Whether your brand is just getting started with content marketing, or you are looking to hit reset and set yourself up for success in 2021, it is important to take stock before charging into the void.

While expanding your content offering can drive significant results for your business, it is easy to get distracted and lose focus. Being consistent and methodical are two of the cornerstones of success in content marketing.

Here are 10 simple tips that you can apply to new or existing content programs.

Document your content marketing strategy

Treat your content strategy document as your source of truth – if it’s not in the document, don’t do it!

Like any great explorer you can’t just set sail on the ocean and hope for the best. A documented plan provides you focus and allows you to work more efficiently and effectively.
Marketers with a documented strategy are five times more likely to succeed than those that don’t and your strategy should serve as the blueprint for stakeholders who have an active role in content creation for your brand.

[LEARN MORE: About the Fabulate Content Strategy Program]

Set goals that you can measure

Capture your marketing challenges and ensure your content is marching towards those goals.

Peter Drucker is often quoted as saying
“you can’t manage what you can’t measure”. This applies to content marketing as well, as you can’t know whether you are successful or not unless you define what success is before starting out. Without putting goals in place it’s impossible to pivot away from content that is not resonating or double down on content that is.

Create content that resonates with your audience

An engaged reader is a happy reader and happy readers are more likely to become customers.

What is important to your audience? What do they need? What do they look to you to solve? Without a solid understanding of what your audience is after, your content marketing is destined to fail. Survey your customers, or those that speak to your customers to find out what content to create to manage their objections. When only 25% of your target audience is ready to purchase from you at any given moment, you need tools and initiatives in place to motivate ‘customers in waiting’ to become ‘customers right now’.

Develop audience personas

Shine light on the dark, really get to know and understand your customers through the use of personas.

These are detailed generalisations of your customers. Name your personas, share them within your organisation and make sure that each piece of content matches against one of their needs. The more developed your personas, the more engaging and authentic the content you create will become. Before any idea hits the keyboard, if you aren’t confirming it with your personas then it shouldn’t be created.

[LEARN MORE: About the Fabulate Content Strategy Program]

Focus: strategy is nothing without execution

Don’t get distracted by the day-to-day, refer to your plan and stick to it.

Content marketing truly is a marathon and not a sprint. It is a game of persistence and perseverance. Each piece of content you create should bring you closer to your goal. Trust in your plan and execute, as there will always be something shiny and new that can distract you. Regardless of the gimmicks, if you stick to creating content that engages your audiences you will always win. Platforms come and go, but great content lives forever.

Quality is more important than quantity

Every time you interact, deliver a 5 star experience to everyone one of your customers.

Quality content is such that provides value for your audience through advice or solutions. What is the unique perspective that you, or your business have that you can provide your customers. In a world of infinite content you need to stand out from the crowd and one of the easiest ways to do this is to invest in experienced storytellers. They can turn your brand’s message from a few simple bullet points on a page into engaging content that audiences will not only read, but share with others.

Don’t underestimate the value of powerful headlines

A headline acts your first impression – and you only get one chance to make those!

An average of 8 out of 10 people will read a headline but not advance to reading the body of your content. While a customer might not have time to read your article, they have more than likely consumed (and recalled) your headline. Think of any news that you have seen today, chances are you have a good understanding of what’s going on, just from the headlines. Another way to think of your headline is like a promise of what’s to come, but beware! Betraying that trust through clickbait is a quick way for people to lose faith in both you and your content.

If you build it, they don’t always come

Imagine organising a party and not telling anyone about it. That’s the same as publishing without a distribution plan.

If great content is just step one, step two is getting customers to read it. Plan how you are going to distribute your content to audiences. There are a variety of options at your disposal – social, paid promotion, content outreach etc. Too many content marketing plans fail at this step because not enough thought goes into how you are going to generate audiences.

[LEARN MORE: Fabulate distribution]

It’s not just what you say, it’s how you say it

Easy to read, fast to load and viewable on mobile. Essential items for the modern reader.

In a world of infinite content, attention is a scarcity. This means it’s not only good enough to create great content, but you need to
make it easy for your audience to read. Format your content in a way that summarises your main point at the beginning. Is your content appealing to the eye? Is it clearly organised by headlines and features images? Your content should be easy to skim, but difficult to put down.

[LEARN MORE: What is a content hub (and should my brand have one)?

Pictures and words are perfect companions

A picture draws the eyes attention and allows people to draw additional information from the story.

David Ogilvy
discovered that images can capture a reader’s attention, but unless the image was relevant to the accompanying copy then it had no significant impact on results. Your image selection should be as meticulous as your copy crafting. Breaking up your paragraphs or main points with images is a perfect way to help your audience take a break and recall the information that they have consumed.

[LEARN MORE: Insert Getty Images into your content direct from the Fabulate workroom]

There is one more ‘bonus’ tip that was not included in the list above and that is to begin with the end in mind. As a marketer or brand manager, what is it you want to achieve by launching a content marketing strategy? How will this help you achieve your goals? What do you want to be known for? Is it increased awareness, consideration, or sales? Having a clear answer to each one of these questions will make it easier to get started on the development of your own content strategy document.

We hope you enjoyed these 10 tips, and can see yourself applying them regularly to your content marketing plan.

Need help in developing your own content marketing strategy contact a Fabulate strategist for more information.