Regardless of your industry, if you want to reach your audience effectively in 2020, producing great content should be your top priority. The stats are clear, quality content brings in leads, quality content promotes your brand, quality content helps to establish your organisation as an authority in your industry, and above all, quality content makes you money.
But the online landscape has been shifting, as though the internet's tectonic plates themselves are ready to rupture. Larger publications are fragmenting as they struggle to make money from ad revenue. Journalists have to fight ever harder to cover meaningful topics as the web becomes more niched down. Ultimately, smaller and bigger brands alike are waking up to the power of real quality content. Wordpress users alone publish almost 70 million new posts every month. In this crowded space, you may struggle to come up with a clear strategy that can deliver on your business goals. And with new forms of content becoming popular, how can your company get ahead?
Follow on to read our guide to content marketing in 2020. Some of the topics we cover:
- What content formats work best right now
- How to invest in content that achieves your goals
- Trends and strategies that will come to dominate in the coming year
- Tricks and tips to help your brand stand out
Are you ready?
Video is king
For years now, the way internet users consume content has been shifting steadily to video-first. An unprecedented gold rush in video content creation has handed incredible power to the online platforms that already command a high number of video viewers. This shift to video content shows no signs of slowing down, and if you want to reach your customers in 2020 and beyond, be sure to double up on video content.
1) Be seen on the most prominent platforms
Facebook and YouTube should be your primary targets when it comes to video publication. YouTube is in fact, now the world's 2nd biggest search engine and it's viewership grows every day. The truth is if your brand isn't on these two massive platforms already you're missing out on your chance to claim valuable video real estate while you can.
LinkedIn should also be on your list of video platforms if you deal with lots of B2B clients or work in HR or recruitment. The professional social network now counts for a lot in corporate and business circles, and its unique value proposition and impressive engagement rates can help boost your brand in the business world.
2) Nail your intros
Most viewers lose interest after the first 5 seconds, especially on Facebook, where it's easy to scroll past. It's important to jump right into your video's main message straight away. You can tease the essential parts of your video in the first 5 seconds and then slow it up to keep viewers interested. The most important thing to avoid is long intros or title cards. These are a sure-fire way to set your audience off yawning and kill your engagement
3) Build a compelling CTA into your video
Just because you can't always code in a clickable button into a video, it doesn't mean that you shouldn't be encouraging your viewers to take action when watching your video. A call to action is especially significant if you're selling. This can be as easy as asking your audience to like or share the video within the first 20 seconds, or you can go into a more complicated sales pitch once you know you have their attention. Either way, encourage your users directly, and you're sure to boost your conversions and engagement.
Build content that users will love
Your ultimate goal with your content should be to get your users to convert. You're leading them down the garden path that will eventually result in a sale or a loyal fan for your brand.
1) Use a content audit tool
Content auditing can be equally useful if you're writing for yourself, or you're editing the posts written by a third party. Content audit tools that check your grammar and copy style for common errors are sometimes a quick win to make your content more readable. Even the most hawk-eyed editor can miss the occasional typo, and with helpful suggestions, modern auditors can provide a real boost in readability. Little things like commas do add up, and every second of reading time matters when capturing mind space your brand.
2) Focus on quality over quantity
It used to be the case that search engines would just love to send traffic to blogs and websites that were updated regularly. It was this "freshness factor" that drove lots of content marketers to churn out lower-quality content more regularly because it lent a higher priority to their site in the ranking algorithm. The days of churn and burn are gone, however, and with the sheer amount of material out there, those who can make a difference will instead capture the audience's attention.
On today's internet, you have to put the work in to stand out. You don't want just to be rehashing and pushing out content that is already out there. Every post and video needs to be a labour of love. A great way to inject some real expertise and uniqueness into your work can be to reach out to industry experts for comments. You can even look at hiring them to contribute the entire article, rather than a random freelancer who doesn't know the domain. Most people are happy to provide a guest post to another blog, and the extra clout from being associated with an expert will lend your article some authority.
3) Conduct and promote original research
A sure way to make sure your work is going to be unique is to conduct some original research. Whitepapers and studies are the sorts of content that can attract links in droves. If you do it right, you can combine a whitepaper with a journalist outreach campaign to pick up some high authority editorial links.
Delivering a whitepaper with original research isn't even something out of reach for most small or medium organisations. You can conduct a survey using your industry contacts. You can also pay survey companies to get out there and collect results for you, once you give them an aim. You don't have to be running a stats team to come up with something new and original; you just have to look for the leverage you already have and take advantage of your natural reach in your domain.
Promote your content in the right places
If your content is hitting the mark with your audience, you'll organically see social shares start coming in. These valuable social signals can give your brand a tangible boost which will turn into real revenue. However, your article or video could be the best produced on a topic but falls flat once it's release. We need to bear that ancient Japanese koan in mind: if a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, does it even make a sound? If you release your article or video on day 1 and nobody knows about it, what was the point? Your hard work will disappear down the tubes of the internet, and before you know what's happening, it loses all organic reach. If you don't make a splash in the first 3 days, you've fudged it.
You've seen how quality content can snowball in popularity, but even the best content will need a push to get going.
1) Take advantage of your email contacts
Your existing email list may be the most powerful place to promote your content. You may think consumers grow weary of inbox abuse, but if your audience cares about your brand, they'll click. If you work in B2B, your emails will get open rates far above average. Despite what you hear about spam, most of your contacts will be happy to hear from you more regularly, especially if you follow the "quality over quantity" rule and only reach out when you have a high-quality post to share.
Make sure you summarise the content in your email and provide a clear call to action. If your content is relevant to your audience, this will be an effective way to get those organic shares rolling in.
2) Promote your content with LinkedIn posts
LinkedIn is one of the hottest places right now to promote your brand. 91% of executives rate the content they find on LinkedIn as "high-quality".
I started hearing about LinkedIn more at conferences in the past year. It seems to have gone from a goofy digital business card into a real outreach powerhouse since the Microsoft acquisition. This is, overall, a great thing for content marketers, and LinkedIn should be a priority for your content strategy.
The best way for you to use LinkedIn might just be to publish a link to your post, similar to the way you would be using email marketing. But actually, you can get high engagement rates for your content by just copy and pasting your articles into LinkedIn and repurposing them entirely as a LinkedIn post. It's worth experimenting to see what works for your brand.
3) Don't be afraid to promote your content with PPC
If the goal with your content strategy is to provide value to your brand, why would you hesitate in promoting it with paid traffic? And if you feel like your content isn't good enough to promote with paid traffic, why would you be publishing it anyway? These are the questions you can ask yourself before you start planning that post.
Your articles should be there to drive conversions, just like your landing pages. And if your blogs strike a chord with your audience, you'll start to see organic likes and shares rolling in. An effective way to build out your email list could come from promoting your content with PPC. Giving your hard work that extra push in promotion with paid traffic could pay off big in the long run
Thanks for reading
We hope that this article has given you an insight into how we run our content strategies here in the agency. We have a proven track record of driving growth for brands through powerful content. If you'd like to learn more, don't hesitate to get in touch. We'd be more than happy to apply our expertise in this area to provide value for your business.