Your brand is unique.
Your content is unique.
So why would you follow the same content marketing strategy as everyone else?
If you really want to stand out, you need to revisit your content strategy and make sure it’s working. It’s no good focussing on what everyone else is doing. You need to concentrate on creating content that generates value.
The type of content you create and the strategies you use to promote it, will depend on your business. You need to understand who you’re targeting, what you’re trying to achieve, and how your content is going to help you get there.
There’s so much to think about, and we’ve only scratched the surface!
In this blog post we’ll cover a range of easy, actionable content marketing strategies that will put you ahead of your competition. It’s no good just rehashing the same old methods because it’s what the ‘company has always done’. You need to stay ahead of the game and produce content that is valuable and relevant to your audience.
You need to be innovative with your thinking, and utilise tactics that capture the right people at the right time.
But let’s start with the basics.
Why Do I Need Content Marketing?
Content is usually the first moment a customer comes into your contact with your company.
They might have found a blog post through Google or social media, and will be looking for a solution to a specific problem.
When we take to Google, we’re usually asking for something. We need answers, and we want clear, concise information that helps us make some sort of decision.
Whether you’re choosing a creative agency for the first time, or looking for a catering company for an event, you want to be sure you’re making the right decision. You want to feel confident that you trust the company to do a good job.
That’s why we write long-form posts on the Canny blog, as we want to give our readers all of the information they need. We want to leave no stone unturned, so that after reading our blog, you’ve got all of the answers you need to move forward.
There’s various types of content you can create including blog posts, ebooks, whitepapers, videos, and infographics. The most important thing is that your content provides value to your customer. Now more than ever, consumers want to be informed and educated about a product or service. They’re not going to buy off the back of an advert as this lacks credibility. Customers appreciate businesses who provide them with detailed information which is genuinely helpful.
That’s why content marketing is so important.
Your customer doesn’t want to be sold to, they want solutions to their problems. Once you’ve told them how you can solve this problem, and demonstrated your expertise in the subject area, they will naturally be more likely to invest in your offering. Your content gives them that much-needed confidence and trust before they choose where to part with their money.
What is a Content Marketing Strategy?
A content strategy essentially sets the direction for the content you’re creating.
By planning the creation and distribution of content, you can be confident that it is useful and usable for readers.
Regardless of the type of content your business produces, it should have a purpose and should help you achieve the goals you have set.
What are you actually wanting your content to do?
Do you want to build more trust with your audience?
Do you want to improve your SEO?
Or is your content raising brand awareness in your space?
Whatever the goal, your content is there for a reason.
It shouldn’t just ‘exist’ as that is a terrible waste of your time and resources. All too often people create content because it’s on their to-do list without really thinking about why they’re doing it.
They simply want to tick another task off their ever growing list, without understanding if it’s really working. When you get your content right, it has huge potential to engage your audience and transform leads into loyal customers.
Why Do I Need a Content Marketing Strategy?
Now you know the power of content marketing, it’s time to dig deep into why you need a content marketing strategy.
This keeps you on track and ensures your content is helping you achieve your business goals. It’s not something which can be mocked up in half an hour or something which is created and then just left.
This is a valuable resource, as when used correctly, content has the power to propel your business.
By producing high quality, informative content, businesses can build trust with current and potential customers, drive more organic traffic to their website, and enjoy a consistent flow of leads for years to come.
Content is evergreen and will continue to drive people to your website long after you pressed that all important ‘publish’ button. This reliable source of traffic also gives you the opportunity to experiment with other tactics including paid advertising and social media to amplify your content even more.
With that said, I think it’s time to start implementing some easy, actionable content marketing strategies.
How to Create a Content Marketing Strategy
As we’ve discussed, your business is unique and should not be a carbon-copy of a competitor.
As such, it makes sense that the tactics you use in your content strategy are tailored towards your business.
Some of the tactics explored below will be more relevant for some brands than others, so it’s about working out which combination is right for you. These tactics will form the basis of your content marketing strategy and will drive more organic traffic to your website.
Create More Landing Pages
A great way of capturing more leads? Build more targeted landing pages on your website.
Content for content’s sake is pointless, it actually needs to do something. So whether you’ve created a fantastic blog post, an infographic, or a PPC campaign, it needs to redirect your customers somewhere that is relevant.
Your landing page!
Have you written a blog about cakes?
Then use this to redirect your customers to a downloadable recipes ebook.
Have you written a blog about the best photography practices?
Then use this to redirect your customers to a downloadable checklist template.
But the catch is, to get these highly useful resources, customers must provide their contact details such as their name and email address.
Bingo, you’ve now captured another lead.
If your content is high-quality and engaging, your customers will be happy to give their contact details in exchange for resources. After reading your blog, they’ll be confident that your the go-to business for this subject and will want more of your helpful insights.
A fantastic example of a company using landing pages to their advantage is Slack.
