I love storytelling. Whether it’s a bedtime book for my four-year-old or an interview with one of my favorite bands, a good story that resonates can stay with you forever, and in that way hold a lot of power.
The science behind it all is fascinating, and extends to why good storytelling is such a strong tactic within your content marketing strategy. Researchers have found that customers who are emotionally connected with a brand are more valuable in a commercial sense. And according to an insightful article by Forbes, “Effective storytelling increases engagement between a brand and its audience, which helps drive conversions and, ultimately, revenue growth.”
Here I’ll outline my most powerful content marketing tips that will help you unlock the full potential of storytelling, leading to better business outcomes.
What Is Content Marketing?
Before we get to the good stuff, let me explain what content marketing is and what sets it apart from the rest of your digital marketing efforts and the information that we consume on a regular basis. Putting it simply, content marketing is the creation and distribution of information that’s useful to current and potential customers.
Examples of content marketing include website articles and blogs, social media posts and videos, and even simple, short email correspondence. By following the tips below, you can use your unique content to its fullest marketing potential for your organization.
1. Set Clear Goals For Each Piece of Content
Before you even begin content development, you need to set clear goals outlining exactly what you want to achieve with it. Whether it’s a long blog article or a short tweet, each piece of content takes time, energy, and money to create, so it must have its own goals, which will help to both guide its creation and measure its effectiveness.
What specifically do you want to say with each piece of content? Which audience do you want to speak to? Are they mostly professionals on a specific social media channel such as LinkedIn? Or consumers that spend their spare time watching YouTube? How do you want them to react to your content, or how can they use the information presented to add value to their lives?
The more specific (or SMART, an acronym for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound) your content goals are, the more likely you are to reach them. Write them down and post them somewhere visible and accessible to team members to keep each content project focused and on track.
2. Solve Problems And Answer Questions
When planning your marketing content, try to solve problems for your intended audience and answer questions that may slow or hinder the customer buying journey. Research the “pain points” in your industry and then showcase ways that your product or service addresses those challenges.
A good tip is to ask your sales team which most common questions they receive, and then answering those questions in your various marketing materials. Not only may it remove a roadblock, it can also save your sales team valuable time and energy if they receive some of those questions a little less.
If you’re not sure which problems and challenges your audience is experiencing or you don’t have a sales team that you’re able to speak to, conduct research by talking to other people in the industry, reading relevant online news, or conducting a survey through great platforms such as Surveymonkey or Delighted.
3. Write In-Depth Evergreen Content
Another way to get the most ‘bang for your buck’ is with evergreen content. This is content focused on topics that stay relevant over a longer period than trending or news-worthy topics, bringing in consistent traffic over time.
Research which evergreen content topics click with your audience and what information they are looking for. For example, this could be an article answering FAQs about your company, a case study, an ultimate guide to your product, or common mistakes to avoid. Not only will potential customers find it relevant now or a year from now, it could also appear higher in online searches with search algorithms rating reliable and sustainable content higher.
If you’re not motivated yet, evergreen content only requires only a simple upgrade every six months to a year (see tip number six) to keep that traffic coming. It’s a lot more efficient to update an old piece of content than it is to create a new one from scratch, so again, this will save your marketing team time and resources.
4. Optimize Content For Search Engines
According to Semrush, search engine optimization (SEO) is “a set of processes aimed at improving your website’s visibility in search engines (such as Google). All with the goal of getting more organic traffic.” This includes four key areas:
- Keyword research
- Content creation and optimization
- Technical optimization
- Link building
Not only will your unique, quality content attract curious readers, it can be optimized for SERPS (search engine result pages) leveraging trending keywords and topics to increase readership by appearing in applicable search queries.
It helps to do prior research using tools like Ahrefs, Moz, or Semrush to see which specific and relevant keywords receive the highest number of monthly searches, and then create content around that query. Also keep in mind keyword difficulty scores or CPC (cost per click) if you plan to promote your content. For more on that, we have your handy guide to SEO right here.
