5 Keys to Content Marketing in 2017

Content marketing is about enabling your business to have conversations with customers before they ever buy a product. You can also use content marketing to build a deeper relationship with your existing customers.

This is about more than just occasional blogging or sporadic posts to a social media account. A content marketing strategy is about creating a consistent series of stories that help set your business and staff up as thought leaders and trusted advisors, removing us from a transactional mindset.

What can you expect from a properly-executed CM strategy? Website traffic, social media followers and engagements, and qualified leads. People who engage with your brand will have a better sense of what you do. That, eventually, will result in sales.

There isn’t going to be a 1:1 correlation between your efforts and your results. This isn’t traditional prospecting or cold-calling, rather a way to build a reputation that will pay off.

What are the keys, then, to content marketing?

Make it high quality

Creating content is not enough: filling your channels with fluff will turn people off of your brand, and they will not come back. The information you put out, either from links to news articles or your own, home-grown content, needs to provide value to the consumer about trends in industry, be entertaining, and invite the consumer to engage in a conversation.

It’s about the long-game

When your quarterly budget is on the line, it may not seem like your content marketing strategy is providing any results. It’s not. Content marketing is about providing valuable information to potential customers. That doesn’t mean they’re going to convert immediately, but their trust in your business will grow. To achieve that, you must provide that consistent, engaging, and entertaining product.

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SEO is being replaced by content marketing. Your social channels are useful in creating a funnel to your website, storefront, or sales team. Content marketing has become an essential cog in an overall marketing plan.

Leverage the assets that you already have

If you have a company blog, email newsletter, and social accounts, then you’re ahead of the competition. Re-use the things you’re creating, and encourage your staff to share on their social channels as a way to amplify the materials you’re creating.

Measuring ROI

We’ve spent a lot of time telling you to be patient. So how can you measure ROI? While no single piece of content will generate immediate sales (unless you’re Apple), you need to maximise how you capture and move on leads. Just because I’ve liked your photo doesn’t mean I want a sales call. But if you’re seeing a pattern of behaviour, make the most of it. Put out some premium content, like a white paper, that requires an affirmative action by your potential customer.

You can also balance your page views and social shares against conversion rates to help determine if your efforts are working. Ensure you’re tracking with Google Analytics and programs like Hootsuite to ensure that you’re capturing as much information as possible.

Get visual

Blogs are great; you’re reading one right now. But think about all the people on the train in the morning, and on the bus. And probably stopped next to you in traffic. They’re all wearing headphones and staring at screens. YouTube’s announcement of their ad-free platform proves the power of video. People are willing to engage with quality video.

Social channels, too, prioritise content that’s kept on their platform. Videos and photos are pushed to users at a higher rate than links, and sharing material that people enjoy will gather likes and shares, which will help you expand your brand presence. For example:

  • Articles with images receive almost twice as many views as those without.
  • 2/3 of consumers say the quality of content—pictures, specifically—influence their buying decision
  • Using visual content on social networks like Facebook can result in an increase of 65% engagement. Don’t just share stock images, get some nice snaps of your business and product.

Remember to use high-quality photos, not compressed or stretched pics that can harm the public perception of your brand.

Conclusion

When done right, content marketing is a powerful strategy. We’re all trying to find our way in this relatively new and rapidly shifting market. What do you think should be added to this list? Feel free to comment below.

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