As a business communication platform, it allows companies to easily organise their work life by dividing different departments into ‘channels’. It’s straightforward, easy to use, and very convenient for any business trying to juggle various people and projects at once,
Their landing page is very well designed, and offers people a free trial of Slack in exchange for their details.
Other winning features include:
- Only one form field meaning readers are a lot more likely to stop and fill it in
- Engaging, bright colours that make people pay attention
- A clear and easy to find call-to-action which explains exactly what customers will get i.e. a free trial
- Unique scrolling style so people can see all of the information at once without having to move up and down the page
- Easy to read as there’s not an overwhelming amount of text
A key point to bear in mind when building your landing page is key words.
It needs to be targeted and centred around topics your audience cares about. This is something you need to consider when creating your content strategy.
Credit to instapage.com
Understand What Your Audience Wants
The success of your content relies on understanding your audience.
This drives your content and makes sure the right people are engaging with it.
If you’re unsure of who your audience is, then you need to create your ideal customer persona. This ensures you pitch your content in the right way and speak to your audience in a tone that they will resonate with.
The first step of this tactic is performing keyword research.
This allows you to identify which keywords your audience are searching for, so you can tailor your content around it. For example, if you’re an IT business are your readers looking for more information on cloud-based technology?
If so, then you should be creating content based on this subject as you’re fulfilling their needs.
At Canny, we use Ahrefs to identify different keywords, as well as their search volume and keyword difficulty. As a general rule, if a keyword has a low search volume and a high keyword difficulty then it’s probably not worth targeting.
Essentially, there’s not enough demand for it as not many people are looking for it online. Choose valuable keywords which can bring a high volume of users to your website, but more importantly, the right users.
The more you know about your audience, the better you serve their needs, and the more successful your content strategy will be.
A/B testing lets you compare different ways of speaking to your audience to identify which is producing the highest conversion rates.
By understanding which subject lines, calls-to-action, and types of content works best for your audience, you can focus more time and energy in these places. You’re not just acting blind, but instead using evidence based data to craft future marketing campaigns.
Once you know what’s working, you can be a lot more targeted which makes creating your content strategy much easier.
A/B testing can be done on just about anything.
If you’re trying to improve search traffic, you should concentrate on your layout, presentation, landing pages, and site speed to see which variable impacts customer engagement.
Mobile testing is also a must, with the majority of us accessing information on our mobile devices. Let’s be honest, they rarely leave our hands!
Therefore, it’s crucial your content provides a good user experience regardless of the device as this will affect user behaviour.
Your homepage is highly important as it’s one of the first things people see when they find your website.
Therefore, the way you speak to customers, both in terms of written content and imagery, has to be right. It has to draw them further into your website and give them enough of a taster about what the company does.
Marketing agency Csek is an example of a company who effectively conducted split testing to identify the best tagline for their homepage.
Previously, it read ‘Csek Creative is a Kelowna based digital agency that delivers the results that make business sense.’
However, to make the tagline less vague and to tell customers more about what the company actually offered, they changed this to read: Csek Creative is a digital agency that helps companies with their online and offline marketing needs.
And the results were impressive!
By simply changing the wording, they enjoyed an 8.2% increase in click-throughs to other pages on the website.
Credit to hubspot.com
Carry Out Competitor Analysis
To be competitive, you need to know what your competitors are up to.
By having this information, you can find ways to outsmart them and get ahead.
What topics are they talking about?
What products/ services are they selling?
Have they launched something new recently?
This is an integral part of your content marketing strategy and helps you improve your own efforts by identifying new opportunities to tap into.
But first of all, you need to find out who your competitors are.
By plugging in the URL of your website into Ahrefs ‘site explorer’ you can simply click on competing domains’ in the left hand side bar and are presented with a list of other websites in your space. There are various columns of information, but the one you’re interested in is ‘keywords unique to target’.
Essentially this means the keywords your competitor is targeting that you’re not.
There can be some really useful nuggets of information here, and could give your ideas for content that you’ve not yet explored.
Remember, if keywords have a low search volume and a high keyword difficulty then they’re probably not worthwhile. Make sure you’re selective about which terms you choose to get the maximum results for your keyword research.
By understanding what topics your audience are talking about, you can integrate these into your own content marketing strategy.
Repurpose Your Content
Now you might be thinking, is rehashing old content not just a bit, well, lazy?
Your old content has a lot to offer and shouldn’t just be left untouched on your blog.
Remember, you’ve spent a lot of time and effort creating this piece of content, so is it not worthwhile getting the most out of it?
Time is precious for any business. This is the beauty of repurposing content as the majority of the creation process is already done. You’ve got the content, it’s about finding exciting ways to promote this to your audience.
‘You don’t have to create content day in and day out. You just have to work on getting the content you already have in the hands of more people.’ – Derek Halpern, Founder of Social Triggers
A lot of businesses overlook the importance of repurposing content as a way of increasing traffic to their website.
