Content - Duct Tape Marketing

Tag Archives for " Content "

shareable and useful content

The Value of Discoverable, Shareable, and Useful Content

Marketing Podcast with John Jantsch About Creating Useful Content

There’s no way around it, there are a lot of marketing channels today. I’m counting eighteen as of now (which can obviously change very quickly).

When I started my business we had six or seven ways to reach our prospects and customers. A lot has changed.

One of the things that I think is important to understand, first off, is that you don’t have to play in every channel. That’s one of the things that causes a lot of stress with a lot of business owners and marketers today.

What you do have to do is get very good at playing in the right channels, and additionally getting very good at integrating those channels (or at least understanding how they support each other).

That’s a challenge for a lot of people. We look at social media, content, SEO, and PR, and we think that they’re all separate tactics out there doing separate jobs.

When you look at them together, and actually intentionally think about how they can support each other, you amplify the effect, or the impact, of each.

In this post, we’re going to focus on three of these channels: content, social media, and SEO.

While those are separate channels, content is air for marketing today. It really powers every step in the customer journey and is one of the most essential marketing channels out there.

In fact, it probably is not really even fair to consider it a channel anymore, because it’s like the gasoline that goes in the car. You really have to have it no matter what kind of car you have.

I want you to think these channels, and make sure the content you produce in each is discoverable, shareable and ultimately useful.

Discoverability

Discoverability is often seen as an SEO play, and frankly, that’s what it is, but content drives SEO today. There are many search terms that are competitive, so everybody is out there competing for the search terms that they want.

People try to rank by doing effective keyword research, using targeted messaging, and knowing a lot about their users. It’s a good idea to develop a sense of intent as well in order to implement on-page SEO best practices.

While this all helps to make your content discoverable, you have to start with a content strategy that says “yes, we want people to find that, but that’s not where we want them to stop.”

Shareability

Once the content is discovered, the degree that it is shared will determine how widely it is distributed. By thinking about shareability of content, you’re multiplying the impact of search engine results because shares are going to draw links and other important SEO signals. They are going to increase your audience, which is going to draw more people. 

If we build our content with the idea that we can get a higher share rate, one of the benefits to that is that you actually don’t have to produce a ton of content.

If you produce content that is focused on:

  • How to do something
  • Why to do something
  • Lists
  • Great headlines
  • Great calls to action in the content
  • Using impactful images
  • Mobile usage

Then you can build your SEO-optimized content and make it much more shareable.

Shareable content is going to evolve your social media. This is one of the best ways to think about your content in the social media space. Making your content shareable will help expand the reach of people outside of your immediate network.  

Useful content

As I said in the beginning, I think the ultimate measure of success of any SEO plan is the degree to which people who discover and share your content, also find that content useful enough to quote, bookmark, link to, and consume deeply.

This idea of linking your content together to make it even more useful is an important part of trust building in the journey. If people have a problem, they go out and search for a problem, not for your solution.

They may not associate what you offer with their problem, but they’re trying to get a problem solved.

If they go to your website make sure you address their problem and give them an entire guide for how to solve it. Link together eight or ten pages, or at least associate all of your related content to a topic in a way that you’ve packaged it to make it easy to consume.

That’s the content that people not only love to share, but they love to link and bring other people to it as well.

It’s the kind of content that is going to make your SEO more effective, and make your content more discoverable because Google sees the signals that are being sent to that content.

It’s the kind of content that is ultimately going to lead people to buy your products and services, because you’ve addressed their problem, and made it easy for them to consume the content. You built trust signals, which is going to help you show up on page one of Google, which is huge. 

You’re giving somebody a reason to dig in on their own, and discover that what you sell is going to actually solve their problem.

That’s how you have to think about content.

There are a couple of metrics that I love to look at when I’m trying to analyze somebody’s content. I use tools, like Ahrefs, to see the number of keyword phrases driving traffic to page one.

I also like to use a tool called BuzzSumo. One of the things that it will do is dive into your content from a social media standpoint and will answer questions like:

  • How much sharing is going on?
  • What kind of content gets shared the most?
  • Who’s linking to it?
  • Who’s Tweeting it?
  • What is the length and format of the content?

It really breaks down all the sharing activity that goes on in your content.

I love to look at that kind of shared data because in many cases it will clearly point to your best content that’s being shared. Most of the time, that’s longer content that is more in depth, and that people find very useful. 

The value of your organic traffic is also a tremendous metric to really allow you to see how you’re stacking up.

Typically, what happens is your content becomes more discoverable because it was useful. It’s more shareable because it was useful. So it’s like this vicious, positive cycle that ends up making your traffic and visits worth so much more.

content creation

How to Create Effective Content Without Adding More to Your To-Do List

Content influences not only all aspects of our marketing but of our entire business as well.

Content is not something you can take lightly. It needs to be front and center of your strategy and it needs to be done well. The only issue is, it’s time-consuming.

