You post a blog post every week, and believe your content marketing is as good as it can get. But you’re wrong, and I’ll tell you why.
Only 22% of B2B marketers experience substantial content marketing success, even though 62% of them identify as “extremely” or “very” committed to their efforts. This great divide between success and commitment shines a spotlight on our failure as marketing educators.
Only 22% of B2B marketers experience substantial content marketing success #elitecontentmarketing http://bit.ly/2vwqbm7 – Click to Tweet
Today, I’d like to build a bridge above the gulf separating these two categories of marketers; to forge a clear path which guides the committed hustlers into their well-deserved success.
In this post, you’ll learn 22 techniques the 22% of wildly successful content marketers employ on a regular basis. I’ll walk you through strategy, operations, development and promotion tactics to truly make your content marketing as good as it can get.
1. It’s Not Actually About the Content
Before we talk about all the powerful ways to create impactful content, you must understand something… It’s not about the content. It’s about the consumer.
You must know your audience even more than the subject.
Even faceless brands engage like a humans.
Whether you’re a logo or real personality, you’ve got to connect with the consumer. If your content flails about without a focus on relationships, it’s failing.
2. Create a Strategy for Each Blog Post
To build a successful blog requires managing numerous moving parts. Every post needs to get written, designed, optimised, published and promoted.
If you want to excel, create a plan for each step of the process, including:
- Blog Post Optimisation
- Outreach Leads
- Promotion & Distribution Channels
- Social Media Updates
- Metrics & Analytics
The key is to develop something that works for you. Experiment with different layouts, categories and methods until you find what fits.
3. Don’t Neglect the Power of Branding
Over 2 million blog posts are published every day. Yikes. No wonder marketers struggle with breaking through the noise!
Most marketers push the idea of quality over quantity. And, honestly, I do too. However, I also believe the jungle is loud and getting heard requires incredibly strong branding coupled with targeted content.
Building a brand is difficult, but building power and influence has never been an easy task. However, the reward of great branding is worth every ounce of hustle.
4. Become an Early Practitioner
Too many content marketers talk the talk without walking the walk. But the best ones never wait around for an app, strategy or platform to become important. They’re working as practitioners every day to learn, hone and improve the craft.
Don’t just keep your head in the clouds, dig deep and get messy in the dirt. Experiment. Fail. Learn. It’s the only way to achieve greatness.
5. Document, Don’t Create
Continuing with Gary Vee inspiration: people love the journey. That’s why reality television works so well, despite the thicket of criticism always surrounding it.
Gary’s idea of Document, Don’t Create, is a powerful content strategy to build awareness and influence. Even if you decide not to create documentary-style content, the principle still applies. Remember, the best teachers share from experience, not textbooks.
6. Become the Source for Sharable Data
We live in a world thirsty for data, results and proof. Audiences in industries of all types love consuming and sharing comprehensive data. It’s a great way to establish authority, generate leads and become an influencer.
Want to become an authoritative source in your space? Gather data and release the findings.
Want to convince others your strategy works? Show the results by measuring along the way.
Want to establish yourself as the best in your space? Prove it through a case study.
7. Use a Waterfall Approach
There are so many expectations for brands these days! You need an active presence on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat. You should update a blog (with at least 2,000+ words) at least once a week. You need to build relationships, guest post, get interviewed on podcasts, start a YouTube channel, run Facebook ads and still have time to respond to every Tweet and blog comment.
… I got exhausted just writing it.
And that’s why content creators need to prioritise efficiency.
The waterfall approach addresses this need.
In short, find ways to create massive pieces of content and break it down into consumable formats to spread across different platforms.
8. Create a System of Operations
Operations isn’t sexy, but it can transform your brand into the most seductive primate in the jungle. It’s the backend infrastructure which keeps you productive, strategic and efficient.
Now that’s sexy.
This department is about managing and maintaining your process lifecycles, technology and content. It keeps you focused on the vision instead of distracted by new toys and buzzwords.
In jungles, the ecosystem serves as a complex balance of of all things – plants, animals, rainfall, soil, humidity and even microorganisms. Think of operations as the ecosystem for your content marketing efforts. It’s a necessary component to keep everything aligned and functioning.