However, by taking your old content and using it in different formats, you’re diversifying your offering and appealing to more people. For example, you could take a successful blog post and transform it into an ebook to act as an end-to-end downloadable guide.
In addition, you could take a different blog and turn it into an infographic to offer your audience the same information but in a more digestible format. Infographics are a fantastic way of communicating complex information and can also be easily shared to platforms such as Pinterest.
Different people engage with different types of content. To maximise your chances of capturing your audience you need to be everywhere they are. As a marketer, you need to be versatile by taking advantage of various platforms
It’s naive to produce a blog post and then leave it to disappear into the archives.
Moz creates ‘Whiteboard Friday’ videos which give users fresh ideas and tips on different aspects of SEO marketing. After each video, the content is turned into a blog post with video transcription to make sure it’s accessible for as many people as possible.
This is a fantastic example of a company getting every drop of goodness out of their content.
Credit to moz.com
Social media is one of the best ways to reach your audience.
By putting time, effort, and consideration into your social media marketing you can successfully reach a wide and relevant audience base. But it all comes back to your content marketing strategy.
What are you trying to achieve through social media?
What is the end goal?
There is so much potential but there needs to be a reason behind every social campaign. From building brand awareness to increasing your online presence, it’s about identifying what you want social media to help you achieve.
It’s also a great way to connect with other businesses. By interacting and sharing relevant posts, it increases the likelihood that these businesses will also support your own content.
By sharing your posts to their network it means they will be seen by more followers which maximises how many people you are reaching with your content.
However, to use this platform to your full advantage you should be directing people to somewhere useful such as a blog post or your newsletter. You have full control over these mediums and can direct the user journey.
From here, you can better nurture leads and ultimately turn them into customers.
Encourage People to Share Your Content
The more people that share your content, the more it will be seen.
You want people to be excited by it so they tell their friends, colleagues, and followers on social media. This is another way social media can be crucial in promoting your content. People trust people, and are more likely to invest in your business on the back of a recommendation.
Obviously you’re going to say your product is good, (duh you work there) but if it’s coming from an unbiased source, then it has more credibility. Your friend isn’t going to benefit by telling you to buy something – that’s why it’s more genuine.
You need to be innovative and think of ways that encourage people to share your product.
We can’t write this section without mentioning Coca Cola.
Their ‘share a coke’ campaign is the epitome of this content marketing strategy.
By putting individual names on bottles of coke, it personalised the brand for consumers and directly spoke to their audience. They then encouraged customers to ‘share a coke’ with a friend and post on social media using the hashtag ‘#ShareaCoke’.
It went down an absolute storm, generating 998 million impressions on Twitter with 235,000 tweets using the hashtag. Even better, the fizzy pop manufacturer sold 150 million bottles of coke as a result of the campaign.
Success is sweet!
Credit to brandingmag.com
Promote User Generated Content
User generated copy (UGC) is highly valuable and has the potential to bring lots of traffic to your website.
This type of content is exactly what it sounds like – content created by your users.
This can take many different forms including testimonials, reviews, blogs, forums, and much more.
Like the point above, people are more likely to invest in something if a real person has recommended it. Your consumers aren’t stupid.
They know your content writer gets paid to write about your company, and as such, this can affect their judgement. However, by reading about real people having a positive experience of a product or service, it adds credibility and encourages them to invest too.
No one wants to be a guinea pig.
They don’t want to be the first one to try your product, they want reassurance that someone else has tried it and more importantly, liked it.
Starbucks is a perfect example of a brand taking advantage of UGC.
With their #RedCupContest, the coffee retailer encourages customers to upload cool photos of their coffee cups for a chance to win a Starbucks gift card. And it always works! To date, the campaign has collected over 30,000 red cup photos which will continue to increase.
The #RedCupContest runs every December and gives customers an incentive to participate in exchange for a reward. Not only does this boost brand visibility but also increases sales as you need to buy a Starbucks cup before you can participate.
A simple yet highly effective idea as which customer can resist a competition!
Credit to starbucks.com
Easy, Actionable Content Marketing Strategies (With Examples)
The most important part of any content marketing strategy is creating high quality content.
Not every strategy we’ve explored will work for your business, it’s about finding which one works for you and generates the most results.
Like I said at the beginning of the blog – your business is unique.
As such, the tactics you use to promote your business are unique.
And as a result, you should factor some budget into your content marketing costs for experimenting. It might fail, but it’ll be a lesson learned.
One thing always stays the same with content strategy, creation, and marketing, regardless of your industry.
The quality of your content is key.
By producing relevant, insightful, informative pieces of content that educates your audiences and appeals to their interests, you can be confident that your strategy will work. Focus on the needs of the user and how your content fulfills those needs.
That’s how Canny was built.
We understand what our audience needs from us and create content that makes them want to engage. From there, we’ve partnered with numerous clients across a whole host of sectors, helping them to reap the rewards of great content marketing.
Wish this was you? It can be!
Reach out to a member of our team for a friendly discussion about how content services can grow your business.