Content Marketing Techniques You Need to Master in 2017

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Content is the foundation of Inbound Marketing. Of course you know this… it’s everywhere.

What we find people need the most help with is defining the proper content and then promoting it effectively and successfully.

The 5 core content marketing techniques you’ll need to master if you want to up your inbound marketing results are:

  1. Research what clicks with your audience
  2. Set goals to sharpen your creation process
  3. Master effective, irresistible writing
  4. Publish and promote
  5. Track what happens, so you know what’s working

This is the age of information. If you don’t give your audience information, you lose. If you use your content channels as a loudspeaker to promote, you don’t actually promote. You only lose.

This is the truth. And this is why even ads promote something “you can use” instead of something “you should buy.” Content marketing and inbound marketing are pretty much interchangeable in their shared core: empowering your customers with valuable information, and with that, building a relationship with them. And… if you’re successful, turning them into customers that way.

The cornerstone of inbound marketing is content, and content needs the inbound ideology

Inbound and content marketing isn’t an “and/or” case. They build on each other. Inbound marketing can’t exist without content, and your content should be developed in alignment with the inbound philosophy of attracting and delighting your customers– closing and converting them into a sale is more a sweet bonus than the goal.

Content marketing doesn’t “sell” to them. Instead, you provide highly relevant, consumable content they’ll love and learn from.

Content that converts

…is relevant and timely content. Relevant to your buyer personas and timely for each phase of the buyer’s journey.

Of course, your content also needs to be found by your target audience, so you optimize your site and every article. You promote your content relentlessly and strategically. You analyze and track your campaign and content results, and you create your strategy and write your content accordingly. Then, update, repurpose and promote again.

This is the cycle of content marketing.

content-inbound-marketingAttract and delight

Inbound is all about attracting, converting and delighting your customers. Content plays a part in all those phases. You attract your buyer leads through ad copy and the magnetic content you create and promote.

You convert your buyer-leads through effective, timely content with irresistible calls-to-action (CTAs), and you keep delighting them through email content (pre- and post-purchase) and other  types of content that serves their needs in a timely manner.

  • What do your ideal readers need?
  • What do they need to know about what they need?
  • What does your brand stand for?
  • What messages and themes do you support?
  • What are your goals for your content marketing?

You need to be able to identify the answers to those questions, so you can have a solid foundation for content marketing that would attract and delight your target audience.

So what are the core techniques of content marketing?

1. A process of generating high-quality ideas

Note the purposefulness of the heading. The question is not “how to generate high quality ideas” because that’s easy. It’s about putting a process in place to keep generating those high quality ideas!

Technique 1: Find out what your competitors are ranking for. You can use tools like Buzzsumo, or or you can simply Google your niche and see what topics emerge on top.

When you understand Google ranking factors, you’ll know that these content pieces are the ones getting consumed the most.

Technique 2: Segment your buyer personas and the buyer’s journey. Use the Skyscraper technique to generate topics and template pieces for your content marketing strategy. Guides, comparisons, case studies, a series of top tens…

What’s been done successfully? Update it, spice it up, do it better. Keep doing that.

Both these techniques would cushion you against writer’s block, a.k.a “I’ve run out of ideas, what the bleep do we write next?”

Fresh things are just old things combined, reshaped or updated into something new. Your next piece is already out there waiting for you.

Technique 3: READ A LOT, SCAN A LOT, then go ride a bike or eat a donut. Jot down the ideas and the combos that spring up.

2. A long-term content strategy; an end goal

Only 37% and 40% of B2B and B2C (respectively) marketers have a content marketing strategy.

What with all the research, writing, publishing and promoting that needs to be done, is it any surprise that no one has the time?

Make the time.

Here’s why: You need to set a marketing goal so you and your team can create content to achieve those goals. It’s your point B. You’re in point A. Your content marketing strategy is the arch of rainbow awesomeness that brings you from point A to B.

Your marketing goals keep you and your team focused.

  • You have something to review constantly to stay on track
  • and to help you generate ideas and create content targeted and optimized to move your buyer along on the buyer’s journey
  • You have clear vision and therefore a clear understanding of what data you need to watch and track…
  • So you can adjust and adapt your strategy accordingly

Every piece of content is attached to a small goal and contributes to an even bigger goal.

