Effective content forms the heart of your brand regardless of the kind of content marketing campaign you plan on implementing. But it’s not always easy to come up with great content, particularly if you are time-poor, under pressure or experiencing a lack of inspiration.
But utilising great content is a choice, and unfortunately poor content is not only detrimental to your brand, it can affect your search engine optimisation (SEO) rankings as well, which can consequently affect your website traffic. Google actually rewards high quality websites that contain original content, so how do you get a piece of that digital action? Here are our top 5 tips for achieving great content.
1. Get customer feedback
Great ideas for digital marketing content can be generated by focusing on your customer’s needs and wants first, so don’t lose sight of them or what they want to know about. Your focus should be on creating content that’s not just about your products or services, but on your customer’s queries and challenges and how you can go about alleviating them.
An important factor in providing content that works is to examine what’s called the buyer cycle. Once a buyer has done their research and decided on a product that might solve an issue, there are a series of phases they will generally navigate through before they finally tap on the ‘check out’ button in order to purchase. This ‘customer conversion funnel’ generally involves five stages.
- Awareness – your customer becomes aware that they have a problem or aware that your products or services may solve their issue.
- Consideration – at this stage they are probably considering exactly what will solve their problem and may begin to add your business to their set of considerations.
- Evaluation – your customer starts to research and evaluate whether your product or service is a solution to their problem.
- Purchase – the customer purchases, but the next challenge is to retain them by offering incentives so they purchase again.
- Advocacy – at this stage, you have built up a trust relationship with your customer and they will probably start advocating your business to new prospects.
Throughout theses stages it’s important to listen to your customers as questions, comments and even complaints can help you to not only understand their preferences, but craft inspiring content that’s both relevant and informative.
2. Provide appropriate answers
Throughout the buying cycle, give your customers as many opportunities as you can to ask questions and develop a two-way communication channel. Proactive live chat support and online feedback forms and forums are great tools in terms of allowing customers to provide feedback, particularly if you offer them an incentive for their involvement. You can also pre-empt queries that might come up by using Google’s keyword tool which will help you work out what queries that are relevant to your business are actually being Google-searched.
Of course, then comes the important part. Once you’ve got a set of queries that are relevant to your product or service you need to respond appropriately. One of Google’s most valuable features is that it provides a variety of answers. Type a query into Google and you’ll be presented with a range of options from website links to infographics and ‘how to’ videos. Therefore creating great website content involves offering a range of solutions from SEO-rich blogs and targeted FAQ pages to easy-to-absorb podcasts that will enable you to connect with customers on a more personal level.
Image-centric content can also be a very valuable tool as customers who are time-poor or those with short attention spans can scan through and digest information quickly without having to read through long bodies of text. Images, infographics, instructional videos and even GIFs and memes can also help engage your customers, allow them to be participants rather than bystanders, and also effectively bridge a variety of information together.
3. Research your competitors
Even before you started doing business, you were no doubt keeping an eye on the competition. These days tech-savvy content marketing experts have access to a vast array of tools that enable them to gather data on competitive businesses and therefore formulate valuable content as well.
Here are a number of options that are hip-pocket-friendly (in other words, they’re pretty much free!):
- Google Alerts – an easy-to-use way of monitoring the keyword and social mentions of your competitors and obtaining reports.
- Google Keyword Planner – although this tool doesn’t focus specifically on competitor analysis (more on your own website), you can still search for competitor keyword data.
- SocialMention – this tool will tell you what’s been said about a keyword or company across blogs and social media platforms.
- Marketing Grader – a great interactive tool that gives your competitors an overall score based on blogging success, SEO, lead generation and social media activity.
- InfiniGraph – tracks the social media trends of your competitors by allowing you to focus on your specific industry.
- SEMRush – a great keyword tool that specialises in competitor data, including ad keywords, traffic and organic keywords and rank.
4. Find out what content is trending
In terms of garnering inspiration for creating content, keeping abreast of trending topics is a valuable way of both keeping your finger on the digital pulse and allowing you to create content that’s relevant to your current audience. Six of the more popular ‘trending tools’ are:
- Twitter – creating your own Twitter lists can be helpful in terms of following the latest industry trends, and Twitter Chats allows you to join discussions with other people sharing the same interests as you which can help you delve deeper into the activity of your competition.
- Pinterest – is a great tool for content discovery allowing you to create a custom-made or a group board of your favourite topics (including links and infographics).
- Facebook – the ‘trending topics’ component of Facebook allows you to analyse popular current topics in terms of the news industry.
- Google Trends – offers interesting insights into the most popular current topics and allows you to analyse up to five search terms in terms of their popularity.
- Trendsmap – allows you to monitor what people talk about in terms of the viral topics of the day according to their location.
- Buzzsumo – is a powerful platform for content analysis and its free version helps you find the most shared topics across a wide range of categories.
5. Keep it fresh
Adopting an effective content marketing strategy is not just about offering consistently new content, although it is important to keep your content regularly updated. Repurposing ‘evergreen’ content, which is content that’s always valuable as opposed to only valuable to the reader at one point in time, can also help extend your website content’s lifespan.
Content can be ‘repackaged’ via the use of slide shows, webinars, infographics or instructional videos, and Google Analytics can also help you to enhance content that’s possibly not doing as well as you thought it would. You simply analyse your most popular articles, compare the impressions of your page to the click-throughs, and choose which pages or posts need a bit of an overhaul!