Content strategies have changed drastically over the last few years. What was initially a tool to please search engines is now driving the entire marketing department. Content marketing has empowered growth marketers to not acquire visitors but also please and retain them by offering value.
So, where does it lead to now? What strategical changes are on the way in 2017? SnapWryt asked 59 content and growth marketers about their predictions.
- The power of GIFs.
“Content marketers should increase the use of. gifs into their digital marketing campaigns. It has been widely proven that the most appealing and attracting type of digital content for users are videos first, images second and texts last. However, gifs could be considered as a middle category between videos and images, that produce the same visual effect as videos but are much more cost efficient,” says Mariona Prat Vila, Project Manager for Samsung Pay.
- Promotion is equally important.
“Most people will write in with tips on how to create great content, and that’s mighty important. My tip is to promote it. What good is an excellent piece of content that nobody knows about? Once you’ve created a quality piece, hit the ground hard to promote that content,” says Angela Zade, Content Marketer for Evus Technologies.
- Introspection is the key.
“When trying to determine what to write about, look first to your inbox. What questions are your customers asking? Those questions should be the focus of your content. If your content answers those questions, your audience will find it helpful and trust you more,” says Becky Schroeder, Vice President of Marketing for GetITC.
- Do you Reddit?
“Reddit is the self-proclaimed ‘front page of the internet’, and is where much of the most popular content on Facebook and Twitter is sourced from. If Reddit isn’t an existing part of your content marketing promotion strategy, then you need to get on the platform now. Better yet, you can create content specifically designed to perform well on Reddit. You’ll need to take time to become familiar with the platform, but once you know what type of content works you’ll have an endless source of traffic that you can rely on over and over again,” says Max Robinson, Marketing Manager for Scotland Shop.
- The syndication way to grow.
“Be sure to syndicate your content with the right platform and make sure it’s done in a way that helps (not penalizes) your SEO,” says Randy Apuzzo, CEO of Zesty.
- Videos over images.
“More Video, Fewer Images. – Brands & Individuals need to emphasize the importance of video this year and learn how they can resonate emotion &/or provide customer value without always indicating a product/service sale. For example, more DIY/How To Videos, Behind The Scenes, & Tips that revolve around a brand’s message,” says Sean Azari, Founder & CEO of Breakthrough Social.
- Customer is the king but so is content.
“Above all else, once you determine who your customers are, speak their language and be as conversational as possible. Industry jargon and techno-speak should be saved for peers,” Carole Holden from Gelmtree Advertising.
- Invest in the channels.
“One thing to remember, it’s not just about your company. Include content from other sources that will resonate with your audience. Distribute all content through a variety of channels: website, social media, and print when possible,” says Teajai Kimsey, Marketing Director for Crystal Structures Glazing.
- Planning is critical.
“Starting with a content marketing strategy is the single most important aspect of integrating content marketing into your business. Especially when the strategy is documented. According to The Content Marketing Institute, 83% of marketers have a content marketing strategy, but only 35% have documented it. Your documented content strategy sets guidelines, goals and helps your track results. Which is imperative for realizing your ROI,” says John Surdakowski, Founder of Avex Designs.
- The power of visual content.
“Create infographics. These can be designed by in-house graphic designers and filled with research that is relevant to your readers. The more valuable and unique the infographic is in terms of content and visual imagery, the more it has the potential to be shared by other bloggers and publishing platforms,” says Deborah Sweeney, CEO, MyCorporation.com.
- Speak from the heart.
“Whatever you’re writing, the best way to connect with people is to speak from your own experience. If you have to tell someone else’s story—like your company’s origin story—pick the moments that resonate with you and craft the story around those. Don’t just recite a bunch of facts,” award-winning speechwriter Elaine Bennett.
- Shock and awe is a marketing tactic that works for almost any industry.
“Isolate 15-20 industry influencers. Then, send them something in the mail that they would NEVER expect to receive. The point is to create buzz. Why does it work? When they receive something they would never expect getting in the mail – they are bound to say, “You’ll never believe what I got in the mail…” says Cheryl Slayton from Aero Content.
- Listen to what they say.
“My advice is to listen before you start producing. Go where your target customers are to discover what they actually need, and use this understanding to create content based around the topics that actually add value,” says Travis Bennett, Owner of Studio Digita.
