Content marketing has been the name of the game for awhile. And companies around the globe continue to drive their efforts (and budgets) to the latest and greatest types of content.
Content marketing is literally everywhere—it’s videos, blogs, banner ads, emails, Tweets, Podcasts, etc. And being good at content marketing is invaluable. According to Kapost, content marketing leaders see 7.8 times more site traffic than non-leaders. And a whopping 78% of CMOs think content is the future of marketing.
With stats like that, it’s hard to argue against the power of content marketing. The caveat, however, is that content is always changing. And companies are looking for content marketers that can quickly adapt. If you’re looking to improve your skills as a content marketer, start with these essentials.
1. Be a content generalist
Several years ago—when content was first hailed king—experts across industries claimed that producing a variety of content is how you positioned yourself as a thought leader. So you write a white paper, repurpose it into a blog, then create an entire email campaign from one asset (insert high five). That makes you an efficient and creative digital marketer. But it doesn’t mean you’re a thought leader in content marketing.
If you’re a good content marketer, then you should already be repurposing your content and using it across multiple channels. But unless you’re pushing the boundaries in a particular industry and deemed as an authority, then the variety of content you created and executed only proves you’re a good marketer.
Beyond creating quality content and effectively using it across channels, content marketers need to be content generalists. According to Joe Griffin, CEO of ClearVoice, a content generalist is talented with language and can easily create well-structured content. But more importantly, “they know how to learn a new landscape quickly and effectively.”
Content generalists dig deep to find out what they don’t know. They study their competitors to gain a more definitive view of the industry. And they learn who is setting the bar, so they can aim even higher. Bottom line—the best way to make your content stand out is to deliver more value than anyone else.
Talented content marketers are capable of creating quality content in a variety of formats on a variety of topics. Today’s growing competition means it’s time to be a Jack of all trades—and content marketers aren’t an exception.
2. Stay active on social media
Part of being a good content marketer is making sure your content is always accessible and engaging—social media provides that opportunity. Using social media to share your content can build brand awareness, nurture leads, enable sales—you name it. Moreover, it allows your audience to engage with your content (i.e., share, comment, etc.). It also establishes the foundation that your brand needs to be deemed a thought leader.
When you create content, make sure you build a social media strategy for how you’re going to promote it. Your strategy should compliment your business goals and the needs of your audience. (If you need help figuring out what’s relevant to your audience, check out this framework on creating buyer personas).
Beyond sharing your own content, it’s best practice to share content from other experts and thought leaders. This keeps your social media presence from coming across as too self promotional, but it also shows your audience that you’re there to help. Make sure you share a healthy cadence of content that promotes your ideas and those of others.
(For fun, check out what Forbes says are this year’s social media marketing trends).
3. Leverage the power of SEO
Critical to your bottom line, your content marketing needs to fuel growth. But creating good content and sharing it on social media isn’t good enough anymore. Your content must be visible by the right people at the right time. And it must be relevant.
SEO has raised the bar considerably, and not just with the use of keywords and phrases. Implementing an SEO strategy into your content marketing can help you determine exactly what people are searching for and what their needs and preferences are. This search behavior analysis is critical to determining what pain points your audience might have and where they might be in the process of finding a solution.
Though SEO can compliment your content marketing efforts, including your social media, each piece needs to be used in sync win order to be effective. This infographic shows a quick comparison of social media and SEO.
Since SEO is complex, it warrants a more in-depth look. Check out this article by Outbrain. It discusses some of the basics of implementing SEO into your content marketing. The Content Marketing Institute also does an excellent job explaining the SEO essentials for successful content marketing.
4. Determine how you measure success
Success for your organization might not mean success for another. For example, you might create content for the sole purpose of brand awareness, in which case you can probably measure your success by how many leads your campaigns generate.
However, another company might require that content marketing campaigns result in a certain number of sales-qualified leads (or dare I say revenue generated). There are also companies who determine success by things like, helpful ratings, dollars saved, and social media shares. Either way, it’s important that you know how your team measures success.
Once you determine the KPIs you’re going to use to measure, decide when you’re going to measure. The Content Marketing Institute suggests you can measure at the beginning, middle, or end of your content marketing process, as long as you know what fundamentals you’re focused on.
Measurement is important to your bottom line—because numbers don’t lie. When you determine how you measure success, you’ll have a clearer view on what you’re doing right and what needs improving.
The world of marketing is a moving target. However, the foundation of content marketing is strong. Focus on these essentials to sharpen your skills, and become an even more effective and efficient content marketer.