You’ve heard that in the world of digital marketing content is king, but what does that even mean?
It means not only that you as a marketer have to create content for your website, social networks, blogs, landing pages, and more, but you also have to put a lot of time and focus on that content in order to assure quality.
Quality content is defined as content you’re creating in response to the challenges your audience is facing.
But let’s expand on that a little. What is quality content?
- It’s content backed by data that provides a service to your target demographic.
- It’s clean copy free of any major grammatical issues.
- It’s copy that is 100% original with not even a whiff of plagiarism.
Quality content is what elevates you above and beyond your competitors.
But how do you produce quality content that will drive results?
That’s what we’re going to discuss in this article. Read on to learn more.
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Strategy #1: Determine Your Brand Voice
When producing content you have to make sure that your brand has a specific voice, and that voice is consistent across your content marketing strategy.
So, ask yourself the question, “how should my brand sound?”
That’s not a question we can answer for you. It’s a question that’s entirely dependent on your audience.
What would appeal to them? After all, every bit of your branded content from social media posts to blog articles has to be designed with this audience in mind.
For instance, if you’re marketing to professionals like CEOs or lawyers, don’t be overly snarky or casual in your content. Stick to a more technical and a professional voice that conveys authority on your subject.
On that same note, don’t be overly technical to a young audience that is looking for entertainment.
This is an important decision, because once you decide on your brand voice you have to stick with it. Consistency is key. Everything you put out should be of one voice, as if it were all written by the same person. (Even if it wasn’t).
That means website content, blog articles, social media content production, email marketing messages like newsletters, and any other promotional materials all have to adhere to your brand voice.
What is your tone? What kind of character or persona are you trying to show? What kind of language are you using? What is the purpose of your content?
For instance, let’s take your business’ brand persona.
There are a number of different characteristics your brand persona could exemplify:
Now, let’s focus in on the tone of your content. There are many different tones that you can choose from when trying to find the one that works the best for your business.
Some popular choices are:
What kind of language are you going to use when crafting your content? The language that you use should match the way your audience speaks.
Some examples of language styles that you can pull from include:
- Presented as an insider
Finally, what is the purpose of your content? What are you trying to accomplish and bring to your audience?
This has to be well defined, otherwise your content will lack direction and fall flat.
When designing content, your purpose could be to:
All of the above falls under branding voice. It is your job to ensure that you have properly outlined your persona, tone, language, and purpose in a way that resonates with your readers. Once you know what your voice should be, it’s important to keep it strong and consistent so as not to confuse or drive away potential customers.
Strategy #2: Choose the Best Writers
If you’re not going to be writing your own content, you have to make sure that the person or people who are writing it have a strong understanding of your brand voice, a powerful handle on your target audience, and the skills and experience needed to produce quality content.
Simply put, you need to assemble a writing dream team if you want to create scalable content. By scalable, we mean content that will drive conversions. You want content that can urge people to take some kind of action. Whether that action is a newsletter subscription, a social media follow, or even an actual purchase, your writers have to properly understand these goals and work toward them.
The people who will take on your brand voice and communicate effectively with your audience are going to need a lot of guidance. But they also need to know how to write.
If you’re looking for writers, make sure to hire copy professionals who have experience in content marketing. They understand what it takes to create scalable content and have a history of designing and crafting content that converts.
The writers that you choose should have knowledge of your subject or industry, or at least be willing to learn. Yes, it is 2020, and when you give a millennial an hour and a Google search they can become an expert in just about anything. That being said, if they have experience in producing content for your specific industry, it’s all the better.
Now comes the real question when talking about bringing on writers to help you design quality content.
Should you outsource to a content writing firm or hire someone full time?
Most companies choose to outsource content production for a number of reasons, but there’s still something to be said about having a full time member of your staff writing for you.
A whopping 84% of businesses outsource their content creation.
One of the main reasons for this is that working with a team of experienced writers gives you the chance to ramp up scalable content in a manner that might overwhelm a single full time staffer without sacrificing quality.
However, even if you’re outsourcing, you should still have an internal content manager or editor who oversees the branding of your content. Because they won’t have to continue writing all the time, the content manager is free to brainstorm new ideas.
