Developing a Content Marketing Strategy for Your Brand
As traditional marketing methods become less and less effective, forward-thinking marketers are taking a strategic marketing approach. Today’s marketing sphere is focusing on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content across all channels. Currently, content marketing may seem like a buzzword from “the aughts,” but in reality, it’s become a tried and true strategy for businesses, brands, organizations, and institutions to build their audience and web traffic, establish their expertise and credibility, generate leads while building a relationship to the consumer, and improve SEO. So where do you even begin if you are a start-up, small business, new organization, or just finally have the time or resources to focus on content marketing?
Of course, content marketing needs to be done right. You can’t just publish or push out obvious content or content focused entirely on your product, organization, sales, or overly general topics. You want to develop quality content that targets what your customers are looking for or quality content that consumers need. Content marketing is storytelling, whether it’s for your business, magazine, organization, or personal endeavor, and at Issuu, we recognize that everyone has a story to tell. This is why we build in-demand tools for the publishing and distribution of content across any channel: website, newsletters, social media, and more.
Content Marketing: In-depth content vs. the Social Post
Over the past decade or so, 140-characters were suddenly all everyone talked about, and consumers and readers were only interested in tweet-worthy content, but actually, a Pew Research Center online study of reader behavior has shown otherwise. Long-form content has continued to prove it’s worth and high-quality journalism, storytelling, and long-form content continues to demonstrate that quality content can and does engage readers.
Perhaps instead of only focusing on those next dozen tweets of 280 characters, you should also focus on developing informative content. Teach your audience something new. Make content that really engages your reader, speaks to their interests, answers their questions, and builds an affinity for your brand. Use your content to tell the story of challenges your products can solve, unique experiences or real-world examples of your organization, trends to watch, and other subjects that will generate interest and qualified traffic to your site and brand.
In what format should your content be?
Your content should be viewed as an ecosystem; your website, blogs, social media, and more should all work together and complement one another. You may find that you want to use different formats to deliver certain messages more effectively. Highly visual and photo-driven content may fall flat in a simple blog format. However, packaging it as a flipbook-style publication or the visually driven Stories format on Instagram, Facebook, or Snapchat really highlights the content in a way that means more people engage with, share, and follow your brand.
Create content that is exciting to look at, not just exciting to read.
Use interesting visuals and interactive elements from videos, web links, or GIFs to help your content stand out. A lengthy blog post might be full of new and insightful content about a subject. However, you may lose the audience if you don’t include interesting visuals to pull out key learnings, stats, or research. Video content increases engagement with the audience and is also proven to captivate and deliver a message more completely; it is considered the “future of content marketing.” The use of Photography and video will help you stand out from the competition. Whether your video is embedded for instant auto-play to captivate the reader at the turn of the page or the photography is optimized for the shareable full-screen reader or simply sharing an engaging GIF of your content on Instagram to really make a splash and stand out in the feed.
Don’t forget about SEO.
We’ve all heard about Search Engine Optimization. We know it’s an important piece in making sure content ranks with search engines for the topic you are addressing. Did you know that you may want to start with keyword search tools such as Google Adword: Keyword Planner to help determine what content you develop next. Use these tools to see which keywords are being searched for and areas of content that you can bring expertise to. This will help your content to rank in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). Choosing keywords with very high volume means the content is searched often, but most likely has a lot of competition to rank prominently, whereas keywords with low search volume may not result in a ton of traffic, but your content may be more likely to stand out and rank higher.
How do you share your content when it’s ready?
Content distribution may feel like it requires a full-time resource. Every channel you need and want to distribute content on will have its own interface, tools, and format. To create Stories for Instagram, you go to the Instagram App. Then, you want to customize the messaging to share on Twitter, so you have to start over. Of course, your Linkedin content might need to feel more “buttoned up,” so it’s back to the starting line.
The Issuu Story Cloud offers a solution for distribution. Now you just create once and then you can share everywhere from one platform. There are solutions whether you are looking to embed content directly onto your website or blog, share your content to Instagram, Facebook or Linkedin or publish AMP Stories to Google to increase your reach. You can customize the content as you share to each platform. It’s always important to consider what content goes to which platform. It’s equally important to understand how to use it to engage with your audience.
Get to know your content stats
Once you publish your content, it’s important to check your content statistics. These include reads, impressions, time spent on page, shares, and how many click-throughs it received. Your content analytics can give you valuable feedback on how interesting your content was to the reader. For example, did they spend one minute or three and a half minutes to read the full piece? Did they click through on some of the examples or references or possibly share to their Twitter feed? Leverage user data stats to improve your content strategy and performance.
Identify any aspects that require attention based on your goals. If your goal is to get reads, but your bounce rate is 10 seconds, that says something is wrong. The content isn’t speaking to your prospects’ needs. There could also be a poor user experience from long load speed to bad layouts. Don’t be afraid to A/B test to figure out what the main problem is, and improve on those results.