At this time of year it is of course customary to think about the 12 months ahead of us, to set goals and to resolve to adopt new and positive habits to help achieve them.
That goes for business too (it’s not all weight loss and fitness!). So with content marketing now crucial to even stay in the game, I wanted to share 6 key New Year’s Resolutions to help you achieve success with your content marketing in the coming 12 months.
“I Will Regularly Repurpose Content”
The more you’re able to repurpose content, the more visible you’ll be across more channels, the more leads and traffic you’ll attract, and the more value you’ll get back from your original content.
Each time you repurpose and distribute through a new channel, you can share through your social networks.
However, to avoid overloading your social networks with ‘samey’ looking content updates, it’s a good idea to leave a certain amount of time between each ‘version’ of the content, e.g. a few weeks or months.
Here are just some ways in which content can be repurposed:
- Blog post to a podcast (or vice versa).
- Blog post to a slide deck for SlideShare and other such sites.
- Record the slide deck to turn into a video for YouTube and Vimeo.
- Blog post to articles on LinkedIn Pulse, Facebook Notes, Medium, and elsewhere.
- Similarly, use as the basis for micro-blogging on sites like Google+, answering questions on Quora, and so on.
(If you want more content repurposing ideas, see this list of 50+ ways to repurpose content and “Be Everywhere”!)
In this way, a single blog post can lead to a huge content tree with multiple branches in different channels attracting audiences who wouldn’t have otherwise come across you.
You can try managing all this with spreadsheets or similar, but you’ll quickly find it becomes unmanageable and time-intensive. This is where software can help, and is largely why vWriter was created – it helps simplify and automate the whole process, including auto-delegation to those you want to be responsible for specific aspects.
“I Will Blog More Frequently And Consistently”
As a business owner, it’s easy to let day-to-day tasks and issues that come up as part of running a business take over. Often it’s things that have more immediate, short-term payback, and as such they can be more immediately satisfying.
However, the downside is that this can come at the expense of other activities that lay down a proper foundation for long-term success. Need an example? Or six? Here’s six big benefits you get when you start blogging as a business.
As we’re talking about New Year’s Resolutions, a good metaphor might relate to weight loss and fitness. It’s similar to choosing to have that piece of chocolate cake to satisfy an immediate craving and to make you feel good, at least in the short-term.
But longer term, the choice of action works against you. It depletes you of energy and vitality, moves you further away from your fitness goals, and is not exactly helpful in the weight loss department!
Carrot sticks or chocolate cake? Mmm…
So, in order to achieve that longer-term success, aim to blog more frequently and consistently. It’s a positive habit that means you can take advantage of everything content marketing has to offer:
- Frequency means you have more content in circulation to attract traffic and build leads (and relationships with those leads)
- Consistency means you’re communicating regularly (e.g. when you share your latest post with your list and across social media), building stronger relationships, and attracting increasing amounts of traffic from say the search engines (consistency of publication is a key factor in building the authority of your site with Google)
So, here’s some ideas to put this into practice:
- If you’re not currently blogging at all, start. It’s the most important and often most difficult step. Once you’ve started, you then need to keep the momentum going. That’s where the force of habit becomes your friend. Stick at it, it works.
- If you’re already blogging, aim to become more consistent and/or aim to add more posts to your publishing schedule if you can do so while maintaining quality. For example, it could be someone else contributing content, it could be a different type of post that you start doing on a regular basis.
“I Will Promote More Of My Content”
In the early days of the web (and sometimes still now!), people thought all you had to do was build a website and people would come. Nope. You’ve got to market it.
The same goes for content. The distribution and the marketing of the content is just as important as the content itself – if not more so.
Content is king, but distribution is queen and she wears the pants. It’s not nearly enough to create a good piece of content. You have to understand how content spreads across the web.
Jonathan Perelman, BuzzFeed
That means sharing across social channels in the right way – for example, at optimum times and more than once – reaching out to other people who can help increase your reach (often significantly), and various other tactics including one that I cover more specifically in #5 below.
“I Will Focus On More In-Depth Blog Posts”
Longer content nearly always beats shorter content in terms of the advantages it brings you.
Google tends to prefer content that’s longer.
Obviously there are a myriad of other factors at play, but longer content tends to get ranked more highly. In other words, you’ll attract more traffic.
Here’s a study from serpIQ that shows the average length of the content on page one of Google is over 2000 words:
The longer the content, the more shares it gets. Here’s some research from OkDork.com that proves it:
Longer content also gives you more opportunities to share it with your own social networks. For example, a 2000+ post can give a lot of material for different Tweets and other social updates to go out over time.
You get more reusability
Longer content pays off every step along the way when you’re repurposing and reusing that content.