For small business owners, finding the time to create high-quality content on a regular basis can seem impossible. With the ever-growing to-do list that so many business owners face, how can the content giant get taken care of without adding more to their plates?

The answer? Outsourcing.

Outsourcing your content creation efforts is far more common than you probably think, and in my opinion, it’s a necessary tactic if you want to do content marketing well. In today’s virtual world, the sky’s the limit for the talent that you can use to create the content for you.

Not only will it benefit your business, but it will likely save you money by giving you the time back needed to focus on other lucrative areas of your business.

Below are a few tips for outsourcing that will get you on your way to being a successful content creation machine.

1. Own your process and strategy

So here’s the thing. You can, and should, absolutely outsource the creation of your content, but you must still own your process and strategy (it is your business after all).

The only way to outsource effectively is to put systems in place that ensure successful collaboration between you and your outsourced team.

I’d recommend using a project management tool to manage deadlines and provide feedback efficiently. Things can get lost in email and has the potential to get messy. I use Asana, but there are a lot of tools out there that can help you get the job done.

Getting a routine going between you and your outsourced partners can also be extremely beneficial. For example, have blog posts due to you for review every Thursday and podcast show notes due every Wednesday. That way, you know what to expect and when to expect it, and the person creating the content will also know what they need to be doing and when without a lot of back and forth communication.

Develop an editorial calendar that lays out a strategy that your outsourced team can refer to. Planning ahead makes month-to-month operations easier for you, and lets your content creators know what’s to come.

2. Be picky

Anybody can really claim to be a writer, but claiming to be a writer and actually being one are two different things. When searching for somebody to outsource this work to, seek out references and testimonials, and ask them to write a blog post for a title you give them to see how they approach your topics and writing style.

There are numerous sites out there that you can use to find writers, including:

In the beginning, take the time to review the work for specifics, style, tone, and voice. Edit each post to make sure it still represents the brand well, and feel free to tweak a bit to add a personal touch. Provide your content creators with feedback from the beginning, otherwise, they’ll never be able to learn what you’re truly looking for. If they don’t apply the feedback to future posts, you should consider this a red flag.

If you find they are consistently living up to your expectations, bring them on board. The review process will take less time the more they get used to writing for you. In fact, you’ll hopefully get to the point where you don’t have to review their work at all.

It’s important that you do what you can to prevent bottlenecks. There may be times that your content isn’t 100% perfect but, don’t let an endless editing phase prevent you from getting your content out into the world.

Your audience cares more about receiving helpful information than they do about whether or not your author’s tone perfectly aligns with the brand.

3. Remove the guesswork

You must be clear about the instructions you give your writers in terms of tone, style, and formatting. Create a document that outlines these areas for each of your writing needs as well as any background information that is necessary for them to get the job done.

It can be easy to blame remote writers for creating less-than-ideal content, but if you haven’t taken the time to provide the information they need to get the job done, then the blame is on you.

4. Focus on results

When it comes to your content efforts, you must always be paying attention to the results you’re seeing. Even if the content appears to check all the boxes on your list, it doesn’t mean it will perform well once it’s published.

Keep an eye on the metrics to see what resonates with your audience and what does not.

Keep in mind that one piece of content shouldn’t dictate strategy moving forward. You need to look for trends to help you decide what to stick with and what to revise moving forward.

5. Take care of your team

Your outsourced team may be remote, but they’re still a part of your team now and should be treated as such. Don’t forget to give positive feedback when it’s deserved. People want to work for those that appreciate them. The more valued and appreciated they feel, the better the work they produce will be.

By outsourcing content, you are able to focus on areas business of your business that require your attention. If you feel inclined, you can still create one thorough piece of content on your own each week to help keep you on your toes and current with marketing trends, but that’s entirely up to you.

Outsourcing can be extremely valuable for your business, provided you do it the right way and pay special attention to the process.

Remember, although another person is doing the work, it’s your or your brand and reputation that stand behind it, so don’t take the process and development lightly.

If you liked this post, check out our Guide to Content Marketing for Small Business.

content

Using Content As Your Voice of Strategy

I’ve said it once (or twice) and I’ll say it again: content is no longer king, it’s air. It not only touches all aspects of your marketing these days but of your business as well.

Your audience expects to find information about any product, service, or challenge they face simply by typing a keyword into Google. If you aren’t showing up, even if someone referred them to you, there’s a good chance they won’t decide to move forward with you because of a lack of trust.

In my opinion (and I’m not alone), the most important element when it comes to building a long-term, sustainable marketing system is content. But here’s the thing, it’s not enough to simply produce content for content’s sake. You must use content as your voice of strategy, and the best way to do this is to produce content that focuses on education and building trust – all based on your core business objectives and message.

In order to be effective with this, you must come up with a plan. Waking up in the morning and deciding what you are going to write about on your blog that day isn’t sustainable.

The Total Content System

I came up with this approach a while back and it essentially allows you to plan, delegate, curate, create, collaborate, repurpose and get more out of every piece of content you produce.

