Are you happy with your content marketing?
Even if the answer is “You bet I am!” and if you’ve been hitting your KPIs consistently, there’s a risk of getting stuck in a rut and subsequently reaching a plateau. In other words, although the tactics you implement aren’t necessarily wrong or ineffective, sometimes the “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach can hold you back from achieving greater success.
So, if you want to unlock the full potential of your content marketing, it’s essential to breathe new life into your content marketing efforts and try something different.
Here are eight tips to serve you as a blueprint.
1. Involve Third-Party Experts in Creating and Reviewing Your Content
Four eyes see better than two.
Having a lot of startup experience and knowing your product or service inside out doesn’t automatically imply your content will always reflect this fact. Quite the opposite — it might fail to deliver the message or give your audience the answers they’re looking for. Not to mention that over time, it will be difficult for you to stay creative and offer something new to your readers.
So, given that effective content has to add value to your audience, it’s best to enlist third-party experts and external consultants to help you create and review your pieces.
Besides ensuring your blog posts, e-books, case studies, and other types of content are well-written and on-point, there are other ways you will benefit from this approach:
- By having an authority in a specific field create, review, or fact-check your content, you’ll instill a sense of trust in your readers. Your audience will be sure the information they get comes from experts who understand the nuts and bolts of the topics they cover.
- External experts might give you a new, fresh perspective on how to write and think about your audience’s pain points and how to frame your products as solutions.
Medical Alert Buyers Guide post on the best rated medical alert devices is a great example of this tactic because readers are informed right away that an experienced nurse fact-checked and reviewed the content. This way, any potential doubt about the credibility of the advice is dispelled.
2. Get Featured as a Google Snippet
Securing the top position in Google SERPs is the holy grail of each content marketer out there, but you know what’s even better than that?
Getting featured as a snippet.
These short excerpts of content are pulled from indexed web pages and placed in a box at the top of the Google search results page. Known as “Position Zero,” this VIP area gets all the attention, as it comes before the No. 1 result and accounts for more than 35% of all clicks.
Featured snippets quickly answer the question from the search, and they come in the form of definitions, numbered or bulleted lists, tables, charts, or steps.
Here’s how you can optimize for Google’s featured snippets:
- Use the “What is + keyword” structure in your headings whenever applicable. Since the point of Google Snippets is to answer a particular question quickly, using this format in your headings will show the search engine what part of your content contains the exact answer. Plus, questions are conversational and reflect the way searchers communicate with Google Assistant when they’re looking for a piece of information.
- In a similar vein, the paragraph with your answer should be in the format of the “Keyword + is” statement. To optimize your content for Snippets, briefly define the topic in simple language using two to three sentences.
- Match the existing Featured Snippet format. Check the Featured Snippet for the term you want to rank and optimize for and identify whether it’s a paragraph, bulleted list, or table. Then include the corresponding structure in your content.
- Don’t make the answer about yourself. Avoid using the first pronoun, and never mention your brand in the portion of the content you want to optimize for the Featured Snippet. Be as helpful as possible without pushing your agenda.
3. Double up on Images
Research says that people following instructions with text and illustrations do 323% better than those following only textual instructions with no illustrations. This makes a strong case for breaking down your long-form content using images to make it more readable.
Lengthy blog posts with 2,000+ words offer a comprehensive insight into a particular topic, which makes them good for SEO. But let’s be honest — it’s hard for readers to focus on text-heavy content.
People start watching, learning to recognize different shapes and colors, and forming associations between objects based on this from the day they are born. Reading is a skill that comes later, and it’s only logical that we’re wired to process visuals better.
Let’s see how to effectively use images in your content.
- Add one image every 75-100 words. According to BuzzSumo, that’s the best ratio. Blog posts that implemented it got twice as many shares as the ones with fewer images.
- Make your images relevant to the topic you’re discussing.
- Use high-quality, clear images. Grainy or blurry visuals come across as unprofessional and unappealing.
- Opt for legal stock photos. It’s not a good idea to download images from the internet without citing your sources or paying a fee, if necessary.
- Create screenshots. This is a particularly good idea when you want to show your readers how to do something by illustrating the process step by step.
Going’s guide on how to use Google flights follows all these principles, and the result is an image-heavy, easy-to-read blog post. It’s packed with screenshots and adds a lot of value to readers thanks to the “show, don’t tell” approach.
4. Tell Customer Success Stories
92% of customers read online reviews and testimonials online when they’re trying to make a purchasing decision. It’s safe to conclude that social proof is instrumental in building trust with your audience, so creating content marketing around it should be your top priority.
Customer success stories have the power to demonstrate how your product or service helped someone solve a particular pain point and achieve success. Their focus on the outcomes can paint your solution in a very positive light and show how it works without seeming like a thinly veiled commercial.