“Content creation takes time and a lot of effort. Why not take that awesome blog and repurpose it into another piece of valuable content like a podcast episode, infographic, or video? Not everyone in your target audience wants to read a 2000-word blog (yawn). People prefer to consume content in different ways so make your hard word stretch further and become more evergreen by producing them into different mediums that different audiences can enjoy,” says Seth Ollerton, Content Marketing Manager at DecisionWise.
- Are the resources in place?
“Allocate resources first, then set your content marketing goals. Content marketing is resource-intensive, and you’ll burn out fast if you set the bar too high. Remember to allocate resources for content production, distribution, reporting and metrics analysis,” says Catherine Brock, Owner & Chief Content Strategist.
- Do it well.
“Do not be satisfied with recreating content that is readily available to the public. There are enough boring infographics and poorly done videos. If you are going to create content, do it right and well or you will be wasting your time and your clients’ money,” says Flynn Zaiger, CEO of Online Optimism.
- Write what people like reading.
“Use BuzzSumo to find an article with an audience that you’re trying to target and follow the followers on Twitter who have shared the article. You can also contact the journalist of the similar article. Chances are they write about that topic often and make link to your content in future articles,” says Joan from Joan BarrettMedia.
- Blogging is not a strategy.
“Have a strategy. Content marketing has become a buzzword and many businesses equate it to “blogging.” Successful content marketing is driven by a strategy tied to real business objectives. Have goals and use analytics and data to reverse engineer your strategy from there. Every element of your content marketing plan should in some way contribute to achieving those goals and objectives,” says Ashley Poynter, CEO & Founder ContentRewired.
- FAQ content.
“No matter what type of business you’re in, your customers will have questions. So, make a list of commonly-asked questions and then write articles that fully answer those questions. People like to do business with an expert, so share your knowledge and you’ll become known as the expert,” David Deering, Owner of Touch Point DigitalMarketing Agency.
- Product comes later.
“When creating your content marketing strategy don’t approach it thinking about your product/service and how it could benefit your consumer. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and think about what they want to see. Humans are attracted to valuable things, so create value and customers will come,” says Victor Montalvo, Co-founder of HiFly Photography.
- Repurpose awesomeness.
“My number #1 marketing tip is to re-purpose content like a ninja. Consider an awesome blog post that you wrote, is getting some traffic, and ranks well because you’ve done your keyword research. You just leave it and let the traffic roll in right? No! Consider re-purposing it as an audio post, YouTube video, podcast episode, lead magnet, or webinar. You’ve already done the hard work,” says Glenn Carter, Content Marketer for The Casual Capitalist.
- Organize your content.
“After all of your efforts to create great content, you need to remember that sales people won’t use it if they can’t find it or don’t remember it’s there. The solution is to create an online Sales Content Library, with everything clearly titled and categorized by purpose,” says Copywriter Linda Coss for Plumtree Marketing.
- Avoid salesy.
“With content marketing, I think the most important concept to understand is that your content should be helpful, not salesy. In order to run an effective content marketing campaign, you’re going to have to put out content that is searchable, interesting, engaging, and valuable to your target personas. Information about how great your business is or awards that you’ve won doesn’t check those boxes. Be helpful and you’ll be successful,” says Dustin Brackett, CEO & Founderof HIVE Digital Strategy.
- Create content experience.
“Focus on designing “experience” — consider the context of how your audience come across your content, how you want to make them think and feel with your content, and the kind of transformation you want to create through the consumption of your content,” says Ling Wong.
- Write for everyone.
“We address top-of-funnel topics for new landlords. It’s often a rehash, but we avoid using the same, tired terms. That disrespects consumers, and the antipathy comes through for other readers. Affiliates will share your content, but who wants stale text? Take a new angle. Write in a voice anyone would find compelling,” says Elizabeth Gibson.
- Video Video Video
“Video is a go to when it comes to content marketing. Facebook’s algorithm rewards engaging video content over all other forms of content. Optimize your video for social media by abiding by the standard dimension & time restrictions for all platforms. Opt to include a variety of visuals as opposed to using a static set up and ensure that your videos are close-captioned to maximize views and to minimize drop-off rate,” says Gina from SalientSocial.
- Live stream is the future.
