March 18, 2016
If we were all honest with ourselves, we’d admit content marketing is done to get conversions.
Content creators tend to spend hours of time and energy making sure their content is compelling, creative and, importantly, read and shared so leads and interested parties can possibly convert.
Given the regular changes of search engine algorithms, how fickle target audiences can be and the changing popularity of mobile devices, content marketing can feel like a race to keep up and let me tell you this: it’s a race that’s not going away soon.
So how are you planning on maximizing your efforts in 2016 and beyond? We’ve put together 10 things to help you keep pace with the content evolution.
10 Content Marketing Tips for Today and Beyond: How To Stay Ahead of the Game
1. Take Generation “C” Into Account
“C” stands for connected. This is the generation of 18- to 34-year-olds who have become responsible for more than $500 billion in Internet spending a year. And in a couple years, they’re going to make up the vast majority of the workforce. Here’s how to identify them:
- They’re always connected;
- They ignore traditional attempts by businesses to reach them;
- They trust and rely on friend’s recommendations;
- They won’t be pushed;
- They are looking for reasons to read and share.
2. Keep Your Brand Genuine
Both the current and future generation of your target market want the truth. They want to find out who you are and whom they’re doing business with. They want to know who is behind the brand.
3. It’s Time to Get a Cause
Today’s customers aren’t worried about how much something costs – to them, the value of being part of a cause is just as important.
4. People Need to “Get” Your Content
We know that simplifying your writing is the way to go. But readability means people will “get” your content, no matter what device they use. Content strategy design absolutely has to be catering to mobile devices in this day and age.
5. Keep Them Participating
Aim to hold competitions as often as you can. Encourage viewers to “vote” on your new logo or answer surveys to make them feel that their opinion is valued.
6. Honor Customers
Why not have a “customer of the month” feature? You want your tribes to keep connecting for the next story.
7. Visuals Are More Effective Than Texts
Visitors prefer to “see” what you’re saying as opposed to read it. Every time you come up with new ideas for content, consider how it can be presented visually be it infographic, podcast or video.
8. Plan How You’ll Generate Content Ideas
Keep a file of content ideas at all times. Come up with questions your audience may ask, listen to what they have to say.
9. CTAs Should Garner E-mail Addresses
Aim to maintain a growing e-mail base. Give your readers loads of opportunities to give you their details. Don’t forget to get creative with those e-mails, especially the titles so that readers open them, and include share buttons.
10. Neuroscience and Sales Psychology
Did you know that 85 percent of purchasing happens to be emotional and just 15 percent is logical? Really go into the research that neuroscience gives us regarding which parts of the brain are stimulated by what aspects. Use it in your content marketing strategies.
Saving Time With Content Marketing in 2016 – It’s About To Get Ugly
Many a marketer has spent the last couple of years just chugging along with a marketing program. They have a strategy and have been blogging consistently maybe twice a week. They’ve had a pretty good success rate growing that e-mail list and they’ve even had a good amount of leads converting to sales.
But management is starting to ask when the content marathon is going to pay off. When are they really going to see those leads flowing in?
What are you going to do to vamp up your content marketing in 2016?
While there is probably more to come than can be added to the list below, let’s take a look at some of the digital marketing trends earmarked for 2016 and how you can save time implementing them for your content marketing strategy.
1. Budgets Are Going to Grow, Just Not As Fast As In 2015
Content marketing budgets were expected to grow by a big 55 percent in 2015. That’s one of the biggest increases year on year for marketing in a long while.
But there is a downside. With more content than ever being created, the global content marketing audience is becoming fatigued. These days
- Everybody has a blog
- Everyone has a video you can watch
- Everybody has case studies or white papers that can be downloaded
- Everyone wants you on their email marketing list
The problem is when everyone is doing the same thing, it gets a lot harder to cut through the noise and chaos.
So since it is harder than ever to get through to users, you need to start investing more time, energy and funds into creating high quality and high volumes of content. And when it comes to that, we often find the results just don’t seem to be where you want them to be, do they?
To that end, B2B content marketers went ahead and invested a lot in content creation this year without seeing the results. That means in 2016 they’re going to see push backs from CFOs and Leadership since they’ve not achieved expectations.
We’re well aware it’s a marathon and not a sprint, but even a marathon has to come to an end and all that content needs to start paying off somehow, doesn’t it?
