Content marketing has been growing exponentially in popularity and there are now over 500 million blogs on the Internet (1.6 billion websites, but only half a billion identify as blogs). As with any great marketing channel, content marketing has become saturated and is less effective in 2019 than it was ten years ago.
So should we just give up now? Well, if you don’t leverage content marketing you will not only be missing out on a lot of leads, but you will also be swallowed up by the competition that knows how to leverage it effectively.
Even though the days of content mills are long gone, there are other, much more valuable ways to leverage content marketing. We are going to give you some insider tips that not only prove that content marketing still works, but that it continues to be one of the strongest strategies to drive conversions.
In this post, I've provided 30 effective and actionable tips to not only get the most out of your content marketing, but to take your performance up to the next level.
1) Check for Grammatical Errors
Not only do you look a little silly to your potential customers if you can’t spell (particularly with spellcheck on every platform from Word and Google docs to WordPress), but you may also see a drop in rankings. Google wants to deliver authoritative results and nothing makes you look less authoritative than having misspellings and grammatical errors throughout your content.
But what if you're not a writer? Try a content writing service like EssayGeeks. If you're a decent writer but just need some help to improve, install Grammarly, a tool that will help you with everything from emails to blog writing:
2) Write Relevant and Actionable Content
In order to be a great marketer and business owner, you must first understand your customer. Regardless of the niche you are in, you should know your customer’s problems and pain points like the back of your hand.
And to truly develop a piece of content around your customer’s pain point, make sure that it is actionable. Are you giving them the specific steps and tools they need? Could you take this piece of content and replicate the steps? If you don’t think you could carry out the advice in the article, you haven’t finished it yet.
3) Develop Content Marketing Goals
A shocking statistic from a study done by CoSchedule shows that 26% of marketers don’t even have a marketing goal. Of those that do, only about half are meeting their goals fairly often.
Noah Kagan of AppSumo often speaks about having one company goal. So before completing any task throughout the day, he asks: “Is this task going to get us closer to our company goal?” If the answer is no, don’t do it.
Now that you have the company goal in mind, what are you trying to accomplish by creating and promoting your content? Is it brand awareness? More sales in the next quarter? From there, you can pick a topic and map out the piece.
4) Offer FREE Value through Your Content
Do you know what most of today’s consumers want? They want to hear the word “free.” Think about how many of your friends like to brag about the great bargain they just got. The same goes for your customers. While most marketers and brands are asking for money in return, you can offer free tools and high-quality information to build your brand.
If Neil Patel can provide an entire tool for free (Ubersuggest, a keyword research tool – and not some cheap thing that barely does its job!), that’s a pretty good indication that there is an ROI on free value:
Consider offering your own valuable content (like an in-depth, downloadable guide) for free or building your own useful tool, like Neil did. We created ClickFlow, a tool that lets you to test the effectiveness of each page (or groups of pages) to increase your organic traffic without the hassle of building links or writing more content.
5) Use Content to Drive Leads into Your Sales Funnel
Content marketing is one of the most crucial aspects of a sales funnel. From pulling customers into that initial stage (TOFU) with specific content pieces to getting them to click the “buy” button on the sales page, content is everything.
Start by creating amazing content that drives awareness, whether that is a video, blog post or infographic. Within this content, make sure that you are enticing the reader to move into the next stage of the funnel (MOFU). This could be by asking for an email address before providing access to gated content. Continue to be aware of how your prospect is feeling at each stage in your marketing funnel and adjust your copy to reflect that:
6) Keep in Mind that Longer Content Performs Better
Longer content gets more attention from both Google and people:
You've probably heard this before., but what you might not have heard is that higher rankings also increase conversion rates. A study on Quicksprout showed that when they A/B tested landing pages, the longer ones not only performed better, but also had more qualified leads.
So why does long form content work better? More often than not, a blog post of around 2,500 words will:
Capture attention and offer more relevant information
Incorporate more keywords and SEO optimization
Develop authority of the website that published it
7) Understand Your Target Audience (and Buyer Persona)
Any marketing campaign, whether it’s content marketing, social marketing or search engine marketing, needs to be directed towards a specific target audience. Although you may wish that every single person in the world was your ideal customer, that's rarely the case. Make sure that you understand whom you’re creating content for – and figure that out before trying to sell anything.
Failing to understand your ideal target buyer (or buyer persona, as seen in the image below) is a serious mistake that will result in a lot of wasted energy, time and money:
8) Gain Authority Links with Guest Posting
Guest posting is an amazing way to get more people familiar with your brand. Think about it. If your friend Bill introduces you to his friend Sally, you’re no longer a complete stranger to Sally. She will probably make a lot of positive assumptions about you based solely on the fact that you are Bill’s friend.
Guest posting works in a similar way. You get to tap into the host blog's whole new network and promote your brand. If they have a strong and loyal following, you should get a pretty good ROI. This is a super easy and cheap way to get lots of prequalified eyes to your website.
9) Optimize all Your Headlines
David Ogilvy once said:
“On average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”
But if you never get anyone to click through your headlines to the post, it won’t matter how great your content is.
Click-through rate (CTR) is a direct ranking factor. If Google notices that people aren’t clicking through, you will begin to see a drop in rankings. Keep in mind that you should be optimizing for user intent before search engines. While it is good to include your main keyword in the title, don’t over optimize either.
10) Offer Exclusive Content to Your Email List
With an ROI of 4,400%, email is still one of the most powerful marketing channels that you should be leveraging, because the people on your list are already your fan.
If you aren’t already offering exclusive content to your subscribers, you're missing out. People love to feel special and when you tell them that only they (the subscribers) are going to receive the “best of the best” information, they're more likely to opt in.
