Over the last couple of years we have seen a remarkable interest and growth of content marketing as a digital marketing channel.
Content marketing is not a new idea and it has existed in many forms way before the SEO was even born. However, the rise of content marketing in the digital world can be linked to the first Penguin update.
You could ask what does content marketing have to do with Penguin. Well, the first Google Penguin update rolled out in April 2012 and it has forever changed the world of SEO.
Penguin has completely changed the way SEO professionals look at link building and content. Before Penguin, content (at least for majority of SEOs) wasn’t the most important part of Search Engine Optimization.
Regularly publishing quality content was not necessary to rank a website. Why invest money and time in a huge evergreen piece of content and then spend countless hours trying to promote it, if the same results could be achieved by using automated directory submission service.
What Is Content Marketing & Most Common Misconceptions?
According to the content marketing institute, content marketing is a process of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, retain and engage clearly defined audience. The goal of this is to drive profitable customer action aka conversions.
There are many misconceptions about content marketing.
“Content marketing is just for SEO” – this is probably one of the most popular misconceptions and can be directly linked to the Penguin updates.
There was a lot of confusion after the update, a lot of SEO agencies had no idea how to build links, some have decided not to build links at all and many other thought that all they have to do from now on is to create great content and the links with somehow, magically materialise.
Others started using content marketing simply as a way of building links and completely forgetting that the end goal of content marketing is to drive profitable customer action.
“Content marketing = copywriting.” Again this is a very popular misconception. Content marketing is much more than copywriting, it involves many elements and copywriting is just one of them.
As a result of these misconceptions, the web is flooded with mediocre content and unfortunately there are many businesses which simply don’t fully understand how to use content marketing to their full advantage.
Tips To Improve Your Content Marketing
Have clear goals.
It is difficult to improve anything unless you have clear goals. Make sure your content marketing campaigns have clear and realistic objectives.
Have a schedule
Your content marketing campaigns will run more smoothly if you have a schedule. Create a content calendar and stick to it, customers appreciate consistency.
Have a realistic budget
A lot of content marketing campaigns fail simply because of inadequate budgets. Creating great content is not cheap and neither is promoting it.
Both of these elements (content creation and promotion) are essential parts of every content marketing campaign and if one of them fails then your whole campaign will be at risk of failure.
Adequate budget is not only essential when it comes to creating new content but also necessary for effective promotion. Most of the social media platforms are now pay to play and you will need an appropriate budget if you want your content to get traction.
Up your content game
The content you produce for your campaigns must be good. There is no place and no excuses for mediocrity. Get better at copywriting and do not neglect other forms of content either.
If you want to add images to your post, do not simply pick the first stock photo you find. There is nothing wrong with using stock photography but make sure the images are relevant and add value to your post.
Where possible put in some effort or invest in custom images for your big pieces of content.
Focus on promotion
I often see great pieces of content which don’t get any traction. A lot of work and budget went into creating these but they have never achieved their objectives.
There was no traffic, no links, no shares and no conversions. The most common course for this is a lack of, or inadequate promotion.
In my content marketing campaigns, I apply the 80/20 rule, 80% of time and budget goes into promotion and 20% into content creation. It’s simple, without marketing content is just content.
Meet with your team more often
Content marketing is a very complex process and most of the time it will involve a number of people or teams working together. You will have your copywriters, social media team, outreach specialists and so on.
It is therefore paramount that everybody is on the same page. Arrange regular meetings to keep all the team members up to date with overall progress of your campaigns.
Brainstorm new content ideas, discuss performance of the content you have created. Talk about your competitors, think how can you improve the overall process.
Use Paid Promotion
As I have already mentioned, a lot of social media platforms have adopted a pay to play model. What it means is that without spending money on paid promotion, your content will have a very limited reach.
In addition to Facebook and Twitter ads you can try StumbleUpon Ads which from my experience are quite cost effective.
Measure your progress
I have already mentioned having clear objectives and a schedule for your content marketing campaigns. The next step is to measure your progress. Monitor progress and use the data to improve your campaigns.
See which pieces of content worked and which didn’t, try to figure out why. There is a lot of free and paid tools to measure the performance of your content as well as content on other websites.
Most of you will be already familiar with Google Analytics, some other useful tools include Impactana and BuzzSumo.
So there you have it. 8 tips to help you improve your content marketing. Remember, content marketing is a long term process which requires a lot of planning.
I hope you have enjoyed this post and if you have any tips or questions then let me know in the comments below. Don’t forget to share it as well.
Izzy is a marketing graduate and digital marketing expert from England. In her spare time she loves going to gym and dancing.