7 essentials for distinctive content marketing

Is your content king, or just part of the teeming masses? There’s a lot of it out there; here are some approaches that will make yours stand apart from the crowd.

Do you suffer from content shock?

As companies ratchet up their content output, the glut of information is outpacing the time or interest we have to consume it.

Consider these numbers:

  • According to Trackmaven, almost 9,000 brands have increased their content by an average of 78 percent over the last two years.
  • Fifty-six percent of leading business bloggers will be hiring additional resources in the next 12 months, according to Curata.

Beyond that, the content produced is not effective. For example:

  • Fifty-one percent of marketers think their content is average or worse, according toContently .

Notice a theme? More is not always better.

Let’s think differently: Less content is more.

Successful content marketing will be harder to achieve in 2016 , so here are seven tips to help you convert more with less content:

1. Eliminate worthless content by answering your clients’ questions.

The biggest threat to content marketing is crap [view the SlideShare]. If the content you produce is not relevant to your clients, don’t produce it. Instead, create content that answers the questions the clients are asking you . Turn the guidance in your website’s frequently asked questions (FAQ) section into content for your blog or magazine.

Stop promoting your company; start producing helpful content. Read Six principles of great content brands.

It might be helpful to think of your content as a TV series with an overall theme; each episode advances the series storyline or theme.

Related:
11 Essentials for a Stellar Online Newsroom

2. Concentrate on one channel for your content.

Joe Pulizzi , founder of the Content Marketing Institute, says marketers should concentrate on one channel such as a blog, a video series or a podcast. He points to how the greatest media brands—such as The New York Times, ESPN and The Huffington Post—started out by dominating one channel (print, TV, blog) before launching additional channels.

Look at your analytics. Which channel is most successful for you? The digital body language of your customers or clients is probably giving you the answer. Don’t distribute through a given channel if your target audience is not there. With limited resources, you should concentrate on one or two effective channels.

3. Create a newsroom; your competition is bigger than you think.

In today’s content marketing world, you are up against more than just your direct competitors . You are competing with everyone who is producing content on the same topic—whether that be an indirect competitor, traditional media outlets and industry trade groups or even Wikipedia.

Coordinate your content efforts so your operation runs like a newsroom instead of a marketing department.

How can you compete on so many fronts?

Keep your team flexible but firm, so you can create consistent, relevant and meaningful content. You must also expand your reach beyond the marketing team so others in your organization can contribute and share your content.

A steering committee or advisory board, comprising people from diverse parts of the business, can help you produce relevant content for key audiences to meet your company’s goals.

As Mark Ragan, CEO of Ragan Communications, says, “Don’t beg the media; be the media.”

To that end, take tips from professional journalists to create stories that don’t promote a product or service. Also, develop editorial guidelines and validate sources of information. Assemble a diverse content marketing team so you can produce compelling videos, publish articles that are not just skimmed , and deliver helpful, high-quality photos.

Finally, know and master the fundamentals of content marketing.

4. Refresh and reuse valuable content.

Stop focusing on only new content. Your old content has staying power, so make it fresh and timely so it can generate even more traffic and conversions. According to a HubSpot analysis of their historical data, 76 percent of its monthly blog views come from old posts (published prior to that month) and 92 percent of monthly blog leads also come from old posts.

Try using these five free content audit tools to determine what gaps you have in your content, how to improve your content and whether you have any content archipelagos. You might also discover an underestimated content gem.

5. Add high-quality imagery to all of your content

According to a Moz analysis of its content, posts with images receives more links than do posts without images. The brain processes visual information 60,000 times faster than text. According to HubSpot, content gets 94 percent more views when enhanced by compelling visual elements and graphics.

Read why visual content is a social media secret weapon. To help you find those high-quality images, read 14 free stock photo websites,25 places to find free photos and 7 websites for free and beautiful stock photos.

6. Create easy-to-read content with strong headlines and calls to action.

Consider these three components:

Readability. This aspect is important for search engine optimization and usability and to ensure that Google is rating your website high in search results. Use words with the right number of syllables and compose the proper sentence length . Readability determines how well or poorly your content will perform in search results. For help, use the readability score tool.

Compelling headline(s). This initial synopsis of your content guides the reader’s experience. Make sure your headline and sub-headline capture the essence of your content. Analyze your headlines using tools such as these: 10 free keyword research tools to write compelling headlines .

Calls to action. A strong call to action, especially your best performing content, encourages readers to take the next step in a desired direction. One such action could be to view the SlideShare content of your article , or to read the article version of your SlideShare content. Direct your audience to read related content, download an e-book or white paper, or call or email you for help on the topic at hand. If you include your call to action up top and again at the end, you’ll get more clicks.

7. Repurpose your content, and develop a strategy for various types of content.

Repurposing content is essential for all of us with tight marketing budgets and to ensure that our marketing messages consistently reach our target audiences.

To ensure you have a strategy for the different types of content you produce and curate, you may want to use a pyramid-based approach. It improves the long-term efficiencies and effectiveness of your content marketing operations and helps you produce more content with less effort. The foundation of this pyramid starts with curated content. Read the five free content curation resources that can save you time .

Using this pyramid will help you deliver key marketing messages in several places at different times, and in multiple shapes and sizes, which will extend your reach.

Bringing it all together

Brafton offers a case study about how a financial services company wrote fewer yet deeper articles —and boosted its Web traffic and sales. Instead of pumping out tons of content, cut your content quantity and enhance its quality to help your bottom line.

What tips would you add to overcome content shock?

A version of this post first appeared on the Knowledge Enthusiast.

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