This blog post was originally published on July 22, 2014 and has been updated for accuracy and relevancy.
Many people seem to think that the secret to content marketing is just blogging a few times a week and sending out the occasional email.
But let me let you in on a little secret: Content marketing is much more than that.
If you’re stuck in a content marketing rut and feeling frustrated that your current strategy just isn’t generating results, then you’re in the right place. In this blog post, I’m going to reveal a few ways that you can switch things up. But first:
Whatever You Do…Be Intentional
In order for content marketing to actually be successful, it’s got to be intentional. The “if you build it, they will come” philosophy has no bearing when it comes to your content marketing.
So whether you decide to implement one of these strategies or all of them, make sure that you set your marketing goals beforehand and establish an objective for each strategy. Think about what makes the most sense for your business.
Now without further ado…here are a few content marketing strategies to consider:
1. Guest Blogging
Feel like you’re publishing content and nobody’s even reading it? Then you might want to look into guest blogging. Guest blogging for high authority sites in your industry can be an extremely effective way of establishing yourself as an authority figure in your industry, generating traffic to your site, and improving your SEO.
But take heed: It is time-consuming. Many sites (especially high authority ones) have very strict guidelines for the content they publish (often requiring posts that are over 1,500 words).
So you’ll want to be choosy about the sites that you guest blog on. Pick sites that have a similar audience as you. Even better if their posts get a lot of views and engagement. You’ll also want to check the Domain Authority/Authority Score of the site; the higher the score, the more good it will do for your SEO.
When pitching your idea(s), make sure that you review the guest blogging guidelines thoroughly beforehand and check that the topic you’re proposing hasn’t been covered before. Make it very clear why they should be interested in publishing your content and what value your post would provide for their readers.
2. Create More Visual Content
There are four different types of learners out there: visual, auditory, reading/writing and kinesthetic (or those who learn by doing).
For all your visual learners out there, it’s important to create visual content, like infographics and videos. Also, make sure that your written content includes attention-grabbing visuals.
Infographics are great because they’re highly shareable and great for link-building. To generate exposure for your infographics, consider doing the following:
- Provide on-page SEO elements to where your infographic is placed on your website
- Include an embed code for easy sharing and linking
- Share repeatedly and across multiple social media networks
- Target industry influencers directly with your infographic and ask them to share it
3. Get Talking with Podcasts
There are some pros and cons to podcasts, with the cons being the production and distribution challenges. But if your company has an industry expert who can go through a hot topic on their own or via a Q&A, then you might want to consider creating a podcast for your brand.
For added SEO implementation, these podcasts should be transcribed – with the text placed on the website – so that the content can be better indexed by search engines (inbound marketing software company, Moz, uses Speechpad to transcribe their data).
4. Create Long-form Content
At an average of eight seconds, human beings now have a shorter attention span than goldfish. And most people don’t finish the articles that they start on the web.
Given that, you’d think that it would be better to create shorter content. After all, that way your readers will at least be able to finish what they start, right?
Wrong. As it turns out, longer-form content not only ranks better in search engines, but it also tends to perform better with visitors. They also generate more shares and backlinks.
So just how long should your content be? According to SerpIQ, the average content length of the first result on Google is just over 2,450 words. And all of the top 10 search results in Google are, on average, over 2,000 words.
So if you can, aim to make your content length at least 2,000 words.
5. Create a PDF Download
In order for content to be effective, it’s got to have a high perceived value. There are a number of ways that you can do that, one of them being to create a PDF version of your blog post and allowing readers to download it (especially if it’s a lengthy post). That way, people can read your content at their convenience. See how Ecwid does it on their blog:
This is an easy way to repackage your content…and generate leads.
6. Comment on Other Blogs
When done right, commenting on other blogs can be a fantastic way to increase your brand awareness, build relationships, establish yourself as a thought leader and increase traffic to your site.
Just make sure that your comments are insightful. Mention something in particular that the author said in the post and share your thoughts on it. If relevant, you can link back to your site, but this shouldn’t be the end goal.
7. Update Your Blog Posts
Guess what? This blog post that you’re reading right now was originally published in 2014. But it was recently edited and updated to be as relevant as possible.
To that end, instead of reinventing the wheel, reuse and update all the old evergreen content that you have. This will help you to save a great deal of time and energy, while still providing your readers with a lot of value.
8. Repurpose Your Content
Likewise, think about different ways that you can repurpose the content that you already have. So if you have a blog post that was wildly successful, then you might want to turn it into an infographic, video, Slideshare or whatever else.
Not sure what to do? Here are a few ways that you can repurpose your content.
9. Get Influencers Involved
If you want to get a lot of eyes on your content, then it’s a good idea to get influencers involved in the content creation. You could, for example, create a roundup post, pulling together advice from a number of different industry experts. Then reach out to each one directly and ask them if they would like to contribute to your post.
But remember that influencers are busy. Really busy. If you ask them something that’s too complicated or takes too long to respond to, it’s unlikely that they’ll respond. Instead, try asking a simple question, like “What’s your favorite social media monitoring tool?” They might give you a one-word answer, or they might surprise you with a more lengthy response. But make it as easy as possible for them to respond. They shouldn’t have to think much about the answer.
If you have an established relationship with an influencer, then you could also reach out to them for an interview and create a blog post based on that interview.
Then when the post is published, send them the link to it (but unless they are a good friend, refrain from asking them to share it). Chances are, they will share or link back to it anyway. After all, being featured in the post as an expert makes them look good (and who doesn’t like that?).
Diversify Your Content, Diversify Your Exposure
Regardless of the visuals, podcasts or blogs your brand creates, the quality of your content should be your primary concern. Rather than just creating content for the sake of creating it, first think about what your goals are.
Do you want to use content to increase traffic to your site or increase your authority as an industry leader? Then maybe you should look into guest blogging on high authority sites.
Do you want to create content that will help you generate more leads? Then create valuable eBooks and content assets that will help you capture those leads.
Are you struggling to turn your leads into buyers? Then you might want to focus more on email marketing. Or consider creating case studies or video testimonials that will help people to see just how great your services or products really are.
The type of content you create will therefore depend largely on your goals. For each piece of content you plan to create, make sure that you define your objective beforehand. Ask yourself: What’s the purpose of creating this piece of content? How will it help me to meet my goal?
Then, measure your content marketing ROI to see what’s most effective…and home in on that.
What content marketing strategies have you found to be most effective? Share in the comments below!