After seeing some great speakers and getting some serious food for thought from this years Like Minds Ideas Festival right here in Exeter recently my first article for Unwritten Digital could have been about a dozen different topics. As I have found the time to digest all that information there was one keynote in particular that kept standing out for me. LinkedIn’s Global Content Marketing Leader, Jason Miller, gave a very engaging presentation on content marketing that offered some very useful insights that any content marketer can benefit from actioning right now. So, using this as a starting point, and after a bit of additional reading around the themes, I wanted to try and condense some of those insights here.
With content marketing still seen as the most important piece of the digital marketing puzzle by many measures it’s understandable that most companies will want to put a lot of time an energy into it. As marketers we advise this too. People want good content so it can help them make good decisions. The question is, what should a lot of time and energy spent on content marketing look like?
Beware the Rabbit Hole
For the purposes of this piece, let’s focus on blogging. Generating regular articles to draw an audience to you is still the lynchpin many great content marketing strategies. So, if we are sold on blogging, then next question is usually “how often should I be posting?”. This is where it’s easy to fall down a rabbit hole of advice, articles and statistics – and they tend to trend towards quantity. A lot of advice can leave you with the impression, or even the explicit instruction, that you should be posting several times a week if not every single day. A blistering schedule is achievable, of course, but when that’s where the time and energy go, it’s a mistake.
Firstly, we have to realise that every business is different. General rules like “post several times a week” aren’t useful to anyone, no matter how many bar charts back it up. Every sector, business and product is unique so general rules aren’t going to help understand what a specific audience wants. The only way to truly achieve that is to experiment, because in the end the only statistics you can fully trust are your own. Set a baseline, say two post a week, and see how much engagement you get. Now drop to once a week. Are people still engaging? Has traffic to your site slowed down? If not then you just saved yourself a lot of time. Time that can be used in making that one post a week even better, which leads on to the second point…
Be in It to Win It
Remember what the content is for. Consumers and users want to research, learn and have their questions answered before they invest, it’s the reason content marketing works. Is lackluster content going to help them do that? A blog post isn’t a throwaway consumable like the Sunday paper, it’s going to be on your site, diving traffic, for some time. How many times have you asked Google a question and seen the top results are articles written months or even years ago? Search listings are a competitive environment and whoever wrote those articles won. Maybe it was the only article the author wrote that month, or all year, but it’s still getting its site way more exposure than a blog that posts nothing of substance day in, day out. Good research is the key here – research keywords properly, go after those long tail leads and deliver full answers to control the conversation. Ultimately this is what will let a post start winning the search engine listings, and winning you traffic.
You’ve Created an Asset, Use It!
Finally, it’s important to understand that the content created is an asset, but assets aren’t worth much if you don’t use them properly. Writing an article is just the first step, the jobs not done because you hit publish – it needs to be promoted. Ensure that posts are shared effectively on social media, across all platforms. Take the time to make sure this is done properly and appropriately, the best way to present information of Facebook may well be very different to Linkedin, for example. Get staff involved, if you work in a company with five employees that’s five people who almost certainly use social media – ask if you can make use of their networks. Study what works too, if you’re spending a lot of time creating great content then investigate what gets the most engagement, and if a great article doesn’t get the response you want, don’t be afraid to pull it, give it a face lift and re-publish it later down the line. Perhaps a new title and a more interesting image was all it needed to catch attention?
Post Less, Post Better, Post smarter
In summary; post less and work out what right for you, post better articles that let you dominate those long tail listings, and post smarter by getting the content out there in ways that extend your reach and engage your audience the most.