This article has been contributed by Karl Kangur.
There’s no question that content is vital to attaining your business goals nowadays. Whether you’re writing blog posts, recording podcasts, creating courses, or developing TikTok lenses, you’re moving in the right direction.
After all, people don’t want to hear sales pitches. They want to connect, receive value, and enjoy an experience. Nonetheless, producing content just for the sake of doing so won’t be enough in 2021.
According to WordPress, there were more than 79 million blog posts and 13 million new pages published in December of 2020. And that’s just on a single platform (albeit the largest one out there). Taking such huge numbers into consideration, it becomes evident that content marketing requires well-developed strategies. At least, if it’s going to offer the promised results of boosting conversion rates by up to 6x and contributing to organic traffic.
So how do you make your content into something valuable, educational, entertaining, and sales-promoting? Let’s find out this year’s top content marketing tips.
1. Passion Drives Commitment
The first rule of doing content marketing right is to pour your enthusiasm into your creations.
Not a creative person? That’s alright – nowadays, you can outsource almost any job and get it done affordably and professionally. But, the thing you need to remember is that content marketing isn’t a sales tactic. It’s a way for you to get people to become enthusiastic about your business.
This means several things. For one, your content marketing strategy needs to be unique and completely on-brand. It needs to have the right voice, follow predetermined visual guidelines, and cover relevant topics by focusing on your audience’s experience.
Secondly, a well-developed strategy will be almost entirely benefit-oriented. As you brainstorm topics, think about what your potential customers want to know. Perhaps they’re looking for general information, buying advice, deep dives, or entertainment. Look at examples of content marketing done right, like the example by Surfshark below, and try to achieve a similar effect.
Image source: Surfshark
What’s certain is that people don’t need another brand telling them why they should purchase their latest release. Paid ads do that often enough.
Finally, don’t forget that content isn’t just a way to get more traffic or reach a wider audience. It’s also a branding strategy, which means that it should help you position and present your company in the right light. Be mindful of what values you communicate, how you’re upholding your brand’s identity, and how your posts encourage engagement. In the end, your aim isn’t to pump out articles on the daily. It’s to put out something you’re proud of and get people to be just as excited about it as you are.
2. Share Your Expertise
Investing in the production of educational posts makes one of the most successful marketing strategies for 2021. Not least because research has proven they work.
According to Spotlight Conductor, consumers are 131% more likely to purchase immediately after consuming an educational piece of content from a brand. Moreover, the effect of an insightful article or instructional video continues even a week after being read.
The thing is, however, that in 2021, producing original educational content takes creativity and innovation. With this in mind, it’s not a bad idea to start experimenting a bit.
- What’s a distribution platform that’s still underrepresented in your industry?
- Is there an audience segment you could reach by trying out a new format?
- Are there any niche-specific topics that you could explain better than your competitors?
For an example of an educational content marketing tactic, look at Matt D’Avella’s Slow Growth Academy project.
Image source: slowgrowth.com
The filmmaker launched his own online learning platform in 2020 with the idea of creating a space where his followers could invest in their personal growth. As a supplement to the free videos he publishes on YouTube every week, the gated courses (going for a $145 fee) are the perfect opportunity to connect with dedicated audiences and diversify the income streams of an already successful business.
3. Direct the Spotlight Towards Your Customers
One of the not-so-secret secrets behind the internet’s success is that it’s the perfect tool for allowing people to stay connected. If you take a look at the reasons behind why people use social media, you’ll notice two prevalent trends. The bigger one is staying on top of what other people are doing. The smaller, but still statistically relevant, is to share opinions.
So, if you’re looking for ways to update your content marketing for 2021, why not do so in a way that will answer people’s reasons for going online? Why not mediate a connection between your existing and potential customers, and let them share experiences in which your company plays a part?
Centering your content marketing around your customers doesn’t have to be a difficult or time-consuming task. Sure, you can invest in elaborate storytelling, as done by SkillCrush. They combine live video with animation for a highly engaging and aesthetically pleasing effect, perfectly adapted to fit their visual identity.
But you can also do something as simple as blog posts about your customers. BaseLang, for example, conducts interviews with some of their most successful students. They cover topics like studying routines and language-learning tips and talk about how to overcome common obstacles.
In the end, sharing customer stories combines two highly effective marketing strategies – social proof and content. It’s definitely worth checking out, especially if you’re on a tight budget and looking for something with a guaranteed high ROI.
4. Get the Most Out of Your Content
One of the main reasons business owners shy away from aggressive content marketing is that they believe it has to be costly or time-consuming. And sure, creating something on par with Apple’s announcement videos can make a big dent in your budget.
