33 Tips for Content Marketing Success
Content marketing is a strategic way of marketing your business. It involves the creation and distribution of content – but not just any content.
You need content your target customers will find interesting, inspiring, educational or valuable. Content marketing can take many forms, including written articles, podcasts, videos and social media.
The concept is simple. Yet it’s the most effective way to invite customers into your brand story and build relationships with them over the long term.
Getting the right balance of content marketing types and topics can be challenging. Creating consistent, quality content that cuts through the noise is getting more difficult. Plus, it can be tough to find creative ways to get your message out to the world whilst juggling all the other aspects of your business.
In this article we share our top content marketing tips. They’ll help you communicate your values and increase brand awareness, so that you can grow your business.
We’ll cover all 33 content marketing tips across the following sections:
- Set a goal and targets to guide you
- Make a plan and stick to it!
- Listen to your customers to understand them better
- Write quality content rather than lots of content
- Use simple language
- Repurpose your content for multiple channels and formats
- Create content that serves new and existing customers
- Do your keyword research for SEO
- Revisit and revive old content
- Make decisions based on data
#1 Set a Goal and Targets to Guide You
The barrier to entry for creating content in any form is lower than ever. Everyone with a smartphone is a content creator. But creating is only a tiny part of the equation.
You must start with a purpose – an intent or a goal. For your content to be an asset rather than a money pit, you need to start by knowing what you’re trying to achieve.
Make sure you can answer the question “what are you trying to achieve?”
Are you trying to increase brand awareness to reach new customers? Do you need to encourage existing customers to buy again? Do you want to delight existing customers and stay top of mind on a daily, weekly or monthly basis?
It can be tempting to say YESSSS to all of these. But the most effective campaign has a primary objective where one of these outcomes is the desired result. This may mean you need a series of content marketing efforts to achieve multiple goals. It’s important to know what types of content you need to achieve your objectives.
We’ve identified five different content types and go into detail about each of them in this free video series: 5 Types of Content Every Food Brand Needs.
The next question is, how will you know if you’ve achieved your goal? You need one or more metrics or KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) to track your progress.
Set your KPIs to track progress towards your goal.
The takeaway here is to be intentional. Set a target and create content that’s in support of your goals rather than just creating content for the sake of it.
If you create content without a clear intent, you’ll be wasting a lot of time.
#2 Make a Plan and Stick to It!
You’ve set your intent and goal, now it’s time to make a plan.
Make a plan for what you’re going to create, when you’re going to create it and who is going to create it.
Planning should be done well in advance so you have enough time to execute it. If you’ve got a small team (or you’re a team of one!) then you’ll need to factor in more time to fit your content marketing activities around everything else.
Creating an editorial calendar is an important part of planning and it’s a great tool to keep you on track. Enrol in our Create a Content Calendar mini course and we’ll show you how to create one, step by step.
As you execute your plan, revisit it often. Make adjustments as you learn about your audience and what content performs best.
Review and revise your plan every quarter.
Making a plan is one thing. Sticking to it is a whole different ball game. Content marketing is not a get rich quick scheme. It’s a slow and steady strategy that will serve you for the long term. But the only way to reap the benefits is to be consistent.
The best way to be consistent is to make a realistic commitment to your audience. If you publicly say you’re going to publish one video per week on a Wednesday, you’re more likely to do it. If you make a vague commitment (or no commitment at all) then it’s easy to let things slip.
Make a commitment to what and when you’ll publish.
Be as specific as possible and make that commitment publicly to keep you accountable.
#3 Listen to Your Customer to Understand Them Better
It should go without saying that the content you create shouldn’t be all about your brand, products or business. Your content should be interesting, relevant and valuable to your audience. The harsh reality is that most people don’t care about your company, they care about themselves.
To ensure your content is interesting, relevant and valuable to the people it’s designed to serve, listen to your customers.
Focus on them as people. What do they struggle with? What questions do they have? What’s preventing them from living their best life?
Ask how can you make your customers’ lives better. Then go and create content that helps them do that!
Where do you go to find these answers? They’re all around you!
Hunt for answers in your website and social analytics. Read through customer service conversations to find frequently asked questions. Make notes when talking to customers at trade shows and other events.
Check your website and social analytics to find the topics with the most likes, comments and shares.
When you find the most common questions, create content that answers them. When you identify the most popular topics, create more content on those topics.
The more your content is based on real conversations, real questions and real data, the better it will be.
#4 Write Quality Content Rather Than Lots of Content
There’s a common misconception about content marketing that you need TONS of content. This myth is partly to blame for the massive volume of terrible content being created and shared every day.
You don’t need lots of content.
You need quality content that serves your audience and your business goals. Don’t produce content for the sake of it.
Start with a small content marketing project with a minimal scope. For example, you might want to start by producing a series of recipes. Or, you could put together a series of helpful articles that answer the common questions your audience have.
This type of ‘help’ content works particularly well for brands with products that solve a problem. For example, eating more protein, losing weight, feeding the family on a budget or tackling sustainability issues.
Start with a small content marketing project to work out your style and process.
There’s also many small things you can do to improve the perceived quality of your content. Here’s some ideas:
Spend more time writing a compelling title.
Your title could be the make or break of someone consuming your content or not. Make your title customer-centric and focus on the benefits or value within. Titles such as “33 Tips for XYZ” do really well because the benefits to the reader are communicated up front (see what I did there?).
Make it very clear what the piece is about – and why someone would want to keep going – in the introduction of the article, podcast or video.
