As 2017 comes to a close and we usher in a fresh faced 2018, it’s time again for the annual ritual of New Year’s Resolutions. For some, it’s a chance to get healthy and fit, while for others, it’s a time to set life goals and milestones to achieve. For us in the advertising world, it’s the perfect opportunity to do all of the above, but not for ourselves, for our Content Marketing Strategies. Here are the News Years Resolutions Bigfish is setting for our content marketing strategy, and that we advocate for any of our readers to follow.
1. Go Big or Go Home
We’ve mentioned this before, but as we move into the next era of content marketing, the name of the game has become quality over quantity. Bigger pieces of content are outperforming smaller pieces in terms of engagement and SEO ranking. Data from serpIQ has shown that the average content length of the top-ten Google results belongs entirely to content with over 2,000 words.
One of the reasons longer form content tends to perform better in engagement, shares and search ranking, is that the longer the content, the more opportunities for including content that answers multiple customer pain points and that contains multiple long tail keywords.
Bloggers everywhere are putting more and more thought into the content they are producing. Data from an Orbit Media survey shows that the average time bloggers spend researching and composing articles has jumped 26% from 2015 – 2016 alone. More than 45% of bloggers are spending three, six, or more hours on a single piece of content.
Some examples of longer form content to look at for inspiration include:
- Salesforce’s State of Marketing Report
- KPCB’s Internet Trends Report
- Marketo’s Definitive Guide to Lead Generation
Each piece is an annual report that nets the company thousands of downloads, shares and viral points.
Action Point: Brainstorm ideas for a piece of blockbuster content that you can publish on a quarterly, bi-annual, or annual basis. Utilize the unique perspective you have in your industry and pool your resources to create a unique value add that can incorporate multiple long-tail keywords, become an information resource, be highly branded and is highly shareable.
- Use your long form content to provide a host of useful external links, and share your long form content with influencers who can backlink to you as a resource for your industry.
- Don’t be afraid of turning long form into short form. The best part about Thanksgiving dinner is all the leftovers. Use your blockbuster content and split it up into a breadcrumb trail of shareable bites that can all lead back to the main piece.
- Break it up. Don’t shove huge blocks of text in front of your readers and expect them to digest it all. Headings, subheadings, block quotes, images and infographics will save your readers from headaches and make your content more visually appealing.
2. Match Your Metrics
One of the most common mistakes many marketers make in executing their Content Marketing strategy is the “throw everything at the wall and see what sticks” method. Well, I should clarify. You absolutely should try different ideas and content distribution methods out to increase your marketing ROI. But you have to outline the right goals and metrics to your campaigns. In other words, throw everything at the wall, but do so in an organized manner and record what sticks.
It’s important to understand that different methods of marketing will produce different results. To simplify, you can imagine the two arms of your marketing efforts as Reach and Nurture.
Reach (Awareness) Campaigns are designed to increase awareness of your brand, build your public image, shape perception and ultimately get more people into the top of your marketing funnel. Nurture (Conversion) campaigns are designed to improve lead quality, increase conversion, drive overall revenue and strengthen your pipeline. It’s all about the movement down your marketing funnel.
Linkedin has an excellent breakdown of the tactics you can deploy and the metrics that you should measure for each type of campaign.
The reason it’s important to measure the right metric according to campaign is that your marketing budget needs accountability if it is going to be effective in the long run. It’s only by testing, measuring and making decisions based on insights that a company can confidently move forward with any marketing initiative.
Action: Before any piece of content goes out, you need to have an outline delineating which piece corresponds to which campaign, as well as the metrics and time frame you intend to measure for performance. Ultimately, being able to measure what efforts translate into what ROI is going to be the ideal foundation for successful growth.
- Organize your content into separate campaigns that flow toward your overall marketing goals.
- Set semi-monthly performance reviews on all your content efforts and track any changes.
- Set KPI goals to provide benchmarks that you and your content marketing team can work toward.
3. Hit Record
What’s been the biggest difference maker in the world of digital over the past five years? The shift from desktop and laptop usage to mobile phones and tablets. As computing power allows us to go smaller and smaller, phones and tablets have become the go to method of interfacing with the digital world. And one format of communication has become the go to method of interaction that marketers need to get behind: Video.
According to data from Hubspot:
- Video is projected to claim more than 80% of all web traffic by 2019.
- Embedding videos in landing pages can increase conversion rates by 80%.
- According to YouTube, mobile video consumption grows over 100% every year.
- A third of all the time people spend online is dedicated to watching videos.
Bigfish is certainly an advocate for using videos to bolster your content marketing. Take a peek at our Thanksgiving video series for just a short taste of what to expect in the coming year. Video can be used as a great tool for not only raising awareness, but according to data from Hubspot, can even be a successful conversion tool. One Hubspot study found that 39% of business decision-makers contacted a vendor after viewing a branded video.
Action: Experiment! There’s no better time than the present to begin concepting and pitching possible video ideas to incorporate into your content marketing strategy. It’s alright to start small and work your way up.
- Follow video best practices and make sure to follow consistent formatting for aspects such as thumbnail creation and what domain you host your videos on
- Don’t forget about meta data and keyword optimizing; it applies to videos as well!
4. Promote, Promote, Promote
It’s no easy task to get noticed in today’s hailstorm of online content. After all, you are not just competing with your niche competitors. You’re squaring up against fake news, viral videos and even the POTUS in terms of capturing public attention.
You could spend hours pushing your content out there in the hopes it will naturally take flight, but an easier way to ensure it gets in front of the right eyeballs is to use paid content promotion. The two most popular platforms for publishing content are Facebook and Linkedin.
According to Social Media Examiner, Facebook is still the most popular paid content platform among marketers. (StaT). The reason? Probably because it is the most used social network platform in the world, surpassing 2 billion users in June of 2017 with steady growth predicted. Facebook is an ideal platform for marketers because it encompasses B2C and B2B buyers along with the general public. In other words, it can be used for both raising awareness and converting leads into customers.
Ideal For: B2B, B2C Companies and any organization seeking to grow awareness
Facebook allows advertisers to target customers from multiple approaches, all based on customer data collected from users.
- Core Audience: Allows you to target based on criteria such as:
- Custom Audiences: Allows you to target based on existing customers/leads
- Current Customers and Prospects
- People who have visited your Site
- People who have used your Mobile App
- Lookalike Audience: Allows you to build an audience based on people similar to your customers.
Like most social media advertising platforms, Facebook advertising is built on a bidding platform, based on Cost per Click, Cost per Action and Cost per Like. All of these prices are determined by the audience type, as well as what type of ad you are running. For more info, check out Facebook’s Paid Advertising Page
Linkedin is one of the most popular platforms for B2B marketing because of the hyper targeting filters you can utilize, such as industry, job title, seniority and location. The nature of the site also means that users are more predisposed to already be seeking business solutions and related information as opposed to other social platforms such as Facebook or Twitter.
Ideal For: B2B Companies, Recruiters and Job Seekers
Linkedin allows advertisers target prospects in a context more conducive to lead conversion than most other social platforms. Targeting can be specified through the following filters:
- Company Name
- Company Size
- School Attended
- Job Title
- Gender Age
- Job Function
Each parameter can be included, or excluded to better specify the desired audience traits for whom you want your content to reach. Linkedin also includes Audience Expansion options to match potential leads with similar users.
Linkedin Advertising works in a similar manner to Facebook, where you can bid for ad placement based on a cost per click (CPC) or cost per impression (CPM) basis. Set daily budgets to ensure you don’t exceed your marketing budget per week.