When it comes to marketing, we all know by now that content is king. But, in our ever-changing industry, it’s no longer enough to post a short fluff piece on the blog and call it a day. To get that all-important engagement from our customers, our content must be engaging. But is it that simple? Well, no.
After a year of lockdown and endless hours scrolling on the internet, consumers have read, watched, and tweeted it all and as content marketers, we need to be savvier about what we’re serving them. Here are my top 5 tips on how to improve your content marketing strategy for a post-lockdown world.
Revisiting old content
Before embarking on a grand adventure into fresh content creation, take stock of what is already in your arsenal.
Sprucing up older blog posts can be highly effective, yet low effort – especially as you’ll be retaining the original URL and thus all that juicy page authority that’s been building up.
The world has changed pretty dramatically in the last 12 months, so it’s likely older content can be reframed and revisited to suit our new way of living.
Whether it’s a think piece on managing a team (now remotely) or a data-led infographic showing the most binge-worthy Netflix shows, post-lockdown life offers a wide range of new takes on old topics.
But don’t stop there. Are some of your posts now ranking for queries you didn’t expect? Re-do your keyword research and weave these into the content (I don’t have to remind you about keyword stuffing though, right?).
Tweak your meta title, revisit your ALT tags and examine your H1s to ensure you’re hitting Google’s sweet spot with your keyword usage.
Know your audience
This is a content marketing strategy no-brainer, but it never hurts to revisit your audience research to hone your customer personas. Whether you’re sending out surveys, scouring social media, or segmenting data in
spreadsheets, any information you can glean from your customers is a boon to your strategy.
If you’re going down the survey route, have a clear goal in mind when curating the survey
and create questions that will actively achieve it.
Remember: the people most likely to respond are those customers who are already engaged with your brand, so the results will not give you the full picture.
Social media is one of the easiest ways to tap into your customers' likes and dislikes. Monitoring brand mentions can open up a whole new avenue, and marketing driven by customer behaviour is particularly effective.
Take Ben & Jerry’s for example – despite increasing their marketing spend during hot weather, they noticed increased engagement when it rained.
Fast forward past the data analysis and they discovered their customers tended to settle down with a tub of ice cream and Netflix, thus the “Netflix and Chill’d” flavour was born.
It’s not always that easy, but social media holds the key to knowing how your audience engages with your brand.
Speak your mind
Now that more brands are waking up to the idea of content marketing, we are constantly competing with and overcoming the sheer magnitude of content being produced. With so many blog posts produced daily, we need our voices to be louder and more engaging than anything else out there.
And who better to take inspiration from than Piers Morgan (yes, we went there!)
No, we’re not suggesting you sit on Twitter arguing with anyone and everyone – only he has that much time on his hands. Instead, think about his controversial stances and how much traction he gets off the back of them.
A lot of the internet is repackaged ideas; so look to create content from a different POV. And that’s where the Piers Morgan analogy ends, immediately.
Flirting with controversy can be a powerful move in your content marketing strategy, but make sure you’re not sliding too far into Morgan territory.
Spin the argument on its head and offer an angle that may be risky or bold – but don’t tackle sensitive subjects that will inevitably land you in hot water.
Whether or not people agree with you, they will engage and it will get you noticed.
Put UX front and centre
But it is just as important when finalising your content marketing plan – and we’re not just talking about page speed.
Of course, load time will greatly impact your content's performance; any page taking longer than 3 or 4 seconds to load will see higher bounce rates and much lower conversion rates.
But a quick-to-load page is not enough to guarantee you that all-important customer engagement.
Consider your navigation and the customer journey – is your internal linking clear enough for the user to hop to your transactional pages? Although your blog pages are not strictly a sales pitch, you don’t want to lose potential buyers at the last stage.
When it comes to UX, we’re also talking about page design. No matter how thoroughly written or researched the content may be, you want to engage your users.
Think visuals and digestibility – could that block of data be transformed into an infographic? The longer a user stays on the page, the more relevant and useful it is seen by Google.
Once you’ve been working at content marketing for a while, the next step should be content hubs. More often than not, blogs will display the most recently published – but that is not always going to be the most relevant article to the reader, and it’s unlikely they’ll search through past posts for long.
That’s where content hubs come in: a curated collection of your content that ensures none of your high-value articles get lost in the shuffle.
There are many benefits to content hubs – so many that we’ll probably devote a blog to them soon, so we’ll just give you the highlights here:
Authority. By collecting all of your related content in one place, you’re cementing your status as a thought-leader and builds your credibility. In a time of E-A-T, content hubs are a great way to prove your trustworthiness to Google and the user.
Engagement. Your content hubs will generate far more engagement than any service/product page as long as they’re easy-to-use and filled with relevant, well-researched content.
Lead Generation. If your users are engaged with and entertained by your content, they’ll be happy to hand over their email or sign up for a trial.