This is also where a content audit comes in. Find the holes you need to patch up, pieces you can makeover and the phase/s of buyer’s journey or persona you might have neglected.

Plan the whole year out according to your company’s annual goal and quarterly marketing goals. What shall you accomplish and how will you do so through your content?

Set something specific, with a matching result you can measure and track, and a deadline. SMART goals– specific, measurable, attainable, relevant to your overall goal, and time-bound.

Bet you’re full of ideas right now.

3. Effective, irresistible writing

Here are the on-page elements you do need to master to win every time you publish something online. Always aim to delight people even as you sweet-talk search engines with H1s and H2s.

  • Seduce with headlines, down to CTAs. Images are great, but wow and amuse your audience with captions
  • Meaty, informative articles, but also brimming with personality that builds your brand and makes it memorable

What blogs do you gobble? What do you yourself love in what you read? What does your audience love to read? What power words should you turn into the essence of your brand?

4. Content promotion and repurposing

Content marketing is 40% creation and 60% promotion. That’s where the ‘marketing’ in content marketing comes from.

Create something truly useful and valuable and your audience will gobble it up when they see it. It’s your job that they see it.

  • Choose a magnificent, goal-targeted piece of content you’re proud of, and promote it on your social media platforms for weeks, using snippets from the content to keep your posts fresh. Hashtags will take you far.
  • Utilize the powerful targeting abilities of social media ads to promote your content to its intended audience.
  • Submit it to the big fish sources in your niche. Borrow their authority and use it as a dressing to make your content even more irresistible for your audience. Guest post, republish, or repurpose. For example, you can submit an infographic version of your article, which an influencer can publish on their blog.
  • If you mentioned and quoted influencers, email them and tell them about it. Show them what you’ve done. Well-written pieces of content sell themselves. Influencers love curating truly helpful pieces. It scores them points as a dependable resource to your shared audience!
  • Email marketing isn’t a loudspeaker either– it should be valuable to your recipients. What better way to make every email valuable than to send something useful?

According to response, repurpose your content. Split it and go in-depth about every section, or turn it into a slide deck or video. Create spin-off articles. If you wrote about the best hydration packs, you might write about the best water bottles next, for those who prefer bottles. Next, you can pitch hydration packs and bottles against each other! Stir people up. They’ll have their say and your article– and your conversions– would only profit.

5. Track, adjust, create

Tracking your content completes the circle of content marketing.

  • It gives you ideas about what to write next
  • Tells you whether you are meeting your goals or if you need to adapt to what your analytics reveal to you
  • Tells you what your audience are loving, and what’s getting crickets.
  • So you get huge clues about what you should promote and repurpose, or fix.
  • It also gives you a record of progress and insights you can use again and again for your next marketing strategy

According to your SMART goal/s– remember, this is why you need them– identify and choose the metrics you want to track and stick with them. It’s easy to be distracted by all the bells and whistles analytics can deliver.

You can look at your :

  • Website performance
  • Traffic
  • CTR
  • Conversion rates
  • Inbound links
  • Social shares and your
  • Followers

Did I mention your conversion rates?

So there’s your content marketing techniques simplified.

  1. Research what clicks with your audience
  2. Set goals to sharpen your creation process
  3. Master effective, irresistible writing
  4. Publish and promote
  5. Track what happens, so you know what’s working

That’s it. Rinse and repeat.

If you are ready to create a content strategy that will turn your website into an online marketing machine, give us a call.

We’ll help you evaluate your opportunities and your needs. We can consult on your content and inbound marketing needs or do it all for you – and anything in the middle.

Learn what it would look like to partner with an inbound marketing consultant to help you identify your greatest opportunities and help you grow your brand and customer base.

Connect with us and let’s discuss the possibilities.

It won’t cost a penny and it might be the most profitable decision you’ve made all year!

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Jillian Vanarsdall
Jillian Vanarsdall
Founder of Blue Iris Marketing. An inbound marketing agency assisting businesses, from start-ups to high-growth firms, to phenomenally tell their unique story in a noisy digital world. Our services include inbound marketing, Wordpress web design and development, SEO, and social media.

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