B2C customer success stories have a more relaxed and friendlier tone, and unlike their B2B counterparts, they aren’t so data-driven and ROI-oriented. Instead of that, they give the floor to happy customers and let them share their experiences.
The fact that an existing customer agreed to participate provides another layer of credibility and authenticity to your social proof.
Hubspot for Startups has an entire section of the website dedicated to customer success stories. Customer data is used to explain precisely how they benefited from using the platform and what they think the most valuable aspect of Hubspot is.
Customer testimonials and reviews are typical examples of B2C social proof. They don’t have to be long or detailed to be effective. Quote testimonials lend themselves perfectly to social media format and give an instant credibility boost to your company. Re-sharing your happy customers’ social media posts where they mention your brand is another effective way to capitalize on the authenticity of user-generated content.
WHOOP’s Instagram posts and stories feature happy customers’ shoutouts and mentions of their brand. This type of UGC allows the brand to show how using their product helped customers improve their lives and overall health.
5. Link to Your Product Pages
Many brands are hesitant to put links to conversion-focused pages in their blog posts.
The reason for this is that blogs are traditionally used mainly to generate and nurture leads and create brand awareness rather than sell something. But remember that some of your readers are ready to convert, so don’t hesitate to include subtle conversion-friendly links to product pages in your blog posts.
Still, there are some factors you should take into consideration.
- Pay attention to the relevance of the product or service. If you add links to product pages that have nothing to do with the topic you’re covering and the pain points you’re addressing, this tactic will fall flat.
- Explain what the potential customer can expect if they click on the link or CTA. By giving additional context, you’ll walk them through the conversion process and minimize the odds of confusing them.
- Use visuals to attract prospects’ attention to the link and compel them to click.
- Make your link visible. The best way to make it stand out is to include it in an image or call-to-action button and place it at the top or bottom of the page. You can also repeat the same link more than once, but only if it makes sense to repeat it.
For example, Zoma’s guide on mattress sizes and dimensions, which is clearly the bottom-of-the-funnel content for purchase-ready customers, features links to product pages within mattress size charts. This makes it easy for potential customers to access the products they’re interested in once they pick the dimensions they need.
6. Create Video Content
People spend, on average, 1.4X more time on pages with video than on the ones without it.
But what makes videos so powerful and engaging?
First of all, videos stimulate our visual and auditory senses, and by adding different effects, you can evoke emotions in your customers. For example, the ASMR trend has taken the marketing world by storm thanks to its ability to induce bodily sensations, thus immersing viewers in the video.
Coca-Cola has been leveraging this effect for decades, as their commercials usually prominently feature the hissing sound of opening a soda bottle, the tinkling of ice in the glass, and the splashing sound of soda being poured over the ice. Paired with images of scrumptious foods, these auditory effects trigger the feeling of thirst — which no onomatopoeic word could do so effectively.
Secondly, videos can be used to simplify complex concepts and make them more accessible to your audience.
Finally, Google loves videos because they’re easy to consume, so including this format in your content strategy will result in better rankings.
7. Provide Evergreen Content
Evergreen content should be at the core of your content strategy. We’re talking about pieces that never lose their mojo and stay relevant for a long time. They continue to generate or even grow search traffic and accumulate SEO juice over time.
It’s not time-sensitive, seasonal content, or news articles that go stale pretty quickly.
We’re talking about how-to guides, tutorials, listicles, glossaries, checklists, customer reviews, FAQs, and testimonials. These types of content keep on adding value to your readers, provided they’re regularly updated.
To create content that will stand the test of time:
- Pick the right keywords. Identify what your target audience wants to find out and write about these topics. Don’t forget to optimize your content for SEO.
- Don’t use technical language — you’re writing for beginners.
- Repurpose your content and create different formats from a single source.
This comprehensive guide from MarketBeat on the U.S. stock market holidays is a textbook example of high-quality evergreen content. It’s timeless, adds value, uses simple language, and contains a detailed Q&A section with all the relevant information about how holidays affect the Stock Market and positions in a Foreign Stock.
Even though SEO principles change, this guide is a staple that only needs to be occasionally revisited and refreshed.
8. Understand Your Audience and Focus on Their Pain Points
To be relatable, your content should revolve around your audience and what matters to them.
But how do you get to know your potential customers and understand them?
These semi-fictionalized representations of your ideal customer(s) include their demographic information, behavioral patterns, needs, interests, and pain points.
When you unearth all these details, you can use them to cover the topics that address your audience’s pain points and answer their questions. Niche content is highly effective for this purpose since it’s more targeted and tailored to the needs of a smaller group of people. So, when you’re researching keywords, opt for more specific, long-tail ones. They won’t appeal to a broader audience and won’t bring too much traffic, but visitors who find you through Google search will be more engaged and ready to convert.
Being consistent about your content marketing is a good thing, but this doesn’t mean you should stick to the same old tactics and approaches. Sometimes you need to experiment or reframe things in order to amplify your efforts and boost your numbers.