4 Content Marketing Practices That Will Make You Awesome

Over the past few years, the subject of content marketing has been on the lips of all experts. By now, you’ve probably heard about it a million times over, but how much effort do you actually put into your content marketing activities? Are you using the right methods to connect with your customers?

Check out these four tactics you “must” use in your content marketing strategy to raise the bar and solidify yourself as a force to be reckoned with.

  1. Create for the Reader, Not Yourself

One of the biggest sins a content marketer can commit is tailoring their messages to their own interests, rather than those of the target audience. Engagement is one of the primary metrics that determine whether or not your efforts are successful. To gain traction, your content must be exposed to the most susceptible eyes, on the perfect platform, at the right time.

While this can be a daunting task, it all comes down to the research you’ve conducted and how well you know your audience. If you’re just working to get your strategy up and running, start by sitting down and coming up with your ideal customers, and think how they relate to your mission. Get as specific as you can.

  • What do they look like?
  • How do they talk?
  • What is their approximate income?
  • What do they value the most?
  • Who are their influencers?
  • How do they spend their free time?

Once you get detailed answers to these questions, your buyer persona will become clear and creating content that truly resonates will be much easier.

Your content should speak to the audience on a personal level. With everything you produce, be sure you have a clear answer for how your target audience will relate to it. Researching topics can sometimes be the most difficult part of this process. For this purpose, look into social media and web monitoring tools to get an idea for what is currently trending in your field. Then, find the commonalities and create your content accordingly.

  1. Sell Without Selling

It’s no secret that traditional sales tactics aren’t having the same effect on today’s consumers as they did in decades past. Nowadays, the sales process requires a different, more refined approach.

Therefore, your content marketing strategy should be designed to properly address the needs and concerns in all levels of interest. For example, when people are near the beginning of the content marketing funnel, you should be primarily focused on educating. Essentially, this is where you need to prove you are an expert who can help solve their problems.

One of the best ways to do this is with your company blog. For example, Arivify, a service that provides property data for real estate professionals, is a quintessential example of how to run an educational blog on a commercial website.

The reason this works for them is that they know what types of questions people are asking, and they create their posts to answer them consistently with their professional opinion. The blog has something for people at all stages of the funnel in their industry and addresses all segments: renters, buyers, and sellers.

When prospects are at the point when they’re starting to make the final steps to becoming customers, this is where the more traditional idea of sales comes in. Here, your content should be aimed to address the specifics about implementation, saving opportunities, and the services your brand offers for continuous customer success.

In essence, every aspect of your content marketing comes down to sales. However, to make a meaningful impact, it should be clear your focus is on providing value to customers, as opposed to just benefiting your bottom line.

  1. Encourage User-Generated Content

The internet has made the entire concept of incorporating user-generated content (UGC) into the marketing mix much easier. The beauty of this form of content is that it provides a raw, third-party viewpoint of a product or service. For businesses, it’s essentially free marketing. Even more, it can be extremely cheap to implement.

UGC can take many forms. It can be as simple as an online review, or as complex as a professionally produced video. The most difficult part is encouraging people to submit their own created content. So, you need to find ways to provide incentive. For starters, you can try creating a contest and offering rewards. National Geographic did this a couple of years back. When someone submitted a photo, he or she was entered for a chance to win an expedition to the Yosemite National Park.

Get creative with it! Involving the audience in your content marketing is a momentous way to stand out and present your messaging from a multitude of perspectives.

  1. Push the Envelope

Content marketing is everywhere these days. According to Point Visible, over 70% of B2B and B2C marketers plan to produce more branded content throughout 2017 than they did last year.

With so much information available and no signs of slowing down, setting yourself apart becomes the most important task. Otherwise, it’s incredibly easy to be overlooked or lost in the shuffle of generic content.

Keeping this in mind, you must not be afraid to take risks every once in a while. So make bold claims, big predictions, tell the world how you will disrupt the status quo!

For instance, earlier this year, Mark Zuckerberg vowed that Facebook would kill the smartphone and replace it with glasses!

If there’s one thing the mainstream media loves, it’s a bold claim.

Whatever you decide to do, make sure the risk is properly planned and controlled. Worst case scenario, you have a PR crisis on your hands. Best case—you get an uncanny amount of free press and exposure.

When it comes to content marketing, staying in your comfort zone will only take you so far. If you really want to get people talking, you need to take steps to challenge the system and bring your industry to the next level.