Content is ever evolving. Just taking note of this fact is not enough, however. In addition to realizing that you have to change and update your content marketing strategy often, you also have to realize what trends are effective and which ones are not. Without this information, you are destined to find your efforts with a less than impressive impact.
One of the biggest trends sweeping this area of marketing is visual content. This includes things such as infographics, video, visual note-taking, memes and more, integrated into your existing marketing campaign.
In the new era of social media, words alone won’t be enough to keep your audience interested and engaged.
Why you may wonder?
- 90% of all information transmitted to your brain is visual. This means that if you want to ensure your message is seen and understood, visual is your best bet.
- Page conversion rates are increased on landing pages by 86 percent when videos are used.
- When visual content is used, it is already social media ready and social media friendly. Today, social engagement is, even more, important than SEO.
Now, you have to consider what you can do to begin implementing visual content. This can be a challenge for those who have never embarked on this type of campaign in the past, but, believe it or not, it is actually easier than you may have imagined.
A good place to start is with the tips found here. When you implement methods that have been used and proven as effective by others, you will be able to see the impact in your own marketing efforts.
Provide Ideas for New Ways to Use Your Products.
In many cases, consumers don’t know exactly what they are looking for, so they search online for ideas and inspiration. Any smart marketer will provide them with a creative solution and put them in the position as the brand that is “here to help.” Create informative or how to videos to post to YouTube, these are highly beneficial and will likely catch on, making your product insanely popular and sought after.
Show, Don’t Tell.
Utilize graphics and photography to tell stories about your brand, product, company, or any other element that may be appealing to visitors. The key to using these images is to illustrate the advantage of the product you are offering in a memorable and unique way. Recently, Volvo released an image of Jean-Claude Van Damme doing the splits between two Volvo Trucks. This is both intriguing (which will catch attention) and memorable (which means they will remember you and what you have to offer).
Let Your Customers Insert Their Creativity into Your Brand.
You can entertain your prospective customers with any type of user-generated visual content, which allows the fans of your brand to tell their story. A site that is doing this quite effectively is Tourism Australia. Fans submit as many as 900 photos each day to be considered and each post typically generates tens of thousands of likes on Facebook.
Remember, just like any other strategy, you have to track the effectiveness of your efforts. Failure to do this will result in you never knowing what works and what doesn’t.
The fact is, video, images, and other visual content elements make your page easier to scan and get a general idea about what you offer. If you have yet to implement visual content, now is the time to act, as this is becoming a more and more popular trend that gets the attention of consumers and keeps them coming back for more.
Inbound marketing is a sustainable and natural process that provides a measurable ROI (return on investment). Whether you have a startup business with investors or a small business that has a limited amount of capital, using inbound marketing efforts is something that just makes sense.
However, it is essential to develop a workable strategy that provides the results your business wants. In many cases, this can be easier said than done.
Where Inbound Marketing Efforts Go Wrong
There are a number of small businesses that approach marketing with a half-in and half-out manner. They know they need a strong presence online, but may not have the resources or time to actually follow through and create a solid inbound marketing plan.
The fact is, however, your competition isn’t holding back, and if you don’t “play ball,” it may cost you quite a bit.
Whether you hire an outside marketing agency, a consultant, or take the DIY approach, now is the time to step up and make your online marketing strategy a priority.
What Makes a Compelling Inbound Marketing Plan?
When it comes to business, you need to create a marketing strategy that will produce the highest possible return, with as little of an investment as possible. For some small businesses, this will mean making what you already have work for you.
Prior to updating your website or interacting more on social media, you have to develop a plan for implementing and measuring the efforts you make. With a well-planned strategy, you will be able to capitalize on your money and time investments.
With the five tips here, you will be well on your way to creating your own, effective marketing strategy.
The Market Assessment
To pitch your strategy well, you need to show your audience that you understand. Developing a marketing persona, which is a description of the characteristics of your ideal customer, is a great place to start. Once you have this information, you can begin to search for online trends that let you know how the people behave while online.
Considerations for Measuring Success
Being able to measure the financial ROI of your efforts is essential for business success; however, it is important to note that there are a number of inbound marketing strategies that will take time to flourish. Create a set of KPIs (key performance indicators) that will add value to your brand and supplement the ROI metrics. Some of the KPIs you may use include repeat business, consumer trust and increased visibility online.
Identify Your KPI Pathways
Once you have specific goals outlined, you can begin to find possible consumer pathways – this is how your consumers will contribute to the goals you have created. For example, social media engagement and higher search engine rankings will increase visibility online. Not all consumers will begin their journey by searching or by checking social media. Try to list all the possible pathways that consumers may use to reach the business.
Add and Optimize the Pathways
Be sure to focus on making a few of your current online pathways stronger at first and then add a few new tactics. There are many small businesses that are successful thanks to email marketing, social media interactions, blogging and local SEO. If you currently have a blog, try to write about topics that relate to your KPIs and your goals. For example, highlight a story from a customer and then link it to a review site, which will help improve customer trust.
You can use Google Analytics, for free, to run some reports on your website and mobile assets. Be sure to look at the reports carefully to know exactly where you stand.