“Content marketing is constantly changing and evolving, and one of the growing trends I’m observing is live streaming. I believe this will grow in popularity as technology advances. While recorded video will of course still remain popular, apps like Instagram Stories, Snap, Facebook Live, and YouTube Live offer user friendly platforms that make content like sporting events, music festivals, tours, launch events, product briefings, tutorials and more easier than ever. This trend is just getting started and 2017 will bring more enhancements to these initial product offerings, creating more opportunities for user engagement. This also gives businesses an easy way to repurpose some of their best content. If you’re not currently using these platforms, I highly suggest you jump on board, because they’re here to stay for the long term,” says Kristopher Johnson, Content Marketing Strategist for The Gantry Restaurant& Bar.
- Everyone on the same page?
“In order to execute a successful content marketing campaign it’s essential that all relevant parties work in synergy. The PR team, the SEO team, and the Social team should all be on board and working together for the end goal: successful distribution of your content piece while maximizing awareness, reach, and traffic. Journalists and bloggers receive hundreds of pitches a day. By utilizes multiple channels of outreach you give yourself the greatest chance of getting your content in front of the right eyes at the right time,” says Matt Edstrom, Head of Marketing for BioClarity.
- Write but promote.
“Creating a piece of content marketing that no one sees is a waste of your time and money. Bake content promotion into your content creation recipe. Participate in relevant Facebook groups, Reddit subreddits and Twitter chats/hashtags to cultivate a receptive, organic audience before you’re ready to share,” says Mark Alves.
- People need guides.
“This year, how-to content will continue to reign as one of the best ways to market your website because people look for answers; in fact they seek detailed answers that solve a particular problem or teach a new skill. A how-to article around 1,000 word works best and will be even popular if you include a video summary for additional depth,” says Daren Low, Founder of Bitcatcha.
- Segregate content.
“Create content for every stage of the buyer’s journey. Typically, this includes awareness, evaluation, and purchasing stages. Depending where they are in the process will dictate the type of information they want to consume. From education and research to the decision making process, clear communication is key,” says Lauren Fonvielle, Copywriter & Marketer at LaurenFonvielle.com.
- Blog is not enough.
“Content marketing doesn’t end at blogging. How can you turn one article into 10 different pieces of content? A 30-second video, infographic, GIF, meme, Twitter thread, Instagram story or post, Facebook Live class, opt-in, etc. The options are endless,” says Tennile Cooper.
“It’s easy to get sucked into a silo when creating content. You think only about the piece you’re creating or the medium where you’re creating it. To reach a wider audience, use the same subject in a variety of ways. For example, one blog series can be turned into a podcast, webinar, or ebook,” says Kimberly Crossland, Owner of KimberlyCrossland.com.
- Content should solve problems.
“The best tip to grow your content marketing reach would be to adapt the principles of direct response copy writing. Whether you are writing blog posts or writing video scripts, understanding customer pain points and proposing solutions are critical. It also helps you build a database of customer pain points to enable your content efforts always going. Also, it helps you ensure that the created content appeals to the right audience segment,” says Jayakrishnan, Product Marketer @ kapturecrm.com.
- More than words.
“Content is more than blog posts and articles. Use other mediums like graphics and videos as well. Then post it far and wide to reach and engage with as many people as possible. Track them and follow up with comments and replies,” says Ruhullah Thurairatnam, Digital Marketer at InstanteStore.
- Walk in their shoes.
“Think about what your customers want to read, and not about how to promote your products through content marketing. Nobody wants to read hidden advertisement or self-promotion. Provide high-quality content that helps or interests your customers and it will position you as an expert and as a reference your clients will trust,” says Ophélie Castelot, Communication Manager at Space Designer 3D.
- Invest in buyer personas.
“Understand your audience. Draw up a properly researched buyer persona and talk to it throughout your communications: this will really help to guide the tone, form and message and ensure it’s as easy as possible for your intended audience to interpret what you want them to believe,” says Sarah, Marketing and Communications Officer for International CottonAssociation.
- Use the goldmine.
“Find heavily linked to content that is either outdated or no longer exists (EG: Results in a 404 error). Recreate, update, or expand on this piece of content yourself, and then contact the people linking to the original. If they enjoyed that version, then they’re very likely to like yours too,” says Dave Hartshorne, Digital Consultant & Managing Director for Dijitul.
- A word for longer posts.