Break up long blocks of text with headings, quotes, images or videos.
This makes your content more visually pleasing and easier to scan.
Be creative, use examples and remember you’re not writing a thesis or dissertation.
#5 Use Simple Language
Following on from Tip 12 above, it’s important to use simple language so your message is easy to understand.
Don’t try to be clever. Be clear.
If your content is easy to read (or watch or listen to), there’s a much better chance that people will actually consume it. If it’s complex, un-structured or full of complex jargon, you’re fighting an uphill battle.
Here’s some more tips for improving the readability of your content.
Make your content informal and conversational, and match your brand tone.
Break up long, hard to read sentences.
Use shorter paragraphs to make your content more skimmable.
Avoid complex words if there’s a simpler alternative.
Use a tool like Hemingway App to identify and fix all the above.
#6 Repurpose Your Content for Multiple Channels and Formats
The beauty of digital is you can mix up your content with a few clicks or some copying and pasting. Content in one form can be sliced and diced into all sorts of different styles, lengths or formats for different channels.
Repurposing your content into a variety of forms means you squeeze more value out of your efforts. It gives you more ways to promote the same message and means you can leverage a number of different channels.
Content in different mediums (written, audio, video) means your customers can consume your content in the way that suits them best.
Start with writing – it’s the cheapest, fastest and simplest form of content to create.
Read your written content out loud and record yourself – you now have audio content.
This will also help in knowing if the content flows nicely – which is easier if you read out loud rather than in your head.
Create a short video that summarises an article. Or pick out key sections to turn into a short video clip to highlight a point.
Pull out quotes, stats or questions to create many social posts with different angles from one article.
Send out tips from an article in an email or via social stories.
Create a video trailer to post on social media for longer form podcasts or video content.
#7 Create Content That Serves New and Existing Customers
As we discussed above, different types of content serve different goals and types of customers.
You need content to attract new visitors to your website and social accounts.
You need content to convert visitors to subscribers and customers.
You need content to keep your existing customers engaged and loyal.
Watch our free video series to discover the 5 Types of Content Marketing Every Food Brand Needs and how to use them effectively.
#8 Do Your Keyword Research for SEO
SEO is a big topic and outside the scope for this article.
But in simple terms, SEO is creating and optimising content on your website for words and phrases that your audience is using in search engines.
If people know your brand they might search by your brand name. But most people haven’t heard of your brand so what will they be searching for instead?
People will only discover you through search if you have relevant content. This could be content that answers a question, solves a problem or provides some kind of informational or educational value.
That’s why great content that’s focused on serving your customers is so important. And the best part? You write this content once and it keeps sending you “free” traffic for the long term.
To make the most out of SEO content, you need to do your research and understand what your customers are actually searching for. Here are some tips:
Use Google autocomplete suggestions or a tool like Answer the Public to get a feel for what people are searching for.
Use a keyword research tool like Ubersuggest, SEMRush, KeySearch or ahrefs.
Use your Google Analytics and Google Search Console to track your SEO performance.
Once you’ve published SEO content, keep an eye on how much organic traffic your content receives. Track your ranking position for your SEO focus keywords.
To learn more, check out this article: WTF is an SEO focus keyword.
#9 Revisit and Revive Old Content
There’s lots of content out there and it’s easy for your old content to get lost. But just because you published something many months (or years) ago, doesn’t mean it can’t be given a new lease of life.
The first step to reviving or republishing old content is to do an audit of what you’ve got. Chances are, some of your old content isn’t fit for purpose and you can quietly remove it.
You’ve probably got some great pieces that are feeling a bit tired and lonely. Give them a refresh and republish them to get them seen again.
Create a spreadsheet and audit your existing content to assess what’s performing and what’s not.
Once you’ve got a good feel for what you’ve got to work with, take key pieces that aren’t performing and give them a refresh. This could include removing outdated references or updating facts or stats.
Maybe your brand tone or visual style has changed over time and your content needs a tweak or two to bring it into line. Maybe you’ve had a brand refresh and your old content uses old product photos. This is a great opportunity to update them and make everything consistent.
Once you’ve made your changes, update the publish date. Depending on how your website is designed, this will usually push this content to the top of the pile for more visibility.
If you published something a year ago it doesn’t mean you can’t promote it any more. Revisit popular content and distribute it across your channels again.
Even your biggest fans won’t have seen everything you’ve ever put out and even if they have seen it before, will they care about seeing it again? Almost certainly not. It’s just like your favourite band replaying their greatest hits – they’re always firm favourites even if you’ve heard them a hundred times before!
Replay your greatest content hits.
#10 Make Decisions Based on Data
I’ve mentioned using your analytics and search data a few times in this article. But it’s so important to make decisions based on data, so I’m reiterating it again.
Don’t guess what’s working and what’s not. Look at your data to track your progress and KPIs against your original objectives.
Watch your website and social analytics to see what’s popular with your audience.
Create more of what’s popular. Create less of what’s not.
Revisit SEO keywords to make sure they’re performing.
Your content might be found through different search terms to your original focus keyword. If so, re-optimise your content for the search terms you’re actually being discovered through.
So there you have it, a whole host of content marketing tips for writing better content. While there’s a lot to take in here, it’s important to get the fundamentals right first:
Set a goal and focus on your customers. Create content that they will find valuable. Measure your results and tweak and adjust accordingly.
If you’re ready to step up your content marketing, enrol in one of our online courses or hire us. We take care of everything from content marketing strategy and production to promotion and measurement.