Rand Fishkin said it best in one of his Whiteboard Friday sessions - when it comes to content marketing, we're in the middle of a "content arms race". Companies are grasping at any opportunity they can to boost their online status, and they've all cottoned onto the fact that content marketing is one of the most lucrative ways of enhancing brand awareness, user engagement and just generally making your company look awesome. The competition is fierce, but all you need are your wits about you to pull the audience over onto your side of the battlefield.
Investing time in a content marketing strategy will be worth gold in the long run. You need to do all the usual planning and discovery to find pools of opportunity, but once you've got a clear-cut direction in mind, your focus must be on conceptualizing and developing some kick-butt material that will have you prancing out of the content marketing battle, ever-victorious.
But everyone is investing in content! They're all doing whatever it takes to get their content shared on social networks and maybe they're already doing a great job of it. How do you step in, take charge of the battle and swing the odds in your favor?
The Type of Content Matters
When you're putting together a strategy, look at using content formats that are viable for you and your resources. Go above and beyond a blog or press release and do something noticeable. Content such as:
• Video - the lazy person's way of absorbing information, but quite frankly it works. It's something that's easy to digest, appealing and shareable, if you've got the resources, then create a video instead of a blog post
• Conversations have become prevalent all over the web. Opt for opinion polls - everyone wants to voice their opinion - Q&A sessions, forum discussions. Anything to get the conversation flowing freely and to get people interacting in your online space
• Graphical work and comics - a sure win. Appealing to the eye, easy to digest, fun and inventive and an opportunity to showcase some incredible raw talent in scriptwriting and design
• Infographics - a favorite among many and it's easy to see why. They provide a platform to represent loads of data in an attractive way. No brainer
• Flowcharts, graphs - you can even use other people's data, as long as you reference them for it - and build your own creative way of displaying reams of otherwise boring data
• Interactive tools and games - all the fun stuff that people like to fiddle with on their coffee breaks
Do what it takes to create the content that you know people will be interested in reading and sharing. If necessary, take existing ideas and elaborate on them. All's fair in love and war, right? If you do it ethically, you're only making use of resources that have been made available to you. Take existing studies, replicate them and add your own element of spice to make them better. Take content that is interesting and re-work it into a comic. So long as you're doing it better and you're going above and beyond what your competitors are comfortable with, you'll be smiling all the way to victory.
How You Share Content Also Matters
You're still competing in a battle of wits, but now you've got the content that can win it all for you. How you share that content also plays a substantial role in the success or failure of your efforts.
One of the key items is consistency. People need to know that they can rely on you for exceptional content and they're going to get it at a certain time of the month. Consistency doesn't necessarily mean quantity; it's just being regular about making your appearances.
Probably the most important thing is being able to share your content with a large community. If you don't have one then you're going to have to find one and you can do that by investing in the assistance of people who do have a large following. Ask a popular blogger to write for you and post it to his or her site and Twitter followers. Get a guest speaker to contribute to a video you make and, again... get him or her to share the content within his or her community. Stretch the effects of your message as far as you can and hope for a viral take-up that spreads your brand name throughout the Internet ether.
One last thing is to try and target your market in the places where your competitors are scarce. So while everyone is trying to get buy-in at the conversion stage, why not just play around with the fun stuff without placing pressure on anyone to take an action. Just get them to know how you are first and loyalty will take over.
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