For readers, writers and literature fans, the future of marketing feels bright. A content marketing strategy is a must-have for brands seeking to educate audiences, stay abreast of industry trends and increase authority. Blogs, e-books, emails campaigns, social media, SlideShares and even formerly cut-and-dry pieces like white papers are now opportunities to educate, engage with and empower audiences. Content marketing lends creativity and staying power to messages and gives brands the chance to break free of jargon and build personalized relationships with users.
Before those relationships can begin, however, consumers need to find your brand – and that’s where many content marketing efforts stall. More than 2 million blog posts are published daily. SEO best practices, search algorithms and content intake preferences are constantly evolving. Even if your latest e-book really does deliver “5 steps to solve your business problems and triple your ROI,” if you’re not carefully distributing that content, it’s probably going to join the ranks of endless downloads, articles and social posts flooding the internet without getting read or shared enough to affect change.
Hold on. Are you telling me to pay for ads?
Not necessarily. A content marketing strategy that aims to deliver useful information to human readers is a critical part of building your brand’s integrity and authority – and distribution should be a major part of that strategy. In an article about “The Biggest Content Marketing Trends in 2017,” Joe Pulizzi of the Content Marketing Institute writes, “Five years ago, enterprises were spending 80 percent on content creation and 20 percent on content promotion. I believe this ratio has switched, with successful enterprises creating differentiated content and putting some advertising and promotion muscle behind it.”
Next time you release an awesome new piece of content (or decide to revamp distribution for your existing library), follow these three tips to ensure your hard content creation work pays off:
1. Consider syndicating your content.
Blogs and news websites that focus on your company’s area of interests often welcome content from leading voices in their fields. Keep an eye out for chances to contribute original pieces, but don’t forget about potential blog syndication and swapping opportunities. For example, Metis client Maxwell Technologies syndicates hand-picked blogs with clean tech website Renewable Energy World, extending the team’s thought leadership to a wider audience.
In addition to targeting specific blogs for syndication, submitting pieces to websites like StumbleUpon and Digg, and communities such as Inbound.org, can help carry your content to new readers. Native advertising can also help your work cut through the industry’s noise and claim real estate on your target audiences’ preferred website. Organizations such as Nativo, RebelMouse, SimpleReach, Taboola and Outbrain offer a range of free and paid native advertising opportunities – do your research before deciding which strategy aligns best with your overall business goals.
2. Don’t underestimate email.
One of the core tenets of inbound marketing is to push content to the platforms your audiences prefer to read, and nurture them through helpful information and education – the opposite model of a cold sales call. For many people, the “channel” they’re most likely to read is their email inbox. Beyond sales emails and timely event promotion, reach out to your contacts regularly with friendly emails and newsletters that nudge your best content toward its intended audiences. Use a personal tone for your copy, and remind your readers that you’re invested in their business success beyond your own point of sale.
3. Be a trusted voice, not a content factory.
Remember: even if you get all the eyes in the world on your work, your content needs buy-in from readers. Commit to building a content library that educates, entertains and earns trust from its audience. Don’t rehash sales messaging, and don’t shy away from tough industry topics – instead, start looking at breaking news and common myths as opportunities to write a killer blog, extend it with a social campaign and syndicate it to your prospects’ favorite websites.
If you find yourself scraping for topic ideas, don’t hesitate to pull in your colleagues and contacts from other departments and corners of the industry. As PRSA recently noted, “When communications, HR and IT work together, this can translate into greater productivity, customer satisfaction and profitability. Study after study demonstrates that those departments — which previously may have been considered cost centers — have an opportunity to become actual revenue generators.”