Content marketers often feel they need to invent something brand new to ensure their campaign runs smoothly and achieves the goals they have set for it. Don’t get me wrong: innovation in content marketing is what keeps it fun and interesting. If we’d all keep going through the same motions, it would be one dull job.
However, what we content writers and marketers often forget is that sticking to some basic principles is often the best way to innovate.
Let’s take a look at six important principles of content marketing that you shouldn’t ignore and that can guide your next innovative campaign.
Your Prospects Love Video (And So Should You)
To understand the importance of video for your marketing efforts, let’s first take a look at some of the most compelling statistics from the latest Wyzowl report on the subject:
- 96% of people have watched an explainer video to learn more about a product or service.
- 89% of them said watching a video has convinced them to buy a product or service, while 79% of them have been convinced to buy a piece of software or an app.
Most brands are aware of these facts, as 91% of them are planning to use video as a marketing tool in 2023. Social media and explainer videos are the most popular formats, but testimonials and ads aren’t that far behind.
Videos are easier to digest and more relatable. They can add that human element to your content that written text will never convey as effectively. Plus, they’re a great tactic for boosting time on page and can help you rank better for certain types of queries.
It’s important to also bear in mind another content marketing principle when creating video content: value above everything else. Creating lame, uninteresting videos just for the sake of giving your audience something to play won’t cut it.
Let’s examine an example of the kind of video content that you should aim to create. Note that you should be adapting the principles of the video and not just the fact that it was featured in a blog post.
Menlo Coaching’s comprehensive guide on MBA applications features a 6-minute video about the things top MBA admissions committees look for. The contents of this video are not featured anywhere else on the page.
The exclusivity of this video content will increase time on page and add immense value to the copy that is already of immense value to begin with.
The written content itself is enough to help you understand the admission process and decide if an MBA course is the right thing for you. But this little bit of added value makes this page that much more informative.
We also can’t deny the importance of the human factor. Hearing an expert calmly and succinctly explain why certain things are important to admissions committees lends a lot of credibility to the page, and chances are you will be much more interested in getting in touch with the company after hearing David demonstrate his expertise.
People are Skeptical of Online “Experts”
Speaking of experts, another fact you need to bear in mind is that people are very skeptical of most online experts, or should we say, “experts.”
The internet gives you the freedom to pretend you are something you are not. In the world of business and marketing, this means you can lie about your experience, your expertise, the work you’re able to do, and even your identity.
With the vast amount of scams running amok on social media (khm, khm Andrew Tate), it’s no wonder the modern online customer is warier than ever.
How can you circumvent this issue? Ensure that the content you produce is created by real, verifiable experts. At the very least, establish a content verification process and shine a light on it, making sure readers are aware of the credibility behind your content. This tactic will help you climb above your competitors and establish yourself as a trusted source in your space.
This is especially important if you operate in the health or finance sectors (also known as Your Money or Your Life niches).
In these sectors, EAT (expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness) carries extra weight in the eyes of search engines as well as people.
Let’s look at this post on the best mattresses made in the USA. The brand has taken the time to hire a medical professional — in this case, a chiropractor whose credentials are easy to verify — to review all of their content. Even though it’s “just a mattress,” the fact that there is an MD reading it before you makes it much more reliable than all the similar posts written by SEO writers.
Also note the “Fact Checked” popup that details the brand’s approach to content writing and data verification and ensures their commitment to quality is made obvious.
Evergreen Content Means More Touchpoints
It usually takes 6-8 touchpoints before a lead is converted. This means that you need to have a strategy in place that will consistently bring leads back to your website, in order to increase your chance of converting them.
How do you get leads to keep coming back for more? By creating evergreen content that has a higher chance of ranking.
Evergreen topics are continually relevant to readers. They are highly rankable, especially if you keep updating them regularly (provided that the competition isn’t too steep). Here are the main points to keep in mind when creating this type of content:
- Find long-tail keywords that have consistently high search volumes and that you are able to rank for. What this means will depend on the authority of your website and the SEO you are able to file.
- Tick all the usual on-page SEO boxes.
- Write for beginners, not experts, and don’t use jargon terms.
