With so much similar content out there, how do you stand out? Here's three tips.
We're smack-dab in the golden age of content marketing. Everywhere you look, there's a webinar/podcast/blog post telling you to jump on the bandwagon and produce engaging, relevant content and your business will boom.
Well, it's not quite that simple. In this race to produce content, my team and I sometimes find ourselves asking: Are we all creating the same stuff? And if so, how do you make yours engaging and unique, and get it found?
It goes without saying that any and all content that you're creating should be done with a single person in mind: your customer. If your goals are to create three blog posts a week, two guides per month and an e-book for the quarter, you may want to zoom out and think about the "why" behind all that effort. Do you really need to do so much? You might be better off creating a few really relevant pieces of content that your prospects and customers will love and share. This way, you get more bang out of your content marketing efforts. It's not about how much you produce; it's about how much your customers engage with it, share it and get it seen by more and more people.
So, how do you do that with all the content out there? Be unique. Easier said than done, you say? Not necessarily.
Take our content team at my e-mail marketing company, VerticalResponse. They write about three times a week for our blog and also create guides, infographics and a bunch of other stuff. But they try to approach things from the angle of our customers. What are things our customers care about and struggle with, and how can we create content that answers those questions or meets those needs? How can we do it in a new and different way that hasn't been done a gazillion times by every other marketing service in our space?
The team created a copywriting "cheat sheet" infographic to help folks learn how to effectively communicate across lots of different channels. The layout was eye-catching and it got shared all over the place, including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest. So, think about how you can take something and communicate it in a way that is uniquely positioned for your customer base.
Another example: A customer of ours, Sally Waters, owner of Birdy Botanicals, creates all-natural skincare products. She's got a fun blog and recently did a post about Bike to Work Day. She really honed in on her female demographic by titling her article, "Bike to Work Without Becoming a Hot Mess: Tips on How to Stay Cute on Your Two-Wheeled Commute." Even though lots of people were already writing about Bike to Work Day, she positioned her content perfectly and keyed in on obstacles that her customers would face--how not to become a hot mess while riding a bike to work!
With all the effort you put into creating unique content that engages your readers, you need to make sure your content gets found. And if you're producing good, relevant information, then you'll make it easy for search engines to index you. But, you can also syndicate your content on sites that have high authority to really turn up the volume. We've been syndicating our content to sites like Business2Communityand AllTop that get tons of readers. They give us source credit and a link so folks know it's ours. We also guest blog for sites like the one you're reading, as well as sites that have a similar customer base to ours. These efforts help establish our thought leadership and get us in front of new and diverse audiences that may never have heard of us. It gets us found.
So, how can you use your content to engage, be unique and get found? I'd love to hear what you're doing with your content in the comments.
JANINE POPICK is the CEO and founder of VerticalResponse (a Deluxe company), a leading provider of self-service email and event marketing, online surveys, social media, and direct mail solutions. The company was ranked No. 2,802 on the 2012 Inc. 5000. @janinepopick