It’s 2018 and great content is important now more than ever.
These days people discover brands through viewing their content. They find their photos on Instagram, watch their ads on Youtube, use their filters on Snapchat, and see their sponsored posts on Facebook. Meaning that if a brand has no content online, then it’s practically nonexistent.
In fact, the stats show that content marketing is far from stopping. Impact BND reports that 70% of marketers plan to create more content than they did in the past year, and 75% plan to increase their budget for their content marketing programs.
Since the competition just got tougher, don’t expect success without a robust long-term strategy.
What are the strategies you need to beat your competition? How can you get ahead in 2018?
1) Share Underground Content
It’s easy to just write about what everyone is talking about.
But you won’t stand out if you are just like everyone else.
This saying holds true for both life and content marketing.
People can only be amazed at unique or fresh content. After all, when you share an article or a video, part of the reason why you shared it, is because you’ve never seen it before.
Although, you don’t have to be 100% original. You can simply write about a topic in a new angle, or write about it before it becomes a trend. One tool that I like to use when brainstorming article ideas is Feedly. After you create a free account, you can search for any website that you want to follow. In the example below, I’ve followed Neil Patel.
I have grouped all the marketing publications I followed in the marketing section of my Feedly account. This allows me to track the blog posts recently published by each publication and their popularity counts. By identifying the posts with the highest popularity counts, I can determine upcoming trends.
I can also use Feedly to track and follow keywords such as “content marketing.”
Once I click the search results, I can view the most recent posts about my target keyword.
Do you ever miss browsing the glossy pages of a magazine?
The good news is they’re back!
While print magazines might be dead, interactive ones aren’t.
In fact, ASOS’ Brand Magazine has 486,000 readers and 820,000 online subscribers. For the uninitiated, these interactive magazines aren’t simply downloadable PDFs. Instead, think of a clickable magazine where you can shop on the page itself!
We all want our publications or blogs to be recognised in the industry. However, you do not just promote your brand online. Instead, you should also create events and shareable experiences on the ground.
Events provide a way for companies to increase brand awareness and meet valuable customers. Think about the opportunity to convince clients face-to-face!
One great example is Hubspot’s INBOUND.
The event features innovative talks, educational breakouts and hands-on-lessons from the world’s best marketing and sales professionals. Not surprisingly, it attracted 19,000+ professionals last 2016.
This is a great example of event marketing in action!
By creating INBOUND, Hubspot is not only able to engage with thousands of potential clients, but it is also able to establish the credibility of its content and online resources.
No idea what topics to include in your content calendar? Why don’t you ask your readers for a change!
Here are some sample questions that can help get you started?
People always pick sides. They are attracted to articles that either confirm or oppose their beliefs. Not only because its headlines spark curiosity, but also because they want to understand or be surprised by alternative opinions.
In fact, Neil Patel found that controversial topics get people sharing online.
So, how can you create content focused on controversial topics?
You can talk about your controversial opinion, or report an incident that goes against the norm.
For example, consider the article in the image below. Viewers are likely to click the headline to find out how Elon Musk built a popular brand without even trying.
Pick a controversial topic and discuss the two sides of the issue.
For example, think about Heineken’s “Worlds Apart” advertisement.
The brand asked pairs of strangers to have fun and later revealed that they held opposing views on controversial issues. They were then asked to discuss their differences or leave. But the good news is that all of them chose to sit down and talk with a bottle of beer.
How do you create content with original research-backed data?
Follow the Content Marketing Institute’s example and generate data using your subscribers.
How do you get customers to learn about your brand?
How can you get them to evaluate a purchase?
How do you turn a potential customer into an actual buyer?
The answer is to match content with the buyer journey.
Let’s say your customer subscribed to your blog, but hasn’t bought anything yet. Why not send them an email with ebooks, product guides or blog posts that will trigger them to consider a purchase? Or, why not give them a little push through a free trial?
If you are ready to give it a try, then check out this infographic that features offers for each stage of the buying cycle:
It’s no secret that links from authoritative sites are the secret to success. It is the reason why top blogs and influencers receive tons of link request emails every day.
