February 12, 2014: This year, many of the tactics, channels, and ways for readers to consume content will continue to evolve. Content Marketing Institute, in fact, predicts the following five online content marketing shifts for 2014: revamped content marketing team makeup, responsive design, link earningÂ (as opposed to link building), curated content and custom content streams, and brand journalism.
As marketers, we have a responsibility to our clients (and to ourselves) to keep up with the latest online content marketing trends in order to better engage customers and offer them the type of content theyâre looking to consume. One way to do this is to attend industry-related local events, which many KoMarketing team members take advantage of on a regular basis. Another is to attend any number of online webinars, tutorials, or learning courses designed to deliver valuable insights on various topics related to online marketing.
I recently caught a webinar sponsored by Skyword and Outbrain that offered a number of best practices for building an online brand presence and amplifying content marketing efforts. Here are a few key takeaways:
To the Lighthouse:
According to Outbrain, content is the âlighthouse that guides us.â In other words, our job as content marketers is to help our audience discover new (timely and relevant) things theyâre interested in via the content we provide.
So what does this entail and how do content marketers set about doing it? Â The key is to start with the WHY, which involves building a brand experience with a mission clearly in mind. Â At KoMarketing, for example, we use a detailed client discovery questionnaire to determine the target buyer of our clients’ solution offerings as well as some of the issues/concerns our clients hear from prospects during the sales process. Â Soliciting this type of information allows us to deliver the type of content we know our clients’Â audience is looking for, which ultimately allows us to craft personalized SEO and social media marketing programs.
Dot Your Iâs and Cross Your Tâs:
Because even the most clearly defined mission fails without knowing who, exactly, that mission is intended for, Skyword/Outbrain recommend conducting thorough audience research prior to defining the mission. Not only does this help determine which topics/keywords pique audience interests (as well as which channels they prefer), but it also helps marketers discover what theyâre already doing well versus what theyâre missing in order to prioritize next steps.
At KoMarketing, we take the information gathered in the client discovery questionnaire (in combination with ongoing research and analysis) and use it to build out a detailedÂ editorial calendarÂ for all of our clients engaged in content marketing initiatives. Â At this stage, we’ve determined who our clients’ audiences are, where they spend their time, and exactly what type of information they’re looking to consume. Â The editorial calendar then allows usÂ to maximize our content output and âbreathe lifeâ into our content strategy.
Pump Up the Volume:
According to Skyword/Outbrain, in a single day, 2 million blog posts are created across the Internetâenough to fill Time Magazine for a whopping 770 years! So what can content marketers do to cut through the noise and connect with an audience that is, quite simply, everywhere?
The answer is to take control of your audience by focusing on users and the interaction of those users. Â In fact, engaging with your audience should be driving all of your content marketing efforts. Â Skyword/Outbrain believe Â doing so involvesÂ 1) growing your audience (i.e., expanding the reach of followers, fans, prospects, subscribers, press, and bloggers), 2) planning for discovery (i.e, who is the audience? where do they spend their time? why are they there?), and 3) understanding where different types of users go for different types of content (e.g., social channels, news sites, blogs, etc.).
During a recent team training session at KoMarketing, we sat down and defined several B2B blogging tipsÂ from idea creation all the way through to promotion. Â On the promotion side specifically, we identified a number of best practices we’ve used to amplify content distribution, including informing individuals (or companies) of new content via social mentions, utilizing email to share new material, leveraging social communities (e.g., LinkedIn groups or Google+ communities), and taking advantage of guest posting opportunities or syndication sites.
One of the most refreshing things about attending the Skyword/Outbrain webinar was that it reinforced that KoMarketing is already doing the right sorts of things to maximize our content creation and distribution efforts on behalf of our clients. Â So, while the webinar provided a number of helpful ways to drive successful content marketing, it was nice to see we’re Â in sync with other content marketers in the industry.
Of course, the above is just a fraction of the material covered in âA Roadmap for Successfully Creating and Amplifying Great Content.â For more on the major components required for building a modern content strategy, view the webinar in full here. To connect with the webinar presenters, check out MaryAnne Flynn, VP of Content Services at Skyword, and Rich Ullman, VP of Marketing at Outbrain, on Twitter: @maryanneflynn & @richullman.