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Although content marketing is still a relatively new idea, the message that good content equals more sales is filtering down from the niche to the masses. According to a recent study from, the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, 90% of B2C marketers said they were using content marketing in 2014, compared with 84% the previous year.
[We’ve updated the report to the latest 2020, version for you: Ed] However, the study also revealed that only 34% consider themselves to be effective at content marketing. We think that’s due to confusion about what the term actually means, and a lack of commitment or strategy from the outset (less than half of those said to be using content marketing actually had a dedicated plan in place).
In this post, we’re going to look at a tangible definition of content marketing and why it’s important for every business, before letting you in on the 9 golden rules of producing good content. Let’s start with the basics.
So…what is content marketing?
We turned to the Content Marketing Institute again for a clear definition:
“Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience – and ultimately to drive consumer action.”
There are a few key things to take away from this summary: firstly, “content” is what it says on the tin: information in a range of forms – nothing more complicated than that. Copywriting, brochures, social media, flyers, emails… it’s all content. Many businesses get too caught up in trying to work out whether or not what they’re producing can be deemed as content when actually, the term refers to all collateral you produce for marketing purposes.
Secondly, content marketing should be strategic, with the end goal of driving a customer to take action, whether that be to walk into your shop, visit your website or buy your product. More importantly though, is the term “clearly-defined audience”. Producing content is one thing, producing it with a specific audience and consequence in mind is content marketing.
The 9 Golden Rules of Content Marketing
As we’ve already mentioned, it isn’t enough to randomly churn out emails and brochures with the hope of converting customers. Here are our hard-and-fast rules for making your content marketing a success.
1. Plan, plan plan
A strong editorial plan or calendar will help keep you on track when other business priorities tempt you away from content production.
2. Set goals
Like any other marketing activity, if you don’t set goals for your content you won’t know whether you’re over or under-performing.
3. Be realistic
We get it, it’s easy to become excited about content. It’s fun to produce and once you start seeing results, you don’t want to stop. But before you commit to producing 5 e-books and 30 emails a month, consider your resource. Content marketing is very much a “quality over quantity” scenario, so don’t stretch yourself.
4. Get creative
As a marketing agency, we’re used to hearing “but we can’t produce interesting content – we’re a plumbing/HR outsourcing/carpentry business”. It’s easy to think that if you aren’t Virgin Atlantic or Coca Cola, then your business is boring and you have nothing to say.
That’s when it’s time to start thinking outside the box. Look to brands like Charmin and B&Q – toilet paper and DIY probably aren’t the most exciting topics in the world, but creativity and storytelling help to bring them to life for a customer.
5. Go evergreen
The term “evergreen” applies to content that will not grow out of date quickly, if at all. This means it will stay relevant and interesting to your customer long after you’ve produced it, making it more valuable to you as a business.
6. Google is your friend
If you’re writing something which will appear online, it’s best to get to grips with SEO to make sure your content has a good chance of ranking in search engines and actually being found by customers.
7. Put your audience first
A big mistake that a lot of companies make is assuming that their customers will want to read whatever they produce.
Instead of pushing out the first thing that comes to mind, ask yourself: what is the audience looking for? Can I answer a question or provide a solution?
8. Find your voice
Tone of voice is a lot more important than many people think. Nailing the right tone of voice for your brand can make your communications more authentic and effective, as well as giving you stand-out in the marketing place. Identify the tone of voice that works best for you, and keep it consistent across your communications to build up a brand identity.
9. Stay fresh
Two tweets per day, one email a week, one direct mail piece every month… sound familiar? It’s easy to get stuck in repetitive patterns with content, especially when your budget can’t stretch to much more. But it’s important to try and keep your ideas fresh in order to keep consumers engaged. Try different things, different outlets, different tactics – but most importantly, learn from your mistakes.
If you’re looking for assistance with your content marketing then do give us a call, we’re happy to assist with your digital marketing strategy.
