There’s a wealth of media online. Over 65 million blog posts were published in October 2016 on WordPress alone, so it’s important to make sure you stand out.
Publishing high quality content across your owned media – your websites and social media channels – raises brand awareness, generates traffic and builds trust. If you can afford to inject some paid promotion into the mix, this will complement your content marketing and bring in some immediate traffic while you grow organically in the longer term.
With the rise of web and social analytics, content marketing has become increasingly performance based and quantifiable. This provides a backbone of research to help understand how people consume content, as well as the ways it can be used to achieve a positive return on investment.
With the new year nearly upon us, here are 4 areas of content marketing to consider for your 2017 budget:
- Personalised content
This goes beyond sending an email to a customer with their name in the “To:” field. Personalised content in 2017 is about creating something that is of genuine value to the individual, reflecting their interests and preferences.
Coca-Cola’s famous Share a Coke campaign gave the company its largest ever growth year on year in 2014, while #shareacoke became the No. 1 global trending topic on social media. Personalised content helps brands stand out in a vast sea of online content, and in turn increases engagement and brand loyalty.
As technology gets better at delivering targeted content at scale more accurately, this is something businesses can increasingly make use of to drive sales.
- Understand your audiences – spend the time in getting to know your customers and listening to their feedback in a bid to build meaningful relationships with them online
- Create different types of high quality content – factor in who your audience is, their current mood, the stage they are at in their decision making process and the devices they are using
- Use technology to your advantage – analytics, social media and marketing automation tools will help you gain insights into your audience, as well as to manage your personalised content strategy and evaluate its effectiveness
- Hub content
Website architecture and content relevancy plays a big part in attracting more traffic to a website. Providing the right information at the right time and in a way that makes it easy for the user to find, is essential. This boils down to improving user experience and satisfying their search intent.
One of the best methods for structuring a site is to view each webpage as a site within a site. Imagine that these mini-sites are ‘hubs’ of content that fit under an umbrella category semantically.
Let’s use travel content as an example. A site might have a number of hubs that house content related to a certain holiday destination, making it easier for the user to find the information they need.
- Audit your site structure – think about the categories across your site, how well they are organised and if they are easily accessible to users
- Create a plan – jot down exactly how you want to structure your content in a way that makes production easier
- Back it up with search – use actual searches from your users and real analytics data to inform your plan. This will help you to focus on the content your users are looking for and answer their questions effectively
- Mobile-first content
We live in a fast-paced, mobile-first world where an unimaginable amount of content can be accessed on the move. We want answers quickly, and we now search more on our mobiles than on desktop.
Creating content that is optimised for mobile relates to user experience first and foremost. Speed is a key factor, giving rise to Google’s AMP project.
Technology and mobiles have changed how we like to shop. If you don’t have a mobile-first content strategy, you’re likely to be missing out on a large part of your audience at times they want to buy.
- Create mobile-friendly content – think fast loading content, visual and shareable content such as video
- Share your mobile content – promote your content across social media and online to amplify its reach and get it in front of mobile users when they’re browsing online
- Use your analytics – enhance and measure how your mobile strategy is performing to further optimise user experience
- Video content
Visual information leads the way in attracting our attention online and video is a powerful and fast communication medium. According to HubSpot, one minute of video equates to 1.8 million words. After watching a video 64% of users are more likely to also buy online, and 92% of video users share videos with others. Social media platforms understand this well, with Facebook creating its dedicated video feed.
While video livestreaming may be the newest trend to take advantage of, many business still underutilise video as a whole.
Whether a video tutorial showing us how to use a product or a film inviting us to experience the personality of a brand, we need information to help make our decisions. They improve user experience and may ultimately lead to more conversions.
- Avoid the hard sell – create videos that are of value to your users, overt selling is a turn off
- Share your own videos – include them in blog content on your website, share them across your social media channels and give them exposure
- Drive traffic back to your site from social – consider adding links such as YouTube cards
- Social content
Just as video is key to building awareness and driving engagement, social content needs to be shareable.
One third of the world uses social media regularly. Creating good quality social content will support your SEO and help you reach your audience and influencers where they like to hang out online, amplifying your reach.
- Find the best platforms for your audiences – focus on fewer and do them well, sharing high quality content regularly
- Consider different types of content and what’s trending – short and long articles, video and images in the moment
- Connect with influencers – this circles back to the importance of building authentic relationships, while influencers will help your social content go further
Ultimately, content marketing in 2017 is and should be about your users – understanding them, and understanding where and how they like to consume content. Investment in content will pay off if it both makes the most of your different channels and is targeted to the needs of your users. The result will be more engaged customers who readily share and promote your content, leading to increased visibility for your business.