You’ve done the research, you’ve planned your editorial calendar and you’re ready to press the ‘go’ button on your content marketing for 2016.But wait!
What about some final checks, just to make sure your 2016 strategy can’t be made even better than it already is? Here then are our top tips for improving your content marketing strategy for this year. From small tweaks to big reviews, these tips will help you to stand out in an increasingly competitive content marketing field.
Go longer form
We’ve been talking with clients about making this content choice for a while now, but new research from Backlinko has seen us conclude that this is a ‘must have’ for your content strategy for this year. According to Backlinko’s new research, the average length of a first page Google result is 1,890 words. And that isn’t the only study which suggests length is the way to go. We’ll leave you to peruse their research, rather than delving any further into it here, but the message is simple: if you can go longer form on the topic you’re exploring, then you should go longer form!
Check the expected social impact of your content
Buzzsumo is a tool we’ve started using more and more here as part of client content strategies. Whilst there’s a lot you can do with it, the ‘most shared’ feature remains one of the most useful. Whilst Google will give you a set of ranked results based on an algorithm, Buzzsumo’s ‘most shared’ search results gives you a set of results ranked by how successful they were online. There’s a lot of potential application for this (this process uses Buzzsumo at several points), but in the main it gives you the ability to see how successful firms have been previously when publishing content on a topic. Try searches with various advanced operators for a better view on pre-existing content which shares many values with the content you’ve currently planned for 2016.
Add in a new form of content
Getting stuck in an endless cycle of blogs is an inevitability at some point for all of us, but you can make a concerted effort to avoid ending up in that place by scheduling in some alternative content. Note that ‘blogs’ is the easy example here, but once you’ve followed a content strategy for a few years, ‘blog’ might as well read ‘any other form of content’. Do you always find that you opt for an infographic when you’re trying to create content for outreach, for example? Have you been plugging away at a podcast for several years? Are the results where you would want to be? If you’re struggling to make a change for a specific reason (design resource and equipment are often cited examples) then make this the year you give your strategy a boost and overcome those problems. Is getting a bit of photoshop training really too hard to do when it comes to improving your firm’s content?
Increase your usage of CTAs
No matter how many CTAs you currently have within your content, it’s probably not enough. Do you use pop up CTAs? Is there one halfway down each blog to go with the one at the bottom? Do you give people the opportunity to enter lead nurturing cycles within your newsletters and regularly on your social media accounts? You’ll be missing CTAs somewhere. Try to plug as many of the lead-leaking gaps as possible.
Be more direct (and recognise this is still an acceptable use of content)
Sometimes, it’s possible for your content marketing strategy to swallow the content marketing kool aid that little bit too heartily. Content marketing is, for good reason, predicated on giving the client something of value but, from time to time, asking for something directly, or even (perish the thought) selling something directly, is fine too. Consider Google reviews, for example, another common thread in many of our strategies this year. You can beat about the bush trying to get Google reviews by mentioning them everywhere you can, but actually putting together a mailing campaign which says, ‘please tell us what you think of our service with a Google review’ normally delivers the most positive results. Build some directness into your content strategy (but keep offering great value elsewhere as well!).
Consider some amplification
There’s still a hint in some content strategies that the recipe for success is simply to produce mountains of content, send it out there and wait for the good stuff to happen. The fact is that few top content-based firms get their success from this sort of approach. Hubspot, for example, spend a plentiful budget on online (and particularly social) advertising, leveraging LinkedIn and Facebook in particular to get their content in front of people. Consider doing the same. You can start to feed a lead nurturing funnel with a good stream of prospects from around £100 per week which, given some other advertising costs, isn’t bad at all.
By Sam Turner. Sam is ClientsFirst's Online Marketing Strategist and writes here on topics including; inbound and content marketing, social media, design and e-marketing. He likes all of those things as well as travel, golf and frequent cups of tea. You can find him on Google+, Twitter & LinkedIn.