“Writing long-form content of 1,000+ words will help improve your search rank, traffic and value to the reader. We also live by not letting our content calendar rule – if something happens that relates to your business, you need to blog about it NOW! Whether it’s a news story your following would find interesting or a new piece of research that relates to you, make the effort to keep on top of trending news,” says Elena Lockett, Marketing Assistant at FM Outsource.
- The good old guest blogging.
“Guest blogging on other websites, as well as outreaching your own site’s blog content is the best method of gaining organic, natural links back to your own site. Make sure you create content that is unique, fresh and original – don’t just write short posts to make the blog look updated,” says Steve Pritchard, Search Content Manager at giffgaf.
- On a mission.
“Create a content marketing mission statement and be committed to executing this mission for the long-term (18 to 36 months),” says Tom Smith, Principal Consultant at Insights From Analytics.
- Be where they are.
“One useful tip for a successful content marketing is to know your audience. Exactly know where our target audience spends time online. Be it social media, professional networks, image/video hosting sites, you should know, where they are and what type of content they like, how they behave or react and what norms and traits are acceptable to them. The more you know your target audience the more successful your content marketing will be,” says Danyal Effendi, Digital Marketing Manager of PureVPN.
- Answer questions.
“Answering common questions with your content helps you provide value and build authority. Ask your sales and customer service teams what questions they get the most. Check industry forums and Quora for common industry-related questions. Write blog posts that provide the best answer on the internet for those questions,” says Julie Graff, Social Content Liaison for Pole Position Marketing.
- Generate value.
“Content marketing success comes with bringing value to viewers. Don’t pitch your product or talk about something “interesting” that you hope goes viral. Use content to provide answers and solutions to your target viewers’ questions and problems. That’s how you’ll grow and succeed,” says Kenneth Burke, Marketing Director for Text Request.
- Answer one question.
“If you’re just starting out or still early in your content marketing efforts, you should do one thing above all else. Ask yourself “what is the most complicated aspect of buying our products or services?” Then write content around it. It could be helping the customer understand what’s available in the marketplace or helping your clients educate constituents within their company. For example, explaining your engineered product in simple non-technical terms could make it easier for your engineer customer to sell the product purchase to others within her company. Content should educate for a purpose,” says Eric Zaluski, President of ProspectTrax.
- Forum inspiration.
“Peruse forums related to your industry (B2B) or target audience (B2C). The questions being asked the most provide clues for valuable, relevant content that people are actively seeking. There’s a decent chance the forum is a microcosm of the market and many of your prospects have the same questions,” says Robin Salter, Chief Marketing Officer for KWIPPED.
- Maximize content value.
“While many people use content marketing to focus more on what people want to read than for what search engines are looking for, there’s no reason a skilled copywriter can’t maximize the value of each piece of content. When planning and producing content based on the basic idea of content marketing, that is creating interesting content within the industry of your product or service, and not specifically about your product or service, don’t only focus on what you think readers with share on Facebook and Twitter. Make sure you also optimize for the search engines (SEO) and do some soft selling in the form of including some calls-to-action. Your content will go a lot further if you squeeze it for all its worth,” says Ben Coltrin.
- Hear them out.
“Need help with content ideas? Don’t be afraid to ask your audience what they want to hear. Whether it’s in a Facebook post, live video sessions or face-to-face, they’re more than willing to tell you what they’d love to read more about,” says Tracy Willis, Content Strategist for N2Q Consulting.
- This little guide from Ovais Ahsan, Marketing Manager for Strategy Properties
Not every business can afford to have a huge website marketing budget, but that does not mean that online marketing is out of question.
Thanks to the Internet and plethora of social websites, companies can now avail effective marketing opportunities suiting their budget and convenience. Content marketing can exclusively come in handy in this case. A single piece of quality content can be reproduced for a multi-channel online marketing campaign. Here’s how:
*Blog Post:Write a fantastic blog post and publish it on your blog.
Tip: You can also use it as a guest post on a third-party blog (which is highly recommended.)
*Summarized Version:Make a summary of the blog post of upto 80-100 words, and publish it on a social media website, adding a link to your full post at the end.
Tip: Linkedin is the best place to go with in case you have a good followership. You can also publish it on GooglePlus or Facebook. The key here is to publish it only once.
*Video:Make a short video based on the original blog post.