9. Design an Efficient Workflow
You may not feel ready for an entire content operations department, but we all need efficient workflows (even if you’re a one-man troop). Some key benefits for workflows include:
- What you produce remains on-brand, consistent and timely.
- Your deadlines, outcomes and results are reasonable.
- Bottlenecks, errors and inconsistencies get addressed.
- Team members understand the overall vision for the content.
- Each person on the team stays accountable to responsibilities.
Stop struggling with production and promotion. Build workflows to systemise the process.
10. Use CAs to Automate the Mundane
As you build workflows, you’ll identify numerous time-consuming, mundane tasks. These contribute to your success, but are more boring than watching a sloth move through the jungle.
That’s why, once you create documented processes, it’s smart to hire a Content Assistant.
Here are a few things you can outsource to optimise energy:
- Outlining and researching in-depth blog posts.
- Finding names and emails of outreach prospects.
- Moderating social media and blog comments.
- Scheduling posts across social media accounts.
- Uploading and scheduling finished blog posts.
You’ll find tons more the deeper you trek into the content marketing jungle, but those should keep a new content assistant busy for a while.
11. Invest in a High-Caliber Content Expert
When discussing previous content creators, professionals often parrot an all-too-familiar song…
Hire writers who know how to conduct in-depth research, have an eye design, understand strategy, are familiar interviewing, and know how to conduct some basic outreach.
It’s a tall order, but that’s what you need to become king of the jungle.
12. You Must Find Your Own Voice
It takes courage to find your voice, especially if you run a personal brand. By doing so, you become vulnerable to people attacking more than just your product or service – they criticise you. And that just doesn’t feel good, even if you’re a logo instead of a face.
But you must seek for it like a jungle treasure because it is a treasure. By finding it, you’ll create a personality which resonates with consumers and builds the brand loyalty that keeps your business alive longer than Colo.
And since the average business only survives 10 years, that’d be quite the accomplishment.
13. Develop Interactive Content
Everything comes down to relationships, and those always start with engagement. One of my favorite ways to increase engagement is through interactive content.
Your content shouldn’t feel like a narrow path in the jungle wilderness. Make it fun, give readers a choice, and create an abundance of value along the way.
As you can see, there’s a variety of options to become interactive. Experiment with several and discover what connects best with your audience.
14. Create Adaptive Content
Adaptive content can shift appearance or substance based on a variety of factors.
It’s just one more way for you to deepen connection with the consumer. (And if you haven’t figured it out by now, that’s really what the best content marketers are good at: relationships.)
I really like how Anna Ladoshkina describes its importance:
Perhaps you’ll start small by serving different content based on a visitor’s location… Or you can explore the depths by experimenting with things like Alexa Voice and Virtual Reality. The point is that you get started now, so you’ll be equipped to keep up later.
15. Develop Unique Call-to-Actions
It’s incredibly difficult to prove the business case for content marketing if you can’t convert readers into buyers. Capturing leads is the bread-and-butter of successful content marketing, and it all starts with the efficacy of your call-to-actions (CTAs).
Thankfully, you aren’t alone in the struggle. In fact, only 22% of businesses feel satisfied with their call-to-action conversion rate.
A strong CTA has three factors: copy, value and placement.
Copy: What are you saying to convince the reader to convert?
Value: What are you offering to convince the reader to convert?
Placement: Where are you placing the call-to-action on your website?
It’s not enough to just offer “free updates” or a generic eBook. The great content marketers find unique ways to position their offer.
Strive to add the reader more value than they receive in return.
16. Create an Experience, Not Just Content
Generally speaking, the continuous process of content marketing comes down to three pillars:
Creation: Creating content.
Distribution: Getting eyes on your content.
Insights: Measuring and reporting success.
But there’s also a fourth pillar: Experience. This describes the atmosphere you evoke with the content you create and distribute.
Yoan Schwartz describes the concept in two scenarios using Pina Coladas.
The first scenario…
And then the second…
Our environmental experience has a huge impact on behavior. It’s about how you make your readers feel. Give them a positive atmosphere to consume your valuable content and they’ll keep coming back for more.
Maya Angelou actually sums up the importance of the content experience pretty well, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
17. Publish Like a Media Company
A media company understands their customer, knows how to frequently publish content, keeps readers hooked, builds a relatable brand, develops strong operations and cultivates authentic relationships. They’re the god of the jungle, understanding every facet of how to implement successful content marketing.
