In the past few years content marketing has grown to become a buzz word among online marketers! And this is not any reason. For example, a survey conducted in 2011 by Curata uncovered the fact that "twice as many marketers now implement Content Marketing as do print, tv and radio advertising!"
That’s really interesting indeed…
But that was 2011!
Today, content marketing has so grown that if you are not engaging it to build your small business then you are losing out big.
Some Benefits of Content Marketing
1. Builds your site's authority, drive traffic, and generate leads.
2. Naturally attracts backlinks that enhances your SEO efforts.
3. It helps drive new prospects through social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, etc as it encourages your online connections to share your site socially.
4. Helps pull new prospects into your sphere of influence (when they join your email list, etc.)
5. Deliver value up-front and showcase your expertise to prospective clients
Given the benefits of content marketing it is not surprising therefore that every marketer is pushing for it no matter the market they are targeting.
Indeed, content marketing is here to stay and the challenge for small businesses is not whether to be or not to be but how to make a success of it. And so, one of the questions being asked by many is, what content marketing strategy should we focus on in 2014?
In this article I present you with some ideas on what should form your content marketing strategy in 2014 and going forward!
So, let's begin...
Related Reading: How NOT to Create Marketing Content that Sucks!
1. Produce More Visual Content
Before 2013 content marketing was mostly associated with blog posts. The written text was mainly the focus. But with the growing popularity of images and video content on online platforms like Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, etc, integrating images and/or video into your marketing content is becoming the de facto standard for content across all formats.
Here are some interesting stats about images and visuals that should piqué your interest:
- Posts with visuals receive 94% more page visits and engagement than those without. This is because people are naturally more attracted to images than they are to links or text.
- Facebook posts with an image receive, on average, more than twice as many comments as those without.
- Facebook Photo albums receive 180% more engagement than a normal post.
- Businesses using infographics in their marketing grow in traffic on average of 12% more than those who don’t.
The fact that social engagement is becoming a very important factor when it comes to SEO, incorporating visual content in your marketing mix is something to consider. This is because images are social-media-ready and social-media-friendly. On social media platforms they drive more engagement and on your sites/blogs they have a higher chance of being shared than anything else.
Infographics are not only awesome for brand awareness and social-media sharing, they’re also referenced more frequently than any other pieces of content - increasing their reach exponentially.
2. Good Quality Content
The fact that images and other virtual content are becoming more popular by the day does not mean that the written word has become irrelevant. However, your written content must be valuable and of high quality.
To get the attention of people to engage with your brand through your content you will need to focus on relevant up-to-date content. This demands keeping a finger on the pulse of the news, staying in the know of your industry trends and creating sharable content based on what is important now.
Besides, you will need to offer a perspective and share a philosophy that makes your content helpful, unique, genuine and emotionally engaging. Do extensive research to uncover the words that resonate with your target audience and use these in your content.
Focusing on the user and not just your products and services will help make your content to be appealing enough that the user will be more willing to share it socially.
Related Reading: Top 3 Reasons Why Content Marketing Will Fail You!
3. Mobile-First Content
In our today's mobile-ized world, people prefer surfing the Web using their mobile devices. In their Mobile Marketing Statistics 2013 compilation, Mobile Talent Management firm, Snaphop reported some mind-boggling mobile usage statistics:
- Mobile web browsing accounted for 30% of all web traffic in 2012 and is expected to account for 50% by 2014. (Nucleus Research via SourceCon)
- By 2016, the number of mobile devices is expected to surpass the world’s population–an 18-fold increase between 2011 and 2016. (Cisco)
- Mobile phones accounted for more than 13% of all web traffic in August 2012. (Cisco)
- Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Amazon, and Wikimedia are the top 5 media properties accessed on mobile devices (comScore 2013)
With such stats you definitely want to create mobile friendly content that will help you engage these users.
The mobile-first mindset begins with your site design. But beyond that your content should also be created taking into cognizance the mobile users. You will need to know your audience's mobile habits so as to create the type of content that truly connects with them.
4. Lead Generation
Your content marketing is nothing if it does not drive lead generation for your business. You must therefore include lead capture and trust building through content marketing across the different channels.
Simply creating content that people are willing to share is not enough. Always ensure that you have a squeeze page to effectively capture their email addresses. This should be followed by a long sequence of relevant and well monetized emails!
To succeed with this you will need to map your marketing content to the buying cycle. This means therefore that whether your content is virtual, textual or optimized for mobile, it should target one of the following categories:
Research: 75% of leads fall into this category. Here the lead knows there is a problem and is looking for solutions.
Evaluation: Marketing research has shown that 20% of leads fall into this category. Here the lead has some insight that your product would meet her need and but then evaluates it to be more sure.
Purchase: This is really the good point. Here the lead is ready to buy. 5% of leads fall into this category.
Develop your marketing content with these statistics in mind. Create valuable content with corresponding squeeze pages targeted at these different categories.
Creating marketing content for 2014 and beyond and succeeding in it demands having a clear knowledge of your target audience. Know their behavior online and then package your content to meet their needs. Whether you are using virtual content like images, videos, infographics, slideshare, etc. or the written word, ensure that your content is optimized for the mobile user. Also having a system that helps you to capture the contact details of your targeted audience to further develop the type of relationship that will help you gain and their trust and business is definitely important.
Over to you: What are the essential factors of your content marketing strategy in 2014? Share with us in your comments below.