As a result, most link requests are bound to be ignored.
You need to warm up to influencers first.
After all, why would they fulfil a request from a complete stranger?
If you’re not sure how to get on their good side, then start by following this engagement list from Groove:
Include a feedback button to find out what your audience thinks.
You can ask them questions regarding the type of content they prefer or what they would like to know more about. You might be surprised to discover that a lot of your viewers would prefer a webinar or podcast, or more visuals to grasp a specific blog post.
Here is an example of a feedback button from Usersnap:
Medium is a powerful platform that has over 30 million monthly visitors. Hence, it’s a great place to republish your posts and maximize your reach.
Not sure where to start? No worries!
You can easily create an account through your social network accounts or your email.
Next, click on your profile image and choose “Stories.”
Enter the link of the blog post or article that you would like to repost.
11. CREATE ADAPTIVE CONTENT
Adaptive content repurposes an idea across a variety of channels. Think of it like a blog post, which can be turned into an ebook, infographic, podcast or webinar. Obviously, each time the channel changes the content also changes, but the main idea remains the same.
For example, let’s say you have a blog post about SEO trends in 2017. Once you published the post, it became an instant hit. At some point, you want to write an in-depth ebook or case study about the topic. Again, once you published the materials, your website’s traffic skyrocketed. You then take the next step and host a Q&A webinar. Pretty soon, you may even conduct presentations about the said topic in marketing events.
This is adaptive content in a nutshell.
First, you choose a topic that’s adaptive.
Then, you discuss the topic across a variety of channels.
12. GET INDEXED ON GOOGLE NEWS
How can you index your blog post in Google’s News Results?
Here is what you need to know:
WRITE ORIGINAL ARTICLES
Do not rewrite industry news presented on other sites. Instead, write stories about newsworthy events and quote credible sources.
Clickbait headlines won’t get you any brownie points. Similar to its search engine, Google prefers headlines that are straightforward and precise.
Google News does not include how-to-articles, job postings, advice columns or general informational content. It’s a news curator, so it indexes timely news stories.
What can you say about the image below?
Google News only indexes news from credible news sites. Meaning you won’t find any content from publications that you have never heard of before.
So, build your authority in the industry.
Get links and write for famous publications such as Forbes, Entrepreneur or The Huffington Post.
Account-based marketing targets accounts. Instead of writing random blog posts in the hopes of finding clients, it’s focused on creating content that directly incorporates lead generation.
Marketo shows you how it is done below:
In Step 4, you can determine the optimum channels they leverage by identifying the authoritative publications in their region. You can also opt to send a personalized cold email to establish an initial relationship.
The point here is to directly get in touch with your target accounts. If you can successfully reach out, then you can schedule a chat with your ideal prospects.
13.DETERMINE DARK SOCIAL DATA
We all know that social data refers to the number of shares.
Now, what about dark social data?
Dark social data is literally in the dark.
It’s when people share content by sending links via messaging apps or email. And, I bet you do this A LOT!
You send the most entertaining videos to your friends via Messenger. You share work-related blog posts to your office mates via WhatsApp. You share relevant content to your clients via email. In these dark social scenarios, the content has made such a huge impact that the reader wants to share it.
But…the data is left in the dark.
Fortunately, there are a lot of tools that you can use to measure dark social traffic.
Once you create an account, Po.st allows publishers and brands to gain insights on direct traffic and dark social traffic.
Another tool that allows you to measure dark social data is GetSocial.io. It tracks 100% of your traffic and generates user-friendly analytics reports about your site’s content.
The rules of content marketing are constantly changing. The one way you can adjust to these changes is to try new strategies that most marketers aren’t doing.
Instead of creating new content, try updating and republishing your old content. Rather than relying on the magic of social media and Google, directly target your desired prospects. And, don’t forget to keep writing great content!
While it’s true that content will always be king, it’s nice to know that there are a few techniques that can help you get ahead in the game!
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