Create foundational content themes

Develop a list of core content topics and assign one to each month for the next 12 months. Each theme should be a substantial topic related to your business or industry and represent an important keyword search term. You can also designate terms that you know you would like to rank higher for, but currently, have little or no content that leads people online or off to you.

Bundle your topics into packages

I find it helpful to think about it like a book, where each month represents a chapter in what will ultimately make up an important body of work by the end of this year.

But the key is to develop multiple subtopics around each theme and then develop a core “guide” for each theme by linking the various subject together.

I recorded a podcast on this topic that may shed more light on it for you – Content Marketing for Small Business

Develop your content delivery platform

Once you have your themes, you can organize your Content Delivery Platform. Here are a few examples of content that I use and how I use them.

  • Blog posts – I write a weekly blog post that ultimately contributes to a monthly guide with other content of the same theme.
  • Podcast – I publish a podcast episode twice/week and aim to have at least one of them be a solo show that discusses and aspect of my theme for the month.
  • Webinars – Since we are creating all this rich, topic-specific content we host monthly online seminars to deliver the content in a new form.
  • Content package – The final step is to take all of this content from each month and create a package that allows people interested in the monthly topic to access the entire package in one tidy resource.

Integrate content with core business objectives

Once the first two steps are complete, you must map your content plan to your core business objectives. This step allows you to better understand how to get a return on your content investment and how much you should actually invest in creating a certain form or package of content.

One of the most important aspects of a Total Content System plan is that it changes the lens you use to view all the information that comes at you all day long.

When you know what your monthly themes are, all of a sudden tools, articles, and conversations take on new meaning and seem to somehow organize themselves for the benefit of your ongoing, long-term approach.

Now, in order for all of this to be truly effective, I want to reiterate that the content must build trust and must educate your audience.

What types of content build trust?

  • Blogs – A blog should be your starting point for your content strategy because it makes content production, syndication and sharing so easy. Plus, search engines love blog content which can help boost your SEO.
  • Social media – Building rich profiles, and optimizing links, images and videos that point back to your main site is an important part of the content as strategy plan.
  • Reviews – You’ll never have total control over this category, but ignore it and it may be one of the most damaging to your brand. Get proactive and monitor this channel aggressively.
  • Testimonials – This content adds important trust-building endorsements and makes for great brand building assets out there on Google and YouTube.

What types of content work best for educating your audience?

  • Podcasts – Podcasts are becomingly increasingly popular and serve as a fantastic way to engage and educate your audience in an easily digestible format.
  • Seminars – People want information packaged in ways that will help them get what they want. Presentations, workshop, and seminars are tremendous ways to provide education with increased engagement.
  • FAQs – There’s no denying the value of information packaged in this format, but go beyond the questions that routinely get asked and include those that should get asked but don’t.
  • Success stories – Building rich examples of actual clients succeeding through the use of your product or service offerings is a tremendous way to help people learn from other individuals and business just like them.

If you liked this post, check out our Ultimate Guide to Small Business Marketing Strategy.

content creation

How to Use Content to Create Customers

I know this isn’t the first time you’ve been told that you need to develop content to be competitive in the marketing world today, but the fact of the matter is, it’s so important that it’s worth repeating over and over again. The use of high quality, education-based content has become an essential ingredient in creating awareness, building trust, converting leads, and creating customers (hopefully leading to referrals and repeat business as well).

With that being said, content doesn’t need to be nearly as overwhelming as it once was. Gone are the days where you have to pump out content consistently in order to gain traction online. The name of the game today is quality, not quantity, and Google is getting really good at recognizing that.

I’ve developed a system for turning content into leads. Once the leads are in your hand, it’s up to you to close the deal and turn them into customers.

1. Decide what content you should create

For a while now, I’ve been promoting something I call the Total Content SystemTM, which is an approach that allows you to plan, delegate, curate, create, collaborate, repurpose and get far more out of every piece of content you produce.

Through your knowledge and by using keyword tools, you can develop a list of core content topics and assign one to each month for the next six months. Each theme should be a substantial topic related to your business or industry and represent an important keyword search term.

2. Invest time in content upgrades

Marketers today have tapped the insatiable hunger for useful, actionable, educational content and are employing highly targeted “content upgrades” to convert traffic to lead funnels.

Knowing that you’ll be creating less, but more valuable, content, be sure to marry this content with content upgrades. Since the reader is already engaged with your content, providing value with these upgrades will increase the odds of a conversion because they will already be a warm lead.

An important factor to the content upgrade is that it helps you segment visitor interest. People are very interested in how to do that one specific thing they searched for. If they land on your article, you have the ability to know what they are looking for and which content upgrade to provide when they need it.

One of the quickest ways to identify candidates for immediate content upgrade opportunities is to look through your analytics and find your most popular content and consider ways to personalize a content upgrade for those posts.

You can also use a tool like BuzzSumo to identify some of the most shared content online based on the keyword phrases related to your ideal client.

