Steve Krull is the CEO and co-founder of Be Found Online, a digital marketing agency where he and his teams have been helping businesses with online visibility for more than 10 years. When he’s not working, Steve can be found reading spy novels, rooting for the Chicago Cubs or riding his bicycle.
Have you recently thought about your content marketing skills?
People create content every single day – a sponsored social media post, a hilarious parody that gets stuck in your head, an emotional video tribute, an insightful blog, a moving photo that perfectly captures a moment in time. How we consume that content, however, changes – sometimes that change can seemingly happen overnight.
Think back to how you consumed content five years ago. That probably looked like scrolling through photos on Facebook, subscribing to an email newsletter, or watching a video on YouTube. The way you consume content today is probably much different. New social media platforms emerging and evolving or the growing popularity of podcasts are just a few examples. These shifts are usually seamless to consumers. Downloading a new or trending app is commonplace – and exciting. For content marketers, however, it’s a welcomed challenge as we’re typically tasked with brainstorming and creating engaging content, and then deciding the best method to share it. And, since the industry is swift, a critical part of our job also involves helping our clients navigate these changes and shift strategies accordingly.
So, whether you’re brushing up on new skills ahead of an interview or you’re a seasoned professional in need of a refresher, below are three essential content marketing strategies to strengthen for an industry that refuses to slow down.
Calling the team together to brainstorm or researching new ways to engage an audience are all important steps for content marketers to create fresh content. However, there’s no shame in recycling content. Afterall, there are only so many ways to repackage the same core messaging. That said, it is essential that you master the art of upcycling content, because there is a right way to do it. Just because a piece of content is updated doesn’t automatically mean it will perform well.
To get started, weed through the fluff to identify the main message of the content. Now, it’s time to freshen up all the ancillary elements to include a new, timely title, different headers, rephrasing your call to action (CTA) and updating links. The goal is to make sure it’s updated enough to be viewed as new while capitalizing on the elements that made it successful in the first place. One way to make this entire process easier is to standardize content by building out a document that shares grammar usage rules, style rules or preferred terminology. Even though you’re upcycling content, it’s critical that voice and tone are always clear when writing consistent content for a long-term engagement.
Your content could be spot on with its message, voice and overall feel, but it could easily fall flat if you fail to consider the User Experience (UX), which is why it’s critical to understand how your users consume your content. The tricky part is that people are constantly changing their preferences. For example, you’re working for a product brand that knows they get high engagement when sharing content on the weekends when people aren’t working. Your team may opt to share a short, digestible video clip on the weekend as opposed to a information-packed newsletter sent during the work week. Now, you can see – the tone, the amount of text, the visuals all play a vital role here.
Helping to improve UX will likely translate into better content performance, so how can we take steps to actively improve UX over time as content marketers? The key is to not get too comfortable and commit to diversifying your content medium, timing and other factors. Step inside the shoes of your target audience and think critically about when they would most likely watch a quick video, share an infographic or react to a social post. Consider how and when your message will best be received. The answers to these questions will help you start experimenting to find what works best – and beware, it will continue to evolve.
Avoid pigeon-holing yourself to one channel, like only sharing blogs. Instead, do your research and take a holistic approach to push content out regularly via a variety of channels. Many think that producing more content will help you rank better organically – and it will – but it’s also important to consider where this content is being shared. For example, when a brand has a strong web presence, with an established social media following, a full YouTube library and guest blogs appearing on third-party sites, it tends to build authority faster through creating this feeling of the brand appearing everywhere.
Refuse to be limited by traditional content marketing channels. Challenge yourself to think of creative ways to appear in other media, like other brands’ newsletters, podcasts, social posts – leveraging partnerships with like-minded brands is a great holistic strategy to build credibility and brand awareness – and gain more views. Explore a mix of paid and unpaid. Many content marketers find this combination helps boost all efforts across the board, like featuring paid opportunities (reviews, video interviews, etc.) and sharing those out organically to your newsletter subscribers.
One thing that will remain constant in the industry of content marketing is the element of change – You can always rely on the media and marketing landscapes to throw a curveball. It’s critical for successful content marketers to stay up to speed on the latest industry updates, but to also have the creativity to pull over messaging and adapt by looking for ways to upcycle content, improve UX and share their content.
By Steve Krull, CEO and Co-Founder of Be Found Online, an award-winning digital marketing agency.