5. Keep Up With Consistent Output
Regardless if you’re publishing a blog once every couple of days or once a week, it’s important for you to publish content on a consistent schedule. Not only does this create a better experience for your customers since they’ll know what they can expect, it also helps establish credibility and confidence with your brand and product as you appear more reliable.
We highly recommend creating a content marketing calendar for you to keep track of your content production and deadlines. This will help you to establish an achievable pace for your content output, and stick with it. Even better, you can create a consistent schedule for your email newsletters or social media posts alongside individual content publishing, which will ensure you have fresh content to promote every time.
6. Update Old Content To Keep It Current
Sometimes, your awesome, original content does not need to be developed at all and is already right in front of you. Look at past content and explore ways that you can update it to keep it current with today’s context and marketing landscape. This can include updating and adding new keywords to increase SEO, adding or repairing links, updating stats and sources to be more current, as well as any edits to changes in the content and subject matter itself.
Look at your current content production to see how much capacity you have for content updates as well as ideas for new content. Work with the content you have in its original form, ensuring it stays up-to-date. Updates do not have to be costly, so this is an easy win for your team to bring in more traffic.
7. Repurpose Content Across Channels
When updating your old content, you should also look at new opportunities to repurpose it across other marketing channels – some of which may not have existed when the content was originally developed. This might include new social media platforms and ecommerce platforms and apps, or possibly even new devices.
Look at your existing long-form content to see if sections can be repurposed for other channels like Instagram or LinkedIn. When doing so, try to think outside of the box. Could this Q&A be a podcast as well? How about a TikTok video? Just be sure that if you are utilizing a new channel, you’ve already done your due diligence to ensure it aligns with your target audience.
I recommend performing an exhaustive audit of your existing content to see which can be repurposed and the new opportunities for integrations within other marketing campaigns and marketing channels. You can also consider content syndication for exposure to new audiences.
8. Keep A Steady Brand Voice Across Channels
Much like you trust a person more the longer you know them, people trust a brand whose voice stays consistent, helping to establish strong customer relationships over time. This will ultimately result in better sales, as according to Zippia, 83% of shoppers prefer to buy from brands they trust, and a consistent brand presentation increases revenue by up to 33%.
When developing a brand voice, look at the heart of your company that won’t change or fluctuate–for example, your mission statement and values. After all, 82% of customers shop from brands that share their values. It’s also good to consider any buyer personas you may have developed, and which voice will best speak to those customers. This same, steady voice should be used for both internal and external communications, and only change under extreme circumstances, such as a full re-brand.
9. Personalize Content As Much As Possible
These days, nearly three-quarters of consumers “expect companies to deliver personalized interactions. And seventy-six percent get frustrated when this doesn’t happen.” The best content marketing campaigns have the biggest impact when they speak to the reader’s heart and whatever is going on in their life. By personalizing all your new content according to the preferences and characteristics of your audience, you will find that connection with readers and stakeholders will increase.
Always look for potential areas of personalization like individualized emails, focusing content on specific, timely issues or pain points, as well as certain statistics and numbers relevant to the individual. Whether it’s blog content, social posts, or a webinar, it will resonate and stay with the reader longer.
10. Prioritize The User Experience
You might already have amazing content on your site but nobody knows how to find it. The problem? It could be the user experience (UX) design of your site, which is crucial to creating a positive, memorable impact with your content and product. Prioritizing UX will remove any barriers or challenges that your customers might face when trying to access your content, such as increasing access/visibility to links, simplifying a poorly designed navigation menu, addressing slow page load times, or otherwise.
Improved UX will help to optimize the content on your website by helping you to achieve your marketing objectives more efficiently. The flow and functionality of your site and piece of content could determine if the visitor stays or decides to look for new content elsewhere, another signal that search algorithms consider when ranking your site.
11. Use Data To Back Up Your Points
Great content becomes even stronger–and more authoritative–when supported by objective data, research and statistics. You may have noticed we included a few such statistics in this article, adding weight to a number of our tips.
