Finding a winning formula inevitably takes time. I´d argue that those brands who boast that they´ve nailed their content marketing strategy at the first attempt have got plenty of room for improvement.
That´s not to say that said brands aren´t doing an impressive job, but continual improvement should be integral to every facet of what we do, and content marketing is no exception.
As the Content Marketing Institute suggests, sometimes it is the smallest of tweaks that can make all the difference, which is sure to come as welcome news to those marketers who have spent lots of time and money attempting to get their content off the ground.
Here´s how its online content editor, Amanda DiSilvestro, says you can make blog content soar:
Boost already successful content
Not every piece of content you post is going to take off, even the most inventive writers pen ideas that don´t resonate with readers. However, that fact shouldn´t leave you disheartened to the point that you don´t take a chance with your content. Instead, it should prompt you to make the most of content that does strike a chord with your customers.
Gauging what has reverberated with readers is pretty straightforward, with Google Analytics presenting you with nearly all the data you require. Once you have this at your disposal, it comes down to finding ways to boost the content boasting the most impressive figures.
There are plenty of ways to push your content, for example, by implementing an extra tab, button or headline somewhere within your website to that hot piece of content. Look at the ever expanding Buzzfeed, for example – it added a “Best of 2014” circular badge to the top of its website, thus giving time-strapped readers an immediate go-to option.
A “Most shared” tab on the home page is another popular way to drive even more clicks to originally successful content.
Getting the layout right
Your content should not simply be sufficiently presented, it should be good enough to eat. You can have the best written content in the world, but if it is nothing more than just a block of text, customers aren´t going to spend too much time with it – let alone share it.
Think about how you and others consume written content. Are you a skim reader who likes to see a page broken up with sub headings? Do you head straight to the outro to see what the article is all about? Or do you look for images to give you a clue as to what the author is discussing?
Variety is often the key, as is trial and error, so test different layouts, headlines, colours, visuals, graphics, placement of links etc. to see what gets your customers scrolling. Tools like Unbounce will give you options without being too demanding of your resources.
Publishing product-focussed content
On occasion, it´s worth your while writing about something that makes you money, a product or service. However, this bit of advice comes with a disclaimer, which is that the hard sell rarely hits the mark with customers in this day and age.
As such, articles should be kept educational rather than sales-orientated. Consider how-to guides, which offer you a chance to answer some frequently asked questions from those already in possession of your product, whilst showcasing all of its features to those who have yet to make a purchase.
Videos are a good medium to utilise in this respect. I´d suggest this because people often like to “see” the product before making an online purchase, which is why “Unboxing” videos are now such a phenomenon. Take DC Toys Collector for example, who unbox toys on their YouTube channel, and have a whopping 3.7 million+ subscribers to their videos, filming everything from My Little Pony Play Doh set videos to Kinder eggs. It’s not just the new-wave Argos catalogue for kids though, it’s also gaining hype in the fashion and technology crowds too.
Just remember to make everything about the customer, and ensure any sales-y subtext is kept so subtle it is impossible to see.
So, carry on taking punts with your content, it is all about the unique, after all. But, when you have a hit on your hands, don´t be shy in making it known.
What´s the link between your most shared pieces of content? Have you managed to find a winning formula?