Content Marketing: New Content Marketing Strategies for 2017
Generating content has become the key strategy in marketing over the past few years. All brands and organizations strive to create quality content that will be shared, discussed, and (ideally) lead to increased sales.
How content marketing works:
- Create demand – Brands/organizations create and promote (what they believe is) memorable content to their target audiences. In the initial stages, promoting on social media or utilizing paid social advertising is the easiest way to promote your content.
- Bias formation – Buyers see the content, but don’t take action right away. They may share the content or talk about it with friends but often wait before buying or researching your product further. You want buyers to begin associating your brand with the products you offer, so when they are ready to purchase you’re the first brand to come to mind.
- Harvest demand – Buyers now have a bias towards your brand and associate it with the products you offer, which increases sales. Once the buyer is ready to purchase they will either perform a branded search to find your specific products or complete an unbranded search and have a bias toward clicking your content again. Remember, a sense of familiarity to your brand can be enough to sway buyers.
Unfortunately, there is a problem with content marketing…
The content marketing sphere is over saturated. Even though content marketing is a key strategy to generating leads and driving sales, its popularity has caused its own problems. In the last few years, there has been an exponential increase in the amount of content that is produced, and that amount just keeps growing. Another huge problem is that an overwhelming percentage of the content being produced is just shitty, it isn’t informational or entertaining. The surge in shitty content is causing people to just dismiss and ignore all content – even the great stuff.
According to the Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs 2017 B2B Content Marketing Report, 89% of B2B marketers use content marketing, and 70% are expected to increase their content creation in 2017.
With so much content creation and shit content, it’s no wonder conversion rates are down. Between infographics, videos, blogs, and articles, there is just too much content for users to absorb on a daily basis. And unfortunately, even though many content marketing strategies involve promoting on social media, it doesn’t seem to help conversion rates as they remain at a low <1%.
This is where there is a major difference between B2C and B2B marketing. How many times have you gone on a social media channel and been influenced to purchase something based content marketing? Maybe a sponsored post about how “This Pair of Leggings Changed How I Workout” or “This Life Hack Improved MyMorning Routine”. You have probably at least thought about purchasing some of those products. Unfortunately, with B2B it isn’t that simple. In B2B marking, purchasing a product usually involves a team of people, and is at a price point where buyers aren’t going to simply buy after one social media interaction.
Most B2B brands haven’t invested in developing 20k+ followers. Therefore, the effectiveness of organic promotion on Twitter is effectively zero (with only slightly better results on LinkedIn and Facebook). Again, this is largely due to bots and auto-generated low-quality noise that makes it impossible for humans to find any quality material on the platform.
So what can we do to create quality content and engage our customers?
First, we need understand what determines “quality” content.
By determining what quality or relevant content means to your customers, you can tailor content to meet their expectations. Once you do this, buyers are more likely to share it with their colleagues or friends. So, the best thing to do is optimize content for user engagement metrics like click-through rate (CTR) and dwell time (how long someone stays on your page).
It’s all about the click through rate (CTR).
It is important to remember that:
- Optimizing for the keywords that your target customers are looking for is the first step to improving search rank
- Organic search results operate on a feedback loop, meaning that a high CTR leads to a higher rank, which increases the CTR, and so on…
- Determining intentionality when selecting keywords is important, keep in mind that a strong keyword isn’t just one that has a lot of searches, it is one that produces high-quality leads who will actually purchase your product. You don’t just want a lot of people seeing your content, you want them actually moving forward in the sales funnel
- Utilizing engaging titles and meta descriptions to entice customers to click on your content is the easiest way to improve CTR
- Plus, many advertising platforms, (Facebook, AdWords, Twitter etc.) base their algorithm on click-through rates, so a high CTR reduces the amount you have to pay for advertising
- Social media can impact your CTR
- Social algorithms generate newsfeeds based on the content that you or your friends engage with. Therefore, SEO content that ranks high on SERPs will show up in more newsfeeds and contribute to the CTR feedback loop
Conclusion: Quality content is engaging content. High engagement rates provide your organization with greater visibility on SERPs and create a positive CTR feedback loop.
Then, we need to figure out what our top engaging content is.
Content creation is not easy; some content will always out-perform other content. So, you should leverage your high performing content to drive leads. At first, you’re going to need to generate a ton of content to determine what content your buyers like most. There is no way to determine high engagement rates if you don’t have anything to compare. Once you have determined what topics or forms of content work best for your organization you should dedicate your resources there.
Use engaging content to its full potential.
Once you have created high performing content, utilize your resources to drive traffic, increase search ranking, and generate more leads. You can fully leverage your content by exploring high-performing topics in detail by:
- Writing follow-ups: If you have an ongoing story, or know that things have changed since the original piece was created, do a follow-up.
- Breaking it down: If you have a piece of content about a general topic, consider breaking it down into smaller articles and deep diving into specific details.
- Exploring content forms: If you have a popular article, you can generate more content by creating slide decks, infographics, videos, or offering a webinar.
Engagement, engagement, engagement!
The key to content marketing is improving engagement. By engaging your customers, you create a positive feedback loop that helps you improve SERP ranking, generate leads, and increase sales. It is important to remember, that not every piece of content you create is going to be successful, and that is okay. The key is to analyze high-performing content and leverage it to its full potential.