The Best Content Marketing Managers Use These 10 Essential Marketing Tactics
Content marketing is such a broad and multifaceted discipline, it’s maddening to try and reduce it to any one block of advice. Even in specific industries, it’s hard to find a one-size-fits-all approach that works for everyone — different industries, business sizes, and brands require fine-tuning for their circumstances and demographics, and what objectively works well for one business may not work at all for another.
Still, regardless of your individual position, there’s always room to make yourself a better content marketer. I’ll illustrate this with an analogy: it’s impossible to find a dish or a meal that everybody’s going to like, but some cooks are better than others, and it’s always possible to make yourself a better cook by widening your skillset and using better techniques.
In the content marketing realm, these are the techniques you need to be using if you want to be a better marketer:
1. Market research. Market research is essential if you want to know who your customers are. You need to know who the best demographics for your brand are, where they live, how they live, and what they need and want. Without this information backed up by objective data, you’ll be flying blind or relying on your biased, unreliable instincts to direct your campaign. Market research doesn’t have to be expensive or even that intensive; you can access census data for free.
2. Competitive research. You need to know who you’re up against if you want to be successful. With competitive research, you’ll learn what areas your competitors are dominating, so you can find alternate routes to success, weaknesses in their strategies to avoid, and strengths to improve upon. You’ll figure out what’s currently working and not working for your industry and demographics, and you’ll get inspired by what your competitors are doing (or not doing) in their respective strategies.
3. Written content. There’s a reason why content marketing budgets are continuing to increase,. Written content helps you optimize for search engines, retain customers you already have, attract new ones, increase conversion rates, and fuel other strategies like email marketing and social marketing.
4. Visual content. Written content is on a bit of a decline in some industries, however, as visual content is rising in popularity to the average user. Images and videos are a bit more difficult to produce, but they tend to have much higher viral potential. The good news is that video content is getting easier and easier to produce, so there’s not much stopping you from incorporating it into your campaign.
5. Personal branding. People don’t love or trust corporations; they love and trust people. If you want any of your marketing strategies to be effective, it has to have a personal touch. One of the best ways to do this is by leveraging the power of a “personal brand,” or an individual identity affiliated with your corporate brand. You can use this to build a reputation, gather individual connections, and syndicate content related to your main brand. It can also serve as a good resume if you end up changing paths in your marketing career.
6. Guest posting. Guest posting is an extension of your personal branding strategy in many cases, and involves producing content for external publishers. It’s a fantastic way to get more visibility and a better reputation for your brand, and it can send both direct traffic and domain authority (for SEO) your way. Without it, your content strategy will exist in a vacuum. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do it.
7. Customer service. Don’t forget that customer service is a major element of your content marketing strategy, or should be. Customer retention is just as important, if not more important than customer acquisition, and increasing customer knowledge through content is one of the best ways to preserve that rate. For example, include FAQs, guides, tutorials, and troubleshooting documents — and make sure that information is readily available to anyone who needs it.
8. Influencer marketing. Industry influencers hold the key to so many different benefits — they can help you get your content to go viral, they can boost your reputation just by mentioning you, and they might even be willing to give you some advice about your campaigns. There’s not much of a science to engaging with influencers, but it is a tactic that requires development over time.
9. Social distribution and syndication. Social media channels are free to claim and free to post on, so if you aren’t using them, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Every piece of content you publish should be shared via your social media channels to get it in front of more potential users, and most of your content should be worked into an ongoing syndication schedule to keep your social feeds from getting stale. The audience building benefits are extraordinary.
10. Email marketing. Believe it or not, email marketing is one of the most effective marketing tactics available. According to a survey of 357 marketers that I conducted, email marketing was rated the second-easiest tactic to execute, and the 5th-highest in terms of ROI (out of 10 tactics surveyed). B2C companies, B2B companies, and everything in between can make use of promotional and informative emails — it just depends on what you’re promoting and how you’re promoting it. People won’t stop using email anytime soon, so learn how to leverage it for your brand.
Take a look at the strategies of some top-performers in content marketing, from inbound marketing specialists like Hubspot and Moz, as well as corporate brands like Chipotle or Coca-Cola. You can see them using these tactics to promote their brands, invariably. These are the tactics that turn content team members into team leaders, and turn small businesses into nationally established ones. Learn to master them, through experience and constant education, and you’ll find success in almost any content marketing application you desire.