Becoming a content marketing All-Star is all about learning how to play the game, what shots to take and what skills to develop. Writing amazing content that drives profitable customer action is the goal. However, multiple team members with varied skill sets make scoring a possibility.
NBA All-Stars practice hours to develop their craft and playing basketball is not just about shooting balls into a net. Players must learn to pass, dribble, rebound and work as a team. Content marketing is no different. Multiple players such as copywriters and freelancers set up the play and distribution experts make assists in order for content writers to make an effective shot and successfully score a basket!
Content marketing is a team effort and becoming an All-Star requires a multi-faceted approach. Let’s take a look at what it takes to make the jump into All-Star status within the content marketing arena.
Social listening involves researching and understanding the needs and concerns of your readership. It’s all about supply and demand. Supplying a service that is responsive to the needs of your consumer will help your content gain popularity and authority. Delivering just the right answers that create “Ah-ha” moments for your users will ultimately drive home repeat business and help support word of mouth marketing campaigns.
Quora, social listening tools and interviewing subject matter experts gives you an opportunity to analyze the data and determine a finely tuned strategy. Before you even type a word you will truly understand the issues facing your audience and have a grasp on the most effective way to gear your content to meet their needs.
The answer is in the title: Content Marketing. The most important emphasis must be on quality. You can market and promote till the cows come home but if your product lacks substance then it won’t fly with your readers. You must back up your marketing with quality writing to keep them engaged, coming back and spreading the word.
Keeping things fresh and inspired is far better achieved when multiple perspectives and style come into play. Outsourcing articles allows your content to have spice and originality. Pay attention to grammar and punctuation as these types of errors will undermine your credibility and authority in the eyes of your audience.
Storytelling is a very effective tool to connect to your audience. Its impact is two-fold. You allow readers to get a clear picture of who you are while at the same time impacting them on an emotional level.
As social media marketing gains more traction in the online world the value of storytelling is becoming increasingly important. There is nothing more distracting than bold faced advertisements that bombard your screen while you’re looking up the newest style craze or how-to manual. Indirect marketing through storytelling allows your audience to truly see your value and product in real life terms.
Just ask companies such as Skyward who created a Content Rising Summit dedicated solely to familiarizing the industry with story branding and its impact on marketing to date. At the end of the day it comes down to connecting with your audience and storytelling is quickly becoming the go-to method. Get out there and tell your story and you’ll see for yourself!
Organization truly is the key! Successful content marketing is a multi-faceted endeavor. Let’s face it, you need to write it down! When you take what’s in your head and put it down to paper you allow all team members to internalize the process and understand how their part comes into play in its successful execution.
Editorial calendars, buyer personas and training manuals help your business to keep on top of everything and allows easy access to information for all involved. Adopt whichever strategy works best way for you but make sure you WRITE IT DOWN! This way it acts as a reference tool by which you can evaluate your progress and revamp your future goals.
Data Analysis is tedious and time consuming but it really can be a lifesaver. Taking a critical look at your current situation can help you to get a better grasp on what’s working, where you may need to make a tweak or two as well as possible future opportunities that could yield incredible opportunities for your business.
Tools such as Google Analytics and Buzzsumo are fantastic resources to get you started. They’ll collect your traffic numbers, search queries, referring links, location and many more. This step is on par with social listening. In the beginning you watched and listened to the market to tell you where to go and then gave it your best shot. Now you need to see if your aim was spot on or if you need to change your swing so that you can hit a homerun.
Be a leader not a follower!
Industry trends are made by those who have the guts and stamina to outrun the rest. The ones who outrank the competition make it to the front page of Google where fresh and engaging content lives. This means that you must be quick, accurate and thorough in your analysis especially with the steadily increasing presence of Google’s Answers Boxes.
Here’s a hint. If either your brand or client is coming out with a new product, service or buzzword, make sure you are the first to write about it. You have the inside scoop and it helps to lead the pack through the door. So have your ears to the grindstone and watch out for up and coming trends. Anticipating the curve of the ball as it comes towards the plate allows you to hit the sweet spot and knock it right out of the playing field!
Readers consume content that appeals to their palate and their tastes are rich and diverse. The definition of content is growing rapidly and now you can throw eBooks, webinars, blog posts, infographics, case studies and white papers under this umbrella.
The vehicle that delivers the content is just as important as the content itself. As a content marketer you must learn to adapt and flow with the changes and tailor your content to reflect industry trends. It’s important that you broaden your horizons and dive into unchartered waters even if you begin with trepidation. Remember the journey of a thousand miles begins with a step! You’ll gather the skills and confidence along the way but you must make the first move and give the consumer what they want!
Content marketing really is a team effort. There so many facets to driving an effective content marketing campaign that you can’t possibly do it alone. Not to mention, each individual offers a unique skillset and talents that offer a mosaic of experience and creativity. This really is your asset. Team members with specialized knowledge allow your efforts to grow and expand.
The key to making a team work effectively lies in how often you collaborate and share ideas. People don’t truly appreciate the power of effectively driven and motivated team environments. You’d be surprised how fast you can clean a house with multiple hands helping out. Informal daily meetings along with regular team trainings will facilitate collaboration and camaraderie. Group dynamics are important factors to take into consideration so make sure you seek to appreciate, validate and empower your employees and you’ll truly get an amazing product.
Failure is just a part of the game. Some shots will sink a basket and others will rebound off the backboard. This is a given. What truly makes an ALL STAR lies in what comes next. How well do you bounce back from defeat? How quickly can you grab the rebound and turn it around to take another shot?
At first glance resiliency seems to be more of a character trait rather than a step towards success. However, even the greatest of us all have failed at one time or another. Content marketing is not unlike anything else in our lives. Failure helps us grow and map out the terrain more specifically. Just think of yourself as an explorer of sorts mapping out the world of content marketing. Without failure we are not inspired to success!
Learn from your missed steps and keep on trekking up the mountain. Just remember to keep your eyes focused to where you want to go and you too will reach the top of the mountain!
Patience is yet another virtue that you wouldn’t expect to see within the steps of a how-to manual but here it sits and for good reason. Content driven businesses take time to reach the collective consciousness of the online world. It’s exciting to press the publish button. Your thoughts and endeavors are finally out there in mainstream media and it’s tempting to watch for hits and shares as you wait for people to notice your work and appreciate what you have created.
Keep in mind, however, that it often takes a great deal of time for content to mature and fully reach its full potential. Your initial popularity is not a reflection of the quality of your work. Rather, it is an indication that your content must ripen before it is ready to be picked by the consumers and acquire notoriety in a digital world. By all means continue to produce new and exciting works in the meantime. Your efforts will reap delicious results!
Becoming an All-Star Content Marketer takes patience, resiliency and great deal of know-how. Above are just a few of the tips and tricks I’ve learned on my journey and it has made all the difference in the world. We all have a journey with different paths and stumbles to mark our falls. Please share yours with us and help others learn from your mistakes. Hopefully together we can create a map that will help anyone with a strong desire, fortitude and drive to become an All-Star in their own right!