Content marketing is the long game. It takes time to see results, and the results can be difficult to measure, but if you stick with it and find what works for your brand, it can be very successful
Many businesses avoid content marketing because it they don't see the value, it sounds too time-consuming, or they might not have anyone on staff that is a talented writer.
If this sounds like you, I will let in on a few secrets to content writing.
Creating content doesn’t have to be about writing at all. Dwight, our marketing officer, doesn’t write many blogs. The few he does publish are usually done under duress, because I press him ceaselessly to do it. (And then they usually don’t get published until months after. If at all.)
Dwight may not be an avid writer, but he is excellent at creating video content. He’s comfortable in front of the camera, and isn’t afraid to pull his phone out and just start recording. Check him out here, at a lunch meeting with one of our clients, where he records a quick testimonial:
I, however, am the opposite. I hate being in front of the camera, but I love to write. Blogs, articles, emails... I'm usually the one behind the text content you find on our site and around the web.
Like Dwight, he can write when asked, but his real passion and talent is in design. Image content, like infographics, are great ways to leverage design talent to create shareable content.
No matter what your strength or area of interest, creating content doesn’t have to be about writing. It can be creating videos, designing images, or even writing comments or interacting on social media. I know several folks who gained huge notoriety on social sites like Quora because of their answers to questions. Not because they are great writers, but because they are genuine, interesting, and passionate about their subject.
Focus on your strengths. Leverage content that you love to create. Any kind of content.
Content Marketing Secret #2: Success isn’t about good writing. It is about being authentic.
As I mentioned above, you don’t have to be a good writer to succeed at content marketing. One of the traits I notice that all successful bloggers have in common is their ability to relate to people. They are genuine, transparent, and passionate.
Be you. Use your personal stories, trials, and triumphs, to connect with your readers. When you write, create videos, or however you generate content, let your true “voice” or personality come through.
One of the reasons many corporate blogs never gain any traction is because they aren’t personable enough. Even on the Internet, or even more so because of the Internet, people want to connect with other people. They don’t want to connect with brands.
is one great example of this. His advertising agency has seen huge success because of his ability to grow his personal brand. His articles are written about his personal experiences, and show how he personally solved a problem, or what he learned that others can apply to their own marketing.
Be transparent. Don’t make yourself or your business sound like something more than it is. People don’t trust easily, particularly online. By showing your business as it truly is, you will go a long way in earning the trust of people viewing your content.
Show actual photos of you and your people at work. Share your trials and how you overcame them. This will show your audience that you’re human, too. You’re not just a brand, you’re a brand powered by people who experience a lot of the same things they, themselves, face on a day to day basis.
Passion about your topic is a necessity. Anyone reading or viewing your content will know right away if you aren’t excited about your business.
For most, this shouldn’t be a problem. After all, why would you start a business if you weren’t passionate about the work you do?
Find ways to let that passion show through in your content.
Personally, I don’t love every subject I write about, and I don’t claim to be a great writer. But I am passionate about learning how to solve problems I’m facing, and sharing that with my audience. It is fun to research an issue I’m facing, find the solution, and then write about it.
If you’re passionate about something, it will show in the content you create, and inspire others to share your passion.
Content Marketing Secret #3: Just creating content won’t get you more traffic. You need to know what to do with it.
I wrote blogs for years, but I didn’t start to get traction from those blogs until we built a way to gain subscribers, and then started regularly emailing them.
Another way I expanded my audience was through guest blogging
. This can be time consuming, but if you’re serious about generating more traffic to your blog, it is a great way to reach new audiences.
Social media is another great way to get your content in front of people. YouTube, Twitter, Instagram… these are all places that people spends a lot of time, and you need to make sure you are sharing there.
It isn’t enough to just post links, however. You need to engage your audience. Try creating a discussion around your subject, or sharing your content in Facebook groups instead of just on your Page, where it probably won’t get a lot of notice. The old saying “quality over quantity” is true about your audience as well as your content. Having a smaller, very engaged audience can be more valuable than a huge audience without any interaction.
Content Marketing Secret #4: Many people can write good content. You need to stand out.
The Internet is full of blogs and articles about every subject under the sun. Some content is good, some is great. What makes one blogger wildly successful, while others who may have better writing or more factual information barely get any traction?
Successful bloggers have a few things in common:
Successful bloggers are great at personal brand building.
Successful bloggers get really personal with their audience. They share stories, images, and aren’t afraid to be themselves in front of a large audience. This goes back to our tip #2, being authentic.
Successful bloggers are very specific in their articles.
Generic articles are everywhere. But articles that deal in specifics are more popular. Would you read “Blog Marketing Tips” or “3 Ways I Built a 20k Blog Following in Three Months”? The second topic definitely gives specifics on what you can expect from reading it.
The more specific you can be in your blog articles, the more likely they are to stand out.
Successful bloggers write great titles.
Your title needs to tell readers exactly what they’re getting from reading your article over another. Like in the example above, “Blog Marketing Tips” might be something people are searching for on Google, but they are more likely to click on “3 Ways I Built a 20k Following in Three Months”.
Why? Because most people looking for blog tips are really looking for ways ot increase their following as quickly as possible. Don’t just consider the keywords people are searching for. You need to take it step further and consider WHY are they searching? Then give them that article.
Successful bloggers write regularly.
Most successful bloggers are posting one or more a week. There are several benefits to posting regularly:
People click to your blog to gain trust in your business. If you haven’t posted in awhile, it makes the nervous about your dedication and gives them an overall negative impression of your brand online.
Regular blogs create more fresh content for your website, which search engines like. This will help your site ranking and increase organic (unpaid) traffic to your site.
New blogs are great content to share with your mailing list or on social media. Having fresh content is helpful in connecting with your audience in more places than just on your blog.
Successful bloggers use multimedia.
It is literally a mom creating crappy pictures of her experiences in parenting. And they’re hilarious. But what makes them so successful? Because images are easy to share. They tell a story in a moment. And some people don’t like to read, they’d rather see an image or watch a video.
Like I said in Secret #1, you don’t have to be a good writer to be a great blogger. Apparently, you don’t even have to create great images. Crappy ones are great too...
Let’s go over the Content Marketing Secrets, shall we?
Secret #1: Blogging isn’t just about writing, find what works for you and just create some content that will relate to your audience.
Secret #2: Be authentic. Don’t worry about growing a big audience. Just focus on making great connections. The rest will follow.
Secret #3: Share your content. Don’t wait for people to come to you, go interact where they are.
Secret #4: Stand out by following successful blogger habits.
Have you discovered a secret to successful content marketing? Drop it in the comments below and I'll add it my list!