With these tips, you can develop a clear image of your goals and then repeat the optimization and the measurements steps again and again until all your goals have been met.
When it comes to content marketing, there are more than a few misconceptions out there. As a result, many businesses stay away from this element of marketing, thinking it will not be effective or that it is too expensive. The fact is, content marketing is a crucial component of any marketing strategy and learning the truth about it will help you see why it should be included in your marketing arsenal.
MYTH: It’s Expensive
Effective content marketing is a very labor intensive process. As a result, there is typically a high cost associated with it. This includes everything from videography to writing and design. If a business is investing in something they are only going to use once, then it can get quite costly. This is why it is important to seek opportunities to repurpose it when necessary. For example, make a magazine that includes all the top-performing blogs or re-edit your videos to use on Snapchat, Vine or Instagram. In 2015, approximately 29 percent of leading marketers repurposed and reused content.
MYTH: It Provides Quick Results
The creation of quality content will take time and seeing results from this can take even a longer period of time. This is why it is essential that stakeholders are educated about the process. The fact is, it can take up to 90 days of constant and consistent posting to see results from this effort. While content marketing is measurable, it will take time to get accurate data, in many cases, up to six months.
MYTH: It’s Only an SEO Play
While content marketing can do wonders in regard to SEO, after all, Google loves high-quality, fresh content, incorporating keywords a bit too zealously can have two negative results:
- You create content that is full of jargon that no one will want to read.
- Google will hit you with a Panda penalty because you are trying to “game the system.”
This is why it is essential to write for your actual audience, rather than the crawling bots. You will likely discover that your best performing posts will be ones that are written for people, rather than focused on SEO.
MYTH: Viral Content is Easy to Create
Creating a viral post just takes a great idea, right? This is completely untrue. There are quite a few good ideas executed each day; however, there are very few that actually “break the Internet.” While you can request viral content, it is important to realize that this is not something you can make at whim – it is something that happens organically. You have the best chance of creating viral content when you create pieces that are in line with what interests your audience. This means you need to get to know them and what they want – then deliver. While there is no absolute formula to find success, when you understand what your customer needs, it is a good place to start. Also, remember, the chances of your content going viral is really one in a million.
MYTH: A Lot of Shares or Traffic Means Success
While it is great to have content that catches on fire, it does not necessarily mean that is a victory. This is really dependent on the KPIs. If you create interesting content but it does not create any new leads, then this really has not benefited your business in any way.
Relatable, relevant and sharable are all factors to keep in mind when creating content. This will help you create content that actually produces results that you can see.
If you are reading this, then you already know the importance of effectively attracting organic traffic.
If you have become comfortable with the fact that SEO is an industry that changes constantly and one that is dictated by the user experience, then you are off to a good start.
A great way to get a bit of help with these efforts is to create an SEO checklist that will help ensure your organic presence is in great shape – through all the changes that are happening and bound to happen in the future.
Here you will find three essential SEO factors that will make sure your site is optimized and that you are driving more traffic and delivering higher conversions.
The Title Tag
A title tag is a primary indicator and headline that lets you know what a page is going to be about. Title tags are used by search engines to understand how the content present would be useful to users. When your title appears in search results, having one that is clear, concise and descriptive will help the user know that your content offers exactly what they are looking for.
There are several types of title tags, which include:
- Duplicate tags which confuse the search engine that is trying to determine the relevancy of every page on your website. If you are unable to create a unique title tag for certain pages, then it may be time to question whether or not the content should exist at all.
- Missing tags can compromise your page’s ability to rank in SERPs.
- Long tags that are over 65 characters may be shortened, which may hurt the ability for the user to understand what the page is about.
- Multiple tags are not a good idea. Find the most relevant and stick with one.
Another important part of SEO is your redirects. This is what will ford on URL to another. By setting up redirects, you can have visitors who visit a certain page be automatically sent to a different one.
If you redirect a large number of the pages on your site to another, it may result in the search engine covering less of your website when it crawls the content. When possible, replace redirects with direct links, since the redirect will waste the crawler resources. The better the crawlers are able to read your site, the more likely your pages will be indexed.
There are several types of redirects:
- 301 – Move Permanently: This is an HTTP status code for a page that has a new URL.
- 307 – Moved Temporarily: Less common, but allows you to move one link to another for a short period of time.
There is no question that images are important; however, if you don’t optimize them, they are not able to live up to their full potential. An image description will help to provide search engines with more information about what you have to offer. Be sure to incorporate the proper keywords into the image descriptions or the titles. This will make sure the images also show up in SERPs, which may lead to more traffic coming to your page. Image descriptions can also be beneficial for anyone using a screen reader, text browser or other assistive technologies for those who are vision impaired.
Obviously, this is just scratching the surface of techniques you can use to help increase organic website traffic. However, taking it a little bit at a time will help you to get your website to a higher position in Google, which leads to more attention and eventually more conversions.
Has the content on your site grown stale? Or, do you have content that is a few years old, but has always ranked high? No matter the circumstance, your content could probably use a refresher. Even if your site is search engine optimized, if you do not contribute new information on a consistent basis, the search engines will flag your site as unreliable.