If you want to start publishing like a media company, you need a content mission. What is your guiding purpose for creating and promoting your content?
Next, you need your platform. This serves as your content’s bungalow, one which appreciates as you invest more resources into it.
The best digital platform is your own website.
It’s important to own the content you publish, and 3rd party websites like YouTube often take away those rights. That doesn’t mean you can’t distribute your content there, but it doesn’t need to be your main abode.
With you mission and platform in place, you’re ready to take over the jungle.
18. Build Authentic Relationships
You can put lipstick on a wild boar, but it’s still just a boar. The same goes with our online presence. So many are adding filters and stifling their true voice in an effort to appear larger than life, but it just creates fake connection.
It’s time to invest in authentic relationships.
Now, expressing deep truth in a world of shallow appearances doesn’t come easy. In this digital era, you have to connect with an open heart and exhibit patience with those who are closed. Here are some ways you can listen, connect and cultivate relationships…
Listen: Use tools like Hootsuite to use keywords and hashtags for social listening. Join active Facebook groups and forums. You’ll find plenty of opportunities to offer expertise.
Connect: Praise other’s blog posts using social media or the comment section. Provide testimonials to products and services=. Give thanks to the leaders who inspire.
Relationships: Don’t be satisfied with a one-time connection. Follow-up with your audience, peers and mentors. Continue adding value and praise every chance you get.
Build authentic connection and watch how it impacts your marketing for the better.
19. Start Outreach Before You Publish
When you have authenticity, promoting your content become exponentially more effective. Even if you don’t have those relationships yet, strategic outreach can yield amazing results.
Doing outreach before you publish provides an opportunity to maximise your impact.
This is especially true when it comes to cold leads. Very few people will respond to your request without any previous connection. Pre-publish outreach means you can warm up leads, build a rapport and establish your authenticity with them.
If you’re really ambitious, you can create an entire engagement plan for your prospects.
But even something as simple as a bit of personalisation gives better results than cold emailing.
Don’t be fooled, though. Proper content outreach takes tons of time. That’s why only the best are investing in it, and it’s also why you have such a great opportunity to succeed.
20. CRMs Aren’t Just for Salespeople
I love the way an organised CRM can inform your content marketing. It’s a wellsprings of data which can teach you so much about your audience. In particular, you can learn:
- Why prospects reached out to you.
- Why they aren’t converting.
- Their fears, doubts and hesitations.
- What they love about your offer.
These factors can direct your editorial calendar in a way guessing and keyword research never could. Dig into your CRM and uncover the plethora of content ideas waiting to be discovered.
21. You Need Content Distribution, Too
If a tree falls in the jungle, but no one is around to hear it, does it really make a sound? When it comes to content, the answer is no.
Content distribution is the legwork that gets your piece in front of the right people.
Using various distribution channels gives you the opportunity to getting the most out of your content. While promotion is about pushing your content, distribution is about delivering it. Think of it like spreading excerpts and teasers in various communities and platforms around the web.
You spend so much time strategising, creating, designing, optimising and publishing. Don’t fall short by neglecting the final step of promotion and distribution.
22. Create a Facebook Group
We’ve been talking a lot of about relationships, and this final tip is no exception. Building a passionate community is the name of the game. While there are many paths you could take, I’m a huge fan of growing your own Facebook group.
It’s an inexpensive and highly effective way to reach your target market. With a bit of good ol’ fashioned outreach, you can grow a group without spending money on advertising.
Politely promote your group within other groups in your niche. See how Living in Asia does it:
Once you have an audience, reach out directly to other group owners and collaborate.
As the group’s owner, it’s easy to position yourself as a leading authority. Consistently add value, answer questions and provoke conversation. Then when the time comes, you’ll have a passionate community ready to consume and share you content.
If you thought your content marketing was as good as it could get, I hope this post inspired you otherwise. The truth is, even the best of us could do something better. That’s the beautiful truth you’ll find on this pathway to success – there’s always something more.
Don’t get caught up in buzzwords and shiny new technology. Grind, day after day, with the proven techniques. That’s how you’ll get your voice heard.
Am I missing any unique techniques? Let me know in the comments and I’ll add it in!