When I hear the words “content marketing”, I automatically think of Sean Work of KISSmetrics, Oli Gardner of Unbounce.com, and Marcus Sheridan of TheSalesLion.com. These 3 guys really get what content and inbound is all about, moreover, few have more hands-on experience then them. In this article, they each give you their top 3 tips for content marketing success.
Sean Work, KISSmetrics:
1. Don’t publish junk. I’ve seen plenty of cases where a site will learn that blogging “keeps the search engines coming back” and helps their “long-tail SEO”. So they try to find ways to source as much incoherent, gibberish-laden content that they can find at the cheapest possible price. It just doesn’t work.
2. Yearn for beautiful layout and design. Having great content is one thing, but ugly packaging can really ruin the experience. Ask yourself, would Steve Jobs approve of our “content packaging”? How would he “box” it?
3. Be consistent. If you’ve decided to publish content, you need a regular frequency just to get the momentum you need to find your angle. And after that, you obviously need to be able to maintain course. If you’re involved in an operation where it’s hard to stick to a regular process, consider outsourcing your content marketing.
Bonus tip: Stock photos are getting played out. After seeing the same photos over and over again – they are just “cheesin” up the world. I’m of the opinion that if you can’t find any relevant images that add to the content, just leave it out.
Sean Work is Director of Marketing & Minister of Propaganda at KISSmetrics. For your daily fix of free marketing guides, analytics advice, and optimization tips, check out blog.KISSmetrics.com or follow Sean via Twitter. Also, you might want to check out his hobby site Tubebox.fm – it’s pretty rad!
Oli Gardner, Unbounce.com:
1. Make your content last: In our Ultimate Guide to Marketing With Infographics, I explain step-by-step how to make the most of content you’ve likely spent days working on. This includes how to use social recycling to ensure you get a consistent flow of shares. You can also add a few of your latest posts to the footer of your emails to help with customer retention.
2. Effective blogging: This is really 2 tips in one.
First, guest post like a maniac – and always with your very best content. This allows you to reach markets your own blog can’t. My guest post on Moz broke a ton of records and brought in a lot of new customers.
Secondly, for your own blog, reach out to subject matter experts in all the categories you discuss on your blog to build a stable of “paid” writers and create an editorial calendar to ensure both you and the writers are prepared. Having a months worth of content planned to post is very calming on everyone’s nerves. Also, have regular brainstorms to decide what your post topics should be. There are more techniques here about what to do after your blog is released to ensure post momentum.
3. Be a curator: You don’t always have to rely on your own content. Become a useful resource for others so that they keep coming back for more. Here’s an example round-up post where each section is bundled into its own RSS feed that provides free value to people. Once readers know that you will collect great content for them, they’ll keep coming back for more.
Oli is Co-Founder & Creative Director at Unbounce. He is a former Director of Marketing & Interaction Designer who tends to use metaphor more than he probably should in his writing. Oli writes about conversion centered design and is one of the main voices of the Unbounce Twitter account.
Marcus Sheridan, TheSalesLion.com:
1. Take the top 50 questions you get every single day from prospects and clients (via phone, email, face to face, etc.) and write those questions down. Now turn those 50 questions into 50 blog posts and answer them exactly as if you were talking to a customer’s face to face.
Also, make sure the question is the title of the blog post. The 50 posts will then turn into the foundation and pillars of all your marketing and sales and SEO strategy from that point forward… And just by doing this one thing, you will be in the top 1% of your industry.
2. Don’t be afraid to address any and every possible question a consumer might ask. In other words, if someone asks you to compare yourself against your competition, that’s a blog post you should write. If someone asks you to compare your product X versus another company’s product Y, you should write that article (or produce that video). I see nothing as off limits. Again, if someone is asking it or thinking it, we need to be writing and teaching others about it. That is the essence of a great content marketer.
3. Content is an evergreen. It should be used again and again and again throughout the sales process. The more content a prospect reads, the further down the sales funnels they go, which is why it is a must that we as sales professionals and marketers make sure they are viewing, reading, and consuming out content. I call this process ‘assignment selling‘, but it can work wonders for any sales department when done the right way.
Marcus Sheridan helps business and bloggers dominate their niche through his unique online marketing strategies. Make sure to download his popular and FREE 230-page eBook, Inbound and Content Marketing Made Easy. Follow him on Twitter here.