Make sure that you use hard data to push a purchasing decision or discussion further, making your words and position even more compelling. Statistics provide credibility to your content, supporting it with quantitative, objective evidence and data. While qualitative data and anecdotal evidence can also add credibility, hard numbers and stats strengthen your marketing content.
Tip: Make sure the sources of your numbers and data are credible and current, thoroughly researching the organization who conducted the research as well as if there is any bias in this data.
12. Publish Original Research And Findings
If you want to take your content development game to the next level, publish content with original research not only on your website, but to your email list, social media following and other platforms to communicate your findings to others in your industry. Consider conducting a survey of professionals in your industry and publishing its results, which must be objective and error-free. Remember that it isn’t just enough to publish raw data–you have to analyze your findings and translate what they mean for your profession. Why should your readers care about these findings?
There are multiple benefits to this: you create highly original content that may be sourced by others in the future (adding to your link building efforts), and you publish statistics that will come up in online searches, further establishing the company as a credible thought leader in their respective sector. The goal is to have other online influencers, bloggers, and businesses link to your research as high-quality content.
13. Learn Where To Improve With Analytics
Your analytics and marketing metrics are incredibly valuable tools to use when looking at strategies to improve your content marketing efforts. Use tools such as Google Analytics to assess metrics like bounce rate, conversion rate, and which specific pages of your website get the most and the least traffic. Hubspot also recommends measuring traffic sources, impressions, click-through rate (CTR), content shares and backlinks, email marketing opt-in rates, and keyword rankings.
Look at the analytics of past content marketing campaigns, and types of content to see which performed better in specific areas, and then explore ways of replicating that buyer’s journey with future content creation. Which marketing stories and posts performed the best? Could content marketing projects have improved workflow? Is the target audience reading it?
14. Stay Organized With A Content Calendar
While we mentioned this in tip five, it really deserves its own space in this article. With so many digital platforms and channels available now, managing all of your content can be a big challenge. A content marketing calendar will help you stay organized, making sure you keep up with consistency and achieve objectives by their deadlines.
Thankfully, there are a number of fantastic content calendar tools and content calendar templates that exist today, such as Google Calendar, Hootsuite and drag-and-drop Trello which will help you develop your own marketing calendar—a simple Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets document will also do. This will help you streamline workflow.
For each calendar entry, look at which information to provide like names of content creators including freelancers, the target audience, channels it will be posted to, and important dates such as due date or publish date.
15. Remarket Your Content
Last but certainly not least, be sure to explore ways that you can remarket your content. If you’re unfamiliar with this, ConvertMED defines it as “the process of tagging your site visitors and targeting them with content after they leave your site in an effort to re engage them and bring them back to your site.”
Why should you bother? Because content marketing can be a great pillar for building brand awareness, which is imperative for sales success. According to TrueList, “58% of shoppers mainly notice ads for familiar products, and 40% of sales revenue is generated from remarketing or repeat customers.”
What that means for you, is that you should find ways to present your content marketing in front of the same people multiple times. While yes, you want to be careful to avoid content or ad fatigue, remarketing successfully can lead to a higher conversion rate, greater reach, greater personalization and friendly reminder of your brand.
Leverage the tools social media marketing has to offer when remarketing. Update it with fairly recent marketing tools like infographics, social media links, videos, and memes or GIFs. Be proud of the quality content you’ve created and show it off on the channels your customers spend their time on.
The Power Of A Good Story
In order to unlock the full potential of your content marketing, you need to learn how it resonates with your audience and how they connect with it. One good story can be and used in so many different ways and for different purposes, providing a near-endless flow of marketing materials down the road. It can be an exciting new product launch or a personal story from a stakeholder, quality stories are everywhere.
The key—for me, anyway—is recognizing a good story when I see it, and then looking for the potential it could have on different channels and formats. That and using a solid editorial calendar for content management to make sure I stay on track and on deadline. There are so many ways to show good content these days, so find the one that rings the loudest and keep writing great content.
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