For example, a longer post gives you a longer slide deck that will attract more views and shares on SlideShare. Similarly, you’ll get a longer, more in-depth video; the basis of a valuable webinar presentation; and so on.
It magnifies your results on every branch of the content tree that grows from that original seed blog post.
But… there is a but
But it has to be quality content, not just content that’s unnecessarily strung out to meet a word count. If you’re struggling to reach a longer word count, pick meatier topics that you could create more content about.
Always aim to give as much value as you can within the resources you have available:
- Do research and link to other resources from within your content that will provide additional value to the reader.
- Use images and graphics where they provide additional value – for example, you’ll see the charts above.
- Add quotes from people where it backs up your insights and adds to your own authority.
- Ensure it’s well-structured, easy to read and flows well. Get a second pair of eyes to read it through if you can.
“I Will Start Exploring And Using Paid Distribution Options”
This is largely an extension of #3 above for promoting your content, and involves using paid methods to ensure your content reaches wider audiences.
Why would you do this?
Firstly, you can only reach so many people organically.
Secondly, native advertising as it’s also known, can be more effective than traditional display ads. Research from the MMA found the following:
- It provides a two-fold improvement in brand recall
- Users spend 40% longer interacting with it
- It attracts three times the attention of traditional banner ads (on mobile)
- Again on mobile, it performs up to ten times better than mobile display advertising.
There’s plenty of other research out there too that shows better returns for native advertising over traditional display.
One reason is that traditional advertising is often ignored or blocked by consumers, particularly by the millennial generation.
With every new generation, old rules have to be reconsidered or thrown out when ineffective. The same old advertising techniques will not always work on the new generation… Traditional marketing will no longer cut it. In an age where information is shared instantaneously, the millennial generation is incredibly adept at filtering out everything except what they want.
Daniel Newman, Forbes
In contrast, because with native advertising you’re sharing quality, informative content that adds value, you largely fly under the radar and get through to your target demographic far more effectively. There’s much less resistance.
Also, the content you’re sharing helps build those relationships that lead to the sale.
Some business owners are put off by the fact you have to ‘pay’, seeing it as negative monetary outflow. But once mastered (in other words, you’ve created a positive ROI through testing and tweaking the process), it becomes a positive asset for your business that makes rather than loses you money.
Be very specific about the particular goal you have for the visitor when they click on your ad and go to consume your content. For example, your goal may be for them to opt-in to your list via one or more lead magnets that are integrated within the content.
So start exploring and using paid distribution options – in other words, content-based ad networks – to multiply your results and scale up your content marketing activities. It’s how you get your content in front of more people, and attract more leads and build up your online visibility at scale.
Get started by using Facebook’s paid ad options (e.g. their Boost Post facility).
One big advantage that Facebook has over other networks is all the data it collects from users permits very specific and powerful targeting options. For example, you can target geolocation, age, gender, interests, relationships, and more.
Once that’s working for you, extend into other networks too such as the following:
- Promoted Tweets on Twitter
- Outbrain – this is where your content is presented as related content on other sites
- Taboola – similar to Outbrain, though with a smaller network
- LinkedIn sponsored updates – suitable and potentially very powerful if you’re trying to reach professionals and business people on LinkedIn’s vast network
“I Will Focus More On Lead Generation”
For small businesses, lead generation is the mechanism through which content marketing delivers ROI.
Content attracts an audience with an interest in the topics you cover. Convert as many as possible of those who consume your content into leads you can follow up with directly, for example by encouraging them to give you their email address and/or other contact details.
This allows you to build relationships and sell suitable products and services to them repeatedly over time.
So all your content, whether on your blog or elsewhere, should provide at least one way in which someone can become a lead for your business.
For example, within a full content piece (rather than say a social media update that links to one) you’ll have one or more calls to action that encourage the reader, viewer or listener to sign up to your list.
Obviously you then need to consistently follow up with and communicate with those leads. A consistent content creation strategy provides all you need to do this (see #1 and #2 above), giving you enough material to communicate with them at least one a once-a-week basis.
Don’t just stick with one lead magnet. Test different ones to see which tends to attract the most prospects for you while maintaining the right level of quality.
Ensure all your main content pieces like blog posts, videos and slide decks have relevant calls to action that encourage consumers of that content to join your list.
Optimize opt-ins on your blog by starting to use content upgrades in blog posts, as well as opportunities for visitors to sign up in other ways such as via pop overs, sidebar sign up forms, calls to action in the footer, and more.
So there you have it. Six New Year’s resolutions to adopt to set your content marketing off on the right track for the year ahead.
Don’t feel like you can do all six? No problem. But don’t let that stop you making progress in the right direction. Pick just one that stands out the most for you and adopt that as a new habit for the year ahead.