How to beat that blank page anxiety syndrome (it’s worse than your first date), how to hit em over the head with cool visual content and why lists aren’t as boring as toast.
Great Content Marketing Starts Here
Give up on the introduction and start at the middle or the end.
Even a crude outline can get you started: napkin, match book covers, menus - wherever inspiration hits.
Write a story: setting, players, tone, conflict, “Romeo and Juliet” elements.
Whip out your phone and start talking for playback in front of the page.
Read more: it’s going to inspire you to be a better writer.
Write in increments: give yourself a timed period to create content and review the results later. But, this may crank up the anxiety and limit the content. Test it.
Use a different medium: pen, paper, video or audio (as above0 to get started or as a platform to share content.
Forget writing content - visual may be the best way to tell your brand story.
- Your building authenticity with your community: visual’s impact drives relevance.
- As technology “takes over our lives” visual strikes a chord within others. Sensory currency is “real” to the visitor.
- Visuals drive cultural relevancy that engages the visitor in ways that text cannot equate with.
- “Archetypes” have been around since the days of ancient cave man paintings and visuals are a powerful storytelling tools that feature “heroines” and “heroes” embedded in brand storytelling.
- Visuals cut through the clutter and chatter that’s “smartphone” driven for many consumers and professionals.
Content Pain Points Every Business has to Come to Grips with
What in God’s name is your budget? It’s a moving target; start small, test the content ROI (is is getting read?), talk to your customers, monitor your conversion metrics, start with 20-30% of your overall budget.
How do you make content that the visitor wants to share? Key attributes: useful, emotion laden, factual, practical, newsjacks (events, moments in time, stuff that relates to your biz).
Is your content distributed and published? A blog is not enough: you gotta do more.
In-house or outsourcing; or some combination of the two. Your probably better off with the latter.
Where do you find visuals to insert with your content? They are on your web site, embedded in your social channels and/or part of the visual story every employee tells with their profiles across the web.
What is SEO and how do we optimize our content. Use a keyword in your title and repeat it maybe once or twice on page of 300-700 words. Google understands more than you will ever know BTW.
How to Use Lists to Drive Your Content Marketing
- Your readers have an attention span of a gnat. So lists help to pull them into the content.
- Lists work well with as images and videos as we sampled below.
- Lists are easy to write. You can fact load them and newsjack the topics to your heart’s content.
- Your readers, visitors are preconditioned to engaging with content that uses lists: the proliferation of lists embedded in content is everywhere.
- Lists drive immediate engagement and move visitors into a sales funnel.
- People want evidence, perspective and answers in your content and lists help to convey both, especially via blog with baked in frequency updates each month.
- Lists facilitate updates – there is no shame in cutting and pasting updated content via a list. Is this “content laziness?” No: it’s smart, content should be updated
- You can brand jack your biz into a list. Is this self-serving. Yes, but done frequently.
- Lists facilitate content re-purposing via other content forms (email, other blog posts, social content) which is a fundamental “tool” in any content marketer’s toolbox.
- Every good blog post starts with a list for many content marketers: those scatter-shot ideas can then be fleshed or “listed” out, no pun intended.
- Millennials thrive on real time updates and lists are part of the picture and “secret sauce” to reach them according to Twitter and others.
- Brands can be creative with lists: use them as a shorthand way to poll your staff, customers, partners, BOD members and any other stakeholders for company, product, customer wins and content marketing topics.
- See texting as a way of life for many today. These people “live” on lists (stretching the metaphor a bit)- so, map your content accordingly.
Boring Stuff Your Competitors are Proably Doing You Don’t want to Do!
Interviewing the CEO for a blog post. Been done too many times.
Hyping their Product or Service in every piece of content.
Embedding the Company brand ad nauseum (logos, images, pictures, etc.)
Writing boring content with no soul or emotional component (kinda like “kissing your brother or sister” not that we are against it!)
Using Social Media to Blab about whatever the hell the exec staff thinks is important in the last “content review meeting” (see: “a camel is a horse designed by a committee”)
Flogging the brand repeatedly via all content. (Remember, it’s not always about you, it’s about your customers and users.)
Thinking and marketing like they are the next SalesForce or BMW (not that we don’t love German beer or engineering). Most don’t have the right budget or personnel.
Stellar Content Has these Hallmarks
A great blog post is between 700-1,500 words, has three images, with a conclusion section, integrates calls to action to drive a desired action leading, uses lots of “white space” and font size is from 10-12 points.
Mobile usage is driving 30-50% of content “consumption” (be mobile savvy) but “brand stories” may drive significantly more engagement: mix and match the size of your content (long or short form).
Content syndication is critical in today’s “technology drenched’ world: use rinse and repeat cycles to reach today’s distracted consumer and professional. (Note: embedded link will take you to a post with a list of the top 25 platforms & more).
Personalty still drives content engagement for both B2B and B2C brands and it’s becoming increasingly more important to use imagery that gets attention in the marketplace.
Content Measurement is Critical: have a finite grasp of these ROI drivers: Unique Visitors, Page Views, Return Visits, Time on Site, Bounce Rate, Engagement, Virality: (ReTweets, Shares, Likes, Comments, Revenue or Lead Generation.
Mix and match “snackable” short form content (images, video, infographics) with “evergreen” high value content to drive brand engagement, incremental traffic and revenue.
Build in cross platform marketing on all top tier platforms: Tumblr, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook using plugin like Snap to automatically “push” content to other platforms or pure play content syndication cloud based services.
Great content is a mythic beast embedded within your business DNA
It “lives” within each of you and in the DNA of your company. Dig deep and look for it.
Just remember, great content requires creativity and lots of trial and error, coupled with “listening” to your conversion metrics (newsletter sign ups, lead inquiries and/or revenue metrics).
Iterate your way to success: look for patterns of engagement using analytics and social engagement and adjust your content marketing initiatives accordingly.
Be patient, content marketing is a marathon, not a sprint.
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