Best Practices for Content Marketing

ContentContent marketing is a super buzzword these days, but do you absolutely know what it is? And how it’s different from general, garden-variety marketing? For one thing, content marketing should be marketing without the direct sales pitch.

According to the Content Marketing Institute, it’s a technique of “creating and distributing valuable, relevant content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.” If this still sounds like run of the mill marketing to you, then focus on the words “valuable” and “relevant.” Good content marketing makes your audience feel enriched in some way – be it via education, problem resolution, expert insights or even entertainment. It’s something your audience wants to read, because it’s of unique interest to them.

Recently, there’s been somewhat of a backlash in content marketing, caused primarily by companies pushing out an overload of content that is neither valuable nor relevant. When this happens, content becomes relabeled as spam or junk mail and begins to be ignored, even resented.

So how do you ensure that your content becomes neither of those things? Here are four tips for putting your best content marketing foot forward:

Generate only content that you would want to read. The Carabiner team recently attended SoCon 2014, the Southeast’s largest social media “un-conference,” and this was a recurring point. Content that’s so boring you can barely write it also means no one is going to want to read it, either. This might sound like a “no duh” tip, unless you’re one of those companies spinning out so much of it that there’s become a quantity to quality imbalance. Also, if you’re using content marketing to direct sell, don’t. Instead, solve problems or focus on valuable insights that point to you or your business as someone who wants to inform and help.

Have more than one type of content. Oftentimes, we think of content only in terms of text, but there are so many other, compelling mediums for reaching your audience these days. For example, video or infographics can garner much greater attention, making your content stand out in ways that written words cannot. Not to mention, everyone’s different and people prefer to receive content in different ways.

Once you’ve got good content, promote it. “Build it and they will come” might work in fictional cornfields, but in reality, content has to be promoted to reach your widest audience. Once you’ve published those valuable “tips and tricks” on your website’s blog, let people know it’s there through as many means as possible – email alerts with links, social posts on places like LinkedIn and Twitter, for instance. Also, be sure to optimize content for pick-up by search engines (use attention-getting headlines, meta data, keywords and the like).

Don’t just create content; curate it. While original content is great, it’s also a lot of work. Expand your bandwidth by also becoming a curator of content – in other words, be someone your audience trusts to funnel them the best and most valuable information, regardless of the originating source. Reference and link to useful articles written outside your organization in social posts, blogs and emails.

People are beginning to grow weary of the hype regarding content marketing, but not of the content itself, particularly good content. Relevant, insightful content is one of the best ways to gain a following and nurture leads to revenue.

What types of content marketing does your organization currently do?

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