You don’t have to overthink the package for a content upgrade. In many cases what you’re looking to do is simplify information not make it more complex.

Providing these upgrades will increase your number of leads, and in turn, customers.

3. Ensure your audience sees your content

Keep in mind that no matter how good your content is, nobody will see it if you don’t promote it. You must ensure you promote it to relevant social channels, email lists, and so on to ensure it targeting the right people. Also, be sure to employ on-page SEO best practices within your content to help you get found by your audience organically.

Matching your content to the customer journey

To take your content creation even further, you must ensure that it is incorporated into every stage of the customer journey in order to solidify the close. I believe the customer journey consists of seven stages (what I refer to as the Marketing Hourglass): Know, Like, Trust, Try, Buy, Repeat, and Refer.

As a person moves through the customer journey, you must hit them with content throughout the process to keep them engaged with your business, and the best way to do this is to match the content you’d like to develop with the various phases of the Marketing Hourglass.

You must be aware of what your customer’s journey looks like in order to develop content for each stage of it. To help you do so, I’ve described the stages below to help you brainstorm what content would work best for you.

Know

The Know stage is the phase where people first become aware of your business, and it’s your job to put a piece of content out there that get’s their attention.

Like

At this stage, give your prospects reasons to keep wanting more and move towards gaining permission to continue the conversation.

Trust

I believe this is the most important step but arguably the most tedious and time-consuming. The more a person trusts you and your company, the more likely they’ll be to buy from you. Create content that helps build that trust.

Try

I think this the easiest phase to move people to the purchase. The content here needs to represent a sample of the end result. Demonstrate how much better your product or service is than the competition, to differentiate your business.

Buy

The focus here is to maintain a good experience for the prospect. In order to continue to deliver a remarkable customer experience, you’ve got to continue to educate through content.

Repeat

In the Repeat phase, you need to consider adding a results review process as well as additional upsell and cross-sell touchpoints.

Refer

Build processes and content campaigns that make it easy for your brand champions to refer your business.

Content marketing is here to stay. Put time and energy into creating quality content with associated content upgrades throughout each stage of the customer journey, and you’ll be sure to increase your number of customers moving forward.

If you liked this post, check out our Guide to Content Marketing for Small Business.

customer journey

How to Develop Content for Every Stage of the Customer Journey

For marketers, it’s nearly impossible to get through a day without hearing about or discussing content in one way or another. As the core of your strategy, you can not view content as a bunch of one-off projects. The creation of it needs to come out of one comprehensive strategy.

Because it is such an important piece of the marketing puzzle these days, it needs to be incorporated in every phase of the customer journey. While people often split this journey into three phases, Awareness, Consideration, and Content, I believe there is a bit more to it than that, which is why I’ve developed the Marketing Hourglass which consists of seven stages: Know, Like, Trust, Try, Buy, Repeat, and Refer. These phases will get a person from their first encounter with your business and then past your point of purchase where they not only turn into a customer but a loyal fan and advocate for your business.

As a person moves through the customer journey, you must hit them with content throughout the process to keep them engaged with your business, and the best way to do this is to match the content you’d like to develop with the various phases of the Marketing Hourglass.

Mapping the Customer Journey

When it comes to the customer journey, it’s important that you don’t get ahead of yourself. I often see small businesses trying to convince prospects that they can solve their problems before they even know they have one.

In order to map out your customer journey, you must understand who your audience is, and I mean really understand their wants, needs and pain points, as well as the types of questions they’d ask themselves before they even seek a solution like yours.

You must be aware of what your customer’s journey looks like in order to develop content for each stage of it. To help you do so, I’ve described the stages below as well as recommended content to go along with each stage to help you brainstorm what would work best for your business.

Know

The Know stage is the phase where people first become aware of your business, and it’s your job to put a piece of content out there that get’s their attention.

Types of content:

  • Blog posts answering common client challenges (to help boost SEO)
  • Advertising (consider paid search and paid social) promoting content upgrades to boost lead conversion
  • Presentations at speaking engagements
  • Social media

Like

Once you attract a person to your website, you enter the second stage of the Marketing Hourglass: Like. At this point, you need to give them reasons to keep wanting more and move towards gaining permission to continue the conversation.

Types of content:

  • eNewsletters for lead nurturing and to demonstrate expertise, knowledge, and resources over time
  • Blog content around specific topics
  • Social media
  • Webinars
  • White papers

Trust

I believe Trust is the most important step but arguably the most tedious and time-consuming. Building trust is a marathon, not a sprint. The more a person trusts you and your company, the more likely they’ll be to buy from you.

Types of content:

  • Reviews
  • Success stories
  • Client testimonials
  • Webinars
  • Ebooks
  • Custom presentations
  • How tos
  • Client readiness packets
  • Proposal documents
  • Customer-generated videos
  • Case studies

Try

If you’ve built trust to the point where people begin wondering how your solution might work for them, it’s time to enter the Try stage of the hourglass. Try is a phase that many people skip due to the desire to leap rather than lead, however, I think it’s the easiest phase to move people to the purchase.