Infographics first became mainstream in content marketing a couple of years ago, and have been increasing in popularity ever since. Countless brands have used infographics to communicate data to their audiences, with successful examples belonging to LinkedIn and Samsung. But if you’re yet to hop on the bandwagon, you may wonder what infographics are, and how they can benefit your marketing plans.
Also known as data visualisation and information design, infographics offer a way of presenting data using compelling imagery, illustration and iconography alongside text. They’re used widely to communicate statistics and relationships between ideas, and are more common than you might think – consider the tube map, for example.
Whilst they are definitely nice to look at, there has been an influx of infographics over the years which have arguably prioritised style over substance. They can also be time-consuming, and are an added expense to your budget. So why should you make the effort to incorporate infographics into your content? Read on for our top 5 reasons to make them an integral component of your marketing strategy.
1. Infographics can boost traffic
If your infographic is genuinely useful and compelling, it naturally becomes shareable. When other bloggers, social media users or websites share your infographic, you reap the benefits of associated traffic and back links. Just make sure that whoever is using it always includes a link back to your site and credits you. As search engines are cracking down on guest posting and irresponsible link building activity, infographics are the perfect way to earn a genuine and reputable link.
In the same way, such shareable assets have the potential to go viral, and the more eyes on your infographic, the more recognition for your brand. Organic spread like this can potentially afford you more quality coverage than paid ads or print media could ever do.
Google favours popular and relevant content, so your infographic can help to draw in new visitors through organic search. The best part about this is that your infographic will provide you with some straightforward metrics, such as citations, social shares and backlinks, allowing you to build a comprehensive idea of your ROI.
2. Infographics are portable and reusable across your communications
When you build an infographic, you not only get a standalone or one-off piece of content, you get a versatile asset to use across your communications, from your website and social media to email and brochures. Infographics can be recycled and repurposed in whichever way you wish, and once your editors or writers have invested a certain amount of time in researching the data required for an infographic, it only makes sense to maximise this resource to ensure added inbound marketing opportunities.
Unlike a news story, infographics also retain their relevancy over time, proving an “evergreen” marketable asset, in a sense.
3. Infographics make information beautiful
According to blogger Jeff Bullas, 40% of us respond better to information when it is presented visually, and a staggering 90% of information entering our heads is visual. In short, infographics are much more fun and engaging to look at than a page of plain text.
You can make an infographic of almost anything, even the dullest of subjects, and present it in an aesthetically pleasing way that is many times more likely to make a reader stop and look than copy alone. Using illustration and design in unison with your copy allows you to convey nebulous concepts and large numbers simply, as well as visually depict relationships and comparisons between data and information.
So whether you need to demonstrate the ins and outs of commercial property law or detail the evolution of the “geek” (this one really exists), infographics allow you to do so in a concise, eye-catching and unique way.
4. Infographics are easily scannable and digestible
We’re now exposed to more online media than ever before. According to Bullas, we generate 1.5 billion pieces of content a day, so the key to the success of your content is making it stand out from the rest in the eternal quest for attention.
If your audience is time poor, they want to find the information they need immediately, especially if they’re on the go and using mobile devices. Infographics provide a tool to cater to this need, by taking complex ideas and making them quick and easy to understand. When you display your content in this form, your audience is able to scan the image and pick out the key facts to take away, and are more likely to remember the information you tell them.
5. Infograhics increase brand awareness
If done well, infographics should have a dual benefit; they entertain, they engage and they educate in a way that’s informative and memorable. However, what’s the use in all that if no one knows the infographic belongs to you?
It is so important to brand your infographic to truly maximise its benefit as a marketing tool. When you do so, you get eyes on your brand every time it’s shared, demonstrating your knowledge on a certain subject and carving out an identity for yourself as an expert in that field.
This is why infographics should never be created simply for link-bait – if they reflect well on your brand, educate a user and just happen to be shareable, your content marketing strategy will soon see the benefit.
And to finish off, would you like to see an infographic about infographics (2014)?
If you need a graphic designer in Surrey to produce an infographic for your business or organisation then pick up the phone and call Woking digital agency Clever Marketing now! We’re on 01276 534 680.
We look forward to hearing from you :-)