Your marketing strategy, on the other hand, needs a makeover.
Content marketing is not a new idea. In 1895, John Deere published the first issue of The Furrow, a magazine offering business tips, updates on agriculture, and details about new farming techniques and advancements. The best part: it was free. Sound familiar?
While frustrated marketers may try to convince you that content marketing is a dying fad, I guarantee you it is alive and well. The “fad” of producing practical, unbiased content is nearly as old as the printing press, and it isn’t going away anytime soon. However, the way we create content is changing rapidly. What worked a year ago doesn’t have the same impact today. If you’re on the brink of calling it quits on your content marketing, here are five ways to level up your strategy.
A (Very Brief) Definition of Content Marketing
Content marketing is most often associated with blogging. This association leads many people to believe that the concept is about as young as the digital age itself. While the phrase “content marketing” first appeared in 1996, just a few years before “blog” hit our vocabularies, the concept has been around for hundreds of years.
The goal of marketing is to share the benefits of your product or service with a target audience and then acquire and keep that audience as customers.
With content marketing, the goal is very similar, but how you achieve it is vastly different. Instead of buying billboards and paid ads, you create brand awareness by offering your audience practical, unbiased information about a specific topic. That is, you give them content.
This content takes many different forms. Free downloadable e-books, Instagram posts, TikTok videos, infographics — these are all ways to provide value to others without directly promoting your business.
This doesn’t mean your content can’t promote aspects of your business. However, the main idea behind content marketing is to create a trusted resource for your audience. By offering them value for free, they gain trust and interest in your brand and your product.
How to Level Up your Content Strategy
Now to the good stuff. If content marketing isn’t dead (or dying), reevaluating your strategy is critical. Your business, brand, and growth rely on even the most basic strategy for marketing. You don’t need a robust budget to develop a content strategy that works for your business.
Find the Content-Type you Love to Create
One of the fastest ways to burn out on content marketing is to try to do it all. Running your own business is challenging in and of itself. Add marketing into the mix, and life gets a little more overwhelming.
Keep your strategy simple by opting to create only the type of content you love to create. If grabbing your phone and going live on IG is your thing, do that! Don’t make yourself sit down and write a 2000-word blog every week. Find where you thrive, and not only are you more likely to stick with it, but you’re also more likely to challenge yourself to learn new techniques and skills.
Here are just a few examples of content you can create:
- Social media posts (think educational, not salesy)
- Video (YouTube, TikTok, Reels)
- Blog posts
- Articles (for existing publications)
- Case Studies
Do any of these stand out to you? If you do have the resources to outsource some of your content marketing, then absolutely focus on the areas where you feel weakest. Use your budget to create great content you wouldn’t (or don’t have time to) make yourself. That way, you free up your time for the content you love.
One of the most important aspects of content marketing is consistency. On Apple Podcasts, 26% of podcasts have only a single episode. A shocking 64% have fewer than ten episodes.
The same applies to blogging. An old New York Times report indicates that 95% of blogs are abandoned. While that number has likely changed, there is still an issue of consistency within the content marketing world.
The easiest way to stay consistent is to develop a realistic schedule for your content marketing. When I say realistic, I mean one that genuinely leaves time for you to build content.
With a plan in place, an ongoing list of content ideas, and scheduled time in your calendar, remaining consistent is achievable.
But why is consistency important? Studies show that once a blog reaches 20+ posts, its traffic starts to increase. In fact, by reaching the 24–50 postmark, you can improve your lead generation by a whopping 77%.
The same principle applies to other types of content as well. On YouTube, channels that post at least once a week get more traffic than those that post less frequently.
One thing to remember is that consistency should go hand-in-hand with quality. Overproducing low-quality content is just as damaging as producing no content at all.
Don’t Forget Social Media
We love it, and we hate it. And sometimes we hate that we love it. Social Media may feel like a time-suck and a minefield of opinions, but it is also something else: absolutely free and the place your audience hangs out.
As of 2022, the average user spends 147 minutes on social media every day. Your audience is primed and ready to see great content and spend over two hours a day pursuing social media for that content.
The best way to utilize social media for content marketing today is to provide educational content on your channels. Instead of continually promoting your business, treat your platforms like a mini-blog, podcast, or YouTube channel. Use stories to share helpful tips, create carousel graphics that pass on your knowledge, and consider inviting your audience to ask questions, participate in polls, and more.
Instead of treating social media like your free billboard, take time to educate your audience about topics that fit your niche or apply to the services you offer. Remember, content marketing is about sharing useful and unbiased information. Social media is a great way to share your insights with others.
Explore the Growing World of Audio and Video
Do you ever feel like you weren’t born to “promote” yourself using today’s tools and technology? Walk around all day with a phone in my face? No thanks. Share my every waking moment with strangers? Forget about it.
While I relate to this sentiment, I also know that one (quick) way for content marketing to fail is by ignoring the avenues for growth. In 2022, that means audio and video.
According to HubSpot, 81% of marketers agree that video has a direct, positive impact on sales for their clients. Whether that looks like how-to videos on YouTube and your website or quick educational videos on social media, the fact is video works.
Audio is another growing avenue for content creation. Podcasting is undoubtedly an option, but what about those of us who don’t have the time, resources, or interest to start an entire podcast?
Like the newly launched SOLVV app, social audio platforms provide a way to create shareable audio content that promotes your brand while offering helpful insights for your audience. If you don’t like putting your face in front of people, then audio is a great way to share a bit of who you are without stepping too far outside of your comfort zone.
Learn to Repurpose Your Content
What’s interesting about content marketing is that every piece of content you create works in tandem with other forms of content. As a project manager for several marketing clients, I’ve discovered that repurposing content from video into different formats — such as social posts, social stories, and blogs — allows the brand to reach a variety of audiences.
For example, not everyone will watch your videos, even if you are an avid vlogger. Some will prefer to read a caption and click on a link. Others will watch but not listen (so be sure to use subtitles or overlay text). By repurposing your content for various channels, you give a single piece of content to a much wider audience.
Start by creating content in the medium you prefer most. That is your strength and likely where you’ll create the most engaging content. Next, consider what aspects of your work you can repurpose for a different format. Did you write a blog with five tips? Take two or three of those tips and create a carousel post for Instagram. Add the tips to an infographic, or build a TikTok series where you share one tip per video.
Repurposing content isn’t about laziness. The truth is, your audience doesn’t all live in one place, but they can all benefit from your knowledge. Spreading that knowledge across a variety of platforms and mediums is simply content marketing in the digital age.
Try a New Approach to Content Marketing in 2022
If you feel like content marketing isn’t working, now is the time to reinvent your marketing strategy. In a world bombarded with information, it helps to remember some basic truths: simpler is better, stick with what you know (to start), and focus on your passions. Everything else can be outsourced! The fact remains that content marketing is not going anywhere, so neither should you. Instead, challenge yourself to explore different types of content, find your niche, and get to creating.