Here, the content needs to represent a sample of the end result. By creating content in this phase that demonstrates how much better your product or service is than the competition, you can differentiate your business.

Types of content:

  • Ebooks
  • Online or offline seminars
  • Webinars
  • Workshops
  • Audits
  • Evaluations
  • Video demos
  • FAQs

Buy

This is the step all businesses want, but you must look at it as just another stepping stone to growing your list of thrilled customers (who become brand advocates). For this stage, the focus is maintaining a good experience for the prospect. In order to continue to deliver a remarkable customer experience, you’ve got to continue to educate through content.

Types of content:

  • New customer kits
  • Quick start guides
  • Customer stories
  • User manuals

Repeat

To keep customers coming back time and time again, don’t wait for them to call you. You need to stay top of mind, and a great way to do this is to provide them with high-level content.

One of the best ways to get repeat business is to make sure your customers understand the value they receive by doing business with you. In the Repeat phase, you need to consider adding a results review process as well as additional upsell and cross sell touchpoints.

Types of content:

  • Start an auto responder series that provides education on additional solutions
  • Handwritten notes for no reason
  • Send press clippings systematically
  • Customer-only newsletters

Refer

The whole point of the Marketing Hourglass is to turn happy clients into referral clients. To do this, you must build processes and campaigns that make it easy for your brand champions to refer your business.

Types of content:

  • eBooks, videos, or gift certificates that your customers and strategic partners can co-brand and distribute
  • Feature your client stories in your marketing materials
  • Create a hot 100 prospect list and share it with clients for introductions

Keep in mind, you don’t always have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to content development. You can repurpose old content (i.e. turning educational videos into written blog posts) and you can even optimize and re-publish previous well-performing content to give it new life.

Creating content can be time-consuming, but by mapping it out along with certain themes and the customer journey, your life will become much easier.

What types of content do you find helpful in each stage of the journey?

If you liked this post, check out our Guide to Content Marketing for Small Business.

old content

Getting More Uses Out of Existing Content

With content taking the marketing world by storm over the past few years, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed with all of the content you need to produce in order to stay ahead of your competition, not to mention coming up with new ideas of content that haven’t already been written.

I’ve got good news for you.

While I highly recommend continuing to create new content, you don’t always have to reinvent the wheel. There are a variety things you can do with the content you already have, and by revisiting this material, your business can actually receive numerous benefits.

Improve existing content

With the amount of new content being generated every day, it seems to become old content almost instantly (think of how quickly content comes and goes on Twitter). With content becoming “dated” rather quickly, it’s important that you have ways to extend your content’s shelf life.

Before I continue, I must say the recommendations below work best with certain types of content. You need to be selective about which content you want to keep alive. For example, if you have content that is no longer relevant to your audience, products, or services, there’s no point in updating it just to get found in search results.

There are two key components you should consider when finding the right content to re-optimize:

  1. Find posts with high traffic but low conversion and figure out how to increase leads on those posts
  2. Find posts with low traffic but high conversion and figure out how to get more visits to those posts

If the content falls under the criteria above, consider implementing the following:

Refresh links

When you are updating old page addresses, remember to redirect old URLs to new ones with 301 redirects. If you don’t, you risk losing the link value of the old page.

Update keywords and meta descriptions

Even if the keywords were stellar when the original piece of content launched, that doesn’t mean they’re still relevant and useful today. You need to conduct a new round of keyword research and update the content with new keywords (or keep keywords as they were if they truly are still relevant).

Add new and relevant information

Times may have changed since the content was originally published. Ensure stats are still relevant and that the content still makes sense.

Re-post and re-promote

If you have any content that is over a year old but still performs well, you may want to consider republishing it, almost as though it were new. This will help to bring new life to it and potentially expose it to a newer audience. Be sure to do this last bit after the other recommended updates above are complete, The majority of the content may still be good, but you still want it to be current. Re-promoting re-optimized content is just as important as the content itself. The updates are pointless if nobody sees them.

In addition to the recommendation above, be sure to update images and add CTAs when relevant and necessary. These updates may seem rather small, but the potential benefits you may receive from these small tweaks make it all well worth it.

A few years ago, HubSpot wrote a blog post titled, “The Blogging Tactic No One Is Talking About: Optimizing the Past” and it was a keeper. Essentially, the company tested updating and republishing old blog posts to see if they could get more leverage out of them. By simply re-optimizing old content, HubSpot was able to increase organic traffic by 106%. Yes, you read that right.

These types of results aren’t unique to HubSpot. Many businesses are taking this approach and are reaping the rewards.

Re-optimization works because Google rewards relevancy and freshness. New visits will come out of sharing content within your network, and those new promotions will lead to new inbound links, which will help to boost SEO.

Repurpose content

Optimizing old content may be an excellent way to bring new life to underperforming content, but there are a number of things you can be doing to reuse content that is already performing well by re-purposing it. By doing this, you’ll continue to gain value from existing content. Plus, this tactic will also save you a lot of time and money.

