Content marketing is producing, publishing and promoting content that creates you authority among your target customer base. It's a strategy of marketing.
Content marketing comes in various forms. Traditional content marketing includes blogging, and YouTube channels. But it can be basically anything that can be labelled as "content" on the web.
- Blogging notes
- Infographic notes
- E-books, podcasts, newsletters, games, mobile apps, presentations, surveys, webinars, white papers, videos.
Social marketing is not the same as content marketing. Email, Twitter, Facebook and Google+ updates can be used to promote the content, but rarely contain any content themselves. More about promoting in social marketing notes.
Creating a good headlines is essential. Studies indicate that even up to 80% of people share content based on the headline alone. Check more about headlines in headlines notes.
Content marketing is a long term strategy. It can take a solid year to see the final results. And it isn't unusual to spend 3 hours a day on blogging and gain success after 2 years.
Figure out your thing. Research all the competing content marketers in your problem domain. Each of them should have one thing unique to them. Figure out what makes you unique.
Examples: - Personality and voice of the content e.g. humor, serious. - Very deep analysis. - Different approach to generate content. - Good visualizations. - Subcategory.
Look for ways to utilize user-generated content. User-generated content is all promotional brand material created by the fans a brand e.g. comments on posts, case studies, reviews, social media. People trust their own friends more than your advertisements, it boosts search engine visibility and it is relatively cheap to offer tools for user-generated content. Hardest thing about user-generated content is getting the highly engaged community behind your brand.
Reuse your content.
Is the topic mentioned in existing content? ───► No? ─► Create the content. ▼ Yes. Is the content outdated? ─────────────────────► Yes? ─► Update ▼ No. Is the content incomplete? ───────────────────► Yes? ─► Expand ▼ No. Could the content be better covered in ───────► Yes? ─► Reformat other format? ▼ No. Would it make topic easier to understand ─────► Yes? ─► Curate if you reference the existing content in one new piece? ▼ No. Can the topic be targeted from another ───────► Yes? ─► Refocus perspective what would make it useful to the audience? ▼ No. Choose another related topic.
Define your target audience. If the problem domain is crowded, go for a niche audience. Competing to become authority in the mass media is really hard. Good way to verify a niche audience is to check that there are at least 10 000 monthly searches in Google.
How to check search numbers as of 30.9.2013: -> Create account on Google Ads -> Tools and Analysis -> Keyword Planner -> Get search volume for a list of keywords or group them into ad groups -> Add list of words like: Cat lovers Cat breeders Lovers of hairless cats -> Add location e.g. United States if you wish. -> Click create ad group name to see Average Monthly Searches.
Figure out your core audience. Your core audience should be the audience segment that shares your content. Usually active social media users and other blog writers. Aim to create something worth sharing.
Promote your content on mediums that the audience already uses. If there is already a forum or other site where your core audience gathers, use that to promote your content.
Additionally target the friends of your core audience. Your core audience already likes you, they are following you after all. Your audience's friends are the ones you should be focusing on. How to make them share?
1. Get your audience to click it. <- easy 2. Get your audience to like it. 3. Get your audience to share it. 4. Get your audience's audience to click it. 5. Get your audience's audience to like it. 6. Get your audience's audience to share it. <- hard
You don't decide if your content is worth reading. The readers decide.
Never talk solely about yourself or your brand. If your content starts to feel like an advertisement, people will abandon it. Who would read a blog where a company only writes about themselves? You should write guides for customers, muse about things you have experienced and about the problem domain in general.
Focusing on quantity or quality is a choice. If you want to gain visibility, focus on quantity, general topics and less insight. If you want to gain authority, focus on quality, specific topics and opinions. You will always end up doing a little bit of both though.
Keep search engines in mind. Use keywords, but don't be obvious keyword spammer or you will be penalized. Blog posts with 2000+ words rank higher in search engine results, but the content must still maintain good quality to improve sharing. More about search engine optimization in SEO notes.
Create original content. Do not give your content away and rightfully attribute any sources you use. Using content made solely by others will be noticed, even after translation.
Create unique content. You can share interesting articles, videos and pictures, but must be related to the field and you must contribute your own opinion to make it unique.
Your content should be relevant to your line of business. Having a lot of traffic does not really help if they are not your potential customers. Don't talk about raising dogs if you sell cars.
Relevant to current customers. => OK Relevant to current and potential customers => Great Relevant to anyone who interact with potential and current customers => Best
Maintain a strict focus for your content. Each piece of content should have only one point or focus.
Keep yourself updated. Watch what competitors are talking about but never mimic. Everything competitors have written about are off-limits, but you may write a response content to an existing content.
Prefer storytelling. People like stories more and remember stories better.
Make content skimmable. Have clear sections so users can eyeball what the content is about. In blog posts, this means subheadings and paragraphs. In videos, this might mean clear sections.
Encourage social involvement. If your content has comments, always respond to them with complete sentences. Encourage dialog while including searchable keywords in your comments. Invite people to comment in the content itself, asking a question is usually the best way to provoke involvement. Check them daily.
Some comments are more important than others. You should make it possible to move comments around. If a famous person likes or retweets you, show it as first after the content.