Tip: Submit that video to YouTube. Embed it on your website. Use it for your email marketing campaign.
*Podcast:Make a podcast and discuss the blog post in detail.
Tip: Submit that podcast to famous podcast directories. Use in your email marketing campaign.
*Infographic Image:Following the theme of your original blog post, you can convert key-points of the post into a small infographic image. It does not have to be something big and fancy, just use your imagination and be creative. That’s it.
Tip: Share infographic image on social media. Publish it on your website blog. Submit to infographic directories.
Effective content marketing is something that brings in a better conversion rate and does not involve too much time. Just like we used a single blog post for additional marketing and branding opportunities.
- Sustainability with consistency.
“When starting a new content marketing effort, don’t try to do everything at once. Sustainable and consistent is more powerful than an overambitious effort that burns out and dies. Set a foundation you can build from as you grow and learn,” says Emily Wenstrom, Stanton Communications, Account Manager.
- It’s about the brand image.
“Keep your company’s content positive; this will put consumers in a more receptive mindset. Write social media updates that are hopeful and optimistic, and blog posts with an underlying message of optimism. Despite all the negativity we’re exposed to, research shows positive emotions will serve you and your business best,” says Emily Sidley, Senior Director of Publicity for Three Girls Media.
- Borrow their words.
“Focus on adding high-quality user-generated content (UGC) to your marketing strategy. Your audience wants to read and hear stories from the customers who actually use your products. So integrate reviews, videos, images, and tweets from your loyal fans into your content. And avoid just posting UGC at random times. Instead, develop a plan to mix it in with your sales funnel,” says Content Marketer Shayla Price.
- Most content is boring out there.
“Don’t produce content just for the sake of producing content. Always strive to create something of value for the user. Remember, the search engine will never buy anything off of you,” says Dan Mallette from InVueDigital.
- Keep invest in older content.
“Don’t abandon your existing content after it’s been published. Revisit pieces from time to time and make sure they’re still relevant, up-to-date and following the latest SEO best practices. Consider repurposing, like turning a blog into an infographic. It’s never too late to improve the performance of old content,” says Elena Lathrop, Head of Marketing for CrownTV.
- Invest in a content strategy.
Too many people just publish. They believe if they populate a blog, ready-to-buy customers will easily find them and convert. That’s just not true. It’s hard work and the best way to earn a positive return on your content marketing investment is to start with a content strategy.
A content strategy gives you purpose, focus and direction. It aligns with your overall corporate strategy and lays out:
-WHO your audience is;
–WHAT information they’re seeking and having trouble finding because there are gaps and opportunities in the existing market;
-WHERE your audience goes when they’re looking to find that information; and
–WHEN and HOW you can best provide it.
Your content strategy provides the roadmap for success. It identifies the SEO-friendly publication, promotion and measurement tools you’ll need to efficiently and effectively satisfy your objectives or, at least, quickly identify when things are going wrong.
Donna Duncan, Owner of B-SeenOnTopLLC.
- No more departmental barriers.
“Get your Sales team on board. To get buy-in for marketing, you need to show how it affects the bottom line. By collaborating with Sales, I’m better able to create content to support the sales funnel, by helping them get a client, they are my biggest advocates when it comes to proving ROI,” says Spela Grasic, Marketing Specialist at Cheeky Monkey Media.
“Think mobile. A paragraph that’s a couple of lines on desktop can become a wall of text on a mobile device and make a consumer think “tl;dr.” A trick I use is to shrink my Word window to the narrowest possible width to get a feel for whether copy will look uninviting on a phone screen,” says Michelle Dupler, Content Strategistfor Postali LLC.
- What’s in it for me?
“Great content generates an audience, and an audience generates sales and revenue. How do you create great content? It’s simple. Just ask yourself one question: What’s in it for me? That is the singular question that consumers ask when they read content, so make sure every single piece of content you produce provides a tangible benefit to a consumer,” says Tabitha Jean Naylor.
- The storytelling and authenticity rule
“If you know your subject well and can tell compelling stories then you will build your brand and following using Content Marketing in 2017, this is your year! The good will get better and the bad will be ignored. People are getting savvier to fake news and things that waste their time so be a brand they trust and follow,” says Paige Arnof-Fenn, Founder & CEO of Mavens & Moguls.