The more popular the original content is, the more likely the repurposed content will be popular as well. Essentially, high-quality content can create even more high-quality content.

Once you’ve identified this content, consider re-purposing it in one of the following ways:

  • Create new blog posts
  • Develop an infographic
  • Craft an email series
  • Develop content upgrades
  • Start a podcast
  • Film a video series (this doesn’t need to be fancy – Facebook Live would suffice)
  • Take bulleted blog posts and turn each bullet point into its own post
  • Create an e-book out of a compilation of related blog posts
  • Host a webinar
  • Give a live talk about a topic that was repurposed for the speaking engagement

For me personally, I’ve found that one of the easiest ways to repurpose content is to start with video and create new content by working backward from there. It’s amazing what you can come up with. Get creative and think outside the box. You may come up with something unique that nobody has thought of yet!

By following the recommendations above, you’ll be able to maximize your odds of getting discovered online, as well as optimizing your investment in these assets by giving them a solid chance at performing, rather than just hoping for the best during launch.

The moral of the story is to not let content just sit there when you can still receive a ton of value from it.

Have you started implementing any of the tactics above? What kinds of results are you seeing?

content ideas

How to Find Killer Content Ideas

Whether you’re a novice writer or a pro, at some point you’ll get writer’s block and will find it difficult to come up with potent, relevant content ideas for marketing. If you’re in a rut, or simply need new topics to align with your strategy, follow the tips below to help guide you to new ideas.

Keyword research

For people who like to just get going quickly on content, keyword research can seem like a drag or burden that can that holds them back. However, the exact opposite is true. Not only is keyword research not a burden, it is a necessity that can be used to drive your content strategy and get you to your end goal faster than if you skipped it.

Once you have your marketing strategy in place and a strong understanding of your target audience and the actions you want them to take with your business, it’s time to begin your keyword research. It’s during this phase that you can determine key foundational phrases to build your entire online presence around.

The power behind keyword research for SEO is that it gives you the ability to understand the exact phrases people use to search for the products, services, information, answers and solutions that lead to them becoming your customers.

When you’re aware of what those phrases are, you can address the topics through your content and blog posts. If you’re new to keyword research and are unsure how to go about it, check out one of my previous blog posts which will show you how I conduct keyword research for Duct Tape Marketing.

Editorial calendar

Once you’ve done your keyword research and have come up with a dozen or so themes, it’s time to map out an editorial calendar of your content. This will help to ensure you’re in line with strategy, you’re staying on track for productivity, and that you have a guide for whenever you get stuck.

Great keyword research informs your editorial calendar and that’s why you should never stop doing it.

5 ways to find awesome content ideas

1. BuzzSumo

BuzzSumo
BuzzSumo

BuzzSumo is a search engine that ranks content, on really any topic, by how often an article is shared.

After I have my list of keyword phrases, I use BuzzSumo to see what types of content people are writing and sharing for my list of search terms.

With this tool, you can get very specific about the content you’re considering writing about in upcoming blog posts. Not to sound like your elementary school teacher, but it should go without saying that you shouldn’t use this tool with the intention of copying posts. Instead, reviews these posts and see how you can better them, make the ideas your own, and simply intersect your content based on the top results.

With BuzzSumo, you not only see how many shares a post has, but you also get to see which websites have linked to the content and who has shared it.

2. Keywordtool.io

This keyword tool helps you “find out what your audience is looking for” and helps you identify what people are typing into search engines.

The main reason I use Keywordtool.io is that it turns up actual questions people ask about specific terms. I think this is one of the best ways to find intent in a search phrase. This also helps me to start brainstorming about the specific content I want to produce. When you start thinking about what to write about next, answering questions you know people are asking is a great way to get into a blogging routine and attract your audience.

3, Google Search: Forum + Your Topic

I like using this tactic because you can find the hottest content threads in any forum.

Most industries have active bulletin boards and forums that people turn to when looking for information. People will often say exactly what they are looking for and what they are having a hard time finding. If you look at these forums enough, you’ll start to identify trends.

When I go into these forums, I type in “key term + forum” or “key term + board,’ and will typically find results related to the business or industry I’m searching for.

Side note: As most of you know, I’m a big fan of not only growing my own network but helping others grow there’s as well. These forums can be great for networking locations.

4. Quora

Quora Search

Quora

If you’ve never used Quora, go and check it out. It’s “a platform to ask questions and connect with people who contribute unique insights and quality answers.” You can type in any topic and will find content ideas that you’re looking for.

5. Your sent email

You’ve probably answered countless questions in your emails and don’t even realize it. Go through your email and search for questions your customers have asked, how they talk about their issues, what they like and don’t like, and so on. You’ll be amazed at how many topics you can come up with.

These are the tools I turn to when I need ideas to write about. What other tips or tools would you add to this list?

If you liked this post, check out our Guide to Content Marketing for Small Business.

