One of the most pervasive trends in the Internet marketing industry heading into 2014 is undoubtedly that of content marketing. While Google’s algorithm updates have changed many brands’ SEO strategies, and mobile has emerged as a hot new marketing channel, the fact of the matter is that content marketing has stolen the performance marketing spotlight as 2013 comes to a close so we created a content marketing training course for you to start the year.But although content marketing is not a new concept, many people agree that it will reign in 2014, and will prove to be an essential part of any marketing strategy for many reasons. First, content marketing is a catalyst for user engagement and brand awareness. Second, when done right, content marketing can take your brand viral, expose you to a wider audience, and prove to be cheaper than traditional marketing methods, especially when your followers are doing the leg work of sharing your messages and your brand. So, with increased emphasis being placed on content marketing as the New Year approaches, we wanted to give you five actionable tips to help craft a solid content strategy and build your brand.
What’s the easiest way to draw attention to and create interest in your brand? Create high quality content that will spark curiosity in, or inspire your followers to not only read your content, but also engage and interact with it. If you can craft clever, easily shareable headlines and interesting, valuable posts for your followers, they are likely to pass it along to their network, which will expand your reach and grow your fan base. A quick tip for writing a great headline—keep it clear and concise, and try to include a number at the head of the sentence whenever possible. People are attracted to list-type posts because they outline a finite amount of information and are easily read and shared.
One trend that we expect to see fade away in 2014 is cheap or thin content—things such as infographics or memes for example. Why you ask? Simply put, it’s because they don’t provide much, if any value to the user. People are tired of simple, throwaway content and are looking for things that are tailored to them specifically and pique their interests. Brands that are able to capitalize on new trends and ditch the fads of yesterday will be more successful in their content marketing efforts.
If a picture says a thousand words, than how many words can a video say? At the end of 2013 nearly all of the major social networks have made moves to make videos the most valuable types of content around—the top of the proverbial totem pole. Google is now taking video into account when ranking pages, and Facebook has enabled videos to stream effortlessly in the news feed. If video isn’t a large part of your content marketing strategy going into next year, it’s time to re-evaluate.
Google recently rolled out its new “Google Plus Ads” which should help spark some interest in their long lost social network, Google+. Their new ad format comes in the form of social media ads that don’t actually occur on Google+. Rather, the ads originate elsewhere through Google’s ad network and eventually turn into a post on Google+. This sort of innovation should create some new, interesting, and shareable content on Google’s social network and help inspire more users to take advantage of the seemingly desolate site. While Google+ may not be a huge source of traffic for marketers as of now, that may change shortly with the advent of Google Plus Ads, and we would advise that marketers start to include Google+ in their content marketing strategies.
If you are making lots of great content you want to get it to the largest audience possible, and there is no better way of doing that than to enlist the help of your fans. This is what is known as earned media, and it works great as long as you have an engaged fan base that is excited by your content, along with your products and services. However, in order to get your fans to hit the share button, you have to create unique, high quality content that is relevant to their interests. Our advice—take the time to get to know and truly understand your fan base and what interests them and create content around that. Furthermore, make sure that your content is exciting and fresh (video is a great way to keep people entertained), and is easily understood without being simple clickbait. If you are able to strike a balance between valuable content and entertaining content, and provide an exciting product or service, we can almost guarantee that your followers will be ready and willing to share your content—the cheapest and most effective marketing method around.
We’ve watched all year long as the foundation for the 2014 content marketing takeover was laid, and now we’re ready to take on the New Year with strategies that are too good to fail. Use these five tips to create a top-notch content marketing strategy and watch as your fan base, and your sales, grow like never before.
Murray Newlands is an online marketing industry veteran, and the founder of TheMail.