- Repurpose the same topic in a variety of formats.
- Allocate the post to a prominent space on your blog.
- Keep promoting it via socials and email and build some quality links.
- Create content around the same topic cluster to further boost your expertise and rankability.
Here’s an example of an evergreen topic where the brand has also applied some outside-the-box thinking to the page. This penny stock list is updated practically in real time, and it gives you all the relevant information about the most popular and lucrative penny stocks you could invest in.
The page is practically guaranteed return visitors, as the topic is so evergreen it sees thousands of daily hits.
The brand has cleverly blurred the lines between evergreen and news content, and it’s capitalizing on several similar pages as well.
Lead Magnets Need to Deliver Real Value to be Effective
Lead magnets are a content marketing staple. However, they are often so poorly made that they defeat their own purpose and fail to collect valuable contact information.
In order for it to work, a lead magnet needs to be so valuable that a lead is willing to give up a bit of their privacy, i.e., share their email address, to gain access to said content.
In other words, it should:
- Be highly targeted and appeal to a particular section of your audience
- Target a specific stage in the sales funnel for that audience section
- Come with a glimpse: you can’t expect people to sign up before they know what they are getting
- Be some of the best content you have ever produced
- Come with a bonus: a freebie, a discount, exclusive access, etc.
Let’s look at this one-rep max calculator. It can help athletes and newbie gym goers determine which weights and reps they can safely handle without actually having to test their strength in the gym and risking a potential injury.
The calculator itself provides most of the value, as it’s not something most people will be able to calculate without some expert help.
It’s absolutely worth providing your email address to get your results, and the brand has also kindly left you the option to not sign up for their newsletter.
The added content, especially the resources section at the bottom, provides that extra layer of credibility, showing readers why the calculator is important, how to use it, and demonstrating its basis in science.
Content Pages are a Great Place to Demo Your Product
A blog post is often the first page a lead will encounter. This is the first time they will see your offer — if you don’t make them click through to several other pages, that is.
If visitors want to get an idea of what your product or service can do, don’t make them spend any additional time on your website. Offer a demo or access to your offer right there on the content page.
That way, you’ll increase their chances of converting or at least ensure that the product sticks in their mind.
You don’t have to do this with all of your pages. However, as Tim Soulo puts it, if you are not blogging for business, you shouldn’t be blogging at all. In other words, if you cover topics that can’t sell your product, you are wasting your time.
This doesn’t mean that you should turn every blog post into a sales pitch; quite the contrary.
Your aim is to naturally and organically include your offer. Readers will run away from sales pitches and they won’t be likely to come back, so remain informative and provide value.
Here’s a good example of making this tactic work. This Scrabble word finder page features the brand’s product right at the very top. It lets you unscramble words instantly, even before you start reading the post you’ve come to the website for.
There is no better way to get leads hooked and coming back. They were not only able to learn more about upping their Scrabble game but also found a tool that can do it for them, which they may not have even known about in the first place.
Access to Industry-Specific Data Is a Superpower
Finally, let’s touch upon the importance of utilizing the data you have access to as a superpower. While this tactic works especially well in the SaaS space, there is no reason brands outside the niche can’t adapt it too.
As your customers or clients use your products or services, you are naturally learning more about said products and services. You should by now have started writing case studies and use cases based on this access.
But you should also aim to create data-driven posts that other industry experts can utilize, and that will also quickly turn you into a reputable and trustworthy brand to work with.
Let’s look at Unbounce’s conversion benchmark report as an example. It is filled with information marketers will want, use and share. This will build the brand some high-quality links completely organically (case in point, I am referencing them right now!).
But industry experts aren’t the only ones who will flock to this page. Any CEO or business owner who is doing benchmarking research will find the post (given all the good SEO poured into it).
And they can choose to convert based on the expertise the brand has demonstrated with a bit of flexing.
By remembering these important content marketing principles, you can both play it safe and come up with an innovative, creative strategy that will help you (or your client) boost those conversions and reach goals you’ve been diligent enough to set at the start of this year.
Don’t forget to adapt them to your own purposes, though, as personalization remains yet another principle you need to contend with!
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