Unlocking the secrets of content marketing for brands
Content is one of the most important aspects of any website and most brands understand that it’s important to produce engaging and shareable content frequently. Producing content is not only a great way to improve rankings for SEO purposes, but it’s also important to encourage engagement and keep readers interested and returning to your site.
Producing content can take time. However, whether it’s a short video, a long form content piece or a listicle of the best dogs of Instagram, promoting that content takes time too. It’s easy to spend hours writing the world’s best article, tweet about it twice and expect it to gain the engagement it deserves, but, unless you are extremely lucky, this won’t deliver results. Having an effective content marketing strategy is what makes the difference.
What is a content marketing strategy?
Before promoting content any brand needs to formulate a content marketing strategy. A content marketing strategy is a marketing approach which is focused on creating and then distributing valuable, shareable, and consistent content to attract and retain your audience.
The first step is to create content that readers will find interesting and engaging. To do this we recommend you create personas for your brand. A persona-based content strategy will ensure your content is suited to your audience, which will prepare you to better engage your audience and in turn, keep them returning. Once personas are in place the next step is to produce a content promotion strategy, in order to discover the best way to share your content across platforms.
What sort of content should be produced?
Writing the content itself is the first hurdle. Although it can be tempting to create any content that comes to mind, you must ensure that it is relevant to your audience, as well as being good quality. Is it something that they will find engaging? Is it well written? Are the visuals captivating?
Ultimately, if you’re dedicating time to promoting content, you should make sure that that time is well spent on content that people are actually going to want to read. Nobody likes flogging a dead horse.
How should content be promoted?
Once you have created high-quality, engaging and unique content, you then decide how best to promote it.
This may sound simplistic but establishing exactly when and how to promote your content will take time and experience. It takes time to execute a content marketing strategy properly; you will need to learn what platforms work best for your brand, and what platforms don’t.
How any brand’s content is promoted is something that changes over time, you will experiment with different strategies and adapt them for your brand. As a rule of thumb, we suggest you spend three times the amount of time promoting one piece of content as was spent creating that content in the first place.
Which social networks should be used?
In order to drive traffic to your content, we advise that you target your brand’s three most popular social media pages. Try and limit yourself to three to start with. You want to ensure that you are really nailing the three you pick before you move onto more. You don’t want to overextend yourself, or spread your resources too thin.
It’s also important to focus on the social media platforms that are right for your particular brand. You might see that other brands are heavily using one particular platform and being successful in it, but it might not be the right platform for you. For example, a retailer that focuses on homeware should focus on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest for all blog posts. However, if you are a B2B brand you should really focus your efforts on LinkedIn, the major B2B social media platform.
Remember, each social network is very different and should be tackled in a different way. Twitter, for example, should be used more frequently than the other social networks. As the average lifespan of a tweet is just 18 minutes you need to promote more frequently on this platform.
On the first day a post goes live tweet three times, twice on the second day, once on the third, one week late, one month later and finally two months later. This will allow your post to get full coverage on the first few days, and also get some coverage as it ages.
Continually promoting content, especially content that is evergreen, is key to driving traffic back to the site and creating an engaged audience.
Facebook has a much longer shelf life with each post lasting between 3-5 hours which means you can post less. We advise posting on the first day, one week later, one month later and finally two months later.
Facebook can be an excellent driver of traffic, as long as you have the budget to promote posts. The organic reach of Facebook posts is typically very low, so avoid this one unless you have money to pump into it.
The lifespan of a pin is yet again even longer. On average a pin can still come up in relevant searches after a month, and seasonal pins can appear again and again months later. With this in mind, it is only relevant to promote content once on Pinterest.
However, creating multiple graphics is the key to getting repinned. As Pinterest is so visual, it’s important to create a spread of images that are going to appeal to as many different people as possible. Don’t be tempted to recycle images from Twitter or Facebook, however, as Pinterest favours portrait images, whereas Twitter and Facebook graphics are typically landscape.
Instagram is definitely the social network to watch, being the fastest growing network at the minute. As it’s such a visual platform, it works well for retail businesses and wellness brands. However, as you can’t add links to posts, it’s notoriously hard to drive traffic through it.
LinkedIn is the major platform for B2B businesses to promote their content, being the third fastest-growing social network. LinkedIn in particularly useful for driving traffic to the home page of your site – it drives nearly four times as much traffic to home pages than Twitter and Facebook.
Industry news and updates also do well on LinkedIn, with 6 out of 10 users being interested in that type of content. So if you consider yourself a leader in your industry, it’s important to make sure you post your news on LinkedIn.
Producing a weekly newsletter with a roundup of your blog posts is the perfect way to promote your content to those already interested in your website. This is a great way to ensure that your most loyal and engaged audience members don’t miss any content that they might find useful, creating as much engagement and driving as much traffic to the site as possible.
Once you have locked down what social networks to promote content on, you need to establish what times are perfect for posting. There are no set rules for when to post and it might be best to experiment with your timings. For example, it would make the most sense to post during peak times when more people are going to see your content.
Conversely, you might find that you get more engagement during other times when it’s less busy. For example, Sundays could be the perfect time to post on Instagram, because that’s when the fewest amount of pictures are posted – so your photo is more likely to be seen.
However, try and avoid social network ‘dead zones’ – times when literally nobody will see your post and it will be wasted.
Creating your brand’s personal strategy
Ultimately, creating a content strategy for any brand is going to take time. The process will involve continually testing and monitoring results, in order to discover what platforms are most suited for your brand and when your audience is most likely to be active.
Start by formulating a strategy based on your knowledge of your brand’s consumers and over time experiment with variations, such as which platforms you promote content on, how often you post and what times you post. Monitoring the sharing of content and the level of engagement generated will give valuable feedback to further refine your plan and you will ultimately discover the perfect strategy for your brand.