Worn out content

Nine Ways to Get New Mileage From Worn Out Content

People don’t have enough time to continue to create the amount of content they need to attract visitors and convert them into leads. I get it. Creating content can be challenging and time-consuming, and coming up with new material regularly can seem impossible.

I’m here to tell you it’s doable, and you don’t even have to start from scratch. You can gain tremendous value just from reusing old content. Derek Halpern of Social Triggers said it well: “You don’t have to create content day in and day out. You just have to work on getting the content you already have in the hands of more people.” Here’s how.

Re-optimize old content

A few years ago, HubSpot wrote a blog post titled, “The Blogging Tactic No One Is Talking About: Optimizing the Past” and it was a keeper. In a nutshell, this post discusses that the company tested updating and re-publishing old blog posts to see if they could get more leverage out of them. The results were hard to ignore. By simply re-optimizing old content, HubSpot was able to increase organic traffic by 106%. 

Reoptimize content

The best news? Theses results aren’t unique to HubSpot. Many businesses are taking this approach and are reaping the benefits of it. My friend Brian Dean, of Backlinko, is one of them. In fact, after testing this theory for just two weeks, Brian saw a 260.7% increase in organic search traffic. Not bad for just optimizing and re-publishing content he already had.

reuse content

Interested in taking advantage of this? There are just a few simple steps you need to follow:

1. Review your analytics and identify your underperforming content

It isn’t necessary to optimize all material from the past. If you have blog posts or other content that is performing well, let them be (or repurpose them as I’ll outline below). There are two key components you should consider when finding the right content to re-optimize:

  1. Find posts with high traffic but low conversion and figure out how to increase leads on those posts
  2. Find posts with low traffic but high conversion and figure out how to get more visits to those posts

2. Optimize and update that content

Once you determine which posts you’re going to re-optimize, consider updating the following:

  • Update old images and screenshots to ensure the visuals are still relevant
  • Update any dated content or hyperlinks within the posts with new information and recent URLs
  • Add relevant CTAs to the posts to increase conversion
  • Focus on adding relevant keywords to the content naturally
  • Consider a content upgrade that might make sense on those pages

3. Republish your content

Once the content is updated, republish it and promote to your network via email and social media channels.

Re-optimization works because Google rewards relevancy and freshness. New visits will come out of sharing content within your network, and those new promotions will lead to new inbound links, also boosting SEO.

Repurpose old content

Optimizing old content may be an excellent way to bring new life to underperforming content, but what can you do to get new mileage out of content that is performing well? You can re-purpose it. By repurposing content, you can continue to gain value from previous content without having to completely reinvent the wheel.

The content you repurpose needs to be high-quality content from your past that will always be relevant to your audience. It’s difficult to repurpose content around fads that may go away as quickly as they appeared.

The key to making this work going forward is to think about this concept ahead of time. What posts would make great presentations? What presentations would make great ebooks? What video would make for a series of blog posts?

It’s also important that you review your analytics to see which content is generating the most interest. The more popular the original content is, the more likely the repurposed content will be popular as well. Essentially, high-quality content can create even more high-quality content.

Once you’ve identified the content that you’d like to repurpose, it’s time to develop the new content. Keep in mind that the goal is to make the content fresh and appealing enough to expand your audience.

How to repurpose content

I’ve found that one of the easiest ways to repurpose content is to start with video and create new content by working backwards from there. It’s amazing how many blogs, infographics, or premium content can spin off from there. I realize, however, that not everybody has video content, so I’ve provided other ways to refresh the content below.

1. Create new blog posts

Turn points discussed in listicles or numbered summary posts into posts of their own. Do the opposite as well by combining a bunch of posts on the same topic and turning them into listicles or summary-based posts.

2. Design an infographic

Take your written content and transform it into a visual infographic. Infographics are a great way to break up data, or take difficult concepts and make them more digestible for the reader.

3. Implement an email series

Emails shouldn’t be long in order to keep your readers’ attention. Take pieces of your content and turn them into a an email campaign that is easy for your readers to consume. You can then promote this series on your blog as a lead conversion opportunity.

4. Develop premium content

Consider gathering related blog posts and turning them into a comprehensive ebook or white paper. You can then use that content as a conversion tool to increase your leads.

5. Create a podcast 

People have busy lives and it can be hard to find time to sit down and read an article. Listening to a podcast on their way to work, however, is much more manageable. By repurposing content into podcasts, you create a whole new way to connect with your audience.

6. Create a video series

People love video, and because of this, businesses want to produce as much video content as possible. Instead of brainstorming a new script for each video, use blog posts as the material for your script. This will allow you to produce new videos at a more rapid rate.

Every business should create a series of videos based on the most frequently asked questions.

The list above contains a few of the many ways you can reformat your content into another great piece that will attract your audience. By optimizing and repurposing content from the past, you’ll be able to boost your SEO, reach new audiences, and gain additional credibility and authority within your space. Who wouldn’t want that?