But there are two things you must remember. First and foremost, you don’t have to put out a masterpiece for it to be a valuable piece of content. And secondly, you can repost and re-purpose great posts and get mind boggling results.
In fact, CoSchedule’s research shows that a simple strategy of resharing social media posts resulted in as much as a 192% increase in clickthrough rates. That is seriously impressive.
Still, there are some rules for going about this. First, you don’t just want to put out the same thing multiple times. Instead, try to highlight different facts, benefits, or statistics with each share, or even change up your approach.
Another thing you can do is take a piece of content you already have and change the format. For example, an article can easily be repurposed into an eye-catching Instagram story, as done below by Vogue. Their tactic was to turn a piece of writing into a compelling visual cue and combine it with a call to action, that is, a “swipe up” invitation.
Image source: instagram.com
But, of course, it’s not the only way to re-purpose. Podcast episodes are another format of content that keeps on giving. By doing something as simple as transcribing episodes, creators can reach much wider audiences, increase website traffic, and even encourage customers to make a purchase by adding relevant links to the text. One of the best examples of a transcribed podcast comes from NPR’s Morning Edition, and there’s a multitude of more commercial shows doing the same thing.
5. Play with Ephemeral Content
Although the way to win at content marketing is to always start with a base of evergreen posts, focusing on the short-term can be just as beneficial. In 2020, more platforms added stories to their apps, with these now being available on Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and yes, even Spotify.
So why the obsession with the ephemeral format?
Well, there are two reasons. Firstly, businesses understand that ephemeral content appeals to people’s innate fear of missing out. Psychologically, we’re wired in a way that the very idea of becoming the last person to know about something makes us anxious. Knowing this, brands can put out bite-sized pieces of content, predicting that followers will be more inclined to engage, knowing that it will be gone in 24 hours or less.
The second reason to invest in short-form video formats is that statistical data shows it works exceptionally well. With over 500 million daily Stories users on Instagram and 1 billion stories shared every day, there’s obvious potential to them. According to Instagram, 58% of users stated their interest in a brand increased after watching a story, 45% prefer the short format, and 50% have visited a website intending to buy after watching a story.
If you decide to add more short-form content to your 2021 marketing strategy, it’s not a bad idea to do it in ways that’ll guarantee high engagement rates. This Instagram stories guide has a lot of great tactics to try out, but you can apply the tips to other platforms as well.
6. Be Active in Communities
When you’re an authority in your industry, you likely have the answers people are searching for. And while your website’s SEO performance may not be there yet, you can still use your insights to promote your brand.
One way to do that is to stop waiting for people to find you and join them where they already are – in online communities. Websites like Quora, Reddit, niche forums, or even Facebook groups can offer excellent opportunities to get people acquainted with what you do. If you look at this Quora answer below, you’ll see that it’s a combination of an informative answer and promotional activity.
Image source: quora.com
So, if you’re looking to get the most out of your content, try seeking opportunities to share helpful articles or knowledge. Find user problems and offer actionable solutions. You can take things even further by creating your own support groups to help customers connect and share experiences.
Peloton has an official group on Facebook with over 380 thousand members, giving the brand the ideal channel to distribute any news or updates. It’s also a potential SEO tool that can drive organic traffic to Peloton’s website, and it can even be considered a selling point for the products. But more than anything, the group is an extremely efficient way for the brand to keep up to date on customer issues, wishes, and improvement ideas, ensuring that it’s always prepared for what’s to come next.
7. Don’t Forget About the Basics
The last content marketing tip for 2020 is to keep in mind that your strategy doesn’t only rely on blog posts, videos, and visuals you post on social media. In fact, every piece of text, audio, or video you publish (for whatever reason) can be considered a part of your strategy.
With this in mind, you must approach every communication that comes out of your company as a potential marketing asset.
A helpful email explaining how a customer can solve an issue can turn into a social proof post. An FAQ section, like this post on Newsweek that discusses mattresses for side sleepers, could help you appear in Google’s People Also Ask section. As a result, you’d likely get a significant traffic boost.
Image source: newsweek.com
Even a funny tweet or witty product description could turn out to be the thing that gets your brand noticed. Which brings us to a full circle.
When your content marketing strategy stands on the principles of value, uniqueness, and passion, your followers are bound to appreciate it. Yes, being entirely yourself may not make you the most popular choice in your industry. But, if it helps you get the customers who truly relate to you, you’ll be in a much better position. You’ll have found the audience that’s absolutely perfect for you.
About the author: Karl Kangur started his first online business as a teenager. He loves to over deliver to his clients, and his doctor recently told him to stop lifting heavy weights.