20 content marketing tips from the pros

In the ever-changing field, you need to keep up on what the top voices are saying. Take a look …


Whether you’re new to content marketing or an old pro, it’s still good to hear what the experts are saying. Here are 20 of the latest tips and comments from those in the know:

Authentic content is king

1. “If businesses can be transparent, be authentic.” Brian Solis, principal analyst at Altimeter Group. There’s little that will gain you more influence than communicating a sense of authenticity to your clients.

2. “The trust, credibility, and authority that content marketing creates knocks down sales resistance.” Brian Clark, founder of Copyblogger. Instead of thinking of content marketing as a way to make sales, look at it as a way to build authority and establish credibility with your audience, which will in turn lead to sales.

3. “Write human.” Milk Stelzner of SocialMediaExaminer.com. Avoid obvious sales pitches, and opt instead to be real. Customers are distrustful of advertising.

It sounds obvious, but …

4. “Define your objectives.” Paul Gillin and Leslie Reiser of IBM. Speaking about the “Flipped Funnel” strategy, in which brands have to prove value before trying to make a sale, these experts say all members of your executive team must agree on your business objectives.

5. “Answer the questions your customers are asking. It’s not sexy, but it’s what’s needed.” Nick Kellet, co-founder of Listly. When you’re tapped for content ideas, the best answer is also the most obvious: Go to your customers. Ask questions to find out what they need and want, and satisfy their desires.

6. “Create an editorial calendar.” Christopher Jan Benitez, editorial QA at PrintRunner. One of the hardest parts about creating solid content is coming up with topics when you need them. That’s why many content marketers rely on predetermined calendars with topics already chosen.

7. “Don’t make the brand front and center.” Karl Sakas of KarlSakas.com and Hesketh.com. One of the most powerful content marketing strategies is to not make the brand itself the focus but rather to focus on helping your audience, promoting your brand indirectly. (Examples: RedBullUSA.com, Tablespoon.com, and KraftRecipes.com.)

8. “Remember, content marketing is about having a conversation.” Amie Marse of Small Business Trends. Being able to engage your audience is largely about meeting them in the places where they spend time. Pinterest? Twitter? Figure out where your clients are, and go there.

Write frequently

9. “Regular frequency is just as important as developing quality content.” Nate Riggs, director of social business and content marketing at Karcher Group. The only thing more important than the type of content you’re posting is the frequency with which you post it. In content marketing, consistency is key.

10. “Execute daily. Roger C. Parker of Content Market Institute. Success that lasts is directly tied to regular, consistent writing, and one way to keep creating content is to discipline yourself to write every day.

11. “One article or video is not a content strategy; it is a shot in the dark.” Jon Gelberg, editorial director at PR News. Good content marketing means steady content marketing. You want to produce a solid body of work in order to reap the greatest benefits. This means that before you jump in to a strategy, you’ve considered the time investment it will take.

Dynamic content works

12.“Research has repeatedly demonstrated that marketing that is targeted and more relevant to the end recipient tends to see better results. Meghan Keaney Anderson of HubSpot Blog. Dynamic content has shown to be effective at reaching customers by targeting ads or text to address them.

13. “What dynamic content via marketing automation really offers us is the marketing equivalent of power tools.” Geoff Livingston of GeoffLivingston.com. If used strategically, dynamic content offers many benefits, but if used without purpose, it won’t deliver results. The key is strategy.

14. “Ideally, your customer should be able to choose the form, channel and frequency of communication they prefer.” Michael Durie of Business Lounge. With dynamic content, it’s all about understanding your audience. You want to vary your content to suit different forms and channels in order to create the most powerful effect.

Content marketing trends

15. “Many brands are taking advantage of Instagram and seizing the opportunity to share a more personal perspective with their customers.” Shawna Kenyon of Top Rank Online Marketing Blog. The popular smartphone app is constantly growing and is now part of Facebook. Brands including Starbucks and Nike are taking note.

16. “Video is growing in use and is still underestimated.” Gordon Locke of D Custom. Growing in popularity are engaging, interesting, customer-benefiting video content. As this medium continues to grow more powerful, it’s the most meaningful video that will have the greatest impact.

17. “Online seminars are an increasingly popular means for small businesses to educate.” Kathryn Hawkins of Intuit Small Business Blog. Not only do webinars give you a way to share information, but also they make it easy to generate leads as you gather contact info. Within the last year alone, the number of businesses hosting webinars has gone up by 25 percent.

The future of content marketing

18. “We are seeing tons of interest in video … number two area of interest is mobile.” Rebecca Lieb, digital marketing and media analyst for Altimeter Group. Video opens doors for content marketers in terms of storytelling, and with the prevalence of mobile devices in today’s society, using the medium for content marketing only makes sense.

19. “The days of one social media manager handling Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and the rest is coming to a close.” Jay Baer, founder of ConvinceandConvert.com. As companies continue to see the value social media represents to their firms, more and more insourcing is likely to occur. Instead of one or two people handling the brand’s social media efforts, companywide efforts will become more common.

20. “It’s about giving people something they can use.” Sarah Skerik of PR Newswire. The future of content marketing is about more than more content; it’s about valuable content. Skerik advises asking yourself whether content is valuable every time you’re about to publish.

Shanna Mallon is a writer for Straight North, a Chicago Web design firm providing specialized SEO, Web development, and other online marketing services. Follow Straight North on Twitter and Facebook.

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