2. Long-Form Content Will Be In Demand
According to several pros, long-form content is seriously gaining traction. At the moment there may not be a lot of writers out there who are generating posts with word counts in the thousands, there are sure to be more cropping up in 2016. As it stands, this year we’ve noticed:
- The majority of B2B marketers creating more content than they did in 2014;
- Content over 1,500 words is being shared more often;
- The average length of content for a webpage that is ranking within the top 10 results for any keyword on Google tends to have a minimum of 2,000 words.
We’ve heard so much about sticking to the 300 to 500 word mark for blogging. But today’s reality is that those short posts just aren’t ranking. Not at all. So while you of course should be blogging for your readers, you need them to find you. One of those sure fire ways is long-form content.
If budgets are going to remain more or less the same for content marketing in 2016, but you need to write longer-form copy, how can you save time on your endeavors?
How to Be Smart About Content Marketing in 2016
So here’s what you’re going to have to do in the new year to shave off hours while improving the impact you have on the content as well as your lead generation programs.
1. Try Blogging Less
You heard right. Blog less. I don’t mean fewer words, but rather less frequency. Yes, I know this completely goes against everything you’ve been taught, but let’s just think about it:
If Google’s first 10 search results all seem to have more than 2,000 words, there’s very little chance that blogging around 700 words three times a week is going to get you very far, is it?
If you’ve spent the last couple of years blogging and have generated a good wealth of short-form, pretty readable content, it’s time to change up your strategy and start developing content that can help cut through the clutter and start getting your site ranked. And that means coming up with content no less than 1,500 words.
I know what you’re wondering: how do you go about creating quality content of that length?
Think of it this way: if you’re blogging 500 words, three times a week, you’re already writing 1,500 words.
Rather than trying to come up with three short posts, leverage your buyer personas and tie all those posts together to blog 1, 500 words once a week.
For example, let’s imagine you want to write a post about when a business ought to start content marketing programs for their tech companies. The post could be broken up into three parts:
a. The common challenges that B2B technology companies face when wanting to start content marketing programs.
b. Why these companies wait to start content marketing
c. The statistics that support when a tech company should start a content marketing program.
Instead of coming up with three shorter posts, all three points can be tied together with a central theme. So in the same amount of time it would take to write three 500-word blogs, a 1,500 word post that will actually rank for long-tail keywords can be generated.
2. Short-Form Spammy SEO Content – It’s Time to Say Goodbye to Consultants
OK, this one sounds a little harsh, but very few SEO consultants are really qualified to write longer forms of content about anything, let alone your pride and joy of a business. How can you save time here?
We all know that SEO has become a major part of content marketing. If you are creating content targeted toward certain audiences, you need to be working within the realm of SEO, or risk wasting your time. Think mobile, social sharing, long-tail keywords. You don’t need a pricy consultant.
Spend a day working your way around Google and you’ll get to know everything you need to for optimizing your content for the search engine. Read a book, take a short course, add basic SEO to your skill set.
3. Content Should Be Creative
Ever wanted to do something more dynamic? Ever envisioned animated infographics and other cool themes? Go with it! Rather than using the same old boring, clip-art filled infographics, create some seriously rich, creative media experiences for your audience.
There are quite a few tools beyond WordPress you can use, including:
- Infor.am — This lets you create and publish awesome visualizations of all your data. They offer some great pre-built templates that you can embed with your blog.
- Tableau Public — Free software for anyone who wants to regale engaging stories with public data on the Internet. It’s a fantastic tool for visualization, particularly maps.
- Visme — A great tool that will let you create rich media infographics, presentations, reports and even product demos
Let’s Wrap This Up
2016 is sure to be an interesting year. With those budgets hovering around the same as the 2015 mark, and content fatigue seriously setting in, you’re going to need to do a lot more to be more effective, but with the same resources.
Julia McCoy is a serial content marketer, entrepreneur, and bestselling author. She founded a multi-million dollar content agency, Express Writers, with nothing more than $75 at 19 years old. Today, her team has nearly 100 expert content creators on staff, and serves thousands of clients around the world. She's earned her way to the top 30 worldwide content marketers, and has a passion for sharing what she knows in her books and in her online course, The Content Strategy & Marketing Course. Julia also hosts The Write Podcast on iTunes.