Three Steps to Better Content Marketing

June 25, 2013

You know the value of content marketing, and you probably even know a few tactics already—but are you making the best of what you know?

Walk the Walk: Plan Your Steps

As a digital publisher you might feel you are not as good at content marketing as you could be. You probably spend a lot of time talking to advertisers about it, but perhaps you haven’t yet adopted the strategies you tout. Rob O'Regan asked a valid question: Why are publishers so bad at content marketing?

The goal: create a marketing hub that informs and engages with your business audience – advertisers and agencies – as effectively as your magazine brands inform and engage with their respective communities.

And of course, he provides several useful tips for walking the walk. But first, you might need to shift your attitude.

We all do it: we learn what works and we are eager to share with those we serve, but when it comes to putting it into practice ourselves, we might be a little slow on the uptake. It’s sometimes hard to commit to the things that fill the category of short-term investment, long-term gain, when we must react and respond to certain demands on a daily basis. That’s why developing a content marketing plan is particularly important. 

A content marketing plan provides you with a road map, integrates all the necessary components and provides accountability—so that you can continue your forward momentum even in the midst of day-to-day challenges.

A few things to consider when developing your plan:

  • The top priority should be to supply content that is useful to your readers and establishes you as a thought leader.
  • Provide ample opportunity to share your expertise—and identify several members of your team to contribute, based on their particular niche.
  • Also, make room for sharing examples of how people are actually using your brand.
  • Integrate a mixed approach. Meaning vary the type (format, style, length) of content you provide and the frequency with which you post different types.
  • Make room for curation.  You don’t have to provide all original content all the time. Curation of quality content from other sources serves several purposes, not the least building your community. But remember, curation alone does not make a content marketing strategy.
  • Look to what other publishers and sites are doing to help shape your plan. O’Regan mentions IDG’s Knowledge Hub and UBM Tech’s Create Your Next Customer as examples.

Let’s talk about a couple of other components of your plan, more in depth.

Always Consider Shareability

In this age of social media, shareability is key for leveraging the power of these tools. Again, look to those who are particularly good at it. As Brian Clark writes, Upworthy provides a great model by incorporating three key components:

  • Compelling Headlines
  • Emotional Impact; and
  • Strong Positioning (which does not need to be political or controversial to be effective)

But type of content is also really important for shareability.  Remember the power of video and still images, but you might want to reconsider that slideshow you had in mind.

Don’t Start in the Middle

You can start building interest in your content before you actually provide it. That’s the beauty of tools like Facebook and Twitter, your blogs and your site’s analytics. When you are mapping out the launch of new products, remember to incorporate social media and blogging into the pre-launch activities. This not only builds interest in your upcoming content, it provides you with insight into what people want and how to best tailor your content to them.

Bonus Tip:

Don’t forget to educate yourself on the best methods for using specific social platforms—while they all have certain things in common, something that works like a charm on Twitter, could easily flop on Tumblr.