Always start off with an image. Any related image is fine but avoid using stock photos. But even stock photos are better than nothing.
You need a topic before you start creating. Deciding your next topic:
- Talk about your experiences in the problem domain.
- Talk about a specific experience in the problem domain.
- Talk about your personal life related to the problem domain.
- Talk advice for other people related to the problem domain.
- Talk about a thing that customers ask frequently.
- Talk about a hero and a villain.
- Share an emotional story.
- Share an inspiring and meaningful message.
- Make a prediction about the future in your problem domain.
- Have an interview with a known person in your problem domain.
- Go to forum or social media pages that your target audience visits. See what they are asking or talking about.
- Use Google Ads keyword tool to find what word people are searching by. Aim for 10 000 monthly searches with medium to low competition.
- Take a sheet of paper and write everything that comes in mind related to your problem domain. Take three of the best ideas and derive new set of ideas from those. Iterate until you have your next topic.
Content that raises emotions are the most shared ones.
- Positive messages are better than negative messages.
- Practical message are better than theoretical message.
Inspirational > 2) Lustful > 3) Humor > 4) Empathy > 5) Anger
Rare Treatment Is Reported to Cure AIDS Patient
10 Secrets to Create The Perfect Dinner
Love, Sex, and the Changing Landscape of Infidelity
From Rags to Riches: How A Farmer Became A Millionaire
Imagine a World Where Everybody Has Food
What Red Ink? Wall Street Paid Hefty Bonuses
Publish content with consistency. Being inconsistent content provider will reduce your audience. Optimal frequency depends on your content, goal and target audience.
Visibility: Consumer News: 10+ posts per day. Funny Pictures: 1 posts per day. Infographics: 1 picture per month. Authority: B2C Blog: 1-5 blog posts per week, aim for 15 blog posts a month. B2B Blog: 2 blog posts per month. Personal Blog: 1 blog post per month. Review Videos: 1+ video per day. Normal Videos: 1 video per day Long Videos: 1 video per week E-book: 1 book per quarter.
Publishing timing is very important. Follow sites like Google Trends to see what people are talking about. Try to release content related to them. People frequently search online about trends so they will more probably land on your website. You may even consider saving premade content to publish it later when the topic becomes trendy.
Publishing the content is not the end. You should spend as much time promoting your content as you spend writing it.
Use email to promote your content. Email is the number one promotion tool in your arsenal. You must get people to subscribe and you must use email sending service.
AWeber MailChimp (does not support unique links)
Use other services to promote your content. When you publish new content, drop an update to all social networks.
Facebook, promote once and prefer using your personal account. Google+, promote once and prefer using your personal account. Twitter, promote multiple times throughout the day. Reddit StumbleUpon
Use only services that generate views and shares. Use analytics to see which channels promote the best, drop or improve those that people do not follow.
1. Facebook: first you should try, probably also the only. 2. Twitter: nothing major. 3. Tumblr: nothing major. 4. Reddit: very chaotic, but might generate a lot of visibility.
Utilize influencers. Influencers are the most important spokesmen in the problem domain. Maintain a list of influencers and approach them when possible. They should be people that your audience follows on Twitter etc. Your target is to get them to share your content.
Use Q&A sites to promote your content. Find a questions you can answer, write a blog post about it and link back to it.
StackExchange Yahoo! Answers Quora
Use your own content to promote your other content. Always refer to your own content when applicable.
YouTube video should always end to a link where you can see extra videos. If you have made a blog post about SSH, you may refer to it whenever you talk about SSH.
Use guest posting for promoting. Find a related blog with a fair amount of comments per post and updated in a month. Email the owner to say hello, state that you liked a few of their paste articles, give a few potential headlines, show some previous guest posts and ask for permission to guest post. Write the guest post to relate also to their website and link back to one of your own articles as reference. Include pictures. If you guest post to a big publication, consider sending the complete article on the first message.
tech => TechCrunch business => Mashable everyday => LifeHacker
Use external sources to boost visibility of your own content. Add quotes and statistics from other sources that people might search by. Using general news for your advantage is good but they must somehow be related to your problem domain. Speed is also important in general news. Make sure you mark all references and sources.
You provide systems to measure gas levels. When there is an explosion in a factory caused by dangerous gases, you could make a study if your system would have prevented that.
Offer multiple ways to share. For maximal efficiency.
- Share buttons that scroll with the user, but should not be disturbing.
- Popup window after ending the video "Loved that video?"
- Make a small share window open at bottom right after 16 seconds.
- One at the bottom of the content: "Did you already share this? No? Share it now:"
Feedback will be mostly demotivational. If you receive any feedback, it will most likely be negative. You should learn to see feedback as constructive advice and try to improve when you see multiple people nothing on a same thing.
Determine what you are measuring and why. You need to have some concrete values you can benchmark your improvement and identify emerging trends.
For example: 1. Blog subscriber count. 2. Share count per post. 3. Visitor count per post. 4. Comment count per post.
Analyze your authors. Content creation is rarely a one-man show. Keep track how well each of your authors performs and gradually focus on using only the best authors you have.
For example: 1. Share count per author. 2. Visitor count per author. 3. Comment count per author.
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