6 content marketing strategies for your business

There’s a good reason why content marketing has gained so much attention lately. Content marketing plays a key role in everything from SEO to email to social media. If your firm isn’t producing high-quality, engaging content, it’s going to struggle to attract and retain customers.

With that in mind, here are six content marketing strategies to consider for your company.

content61. Consider curation
The most integral, basic aspect of content marketing is creation. From blogs to articles to email newsletters and beyond, content marketing frequently boils down to the production of text that you can share through a variety of channels.

But this isn’t automatically the case – content marketing does not have to consist entirely of materials your company creates itself. You can also see significant, positive results from content curation, as Entrepreneur contributor Marsha Collier recently highlighted.

When curating content, a person on your staff searches for digital materials that may be of interest to your fans and followers, and then shares it through your various channels. You don’t take credit for writing these materials, but your audience will appreciate that you have drawn their attention to something of value, and will increasingly turn to you as a source of useful information. As Collier explained, you can do this even if you work in a relatively niche market – there will still be content out there that applies to your organization.

Additionally, Collier noted that curating content can help develop mutually beneficial relationships between your company and others in your industry, contributing to a larger conversation.

However, she also emphasized that content curation is not the same as aggregation. Aggregation relies on automatically sharing other companies’ RSS feeds. While there may be some value here, it does not compare to the impact that a human-curated sharing strategy offers.

2. Know your style
One of the more challenging aspects of content marketing today is the simple fact that there’s so much competition. The more that companies realize the utility of content creation, the more materials they produce, and the harder it is for your business’ offerings to stand out.

The best way to give your content value is to make it unique, and one of the defining aspects of unique content is its style. You don’t want your blogs and other material to sound just like everything else on the Internet – you want it to be a source with no real comparison.

Perhaps your company offers a wry take on industry news. Maybe you have a particularly authoritative tone that makes your content feel more trustworthy. Whatever your specific style, it can and should elevate the value of your content.

But you need to have control. Your style should be consistent across all of your content. You want to capture a specific audience and then satisfy those readers whenever they come across your offerings. If you oscillate wildly from serious to joking or casual to formal, your readers won’t know what to expect, and they’ll quite possibly avoid your company’s content going forward.

content43. Evergreen is invaluable
At the most basic level, there are two types of content: news and evergreen. The former is all about covering new events while the latter is material that is relevant at any time. News is timely, whereas evergreen has an indefinite shelf life.

While both are useful, Econsultancy contributor Graham Charlton asserted that evergreen is more important for when leveraging content and marketing your business. Put simply, evergreen content has a longer life, and therefore offers more value. Even months after its initially published, evergreen content has the potential to go viral, or at least gain new readers. But a news-based piece doesn’t have that same long-term appeal to readers, no matter your industry.

4. Is it readable?
This should be obvious, but a lot of companies overlook this basic point. You can pick good topics and develop a powerful, unique style, but it won’t matter if you don’t mind this simple notion, as Charlton pointed out.

You need to make sure that all of your content is presented in a clear, clean format, Charlton explained.

“Break up blocks of text with headings and subheadings, use short paragraphs, highlight key points and stats, and use images and charts, both to illustrate the points you are making, but also to make the article easier to read.”

These steps can make your content more appealing to readers on a visceral level, and therefore make them far more likely to invest the time it takes to explore your company’s thoughts and opinions.

5. Speak directly
As a general rule, consumers appreciate straight-talk from companies. In many cases, businesses, and especially large businesses, come across as disingenuous in their marketing content, as they are sometimes overly concerned with protecting their image. All of the material they offer comes across as surface-level or “fluff”, and many readers just simply shrug it off.

You need to avoid this mistake in your own content marketing if you want to truly connect with your audience. Don’t use corporate-speak, vague euphemisms and the like. Instead, speak directly to your readers. If there’s a new piece of industry news that isn’t good for your company or your customers, don’t automatically try to spin it into a positive light. Be honest and direct. Acknowledge challenges or problems and explain how you plan to overcome them.

If you can achieve this level of openness and transparency in your blogs, newsletters, social media posts and other content marketing, you’ll gain a much more engaged and  loyal following. Your audience will know that they can trust your company, and will look to you for news, guidance, recommendations and more. That’s exactly the kind of relationship you want to establish with consumers.

content56. Get flexible
One of the hallmarks of effective content marketing is flexibility. If you want your campaigns to remain successful over a long timeline, you always have to be ready and willing to change things up at a moment’s notice. If you get too rigid in your approach, you run the risk of missing out on major opportunities and stumbling when new challenges emerge.

Say, for example, that a major piece of news hits that has a direct effect on your industry. That’s a great chance for your firm to capture your potential audience’s attention and redirect them to your company and its offerings. But all of your industry competitors are going to have the exact same idea. The only way you can really benefit from such an event is by offering a unique, useful take on the news and being among the first to do so. If you’re too slow, then everyone you’re aiming for will have already be aware of the news, and so will have no reason to check out your business’s perspective on the matter.

Additionally, you need to have the built-in flexibility to change tactics as circumstances change. If you notice that your email newsletter is suddenly losing a lot of subscribers, you should have the ability to both research the problem and quickly pivot toward a new strategy. If you lack this flexibility, the negative trend will continue.

 

Martin Jones

Martin Jones is a Senior Marketing Manager with the corporate Cox Communications social media team where he assists in leading strategy, campaign ideation and marketing execution for Cox Business social media & content marketing. Today, over 1 million fans engage with Cox Communications content, campaigns and Customer Care on Facebook, Twitter, You Tube. LinkedIn and Google+.