Content marketing is an ever-evolving beast. However, throughout its ongoing evolution, the bottom line for businesses has remained the same: ROI.
With this in mind, I have listed 6 actionable tips that will help you increase your bottom line and put extra dollars in your company’s back pocket.
Remember that the key to profitable content marketing is tracking – set out clear KPIs and goals before you embark on a campaign, and get comfortable with content metrics.
1. Evergreen, not ephemeral content
As the name suggests, evergreens stay green throughout the year. Come rain, wind or shine, they retain their distinctive hue. For your evergreen content, read hue as niche relevance.
Having content that retains its relevance all year round means you have content on your site that visitors can come back to again and again. It’s the type of content that will always get search traffic, shares, and interest people no-matter what the time of year or context.
- It’s great for SEO — hugely beneficial for those lucrative long-tail keywords and big search volume queries. All great evergreen content should start with a deep dive into search data (Tip – focus on common queries and questions)
- Evergreen content can be shared over and over, again and again — giving it long-term value. Evergreen content doesn’t lose its appeal, and can be used as social sharing fodder on a regular basis (just change the title and CTA when you share it)
- It can be repurposed, meaning you can update and re-use it on an annual (or even monthly basis). Aged pages are valuable SEO ammo and have more authority than brand new ones
For more advice on how you can create evergreen content look no further than this brilliant guide. Take the evergreen attitude with your content production, and stop forcing yourself to ‘churn’ out four posts a week.
2. Use influencers instead of ads
Influencers are the rock stars of the internet – kind of. Not because they are adorned in eye-watering leather trousers or leading particularly hedonistic lifestyles. They are the new rock stars because they have captive audiences that hang on to their every word and action. For your business, they are a valuable new weapon in your armoury – by connecting with an influencer, you get your brand in front of an audience that’s engaged and receptive. It’s a great strategy to help you make the most of any PR or advertising budget.
- You can find the right influencer for your business by using a service such as FameBit, designed to connect brands with the right influencers
- You can also DIY influencer discovery by following relevant hashtags on social media, and conducting branded outreach on there yourself
- Remember to really ‘sell’ your value proposition to influencers and bloggers. They care a lot about their audiences, and will only put you in front of them if they really believe in what you’re doing. And if there is enough synergy, they might even cut you a deal…
3. Social responsibility can give you the ‘edge’
With the dissemination of information more rapid than ever, people are more in tune with brand values and ethics. Those who show themselves to be socially responsible give their customers an added incentive to buy their products.
This is all about building a social story or ‘hook’ into your company offering or content that encourages people to share your ethos wide and far.
TOMS is a great example of a company that’s 100% capitalised on social responsibility in both its product marketing and content strategy.
TOMS operates on a one-for-one basis, meaning that for each pair of shoes they sell, they provide a pair of shoes to a disadvantaged child. It’s a powerful marketing tool that encourages people to buy TOMS’ products by making them feel good about the company – and also themselves. It’s such a simple concept that appeals to people’s sense of balance.
By showing your brand to be socially responsible, you can make even small marketing budgets go far. Charitable causes are much more likely to interest people, but make sure that you aren’t crossing the line and actually taking advantage of good causes. You need to walk the walk if you want to benefit from this one.
4. Automation takes you further
Content marketing automation is a wonderfully simple thing to fall in love with. Why? Because it’s so darn helpful. Start automating your content production, dissemination, and promotion today! Without automation, you will fall WAY behind the competition (and it’s not as hard as it sounds). All you need are some clever tools…
One of the most widely used automation methods is email marketing and the power of MailChimp. MailChimp enables you do a raft of great things, such as:
- Have all your email subscribers in one list with no duplicates
- Track the the opt-in source for each of your subscribers
- Create and manage Facebook ads for your subscribers
- Send re-targeting emails to lists who’ve engaged with your content.
There are many other tools designed to help you automate your content marketing processes — whether that’s content curation on steroids a la Feedly and Buffer, or dissemination powered by IFTT.
Don’t be afraid to test out different tools and platforms to find the ones that make sense for your workflow — most of them integrate and talk to each other. The more open-source the tool, the better.
5. User-generated content is easy
User-generated content is a great way to harness the power of your customers…and make money from their words!
But that’s not all:
- It’s free
- Because it’s content that’s been created by your users, it has a greater chance of being shared
- It introduces your business to new followers, opening you up to a raft of potential new customers.
Ways to make it happen:
- Add an app or plugin to your site: Adding an app like Yotpo allows your customers to post reviews to your site. While adding a plugin like Perishable Press lets your users add blog posts to your site
- Social media: Ask your social followers to submit content – running a competition, such as giving away a selection of your products, is a great way to generate interest
- Question-and-answer site: post a topic onto a Q&A site, such as AskReddit, or Quora, and then upload the best answers to your site
- Check out how Buzzfeed make the most of curated lists from sites like Tumblr and Twitter. Can you replicate the same strategy on your site?
6. Embrace a localised strategy
Too many brands look to conquering the world, before they conquer their local area. From a content and search perspective, being big in your local area is a no-brainer. It means that you will get access to a whole community of (potentially) loyal customers who are likely to support a local business. You can also save in shipping costs, and build up your reputation as a big player in the local community.
Gearing your content marketing approach to take advantage of the benefits of a more localised strategy is very simple:
- Use Google’s Keyword planner to find local keywords and then introduce them to your content in a way that’s natural, not forced
- Create local content – lists and guides are a great way of doing this, but you could also consider maps, videos, and even calculators!
- Make sure you have your up-to-date company address added to Google My Business — manage your listing and add recent photos and info
- Contribute guest posts to local websites, and partner with your local suppliers
- Get involved in and write about local activities, events, and conferences. Become a local ‘community journalist’ when covering events
- 76% of customers who make a local search via their mobile visit a store within a day, so putting some budget towards local search ads probably makes sense as well.
Embracing a localised strategy will bring a very real and significant ROI to your business — and it will teach you a lot about stellar customer experience too.
ROI isn’t the only benefit of content marketing. An informed content marketing strategy can also position your company as a thought leader in your industry, adding gravitas to your company and building awareness of your brand. How are you going to improve your content strategy moving forwards?