When you look at marathoners, there’s a specific energy that’s palpable before the race. People are helping you, cheering you on, and giving you water. Anyone can run a race by themselves and cross the finish line. But imagine how much stronger you are when your tribe cheers you on, the spectators high-five you as you run past, and when a volunteer hands you an energy bar after you’ve crossed the finish line? Races are a group activity and often involve a partner (or several). It goes back to a team approach, supporting and helping you stay on track to achieve your goal.
Well, marketers, it’s no different regarding your content. Whether you’re growing your brand, educating on new products, or furthering customer retention, great content requires a rugged process and a support system — a team approach.
Consumers don’t want content for content’s sake. They want content that solves their problems, educates them, or entertains them. So no matter its purpose, your content has to connect to your audience powerfully if you want to turn them into eager advocates of your brand.
Here are four ways to support your content for the long haul and get it right for your audience (and thereby deliver a win for your business):
Make it yours
It all starts with ideation that aligns with your brand and strategy. While it’s good to watch the competition, and it’s wise to keep an eye on trending content, it’s never a good idea to replicate or recycle another company’s content. Another term for this is commodity content – content focused on capturing demand from whatever people search on Google. It’s practical, yes, but it’s ubiquitous. It’s copycat content.
Pro Tip: Just because it works for them doesn’t mean it’ll work for you. Find a way to put your unique insights or memorable personality into your content. Don’t be afraid to add your own-kind-of flair. Customers are receptive to originality.
Every hour counts
Let’s get back to the marathoners for a minute. For them, it’s about getting the most sweat out of each day. Training requires structure around work, gym, and social life. It can be challenging to balance the everyday demands of life — especially if you have several irons in the fire. For content marketers, it’s no different. A great piece of content shouldn’t live for only a day or in only one place; let it compete repeatedly. Just give it a bit of structure.
Pro Tip: It may sound antiquated, but consider the three-legged stool strategy. You can create valuable experiences for your customers by diversifying where you meet them. Identify and focus on three underpinnings per piece of content. For example, send them your latest blog through email, link to it on Twitter, and perhaps offer it through a pop-up on your website.
Promote one piece of content, or stack multiple pieces? Layering assets that work together is the best way to cover a lot of ground. Content stacking may sound like something from the archives, but it works. (And why mess with a good thing?)
As an example, consider creating an eBook. For fun, let’s make the eBook a beginner’s guide to wine. The eBook is your primary piece of content. Now think of all the supporting content you can create to cover the broad topic of wine: how to taste wine, wine grapes vs. table grapes, varietal wines, and tannins in wines. The list can go on. And these smaller topics can be created into supporting assets — think, infographic, blog, video, maybe even podcast!
Pro Tip: Content stacking is not salesy. It’s valuable content you voluntarily give that your competitors may not be offering, and it’s distributed in such a way your audience feels more comfortable reading it. (Not to mention, it’ll take your SEO up a notch!)
Great content creates awareness, sweetens your search rankings, drives quality leads, and helps convert those leads into customers. But it needs essential components to support it; otherwise, it’s powerless.
Some of our favorite essentials are effortless:
For starters, fact check. If you want your audience to trust you, fact-checking is essential (especially if you’re writing about new topics). Develop an internal linking strategy on posts and your search ranking will improve. Visual marketing is an important form of content that is often overlooked. Add custom graphics and you can increase the average time a reader stays on the page.
Pro Tip: Increase your industry authority and reputation by supporting your content with just a few extra steps. This will not only enhance the quality of your posts, but it’ll keep your content at the top of its game.
If your goal is to reach a wider audience and cover more ground, it’s not enough to publish a lot of content; you need to support it — in various forms and on multiple channels. Your content needs strategy and team effort if it’s going to cross the finish line.