Social media marketing is a top marketing tactic for many CMOs for many reasons: It's relatively easy, it's inexpensive, and it can be done in-house. As a business owner, however, you can't exclusively post texts and photos as your social media content. If you want to truly increase traffic via social media, you must create, publish, and promote high-quality content from your brand.

Like most successful endeavors, successful content marketing (aka brand journalism) begins with planning. Start by determining your audience. Do you want to reach customers, employees, or investors? Maybe all three? With your audience in mind, you can consider your voice. You can be friendly, knowledgeable, quirky, or any number of other adjectives -- just be consistent.

Then, with a few publishing tips in mind, you can produce engaging content that works to your advantage on social media and beyond.

1. Create a blog, and post daily.

Timely written content that incorporates SEO and SEM strategies drives traffic to your site. As a result, the conversations around your brand can take place on your website, not just on social media.

But simply creating a blog with the intention of driving traffic isn't all it takes to actually achieve that goal. It's crucial that you actively maintain your blog, and the more blog posts you publish, the better. In fact, a 2015 study of HubSpot's more than 13,500 customers showed companies that published 16 or more posts monthly saw nearly 3.5 times the traffic of those that published up to four posts each month.

2. Craft visually engaging pieces.

To keep readers interested in your content, you need eye-catching visual elements. There are multiple types, but infographics are among the most compelling. They are easy to read and are, therefore, popular across social media. In fact, infographics receive likes and are shared on social media three times more than any other type of content.

Likewise, product demos and other videos make for powerful, engaging content and a strong return on investment -- shoppers who view videos are nearly twice as likely to purchase than their counterparts, according to Adobe.

3. Mix up your written content.

There's no shortage of listicles on the internet, so take advantage of the diverse written content formats you can produce for your business. Expert Q&As and book reviews are two simple, effective forms of written content that you can use to break up your standard articles.

The latter is one of the best, as someone is willingly recommending your book and encouraging others to read it. Plus, if you're an avid reader, you can share your own recommendations with others in your field to help them gain more knowledge of their industry.

And don't shy away from long-form content. "Smart long-form content is rare because of the deep research it requires, but companies are catching on. According to Orbit Media Studios, the average blog post today is 19 percent longer than it was a year ago," says Dan Curran, the founder, and CEO of PowerPost, a publishing platform that focuses on brand journalism.

Those long-form pieces can also be repurposed into other formats for distribution, according to Curran: "By taking advantage of modern technology, marketers can personalize and track their meatier content to repurpose it and reduce it to smaller portions, providing easier access to more laypeople without sacrificing the attention to detail that interests more educated audiences."

Daily blog posts, along with diverse visual and written content that appeals to your audience, are the foundation of a great content strategy. In some ways, however, they're just a jumping-off point. Once you've gotten things off the ground, you should monitor the blog on a regular basis to determine which posts generate the most page views. From there, you can hone your brand's content to ensure continued success -- on social media and everywhere else you engage with your audience.

Published on: Sep 21, 2017
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