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Online content is now a critical connection point between brands and consumers. It’s not only where many consumers first engage with your brand but where your appeal, value and industry authority are first established and reinforced.
Without an effective content marketing strategy driving your outreach, you’re missing a golden opportunity to optimize that initial connection and leverage valuable content to your full advantage. When done right, this essential digital tool can help maximize brand awareness, cultivate credibility and loyalty, expand your reach and empower growth over the long run.
But getting your content marketing efforts into the right place isn’t always so straightforward. SEO and online content best practices are constantly changing, and knowing how to create content that resonates can often feel like trying to hit a moving target.
Here are a few content marketing rules to get your strategic marketing approach focused, grow your online presence and turn your blogs, social media posts and video content into dynamic brand-building assets.
1. Start with the data
There was once a time when content marketers built blogs and social posts around what they thought customers wanted, making guesses about what would compel engagement. Fortunately, we now have a variety of helpful analytics weapons in our arsenal.
These content marketing tools provide actionable data on what your target audience is looking for and the features driving visibility, clicks and specific types of engagement. With this data at your fingertips, you can now shape your content marketing campaign around things like keywords, site traffic, post reach, bounce rate, domain authority and more, creating data-driven content better positioned to deliver results.
Analytics tools can provide a significant advantage for any content marketing team building website content, managing social media, creating emails or simply seeking a visibility boost in search engines. User-friendly analytics platforms like Ahrefs, Moz, Google Analytics, Hootsuite and HubSpot should be used to refine your content marketing to improve marketing returns and nudge past other competitors in your space.
Related: Using Data Analytics Will Transform Your Business. Here’s How.
2. Be picky where you publish
The web offers numerous platforms for posting content and getting the word out, tempting many to risk it all and publish on every outlet in sight.
But because not all content and social media platforms have the same reach, focus, or search authority, it’s essential to be more selective, at least out of the gate. Branching out and exploring your options may be effective, particularly when you’re scaling up or have a bigger budget. But when you’re starting, it’s crucial to do your research.
Learning where your audience is and what types of content they engage with is key to maxing brand visibility and getting your content where it’s most likely to have an impact. When you’ve done your homework, you can begin to shape and share each blog post and article where they’ll gain the most traction. This helps sharpen the spotlight on your brand while pushing your content marketing budget even further.
Once you have a good rhythm on a few brand-friendly platforms and a more solidified presence, you can explore other content marketing opportunities to increase reach and awareness.
Related: The Step-by-Step Guide to Creating and Publishing Quality Content
3. Get creative with your content marketing
Limited digital marketing budgets and resources can make it hard to build a robust content marketing strategy that maximizes brand exposure. When times are tight but you still need a solid presence across the web, a little content marketing creativity can go a long way toward keeping your business front and center.
One common but effective way to extend the life of your content is repurposing. Knowing how to repurpose long-form blogs, articles and webpages into smaller posts and across new platforms can help squeeze more value out of your content without exhausting limited resources.
Of course, avoiding overuse and repetitiveness is critical, things that can test your followers’ patience and attention. But once you have the right content cadence, your repurposing efforts can provide much-needed traction among your audience even after the original went live.
Piggybacking on viral trends and hashtags can also be a creative way to keep your content strategy humming without the time and cost of generating long-form content from scratch. Hopping on viral topics allows you to go viral by extension, avoiding the hard work of creating a new trend while benefitting from the exposure and web traffic trending topics tend to pull in.
Related: Amplified Marketing Will Bring Connection, Creativity and Results Together Again
4. Get your audience involved
Sometimes, the best way to get the word out and build a more successful content marketing strategy is to go directly to those you’re trying to reach: the content consumer. This is also known as community marketing; generating conversations between your business, and your audience offers numerous opportunities to spread the word and create a more dynamic brand presence online.
Creating interactive content like polls and quizzes engages people and allows you to create two-way conversations with your audience, boosting brand interaction.
Requesting reviews of your products or asking customers to tag you when using your services can also be an effective way to source fresh, high-quality content that can then be promoted within your own content marketing strategy – user-generated content (UGC) that’s not only free but fosters a sense of community that lends a sense of humanity and customer credibility to your brand.
Related: Here’s How to Improve Your Business’s Content Marketing