In order to maximize your content creating efforts, you need to plan and implement a strategy. Creating a content marketing strategy implies mapping out all the steps of the process – from content creation to promotion and repurposing. Without a proper strategy, your writing will go unnoticed and despite your hard work you’ll fall short of what you’ve expected.
To help you put in place a comprehensive content marketing strategy that will help you cover all the possible angles, we turned to experts in the field. We asked them to share what worked best for them, so that you can fill all the gaps in your existing strategy. Dive in and soak all the advice and actionable tips we prepared for you to achieve all your content marketing goals.
Content Marketing Tactics:
Alex BarshaiThe important thing is to know how to shape your content and, not to beat around the bush, you need to do that by finding out what your potential readers want, and the best way to do it is to take a look at the popular blogs and websites in your sphere. Please have in mind that I am not advising you to plagiarize (or say the same things but with different words), but I am telling you to explore the style, page layouts and read the readers' comments so as to know what to do or what to avoid on your blog.
This immediately leads into my second thought, and that is to be as precise as possible with your target group. Do not write for everybody, but carefully think what is the gender, age group, social status, interests etc. of the people you want to write for, and then write only with them in mind. This way your content can spread quickly among that group as people will talk about it if it is good, or they will share it on their social network profiles.
As far as social networks are concerned, there are several ways you can use them to promote your content and these are influencer reaching, engagement, and, again, targeting.
Influencer reaching means having some other blogger, or any kind of content writer for that matter, who writes about the same or similar topics review your work or just take a look at it. A lot of them will gladly do so and share it or simply mention it if it is good enough. Both sharing and mentioning it are very good results as they will invariably bring some readers. However, do not be too direct about it and do not ask them to share the link or put in on somewhere on their page. Just ask them to have a look.
As you might have seen for yourself by now, engaging your audience on your Facebook page or Twitter profile usually yields very good responses. Bear in mind though that I do not think about replying to every comment or tackling every claim, but if you see that there is a recurring theme in the comments (or simply if you have time and feel like it), address the issue and discuss it, or simply say thank you for praises. One of the best examples of engagements I have seen recently was done by Jack Wolfskin FB page. They were promoting new arctic wear and somebody attacked them for inhumane treatment of animals. Their PR team was quick to respond and provide the person who commented with proof that they do not use materials of animal origin for their arctic wear and the other users heaped praises.
Targeting can be done on both Facebook and Twitter through hashtags and when making pages on FB. As you probably know by now, you can put tags on your Facebook page and that way provide info for your target audience. The only important things here are not to overdo it and put too many tags, I recommend keeping it between 2 and 7. Twitter hashtags are pretty self-explanatory I think. :)
Finally, the “hacks”. Unfortunately, there is no a formula, or a set of them for that matter, but I still might have a few things for you. Think outside the box and try doing things in the unusual way from time to time. To make this more to the point, feel free to title or formulate blog entries from time to time in a way that you do not usually do if you feel like it. There is a massive amount of information circulating the web and you can never know for sure what is going to cut it and what is going to disappear so try out anything you think or feel might work. It so often happens that things which should not work end up being very popular and talked about.
Ask trustworthy friends and members of family for feedback can do you a lot of good, especially in the early periods when you do not have a stable core of readers just yet. Again, if they like it, they will share it.
This might also seem unconventional, but do try Reddit and sharing your content there, or at least visiting some of the subreddits that are dealing with the topics you want to write about. Reddit is a very good place for gathering information or even more readers and feedback if you are lucky. In the end, think about what you are writing about and always be ready to explain it in one sentence.
Bio: Alex is a Digital Marketer, involved in inbound marketing strategy, lead nurturing, marketing data research and analysis, and Search Engine Optimization. Specializing in lead generation and brand awareness development. Addressing clients from various industries such as trades, food, education and others. Visit his website www.thirdtemple.ca.
Jitesh KeswaniA really important content marketing hack is timing. AS with marketing in general, it’s about getting the right message at the right time to the right set of people through the right channel. So, in general marketing purpose, timing is important, but when it comes to content marketing, timing is everything.
