We’ve entered a new decade - and if you’ve decided to make this the decade you ramp up your content marketing output, then I’ve got a few ‘quick wins’ for you to try.
A quick side note - content marketing should always be viewed as an investment - it’s a long-term strategy. It should change with your business focus and consistently seek to engage your specific audience. (otherwise, what’s the point?)
Before we get into the quick wins, I thought I’d share some common mistakes I see businesses make regularly.
P.S. Keep scrolling past all this to get to the quick wins!
Don’t just blog about your company’s news
It’s good to update everyone that you’re growing and hiring new employees, but you need to mix the content on your blog up. If you’re scrolling through your latest blog posts and you don’t see any educational content, you’re missing a trick.
Educational content is what helps position you as an expert in your field. A lot of companies I speak with are guarded about sharing ‘free’ advice. Sharing your expertise will only highlight you as an authority in your field. Although you might be sharing a ‘how-to’ post packed with tips where users can go away and do something for themselves - rather than hiring you - it doesn’t matter. They either weren’t going to hire someone like you in the first place, OR they’ll come back to you when they realise they haven’t got the time or skill set to do it themselves.
Don’t sign up for every social media channel under the sun
I came across a marketing agency (believe it or not) who share stock images of business people along with a message about how fantastic their latest blog post is...on Instagram. Then they post a link to the article in the image description. Firstly, Instagram doesn’t work like this - you can’t click links in image descriptions. Secondly, it’s an image-led site - a portal to share beautiful images, not a stock image of Alan from accounts looking thoughtfully down the lens.
I guess my advice for this point is to focus on either one or two social channels you know your audience is active on and build them up. Don’t spread your resources so thin you struggle to update each channel effectively. I use Twitter from time to time - mainly to keep on top of news stories, but the only channel I focus on is LinkedIn.
If you’re a B2B business - LinkedIn for lead generation is a must. Not sure how to use it? I offer a one-off LinkedIn strategy session - contact me to discuss this!
Don’t approach content without a strategy
I’m not a fan of far-reaching 6-month or year-long strategies, so that’s not what I mean. What I mean is think about who you’re trying to engage before you write your content. I see so many random blog posts on websites where they’re clearly out of place and not intended for that audience.
If you’re not sure what to blog about, don’t just write anything. If you’re stuck for blogging ideas, you can use lots of free blog topic/title generators - they usually need a bit of tweaking, but they’re an excellent place to start. You should always look to the leading competitors in your industry, too. Analyse what works best on their site and gets the most engagement across their social channels.
If it’s been done before, don’t invent the wheel - create a better, more in-depth version of the wheel and your piece of content is already superior!
Focus on achieving fewer goals
I’ve worked for many companies over the last ten years which outline a million and one goals with about 500 KPIs en route to said goal. Not only is this demoralising as a member of staff, but it’s also ridiculous. You’re focused so much on how to measure success you never really get a chance to try out new ideas.
Marketing is always trial and error, so when the ‘trial’ section is take away from you all you’re left with is predictable marketing that never generates anything.
Instead, just stick to a few goals most important for measuring campaign success.
QUICK CONTENT WINS FOR YOUR BUSINESS IN 2020
We’ve finally made it to the quick wins section! I just wanted to stress again that content marketing is an ongoing strategy - don’t expect to do this all once and then voila - engaged audience.
Blog more frequently
If you currently churn out a blog every few months, but you do not see any traction or audience engagement - step it up a bit. I only blog once a month, and it’s for only one reason -
I want to create one piece of long-form content instead of several smaller pieces. I think longer-form pieces give me the scope to go in-depth with topics I know my audience is interested in.
Blogging more frequently means you have more content to share with your audience across social media - start a conversation on Twitter or LinkedIn and start interacting with your followers and connections more often.
If you struggle with having the time to write consistently for your blog, I use the time management method called The Pomodoro Technique. It’s short 25-min bursts of working with a five-minute break in between. Sometimes all you need to do is start, and you’re off.
OR I could write your blog content… Read about my blogging service.
Create user-generated pieces
If you’re short on time or you have zero ideas for your next blog post, user-generated content is a great option. As it’s user-generated, you don’t have to write too much content yourself. Your time will be spent collating other user’s ideas and advice tips etc.
Reach out to users about a common problem in your industry - for example, I created a piece called the honest truth about freelancing. I put a post out on LinkedIn asking for freelancers to contact me if they wanted to feature in the post with their advice and personal freelancing experience.
Not only can you rely on your post receiving more traction - because you can ask the contributors to share the piece - but it makes for an exciting read, too.
Keep an eye on industry data and news
If I found out that something big had shifted in my industry, it could be useful to blog about it and put my opinion into the piece, too. Showcasing expertise and that you know what is happening in the world around you. I wrote a blog post with a similar angle back in August last year called under the influence of influencers - which was sparked by a timely video shared by PETA.
Find out which pages users are leaving and remedy it
Go to your Google Analytics account and view your top exit pages. Ignore pages with a call-to-action on them - for example, your ‘contact us’ page - as you’d expect this page to be a high exit percentage. Instead, visit service pages or other product pages that have high exit percentages.
Read through the page in question and make some quick fixes - whether it’s including an additional call-to-action at the top of the page as well as the bottom, making the first section of the page straight to the point and maybe even considering bullet points - or perhaps it’s rewording a page title.
Making small changes like this could see your exit numbers decrease. Your aim on each page of your site should be to give the user what they came for. Whether it’s how your service can help them, your pricing, or how to get the ball rolling, make it super simple for users to understand what that page is about.
Gather reviews for your business
A review tells your audience that you have proven your business has expertise. I always read reviews of products or services before I go anywhere near them. If your business is in the B2B sector, LinkedIn recommendations can do wonders for your business profile. They’re pretty hard to fake given that the person leaving them has a personal profile stating where they’ve worked and for how long.
Reading recommendations on LinkedIn can give you a real sense of whether you want to work with this person or the company. After you get a great Google/Trip advisor/Trustpilot/LinkedIn recommendation or review, share it in a post on social media. This draws attention to how well trusted you are in your sector and why people should want to work with you and your company.
Asking past clients for reviews and recommendations is the quickest way to accumulate them. Don’t expect people to leave you a review automatically - it’s usually the last thing on people’s mind.
Not sure how to write a blog post? Read this for some guidance on how to write a damn good blog post.