As a content or inbound marketer, the two most significant challenges are producing enough content and producing engaging content that gets read. While the first can easily be resolved by incorporating more evergreen content into your strategy, the second requires your marketing team to dig further.
There's nothing like wasting a bunch of time (and money) on creating content that doesn't work—in other words, collateral that attracts visitors and converts leads. You need to create consistent content that hits the mark every time. That's why your content strategy and promotion plan should be data-driven, not only so you can measure your own progress, but also so you can make precise moves to generate the reactions you want.
Remarkable content isn't enough anymore. But paired with a data-driven, go-to-market-esque plan in tow, you can do more than distribute your content by amplifying your brand.
Marketing isn't about hoping and waiting. Use content analytics to create a more actionable plan.
There's a lot you can do to make sure your content is sticky. You can create buyer personas, incorporate keywords into the copy and optimize for search. But, the most effective way for your remarkable content to gain traction is through data research.
Research is critical because it helps you gain a solid understanding of what resonates with your readers. Additionally, you can learn what formats (e-books, infographics, videos) and networks (Twitter, email, guest blogging) are working the best for you and your competitors. If you don't know what triggers your audience to click, read and share, then you'll never create content that instigates these actions.Research can also help you understand how content is being amplified, particularly for:
- Who is sharing it
- Why it is being shared
- Through what means it is being shared
BuzzSumo is an incredible tool that was developed specifically for marketers to gain insight on content. You can search trending content for specific topics, competitors and domains along with which influencers are sharing certain pieces. From this data, you can determine if something is working and how you can incorporate similar ideas into your content plan.
BuzzSumo content findings
If you haven't used BuzzSumo before, I would highly recommend giving it a spin. The tool uncovers deep insight within minutes that would typically take hours of combing. To give you an idea, here are some findings from the BuzzSumo team that you should consider with your content:
- Long-form blog posts (1,000–3,000 words) receive greater shares
- Images, whether in a blog post or social-media update, receive greater shares
- Content formats have a major impact on sharing and readership ("why" post vs. "how to" post vs. video)
- List posts work wonders, and 10 is the magic number
- Leverage content that piques an emotional response
Amplification, not distribution
Creating quality content alone just won't cut it to anymore. Unfortunately, neither will distribution. The Internet is a crowded place and you have to find innovative ways to cut through the clutter. That’s why your content has to be that much more valuable—and promotion must be super sly.
Prior to any content planning, you have to figure out how you’re going to get people to read and share your content. Here’s where research comes into play. By using tools like BuzzSumo, Followerwonk, LinkedIn and search engines, you can find the highest-shared content and who's doing the sharing (add those individuals to an outreach list, we’ll touch on this shortly). By pinpointing thought leaders and influencers within your space and aligning yourself with them, you can earn greater engagement on your content. Here’s the thing, not all sharers are considered equal. But the right one(s) could significantly impact shares.
Streamline amplification efforts by finding and adding thought leaders, influencers and top sharers to an outreach list. This way when it comes time to promote your content, you have a solid group of individuals that will help take your content further.
Content hacks for greater reach
Here are five ways to put your data and research to work and increase views and shares:
- Content promotion happens before writing, not after. Before your cursor ever sets eyes on a Word doc, you need to put thought toward who will promote your content and why. If you can’t figure that much out, don’t create the content. Success is largely depended on planning—so spend the time doing so.
- Build out content-promotion networks aside from your blog and email. Think about expanding into various social-networking websites such as Google+, LinkedIn, Quora and more.
- Leverage paid promotion. That’s how stuff goes viral by increasing the likelihood and exposure of the content.
- Don’t forget mainstream media. Radio and television channels are in need of stories too and are often overlooked, yet extremely powerful.
- 80/20 redefined: Spend 80 percent of your time on topic research and only 20 percent of your time actually writing the piece. This can be achieved by testing topics and headlines on social media to measure interest.
It would be plain silly for you to not utilize the immense amount of data available for your content strategy and plan. By doing so you can gain a deeper understanding of your ideal customer, which ultimately helps you hone your business offerings to be the best possible solutions for your customers.