You need to understand one thing, in this smartphone age, all your customers are always on the go. They are constantly consuming content, on their TV, on phones, on laptops and now even on smartwatches and glasses, and when it comes to making a purchase decision, they are literally just sitting on the fence. So, if you deliver your content at the right time to them, then maybe you can get them on your side of the edge.
As a startup content marketing, it’s first important to understand the appetite of your target audience, in terms of their content consumption habits. Let’s look at some of the most popular content marketing platforms and the optimum timings to post content thereon: Facebook audience is the most active during 1 and 4 pm according to a recent research. Twitter has a similar trend with a time slot of 1 to 3 PM. Whereas on LinkedIn, users prefer getting the content related messages during the early part of the day between 7 am and 8.30 pm. They are also actively consuming content as soon as they are off the work at about 5 pm for about an hour. Instagram and Pinterest users prefer to consume new content during the evening hours. Now obviously, there are just generally popular timings and they would vary for different niches. So, the new bloggers should spend a considerable amount of time in identifying the best schedule for your content and create a content calendar accordingly.
Bio: Jitesh is a seasoned digital marketer, strategist and leader. He started e-Intelligence with the aim of providing global clients with a reliable digital partner. An avid thinker, a passionate analyst and an eloquent writer, Jitesh is seen as an authoritative voice on marketing technology issues and is featured in many industry-leading publications. He is also a regular contributor to the leading national dailies and periodicals.
Jason BrewerLearn the ins and outs of keyword research. This is the one thing that separates a pro from an amatuer, regardless of their quality of writing. I suggest beginner bloggers use a tool like Moz Keyword Explorer, Google Keyword Planner or SEMrush to understand the volume and competition around the target keyword(s) of any article before writing. Using the right target keyword in the article title and variations of that keyword throughout the body text of the article will give it a much better chance of showing up in search results. This could be the difference between thousands of readers finding it organically and the article never being found.
Find the right blog promotion sites and learn their rules. We found a few social sharing sites to be very effective at getting massive reach for our blog content. They include Reddit, Web Designer News, Inbound.org and GrowthHackers.
Words of caution: It’s not as easy as it looks. You will be booted from these communities if you aren’t contributing value and/or if you’re only looking to promote your own stuff. You need to be active on these sites before you start pushing your own content. Start by reading, commenting, asking questions, etc. Put in your time and don’t look for the quick and easy win.
Bio: Jason is co-founder and CEO of Brolik., a digital agency in Philadelphia. As an entrepreneur, Jason is passionate about helping other business owners navigate the complicated journey of owning a business and developing marketing strategies to grow their brand.
Alexander Grosu1. When pitching sites and/or other bloggers, keep it very simple. Your pitches should be brief, compelling and attractive at the same time. In most cases, webmasters, website owners and bloggers do not have a lot of time at their disposal and they will most likely not read a very long email pitch. Stick to 3-4 paragraphs, but make sure you really make the most of them.
2. Do not focus on keywords. Of course, they are essential to good SEO, but focusing on them too much can make your article unfriendly for readers – and thus, it can decrease your rankings in the search engines.
3. Be unique and creative. Promoting your articles on the Social Media is very important – but going beyond that increases the chances your excellent content is actually read by people. Create slideshow presentations, infographics and ebooks that lead people back to your website content. Reach out to influencers if your task is to promote products. Think beyond the box! As long as you stay within the Google Webmaster Guidelines and as long as you are consistent with your overall communications strategy, content marketing can truly give you the boost you need for your digital presence!
Bio: With extensive experience in keyword analysis and research, together with the ability to stay ahead of key developments in search engine algorithm and policy changes, Helping inSegment clients achieve top organic results on Google, Yahoo and Bing in variety of highly competitive industries. Visit his website www.insegment.com
Kristin HilleryWhy content marketing works? It's simple, to ensure your content reaches as many eyes as possible, write guests posts on already established publishing platforms in your niche. I prefer Medium and Huffington Post but you can also leverage Tumblr, Ceros, LinkedIn, and many more.
When blogging, consistently give away valuable things - it doesn't matter if it's a set of stock photos, your best tip for growing an email list, sample cover letters, or your grandmother's banana bread recipe. Sharing knowledge shows people that you are knowledgeable, which makes them see you as an expert in your field.
Once you’ve published, market your post on relevant user forums, groups and social media communities where your key audience is likely to “discover” your content. Facebook Groups, GrowthHackers and LinkedIn Groups are great for this.
Finally, keep in mind unless you specifically ask, people probably won't just share your work - they'll move on to the next thing. Put a clever call to action at the end of all of your posts that asks readers to share the link, hit the like button, or follow you.
Bio: Kristin Hillery is a design-obsessed writer and photographer with over 10 years of experience leading teams and developing marketing strategies. She has written for Apartment Therapy, The Austin Chronicle, The Onion A.V. Club, and served as editor for That Other Paper and Texas Travesty. She's currently the Contributions Editor at InVision
Scott RuzalReddit can be a beginning blogger's best friend. Posting your work on small, niche subreddits is perhaps the best way to get noticed by a small group of individuals who have the power to launch your work to the so-called front page of the Internet. Start small, find a subreddit that focuses on a specific topic that relates well to your content, respond to readers in the comments and use their feedback to hone your craft.
For the blogger who writes for multiple websites or publications, content portfolio tools such as Contently.com are available to aggregate your work into a clean, easy to navigate bulletin board that can be linked to in a bio.
The most commonly used marketing strategies might not be as common as you think. Learning best practices for online promotion is in many cases enough to get your blog or content to stand out from the rest of the pack.
Become your own marketing team. Use Google's free Keyword Planner and Trends tool to ensure that your blog titles and descriptions are optimized towards what people are searching for. Cross-post your work on multiple channels, including microblogging platforms such as Medium and Tumblr, and post links to your blog across all social media.
Bio: Scott Ruzal is a marketing professional, digital strategist, and director of accounts at an award-winning marketing and advertising agency based in Edgewater, New Jersey. He has managed online and offline projects for numerous Fortune 500 brands in industries ranging from music and television to retail and tech. Visit his website www.scottruzal.com
Jody SerranoIt can be tough to promote your work when you’re first starting out because you may not have an established community to support you. In these cases, it’s always helpful to go where the crowd is. One tip I keep in my back pocket is Reddit. Reddit is the crowd on the Internet. What’s more helpful is that the platform segments the content for you and allows you to find communities that might be interested in your work easily (i.e. subreddits). The trick with Reddit is that they don’t like people that just go to Reddit to promote their work. What I suggest is joining different subreddits related to your company or industry and become active in that community. This means posting links and upvoting other posts once in awhile. If you do, the community will be less likely to think you’re just trying to get clicks when you post.
Another useful trick is linking to other people or companies. Sharing is caring. When I post on Facebook and I mention another company, I always tag them. This way, I get some of the people who also like their page to see my post and possibly visit my page. The same is true for commenting and liking posts. If you comment and like other people’s post, they’ll most likely return the favor.
Bio: Jody Serrano is the community manager at MainTool, a French wearables startup. She specializes in content marketing and has produced content for a variety of industries. Her favorite, no doubt, is technology. Before working in marketing, she worked in journalism and wrote for outlets such as The Texas Tribune, Politico and The New York Times.
Anna JohnsonWhen I started blogging a few years ago, I realized that posting your content on Stumbleupon could be a great way to generate traffic to your website even if it's brand new. People using Stumbleupon will be discovering your website by chance, so it's not really targeted traffic, but if you have a good call to action on your website, you can make good use of this new traffic.
I've had several thousand visitors a day thanks to Stumbleupon although my website was only a few days old. This big spike in traffic helped me rank better on Google too.
So to sum up, using Stumbleupon can be a great tool to get your website seen by more people and help it rank on Google, but you shouldn't spam Stumbleupon, and it's not a strategy you can use on the long term.
Bio: As part of her role as digital marketing coordinator at Petplan New Zealand, Anna enjoys the creativity that comes with the creation and marketing of interesting content.
Becca Le BlondWhen starting out your focus needs to be quality, not throughput. To effectively build your blog's SEO (which should absolutely be the focus of your first few months of content making) your content needs to be really relevant to the keywords you (should've) spent a lot of time nailing down.
You also need to make sure your content is reaching your target audience, by distributing it in channels you'd expect them to be. Check out the demographics of specific social media platforms.
Another big tip is to avoid over-saturating your follower's feeds. If you post too many times in a day there is a danger that any current followers will be turned off, as inevitably not all of your content/status updates will be relevant or interesting to them.
It'll also put off anyone considering following you. If they see someone else retweet your content and check out your profile, if you post too often, they may reconsider their decision to start following you.
Bio: Becca Le Blond is a Content Specialist at FM Outsource. When not creating and planning new content, she spends her time obsessively refreshing her Twitter feed, and watching funny videos on YouTube.
Sumit BansalUsing Infographics: While a lot of people use an infographic to promote their work, you need to know the right places to get you traffic and backlinks. Once you have an infographic made for an article, apart from submission sites, also put it on creative commons and Flickr. If anyone uses it from these sites (and many journalists do), you'll get a backlink to your article.
Also, reach out to authors of big blogs such as Huffington Post and Mashable and let them know that you have an infographic for one of their existing article. This will help them make the article more useful to their readers and you'll get a backlink as well as traffic to your website.
You can also submit your infographic to design sites such as behance.com and deviantart.com to get a high-quality backlink.
Bio: Sumit Bansal is the founder of Productivity Spot, an online portal that trains people on using Google Sheets efficiently. He has been a blogger and internet marketer for 5 years now and has created many popular blogs.
Jerome CosavellaMy first advice to get your work noticed is blogging often, regularly and focus on long-form pieces of content. Find a niche and define your voice and tone and stick to it. Be consistent throughout your work, your audience will notice that.
Now that you have awesome content, there are many ways to distribute it efficiently. Once you've distributed your content on social media and through email to your subscribers, friends and networks start sharing it on 3rd party websites where your target is (Be it reddit or Medium or StumbleUpon or more).
You're probably already doing all that so now, here is a trick that will save you a lot of time: Repurpose your content! Choose the piece of content that will be your 1st, let's say a WhitePaper for example. Turn this white paper into a series of articles, into an infographic, into a series of social media posts, into a webinar... you get the idea: One topic, so many possibilities!
Bio: After several entrepreneurial experiences with IT security and ecommerce platforms, Jerome joined Upfluence in 2014. He now manages the Content Marketing division.
Sue Anne DunlevieThe easiest way to promote your blog post as a beginning blogger is to put other bloggers into your post. The best way to do this? Create a roundup post that features at least 21 bloggers that get more traffic and social shares than you do.
Roundups are one of the best ways to increase your blog traffic and to build relationships with other bloggers in your niche. And it is the first thing I teach my clients because they work so well. The roundup post brings in traffic because many of the experts will share your post with their audiences. You also build relationships with the other bloggers because you've featured them on your blog.
There are several ways you can do a roundup post. The easiest way - just quote bloggers in your niche. Put their picture and a link to their blog into one blog post. Then contact them after you publish the post and ask them to share it.
This other way is more work - but you'll get more traffic to your post. Ask the same question to each blogging expert. Find a pain point that your audience has and craft your question. Send it to each blogger about 3 weeks before you'll publish it. (Give them a due date that is several days before you have to publish). Include their picture and a link to their blog.
And that's it! You'll increase your traffic to that post and your blog will get new readers and subscribers.
Bio: By running a very successful blog, Sue helps bloggers make money with their blogs so they can work at home, be their own boss and spend more time doing what they love! Visit her website www.successfulblogging.com
Marko SaricSpend at least 50% of your time on promoting the content that you publish. It doesn't matter how great your content is, only a few people will see it If you don't promote it. You need to get out there and share your content with the people who are interested in your topic and who could find value in it. Don't just spam, but actually help people out. Answer their questions, solve their problems. Entertain them. Inform them. Educate them. Be an expert and an authority in the field.
I have a marketing routine that I go through after publishing each post in order to spread it as much as possible. This consists of several communities and social media platforms on which I share my new post. From my mailing list and my social media profiles, to writing on LinkedIn and getting it on specific niche websites. You should consider having a routine too in order to get a habit of doing this each and every time you publish something new. That's the best way to ensure that you'll build an audience.
Bio: His passion for online media has been bubbling for many years, starting back when he was a teenager. He’s always been a music enthusiast and went one step further in his days as a metal head by creating an online site for Metallica, his favorite band. Moreover, he successfully completed a BA degree in Marketing Management and launched HowToMakeMyBlog.com to help content creators start their sites and succeed by sharing his tips and advice.
Mike AltonThe key to every successful blog post's promotion is to have a checklist of promotional techniques that you use each and every time. Then, over time, you continue to expand and improve on those techniques.
A new blogger, for instance, might share their posts to their Facebook page and Twitter profile, which is great. Eventually, though, you'll need to add Pinterest and Instagram and LinkedIn and Google+ to that mix, along with many other sites and services, so that you can test different audiences and achieve the broadest possible reach for your content.
When I first started my checklist was probably 8 - 10 items - now it's grown considerably.
Start tracking what you're doing now and test different techniques so that with each new blog post you reach more and more people.
Bio: Mike Allton is a Content Marketing Practitioner, Author, and the Chief Marketing Officer for SiteSell. He loves working with other bloggers and small businesses to help them understand how to leverage content to grow their audience and generate more traffic, leads and sales. He can be found at www.thesocialmediahat.com.
Adam ToporekWhen I look at the content that does well for us year after year, it is dominated by more tactical pieces. Posts beginning with titles like “how to…” or "5 ways to…” tend to perform best overall. Certainly, you should have a mix of content, from strategic/theoretical overviews to long-form, “epic" pieces; however, if you can focus on providing actionable information that answers the specific questions readers have, you can create evergreen content that performs well in search engines for a long time.
To execute, use keyword research to figure out what readers are looking for and the best way to optimize that content for search engines. Then, create killer content that answers the questions readers are seeking. Finally, make sure to amplify the content through social media and, if you have the resources (time or staff), to repurpose the content for other mediums such as video and slide decks.
Bio: Adam Toporek is an internationally recognized customer service expert, keynote speaker, and workshop leader. He is the author of Be Your Customer's Hero: Real-World Tips & Techniques for the Service Front Lines, as well as the founder of the popular Customers That Stick blog. When he’s not speaking or delivering high energy customer service workshops, he can be found co-hosting the Crack the Customer Code podcast and writing extensively on customer experience.
Pradeep KumarTo be an expert content marketer, you need to analyze your base audience first. You need to become a storyteller, with a personal touch. There is a key difference between reviewing a product technically and reviewing a product personally. Look at most of the smartphone reviews, people rarely talk about 'phone' feature, which is basically to make calls and stuff, they mostly focus on 'camera', 'battery', etc., which is not exactly the core feature of a 'phone', so you need to involve deeply and target all the audiences.
There are plenty of people out there who buy phones just for making phone calls, so if you are making a content, make it universal for everyone, this is something I have experienced recently and making the changes. You badly need to focus on the content, you need to rely on it, so make sure you don't disappoint your reader after making him/her read 1000 or so words. To become a good content marketer, you must first become an expert storyteller, but it shouldn't be just a story, it should be your personal experience.
Bio: Pradeep Kumar, Founder/Editor of HellBound Bloggers (HBB)
William HarrisThe best hack I can give a new blogger to promote their content is to know their audience. If you know who your ideal audience is, you'll write a better article, have a better title and know where your audience shares and digests content. If you're in marketing, then you would know that you want to be on Inbound and Growthhackers. Figure out who your audience is and where they hang out so you can promote your content in the best circles - not necessarily the biggest circles.
One way to do this is to simply talk to your audience. Ask them questions, email them, poll them - find out what they think their pain points are. The other thing is to use something like Facebook's audience insights. You can upload your custom email list and see what Facebook knows about their demographic data - you may find some of the results surprising.
Bio: William Harris is a Growth Marketer and Entrepreneur. He successfully built and lead the marketing team at When I Work, a VC backed SaaS Startup. He then moved on to the eCommerce space where he was able to provide double digits lifts to revenue for a large online retailer. He now focuses his time on helping clients realize their business goals by acting as their “outsourced” VP of Marketing. You can find him on Linkedin and Twitter @wmharris101.
Kulwant NagiThe best tips I have ever used to build my presence is helping people at different platforms. They can be social media sites, forums or question answer websites. Just find the audience in your niche and try to help them as per your experience.
Once you solve their problem, you are going to solve that particular problem of a large audience. Because he/she is not the only guy who is facing this problem, so you answer will be visible to your target audience. This way people are going to recognize you at different platform and more likely to start reading your blogs.
Another bullet-proof method is guest blogging Write in-depth article around your niche and submit on some of the high authority blog in your niche. This way you can tap more audience and get laser targeted readers for your blog.
Bio: Kulwant Nagi is a professional blogger, renowned speaker, and an affiliate marketer. Visit his website www.bloggingcage.com
Marcus MillerIt can be tough for new bloggers to get discovered - there is just so much content out there. A tried and tested strategy to get in front of the right audience is to comment on the latest blogs of the biggest and best in the game. If you can add real value in these comments often folks will click on you, visit your own blog and hopefully you are on your way to a new reader.
You can optimize this strategy by utilizing a tool like IFTTT to get alerts by email or even text when new blogs are posted so you can try to get the first comment which will usually get a whole lot more views and interaction than comment 427 or some such.
Bio: Marcus is an SEO, Digital Marketing and Website consultant with 17 years of sometimes painful experience. Marcus specialises in digital strategy and helping SME's understand how to craft goal driven, integrated digital marketing campaigns that are greater than the sum of their parts. Visit his website www.bowlerhat.co.uk
Ryan BiddulphFalling in love with promoting other bloggers is 1 way for a beginner blogger to promote their work effectively. 99% of newbie bloggers think "Me Me Me!", promoting only themselves, and wonder why nobody reads their blogs. Success finds bloggers who are having fun and who promote other bloggers freely.
If you enjoy promoting other bloggers many of these bloggers will promote you too, expanding your reach online. Tweet, Facebook Share, G Plus Share and feature bloggers from your niche regularly. What you give freely - promotion-wise - returns to you multiplied.
Bio: Ryan Biddulph with his blog Blogging From Paradise is helping entrepreneurs to boost their blogging income and generate more traffic. After constant learning and many success with his clients, he is now able to travel the world and share useful growth advice in the same time!
Pratik DholkiyaEvery piece of blog content should serve a purpose, when it is read. When you consider how much content the average consumer is inundated with on a daily basis, finding a way to produce consistently high-quality content is a challenge for brands. While many people think that the function of a content calendar is to ensure that production happens on a schedule, the truth is that it is a creative plan that enables brands to think carefully about the content they are creating, how to distribute it, and how to measure its efficacy.
What are some of the deliverables that consumers expect from brand content? They expect to be informed, either about a product or service, or about a cause, social issue or other theme that they can relate to, and personally get behind. They expect to be entertained; either by witty copywriting, innovative multimedia or a new and novel concept that inspires conversation, or endorsement. Each piece of content has to create an experience, such as this social media updates resource that we’ve created, where the reader is walking away with something of value that they did not have before.
Today I still see marketers struggling both with unique creative content, and with maintaining a relevant connection to the brand audience. Consumers crave a relationship and affiliation with the products and services they buy; content marketing is an effective tool to recruit new customers and impact sales, but also serves to deepen the relationship that existing customers have with your brand. From blog posts to social media graphics, contests and the ability to inspire user generated content to create two-way customer experiences, it’s important to ask yourself HOW your content is strengthening the relationship between consumer and brand.
In every strategic content marketing plan, leave more than a little room for spontaneity. Empower social media experts and community managers to create memorable experiences by being quick to respond with facts, humor and the kind of wit that gets retweeted a thousand times. Understand that content marketing is fluid; the annual plan is something that needs to be reviewed and changed, as consumer views and social priorities shift throughout the year. Leave room to be creative as trends change, and connect on relevant news or issues with your audience in real-time, for memorable and potentially viral content marketing.
Bio: Pratik Dholakiya is the Co-Founder of E2M a full service digital marketing agency and PRmention a digital PR agency. He regularly speaks at various conferences about SEO, Content Marketing, Growth Hacking, Entrepreneurship and Digital PR. Pratik has spoken at NextBigWhat's UnPluggd, IIT-Bombay, SMX Israel, and other major events across Asia. As a passionate marketer, he shares his thoughts and knowledge on publications like Search Engine Land, Entrepreneur Magazine, Fast Company, The Next Web and the Huffington Post to name a few. He has been named one of the top content marketing influencers by Onalytica three years in a row.