It’s probably fair to say that when it comes to marketing there’s no quick fixes or silver bullets.
Marketing success relies on having, and implementing, a solid strategy that incorporates traditional, digital and social media tactics.
In 2018, brands will look to the latest in social media platforms and digital trends to help stay ahead of their competitors.
And while marketing trends come and go, one thing is here to stay in 2018 and it’s content marketing.
Don’t take my word for it though.
The Content Marketing Institute says content marketing rakes in conversion rates six times higher than other methods.
It cites a range of compelling statistics including that content marketing generates over three times as many leads as outbound marketing and costs more than 60 percent less.
So in 2018, a successful content marketing may be the closest thing you will get to a silver bullet.
That being said, content marketing has come a long way from simply developing a blog post and sharing it on social media.
Here are our content marketing tips to give your brand an edge this year.
1. Be clear about the purpose of content marketing
A rookie mistake when it comes to content marketing is to confuse the purpose of the content.
The Content Marketing Institute says, “content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action”.
A simpler way of saying this is that it involves creating and sharing relevant and useful content that doesn’t explicitly promote a brand.
The end game, of course, is to stimulate interest in the brand and potential leads, as well as sales, but the focus of the content should be on being as valuable, interesting, useful and/or entertaining as possible.
It shouldn’t be a thinly veiled advertisement or pose as its dreaded cousin the ‘advertorial’ – content marketing is a vehicle for creating an experience with your brand and guiding your prospect through the buying journey.
Content marketing is subtler than traditional marketing. It’s about drawing people in and engaging them, rather than broadcasting a message to them.
When done well, content marketing is the ultimate answer to ‘selling without selling.’
Of course, this doesn’t mean you can’t, or shouldn’t, include a call-to-action in your content. For instance, at the end of your blog article, you should include a CTA like, ‘for more useful articles like this subscribe here’ or ‘find out how you can…by…’. You may even wish to subtly weave your CTA into the body of your content.
The keyword is ‘subtly’ and the CTA should always have some relevance to the content, so it doesn’t stand out as an obvious ad.
2. Use a variety of content formats
Further to the above, it’s important to craft content that is designed for different points of the buyer journey or sales funnel. Your content should provide fuel to move a prospect toward a purchase.
Some types of content work better than others depending on whether the prospect is at the awareness, evaluation or purchasing stage, or if you are nurturing existing customers.
Additionally, different content formats cater to the different consumption habits of customers and provide variety for your audience.
In fact, a recent study on content marketing trends found that marketers used, on average, eight different types of content, such as social media posts, blogs and articles, email marketing, visual media, videos, white papers and e-books, podcasts and landing pages.
3. Ensure you have the skill sets you need
As you expand content from being mainly blog articles, you will need to ensure your marketing team, whether it’s in-house or outsourced, has the appropriate skill sets.
Digital Marketing expert Neil Patel says your content team in 2018 will need the following skills.
- Video and audio production and editing
- Graphic design
- Content optimization, distribution, and promotion
- Campaign management
- Communications and branding
- Analytics, metrics, and reporting.
4. Keep it original
Forbes magazine says one of the biggest content marketing trends in 2018 will be focusing on original content.
Where possible you should try and create your own content either with your own resources or by partnering with a like-minded organization.
Publishing content in partnership with another brand with a similar target audience can help expand your reach, and spread the workload and cost.
5. Content that engages
When it comes to creating engaging content in 2018, Entrepreneur magazine recommends going into more detail.
Going deeper than your competitors on a specific topic can give you an edge over other content.
What could you tell or show your audience that goes beyond the basic steps or knowledge of a subject? Valuable long-form content is also very effective.
When it comes to content ideas, popular topics include list-style articles like, ‘Top 10…”, ‘5 reasons why…’, ‘25 tips to….’, ‘Your Checklist for…’., as well as How To articles.
6. Distribute and automate
If you go through the trouble of creating great content for your brand, you should make sure you have a solid distribution strategy in place.
This is where your social media strategy will come into play.
While creating social media content will be a core part of your content marketing strategy, your other forms of content are also a source of additional social media posts.
If you create a video, podcast, e-book, blog article – it doesn’t really matter what type of content – they can all be distributed and promoted via social media, and again through other channels like email.
You can then schedule your content distribution ahead of time using a social media management platform like MavSocial.
7. Leverage and future-proof your content
Further to the above, you should revisit your existing content and leverage it as much as possible.
Could you make a few tweaks so it would be suitable for re-use and re-posting on social media?
Repeating social media posts can be a real time saver and help increase reach, engagement, traffic, leads, and sales.
Similarly, you should try and future-proof the content you develop as you move forward.
Creating evergreen content will give you long-term opportunities to reach your audience. Check out our article on evergreen content ideas.
Once you have done this you can repeat your social media posts for maximum effect.
This is simple with MavRepeater, where you create a campaign, fill it with posts, and specify time slots. You get to choose the precise repeat cycle that suits you and your audience and specify the social media platforms for each post.
After everything’s been published once, MavRepeater cycles through the campaign again.
BONUS TIP: Don’t forget to monitor your strategy
Like any good marketing strategy, you should track your content marketing results and identify where you can make improvements.
In MavSocial you can also access analytics and develop targeted reports, that will help you identify reach, engagement, and high performing content.
Take your content marketing strategy to the next level with MavSocial. Sign up for a free trial today.