Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Top 7 Tips for Effective Content Marketing

Marketing is no longer just about selling your company’s product or service or about creating a brand that people can connect to. Of course, that’s part of it, but there is so much more that needs to be considered. Today, the most effective marketing campaigns focus on thought leadership and the best strategy to position your brand as a thought leader is through content marketing.
In this post we’ll focus on the 7 best practices for your content marketing strategy.
1. Stop Selling
Effective content marketing leaves the sales pitch to the salesmen. The minute you start talking about how great your product is, the reader sees marketing blah blah and closes the page. Give your readers information they want and need. Are you selling a cloud monitoring solution? Create a whitepaper explaining the hidden costs in underutilized instances. Are you promoting a lending solution for small businesses? Offer tips and tricks on cash flow management for small business owners.
At Oktopost, Rather than talking about how great our product is (and let’s face it, it is) we opt to host Google Hangouts with representatives from top B2B companies such as LinkedIn and IT Central Station so you can figure out on your own the importance of social media marketing in the B2B world.
2. Solve a Problem
In today’s internet age, people turn to Google whenever a question arises. If a person is struggling with time management, sure he may ask colleagues for advice, but eventually he’ll end up on the computer searching for “Time Management Tips”. Figure out what your potential customers are searching for and help them solve that problem. 
Consistently offering objective information that solves or pre-empts your customer’s problems will ensure they come to you the next time an issue arises. 
3. Blog Blog Blog
Hosting a blog on your website is the easiest and most effective method of boosting SEO, sharing your content, and ensuring that your site is live. Every time a new blog is added, the search engines scan your site and boost your ranking. Aim to publish a new blog at least 2-3 times a week. Post on the same days each week so your readers know to stop by on a certain day. 
My favorite example of an organization that does this well is NPRs radio show “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me”. Every week, the crew tries a different sandwich and shares their hilarious reactions on Sandwich Monday. While SEO may not be their biggest concern, they certainly have me coming back every week to read this feature.
4. Repurpose Content
Being tasked with writing a whitepaper can be a daunting thought. What will you write about? What point are you trying to make? When will you find the time to make it happen? Here’s the beauty of content, it can be used for so many purposes. Combine a bunch of those wonderful blogs; add an intro, conclusion, and cover page and you’ve got a great and marketable whitepaper. Stick that whitepaper behind a registration form and you’re armed with a great tool for lead generation. Did you give a presentation at a meet up? Use the PowerPoint and your speech as the basis for a blog or slideshare. With an open mind and a little creative re-working, your content can easily be put to multiple uses.
5. Embrace Videos 
Videos are all the rage right now and easier to produce than you might think. With a decent script, you can take advantage of online tools like Powtoon to create animated presentations that will catch your customer’s attention. Stick it on your homepage or share it on YouTube to let people know what you’re all about. 
6. Optimize for SEO
Now that you’ve created all this wonderful content (blogs, whitepapers, videos, PPTs), you need to make sure the people, and search engines, can find it. Optimizing your content is easy and can really boost traffic to your site. Write a catchy title that will draw people in. Include Meta titles and descriptions featuring your keyword. Does your keyword appear in the title, Meta data, URL? There are wonderful tools and plugins available to assess your SEO. My personal favorite is Yoast, which ranks your content as well as tells you exactly what needs to be done to optimize your content.
7. Promote via Social Media
With an arsenal of optimized content, the next issue is how to make it work for you. Enter the world of social networking. Social media is one of the best ways to distribute your content. Networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+…this is where your target audience is and the most effective way to reach them. Whether they admit it or not, most people can be found on some sort of social networking site throughout the workday. Why not make the 5-minute break a productive use of their time? Write little teasers for your content and share it with a link to get people reading, sharing, and enjoying your content. This will further your reputation as a thought leader and bring more traffic to your site.

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