If you want to take it up another level, try segmenting your emails. A study done by Campaign Institute showed that segmented campaigns produced a 760% increase in revenue. That added level of personalization goes a long way.
11) Maintain a Content Calendar
Content marketing without consistency is just like a fitness schedule that is not performed on a regular basis. Both cases will bring fewer results.
In order to build your brand’s reputation, you should create and share valuable and qualitative content consistently, and the best way to organize this somewhat daunting task is to use an editorial calendar:
If you don’t have a huge team or budget, you can do this with a simple Excel or Sheets spreadsheet. However, there are a number of tools available, such as:
CoSchedule – editorial calendar
WordPress – editorial calendar
Asana – project management and editorial calendar
Trello – project management tool
MeetEdgar – social media post scheduler
Buffer – social media automation tool
12) Make Social Sharing on Your Blog Easy
This is one of the easiest hacks to implement. Add visually attractive (and prominently placed) social sharing buttons throughout your website pages and blog posts. Use an easy, one-click sharing button, because if it's time-consuming or otherwise difficult, nobody will use it.
On the Single Grain blog, each post has a floating social sharing column that follows you as you scroll down, so it's always right there:
Another idea is that when your readers finish an article, create a CTA (call-to-action) that asks them to share your content on social media.
Another great option to make social sharing easy for the reader is to include Tweetable quotes when possible (make sure they're actually worth quoting, though!).
13) Go Omni Channel
You've already spent a whole lot of time making an amazing video – but if you leave it as just a video, you're missing out on a lot of opportunities that only require a little extra work. Take advantage of the one, great piece of content you created (the “seed”) to easily create a handful of others (the “sprouts”) by using the Content Sprout Method.
So instead of creating a million different pieces of content in addition to that video you made, you can hire someone to transcribe the video and turn it into a blog post; you can use the audio and publish a podcast episode; you can compile the stats or the step-by-step process into an infographic. And so on.
The reason this works so well is because everyone has a preferred medium in which they consume content, so if one person doesn't enjoy reading long blog posts, they can easily consume the same info via podcast to listen to on their way to work.
14) Know What Form of Content Each Social Platform Is Best For
Each social media channel varies slightly in their preferred form of content. For example, YouTube is obviously the best place for video content, Twitter is great for a one-sentence teaser and a link back to your blog, Instagram and Pinterest are great for visual content, etc. Pinterest is also a great holiday-themed platform:
15) Post to Medium
This is a tactic that is often overlooked, but is a very powerful way to get more traffic to your site. Medium is free to post on and provides a wealth of information on a variety of topics:
To optimize for the highest CTR to your website, only post the first several paragraphs of your article and make the reader click to your website to read the rest. If you want to really take it to the next level, make sure that you optimize your dated posts – that means refreshing old ideas, images/screenshots and stats (and, of course, all links) to make it more relevant to the current year.
In addition, check your keywords. If you are ranking for keyword topics that are relevant but not mentioned in the content, consider adding a section that explains those topics.
16) Update Old Content
Speaking of optimizing your older posts…. In this rapidly changing industry, a year or two is all it takes for your content to become outdated. Or it might be ranking for keywords that you were not initially targeting. Rather than going through the hassle of writing an entirely new post, a better idea is to just update it. That way you don't lose any SEO juice on the original URL.
Updating older, well-performing content involves:
Performing some research to see what has changed on the topic
Rewriting parts of the article to reflect these updates
Citing new, authoritative sources
Making sure that all the links are working (and updated – generally you don't want to link to a source that is more than a 1-2 years old)
Replacing any obviously outdated images
Refreshing the intro and conclusion
How do you know which blog posts to update? You should conduct a thorough content audit on an annual basis to discover any insights into your blog and content marketing strategy.
17) Your Content + Influencer’s Quote = Positive Results
Approach an influencer whom you believe would be interested in your content, brand’s values or ideas:
Within five years, influencer marketing is positioned to become a $5-10 billion industry. And the companies and brands that are aware of this and have already invested in influencer marketing campaigns have generated up to a 520% return on investment! Here are some more juicy stats:
On average, businesses generate $6.50 for every $1 invested in influencer marketing.
81% of marketers who have used influencer marketing judged it to be effective.
51% of marketers believe they get better customers from influencer marketing.
An easy tactic is to get an opinion on the same matter that your content discusses. Publish some quality articles with some great quotes from known influencers in your space, and you’ll reap amazing benefits.
18) Use an Influencer for Better Content Exposure
Another option is to pay an influencer to promote your content to his/her audience. Before committing, make certain that you do some proper research. Analyze the influencer’s audience, engagement and their trustworthiness. These are all elements that make the difference between a good and a bad investment in influencer marketing.
Remember, this is a relationship and just like any relationship, influencer marketing should be a two-way street. If your brand is the only one that benefits, you won’t be long for this strategy. You will eventually find that nobody wants to partner with you.
YouTube influencers are probably the most popular, but that's not your only option. The main types of influencers include:
Social Media “Sensations”
Because 44.44% of influencers feel that brands aren’t providing them with fair compensation, stand out from the (bad) competition by treating your influencer(s) well and reap the benefits of a mutually beneficial arrangement.
19) Pay a Lot of Attention to Your Keyword Research
Keyword research is super important. The better you rank for specific keywords, the better you’ll perform in the SERPs. I’d say that this is one of the most common mistakes that marketers make: they neglect the keyword research process. It’s not that they don’t do it, but they’re not really finding the best possible combinations of keywords for their purpose.
Choosing the right keyword can attract the right audience, which could propel your content marketing strategy into the largest driver of new customers for your business.
According to Ann Smarty: