You’re a busy director in for a small but thriving business. You’ve seen all buzz around content marketing and you’ve taken the leap and added a blog. Your business now has a licence to publish its thoughts, views and advice online, which is awesome.
The thing is, it’s not exactly setting the world on fire as you’d hoped, nor driving much in the way of traffic and leads.
Perhaps, like many, you’ve signed off a plan for an article or two a month, written by a third party. However, the copy writer probably isn’t the subject-expert that you are, and whilst the content is ok, it’s just a bit generic.
If this feels familiar, don’t worry. You’re not alone.
Firstly, some great news!
You made the right choice in investing in content. There’s a reason why 78% of CMOs cite content as the future of marketing. When done right, it’s very powerful. However, there are countless other businesses in your niche who have all received the same wisdom. They’re all doing the same thing.
There is an abundance of content online and it’s easy enough to appreciate why that is. That has resulted in a crowded market and it’s tough to make an impact. So, to own this channel, you have to be strategic, committed and intentional.
Here’s some ideas to help you get the most from your blog and take your content marketing strategy up a notch or two.
Take Some Ownership
Typically, a content team will do their research online (then jazz it up with their unique flair to make something new). As a result, whatever they produce may feel a little ‘done already’. Because of the widespread nature of the beast, the chances are, they’re recycling content that has been through the mill a few times already.
This can easily be remedied by your business taking a little more ownership of the content being produced, bridging the gap.
Clients have industry knowledge:
- Product knowledge
- Customer understanding
- Unique insights
Agencies have marketing knowledge:
- Tone of Voice
Rarely the two meet, despite best intentions.
Businesses are usually quite ‘hands off’. After all, they’re paying for an agency to do the marketing and of course, the agency are doing what they do which is to execute as best they can.
However, when the client / agency relationship behaves more like an integrated partnership, with a clear editorial agenda and vision, things most forward at pace. So, get involved, help your agency help you. Bring your expertise to the table, and let them do what they do best, which is advise and execute.
Creating New Information
Online research is fine. It’s good to reference others and expand on their points. However, your content marketing strategy is not going to thrive on bread and butter alone.
By definition, news is “new”, so conducting your own research is a sure-fire way to make an impact. Sign off some consumer research, go data mining, hit the streets with a clipboard, whatever. Just create something original that others can reference, rather than just referencing the work of others.
For example, Glaze recently conducted research into the used cars marketing in Northern Ireland and published a report for car dealers. This was shared widely and even picked up by a leading local digital marketing news portal. It also resulted in a few leads!
Look Beyond The Written Word
There’s a world of content beyond written articles and loads of great ways to integrate simple technologies. Some ideas include:
- Live polls can be used to drive real time data and dynamic charts which update themselves.
- Dynamic infographics can update in front of you, i.e. “since you’ve been here [rising number counter] plastic bottles find their way into the ocean”.
- Even just little visuals and mini-infographics can bring traditional block-content to life.
Stop Writing, Start Cultivating
Any given copywriter will probably have lots of similar briefs to fulfil making yours just one of many on the to-do list. That’s pretty standard. But, if your content reads a bit “churn and burn”, there are some great ways to breathe new life into proceedings.
One of the best ways to inject some much-needed quality and expertise is to crowdsource content. Ask other experts in your network to weigh in on a chosen subject. To do this, pick a topic which enables contributors to lend their wisdom, experience, or creative flair and send out an invite. Easy.
For example, in the run up to Christmas, Ballymount Fireplaces invited local interior designers to offer their festive fireplace decorating tips. Meanwhile, HR solutions provider Forde HR Cloud sought expertise under the topic of “Writing Job Descriptions & Attracting Candidates” gaining contributions from local business owners.
In all cases, the content was powerful, plentiful and of the highest quality. You also stand to benefit from our contributor’s social reach, assuming they are gracious enough to share with their audience. Above all, it’s also nice to provide a platform for others.
Circle Back & Improve
Finally, if you’ve been in the game for a little while now, sustainability can be an issue. Once you’ve exhausted all key topics and obvious places to research, it can sometimes feel like there’s nothing else to write about. So, take a break and start revisiting old pieces.
One of the main purpose of doing this is to try boost the performance of old content and improve click-through rates (CTR) in search engines. It’s an effective exercise because the majority of the work is done, and it might just be a case of finessing to get the piece over the line.
There’s a superb guide to improving CTRs here, but the basic principle is to use data to identify content which is in striking distance of driving traffic. Then make some tweaks. This could be as simple as improving the page title and headers. It might involve a little more of a revamp like providing a 2016 piece with a 2018 update, or adding some crowd-sourced quotes to expand the piece.
It’s really important to go back and improve content rather than continue to publish more of the same. Otherwise, there is a danger of duplication and cannibalisation which Google doesn’t like at all. Improving existing content is a far better use of time.
Pick ‘n’ Mix
None of the ideas and suggestions are silver bullets by themselves. The key is to integrate a variety of solutions where possible and relevant. Try mix and match whatever works for your business and over time, your content marketing will become one of the most valued marketing channels.
About the author: Dave Clough is a Digital PR Consultant for Glaze Digital in Belfast. He has a strong background in digital marketing having previously been the SEO Manager for Argos and worked in senior positions for numerous leading digital agencies in London.