Bottom line, don’t let content just sit there when you can still receive a ton of value from it.

Have you been able to get new mileage from worn out content? If so, I’d love to hear about it!

1 How to Build Your Business on Content

 

Podcast Banner Template

Marketing Podcast with Joe Pulizzi

Content is no longer a nice form of marketing, it’s the air that guides the customer journey, or, in some cases, it’s a business model.

My guest for this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is Joe Pulizzi, founder and CEO of the Content Marketing Institute and the author of the new book Content Inc.: How Entrepreneurs Use Content to Build Massive Audiences and Create Radically Successful Businesses. We discuss content marketing strategy and what it can mean for you and your business. 

Questions I ask Joe:

  • Is there still an opportunity to be successful in content marketing?
  • How do you make money in the initial stages of a content campaign?
  • What is the “Content Tilt?”

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • Why some businesses that try content marketing fail.
  • How email strategy is the key to a successful content marketing campaign.
  • Why you should build a following before developing a product.

Converting Subpar Writers In to Content Champions

Content- there is no easy button.Consumers love content. It entices them visit company websites. It inspires them to share business insights. It gives them trust in the brand. And, ultimately, it encourages them to make a purchase.

Sixty percent of B2C marketers anticipate increasing their content marketing budget within 2015, according to Content Marketing Institute. While this statistic isn’t necessarily shocking, marketers are increasingly concerned about the lack of trained professionals to fulfill these needs.

The report went on the state that more than 40% of respondents were challenged with “lack of knowledge and training” and “finding trained content marketing professionals” to produce engaging, converting content.

In-house marketing teams and digital agencies can help employees develop into skilled writers by providing growth structure and educational opportunities. This will not only strengthen the content team but can further propel clients toward online success.

5 Techniques to Help Writers Succeed in the Digital Sphere

1. Start With an Assessment

When a new content marketer is hired, provide them with an evaluation to get a better idea of the individual’s capabilities. The evaluation should be based on your company’s specific content needs and can come in a variety of forms.

One evaluation option is to assign an initial writing exercise followed by an editorial review that will note necessary areas of improvement, organization skills, pace of writing, improper grammar use, etc. Another assessment could be as simple as creating a grammar and punctuation test.

Assessments, in conjunction with writing samples, will give the content strategists a baseline understanding of where the writer may experience difficulties. Additionally, asking the writer if there are any key areas they’d like to develop further can set the tone for growth.

2. Establish a Style Guide for Each Medium

Consumers on each medium are typically there for different reasons, and it’s important to convey those needs to new writers. Clearly outline the company’s tone and objectives for blogs, email content, each social network and other marketing mediums to guide content writing. A concise overview of each platform’s needs is important to establish expectations for writers. Check out MailChimp’s Voice & Tone for inspiration on creating a style guide for your company and/or clients.

Additionally, new writers should be briefed on which standard of writing the company follows. Many bloggers use AP Style, others prefer Chicago Style and some companies have created an alternative variant. This resource will help the writer make quick, informed decisions and ensures the company’s content is consistent.

content-calendar

3. Stay Organized

Setting up processes for content construction is imperative to develop successful writers. There are three distinct necessities for any organization tasked with content construction:

  •  An editorial flow chart clearly outlines the process for creating, editing and approving content.
  • Utilizing track changes in Microsoft Word ensures writers and editors are clear on what changes have been made to a document and allows individuals to leave comments.
  • Content calendars track what topics should be covered and when. They can also include notes on the progress of each piece (see image). This streamlines communication and keeps everyone informed on content marketing efforts happening throughout the team.

If new writers require extra assistance, working on outlines together before the writing process begins. This can proactively address potential errors before the writer even makes them.

4. Identify Quality Resources

Editors and content strategists are often well versed on valuable tools and resource that newer writers can benefit from. Share these with content teams; advocate that writers regularly read informative blogs and stay attuned to techniques that established content marketers use. While each writer will undoubtedly have her own diction, well-written blogs can provide valuable insights on potential style and structural improvements.

The Web also offers an array of paid instructional resources that can aid in the writer’s growth.
Some websites to reference:

5. Schedule Time to Write Daily

Every writer should work to figure out when they are the most productive and creative. After learning when that is, give writers daily assignments or allow free flow writing during that time. Writing is a skill improved with regular practice. Daily writing gives time for experimentation, growth and learning new techniques and formats.

Training writers to fulfill your organization’s content marketing needs will help them feel professional fulfilled and grow with your business. It can take time and patients from an experienced editor or content strategist, but will have a lasting, positive impact on your company and clients’ online presence.

Jennifer ClineJennifer Cline is the Digital Account Lead at Element5, a Michigan-based web design, development, and marketing agency. With a background in Journalism, Jennifer enjoys working closely with content writers and companies to produce quality writing that not only informs, but also converts. Element5 helps companies achieve online success and is committed to crafting a better Web. For more article like this, visit Element5’s blog. @Element5Digital

1 2 3