Strategy #3: Provide Resources and Guidance
It’s not enough to just hire great writers and say, “Go forth and create my content!”
You still need to be actively engaged in your creative process. It’s an important aspect of your company’s marketing and it’s not a “set it and forget it” type thing.
You can help your writers create content that meets your organization’s objectives by properly communicating those objectives before they start working. This is particularly true if you’re outsourcing your content to an outside agency. They have many clients that they’re working with and aren’t completely immersed in your corporate environment. The more information you can give them, the better they’re going to do.
Remember, writers are not mind readers. Provide them with links to other benchmark articles to give your writing team a sense of what you’re looking for.
While writers will do the lion’s share of their research on their own, it’s also a good idea to give them some research resources.
Let your writers know what keywords you’re going after. Leaving that up to the writers themselves could lead to some wires being crossed. If you’re hoping to rank for a certain term but that was not communicated properly to the writer, they could optimize your content for another related term altogether.
Remember our first step? Where you identified your brand voice? Well, the writer needs to know about that. Provide them with a content voice guide and benchmark examples of how your business sounds. They could get a clear sense of your tone by visiting your website and looking at some of your content, but when you have an actual brand guide, you’re removing any and all guesswork from the process.
Informed writers create better content, so give them the tools needed to maximize their workflow.
Much like any relationship, business or personal, your relationship with your writing team is based on communication.
Provide them with a means of easy communication; perhaps a messenger system like Slack where they could easily communicate questions. Dropping an instant message on a Slack channel is way easier and less time consuming than making a phone call. However, an international phone call such as from the US to Germany may have a more last impression.
You should also have some kind of workflow program designed to organize assignments and streamline the content production process.
Use Dropbox links and Google Docs to easily share content. Make sure you’re providing your writers with optimization and grammar checking tools so that they can ensure the quality of their assignments.
Strategy #4: Promote Your Content
Once your content is written you have to make sure that people can see it. That’s where content promotion comes in handy. If you have the best content in the world, it’s absolutely useless if no one is able to find it and gain value from it.
That’s why you have optimize for SEO.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and it is a series of content tweaks and link building efforts both on and off your page. It tells Google not only who you are but what you do, and it determines how your website is ranked on popular search engines.
Simply put, SEO is the single most important aspect of content marketing.
That’s why you can’t leave things up to chance or guesswork. Use a content marketing tool like Frase to determine the content score of your copy and analyze your competitors.
Your competitors can’t be ignored. If you want to succeed, you have to figure out how you rank against your largest opponents. It gives you a goal to meet.
Make sure you’re also sharing your content on social media. Since social media algorithms often hide organic business communications (curse you, Zuckerberg!), it’s always a good idea to run social media content ad campaigns on popular platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Google Ads campaigns are also great because you’re able to target them to the specific audience that you’ve determined is most likely to convert.
Remember, you shouldn’t just promote a piece of content once and move on to the next. Continue to promote specific high performing pieces to maximize your ROI over time.
Strategy #5: Repurpose Your Content
Your old digital content can become new again very easily. Repurposing content is a vital piece of the marketing puzzle that lets you leverage your existing content and update it for a new medium or audience.
You should periodically update old articles and re-release them. At least once a year, go through some of your old content and update statistics and push them out again via social media channels.
You can also take some of the written articles you have and convert them into new forms of media.
For example, you can easily turn a blog post into a video and push it out on YouTube. People retain more information when they see and hear it as opposed to reading, so video production is a wise investment.
You can also turn list-based articles into hub and spoke content. Hub and spoke content is when you have a long article that touches on a number of subjects. Each subject then has its own shorter article that is linked out from and back to the original piece.
You can also use some of your older articles for podcast content. Podcasting is a rapidly growing medium and it’s relatively easy to do.
Infographics also speak to a need that consumers have to see content visually and not read it.
The content marketing arena is crowded and noisy. Quality is what will set you apart from your competitors as a content producer. Everyone knows that they need content, but they’re not always sure how to maximize it.
Remember that you should be able to:
- Select your writing team
- Arm them with knowledge
- Have a well defined brand voice
- Promote your content, and
- Repurpose older articles into new and exciting formats
By following these steps you’re going to be able to create a better content strategy that will generate more of a return on investment.