As a content marketing agency, Lightning Media Partners works with a diverse group of clients to produce written and visual content related to their products or services. These clients serve very different audiences in a wide range of industries, including B2B services, media and publishing, health care, financial services, and even the nonprofit sector. However, there are a few universal content marketing lessons that apply no matter what type of audience you’re trying to reach.
Here are five important things we’ve learned along the way as we’ve helped our clients develop and execute their content strategies.
1. Your customers/clients will tell you what to write about, if you listen.
Customer comments are a great way to get ideas for your content calendar. If you see a question that’s voiced over and over again by your social media followers, that’s a clear indication to address it in a blog post or other form of content on your page. Be on the lookout for repetitive comments/inquiries on social media or your website, and piggyback your content off them.
Additionally, simply starting a dialogue with your audience and asking what they’d like to see more of can boost engagement and help spark new topic ideas. Not only will this tell your consumers you care and you’re listening, it also will show you areas you might improve or focus on.
When in doubt, go straight to the source. Consumers are usually willing to speak up about what they want.
2. If your competitors are writing about it and getting positive attention, it’s probably a good idea to jump in.
Consider what your competitors are doing and more importantly, what’s working for them. While you don’t want to be a carbon copy of your competition, it’s important to make sure you’re keeping up with their content and offering your own insight on topics they’re addressing or trends they’re partaking in.
Do your research to discover any gaps between your content and your competitors’. Then find ways to capitalize on these opportunities.
For instance, if you’re a local bakery owner, research other bakeries in the area to see how they’re marketing their business. Are they writing out secret recipes? Are they offering baking advice? How is their audience responding?
Figure out what seems to be working best for them and implement that strategy into your own content — with your unique spin, of course.
3. Do your SEO research before you publish.
Good search engine optimization (SEO) is a crucial aspect of content marketing. Keyword research will help you create a list of valuable keywords related to your topic/brand that will increase your visibility. Without practicing SEO, consumers likely won’t find your posts.
You can have an incredible article, but if you’re not focusing on the right keywords, you’re missing an opportunity to get discovered by your target audience. You don’t want to lump a bunch of irrelevant keywords into your piece with no context, though: You should search for ways to naturally implement them throughout your blog posts.
Additionally, be sure to conduct keyword research for each topic/article you cover. Using the same list for every post you write will not warrant the right results, as SEO tends to be specific.
4. Promote, promote, promote.
Don’t let your articles exist in a vacuum on your website. To drive traffic, you’ll have to self-promote your work rather than sitting back and hoping someone will stumble across it. Share your posts on social media and in your email newsletter to expand their reach, and encourage your employees to do the same.
We will often suggest social media captions for clients based on the blog content and articles we’ve written for them. Finding multiple ways to promote a piece of content is an easy yet effective way to attract more attention to your brand, and it also increases engagement.
5. Consistency is key.
As a business owner, you probably have a lot of responsibilities on your plate. Your content marketing strategy might look like publishing a blog post every few weeks or months, then neglecting it for a while. If you approach it with this level of commitment, you’re not going to see the results you want.
Creating great content isn’t a one-and-done deal. You need to publish consistently to build up a following and establish yourself as a credible source in your industry. This means creating a list of topic ideas, assigning the posts with deadlines, and even using a content calendar to schedule each article.
If you don’t have time to do all of this behind-the-scenes work, ask for help from an agency like ours! Lightning Media Partners offers content marketing services to help your business craft a customized strategy and create high-quality content while targeting SEO. We’ll work closely with your team to ensure your unique voice shines through. Contact us and let’s chat about your content marketing goals.