Google reads outdated content as unreliable and irrelevant. When a person searches for specific keywords, even if your site is the best at answering the question, Google may not list it. To work around this algorithm, you must update your content. You can either add new content or freshen up old topics with new insights.
What to Look for in Your Old Content
All content should serve a purpose. Writing with the intent to inform, engage, entertain, sell, or serve, will satisfy your readers’ needs. Purposeful writing will also increase the likelihood of social sharing.
- Take a look at your old content and determine if it serves a purpose and is useful to your target audience.
- You should know your ideal customer enough to create content that addresses a problem they are having and answer any questions about a topic.
- Learn to be concise and thorough.
- Check for any outdated links in your articles.
How to Refresh Your Content
Analyze the data from older content types to see which ones were liked, shared, and commented on the most. Is there a way you can put a new spin on the topic? Repurposing your content with a new twist or update keeps your readers excited and informed. Articles and other content types that did not rank favorably can be refreshed by looking at the topic from a different point of view or angle.
You can repurpose older content into another form to breathe new life into the same topic. For example, if you wrote an article on how to write SEO headlines, you can take the same information and create a video or podcast. Different forms of content appeal to different people. Keep a list of various content types and consider switching back and forth depending on your niche.
Consider analyzing your old content for SEO keywords, both head and long-tail. Do not keyword stuff your content, but use the keywords naturally. Copywriters tend to do this inherently because they write with the reader in mind. Keep your target audience and their wants and needs as your main focus when writing content. You can use a tool to check for appropriate keywords and keyword phrases. Bruce Clay, Inc., a global marketing company, recommends using SEOToolSet Single Page Analyzer to scan the page and give you a keyword report.
Using a keyword report will allow you to see if you are using too many or not enough keywords and phrases. If you are not using enough, consider researching the long-tail keywords you can add to refresh your content.
If your content seems thin, you can actually incur penalties from Google. Thin content is the opposite of high-quality content. You will want to offer your readers a complete answer to their question and use terms associated with keywords. If your prospects are looking for an article about gem mines, you should also discuss rocks, minerals, and caves.
Add social proof where necessary to substantiate your claims. Using information from government, medical, or other credible sources will help to add value to your content. The trust factor involved is another reason you should refresh your content on a consistent basis.
When developing a content marketing campaign, it is important to know your target audience thoroughly. You should have an ideal buyer drawn up to focus your marketing efforts on. This is how to serve the wants, needs, and desires of your prospects.
If your target market is the Millennials, then you may need a few tips to relate to this generation. But first, for those that don’t know, Millennials is the term used to describe the generation born in the early 1980s to the year 2000. This generation was born during a boom of technology. Therefore, the Millennials tend to be “in the know” about even the most obscure tech device and they enjoy sharing on social media.
This segment of the population makes up 82 million people in the United States. According to NewsCred, a content marketing platform, by the year 2020 Millennials will make up $1.4 trillion in spending power. NewsCred conducted a valuable survey and analyzed the data to produce a special report PDF.
Why You Must Create Content Differently for Millennials
In the survey, NewsCred reported that Millennials respond to content when it is adapted to their cultural interests, their location, and their age. Your content must be laser-focused and relevant to this generation.
Your content must entertain, inspire, or educate in order to have the chance of being read. 31% of Millennials reported on the survey they would buy from a company that delivers valuable and educational content.
However, if that content is too long, 41% said they would abandon and click-away. Try to keep your content shorter in length and concise. Millennials tend to read content they perceive as intelligent.
Millennials are emotionally driven. They tend to make decisions based on their emotions. The majority of Millennials surveyed said they share content that is funny (72%) and thought provoking (62%).
This generation of sharing can be explained by four psychological reasons:
- Relationship building
Your target audience can be found on multiple social media platforms. When drawing up your ideal buyer, you will narrow down the characteristics to a single person, and thus probably only one or two platforms. Millennials can be found searching Google, Facebook, and Pinterest. Of this generation, 65% of prospects search Facebook for content.
How to Create Content Marketing that Will Target Millennials
To reach this generation of fast-paced young adults, your content must be:
- concise and thorough at the same time
- targeted to the location of where the prospects live
- written with a sense of culture
- valuable and authentic
When it comes to sharing, 32% only share after taking the social platform into consideration. Some Millennials never post on Pinterest, but practically live on Facebook. Find which of the platforms your target audience is spending the majority of their time on.
Since Millennials tend to share content that is funny, thought provoking, or is relevant to their inner circle, you should consider the different forms of content. Millennials watch mostly online video. You could create videos using YouTube or Periscope to attract your audience. Memes and GIFs are great forms to use to deliver funny, shareable content.
Millennials appreciate transparency and engage in communication with their favorite brands online. Most of the online participation is done by 52% of Millennials through company websites and 49% surveyed use the brand’s social media page. This generation prefers brands they know and trust and that have a great product.
To target Millennials in your content marketing, take time to search engine optimize your website and social media pages by offering valuable and useful information.