytelling and statistics to strengthen the credibility of your content. In today’s crowded online marketplace, “average” content is no longer good enough.
5. Be Original and Authentic
Don’t fall into the trap of copying content from competitors, as this could damage your SEO power and reputation. Create content that your audience can’t find elsewhere. Talk about what you’re passionate about and stick to issues that are relevant to your niche audience. Then, you won’t be competing with similar content. Consumers also recognize authenticity and this will immediately boost your credibility.
6. Get Blogging
If you’re regularly churning out high-quality content, you might be surprised at how many more leads you get. Businesses with blogs receive 67 percent more leads than those without. This is why so many successful businesses publish regular blog posts aimed at their core audience. They attract more qualified leads, increase brand credibility, and build customer loyalty.
Tip: Update older blog posts with fresh information to increase their SEO power.
7. Use the Right Tone of Voice
Defining your brand’s voice is an important step in developing your brand’s identity and marking you out from the competition. Does your brand’s personality come across in your content? Whether it’s serious and businesslike or fun and friendly, make sure the tone you choose matches your brand’s uniqueness and then keep the tone consistent across all online channels.
Investing in content is more profitable in the long term if you diversify, just like investing in stocks. Put your resources into a range of content formats and deliver content to a number of channels that reach different sectors of your audience. Some projects will be more successful than others, but they can all achieve different marketing goals.
9. Incorporate Visuals
A diverse content strategy should include visual content, especially with the growth of visual platforms such as Instagram. There are various benefits to visual content:
- It grabs attention.
- It stirs emotions.
- It’s more shareable.
- It’s more memorable.
- It communicates ideas quickly.
According to one study, understanding of information increases from 70 percent to 95 percent when images are introduced. So, for informational content, visuals can be an essential tool to aid understanding. Use photos, graphics, videos, cartoons, memes, or graphs to improve comprehension and make content more memorable.
Most businesses understand the value of social media for building brand loyalty and driving web traffic. In 2018, 77 percent of Americans had a social media profile. However, unless you have unlimited time and resources, you can’t be on every channel at once and expect great results. If you’re a smaller business, focus on just one or two to begin with. Seek out the channels where your target market is most active and where content engagement is highest.
11. Make It Sharable
Make sure you give your content the best chance of reaching more people by incorporating social media share buttons at the end of content. Compelling headlines are also key to attracting readers and boosting shares. For inspiration, read our post: 14 Tips for Writing Catchy Headlines in 2018.
12. Optimize Online Content for Search Engines
Online content should also be search engine-friendly. In general, this means creating content that is unique, easy to read, and useful. There are too many details to go into here, but it also involves keyword optimization, local search optimization, on-page optimization, and more.
If you need more tips on how to balance content with SEO, take a look at: 9 Ways Content Marketing and SEO Can Work Together.
13. Optimize for Mobile
Mobile-friendly content is essential for ranking higher in search engines and retaining website visitors. In 2015, 157.6 million users accessed search services via their mobile. In 2019, this is estimated to grow to 215.8 million.
With Google’s Mobile First Index now in full swing, make sure all your content is mobile-ready.
It’s one thing to create great content, but it will have no value if no one sees it. This is where a consistent promotion strategy comes in. To make sure your content gets in front of the right people, send out emails to your subscriber list, post links to new content on social media, and include share buttons at the end of every new piece.
Even if you have a relatively small marketing budget, it’s definitely worth considering investing in paid promotion to make content more visible online. Paid ads may not directly affect search rankings, but they can help your content reach a wider audience. Also, searchers who have seen one of your ads in the past may be more likely to click on your organic results in the future.
15. Analyze the Results
If you don’t measure the results of your content marketing efforts, how will you know what works? Google Analytics is a good starting point – and it’s free – so it’s definitely worth your time in the long term.
Track your most visited pages, discover how long people spend on your site, and see where visitors go after reading your content. With all of this data at your fingertips, you can optimize future content depending on what has worked in the past. To help you get the competitive edge, check out these nine powerful analytics tools.
Your Online Content is Your Product
There are many elements that go into a successful digital content marketing strategy. Your website is your content hub, but it has to combine with email marketing, social media marketing, SEO strategies, and paid advertising to give your content the best chance of reaching the right people at the right time.
Remember that your content represents your business, and it’s another product that potential customers consume. Your website visitors, prospects, and customers are the people that ultimately grow your business, so put them at the heart of every piece of content you create. Think about their problems, needs, and desires and your marketing goals will become a lot more achievable.