Marketing can be a complicated beast.
It’s a beast that is constantly evolving, forcing savvy marketers to keep up with the latest trends and technologies. Content marketing will remain a marketer’s core weapon in 2018 but the quality of your content will determine whether it stands out among the 200 million+ pieces of online content that are created every 60 seconds.
And while every marketer has a view about the most effective methodologies, software and evaluation methods, there’s one thing we pretty much all agree on – the value of great content.
Here are our top 10 tips for creating better content this year.
1. Get the Right Writer
It’s vitally important to choose a writer that understands the topics relevant to your industry.
You may prefer a writer with specific experience writing for businesses like yours, or you could choose a generalist writer who has a strong portfolio writing for a variety of niche areas.
When assessing a content writer you want to consider their experience level, enthusiasm, as well as their commitment to research and getting to know your business.
You will want review samples of their work, so you can check it for originality, style, accuracy, inclusion of compelling facts and statistics, and references to high authority sites.
If you’re engaging a writer through an agency, it’s best to choose an organization that vets their writers and has quality standards in place.
2. Optimize Your Content
Your content should be written with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in mind.
This means structuring your content for easy readability and long-tail keywords, as well as breaking content up with headers and sections to create digestible chunks.
You should always include relevant keywords but don’t overuse them or ‘keyword stuff’ your content. Ensure they are inserted naturally – that is, the sentence featuring the keyword doesn’t sound awkward when read back.
Use keyword explorer tools to identify the most relevant long-tail keywords for your content.
In 2018 meta descriptions – the small snippets of descriptive text that show up in Google’s search engine results – remain incredibly important.
It’s worth noting that Google recently increased its meta description length to around 320 characters providing marketers with further opportunity to optimize their content.
3. Make it Clickable
Your content titles should hook the reader in. The most popular content remains list style, how-to articles, and titles urging you to find out what happens next.
4. Focus on the Detail
According to Entrepreneur Magazine you should delve deeper into your content topics in 2018 and focus on long-form content.
What value-add, additional detail or tips can you include that your competitors haven’t already provided? Is there an unexplored angle you could take?
5. Choose Variety
Exploring different content formats will help you reach a larger audience and employ the most effective content types for the various stages of the buyer journey.
Research shows that marketers, on average, use eight different types of content, with social media posts and blog articles the most popular.
Other content to consider in 2018 includes email marketing, visual media, videos, white papers, e-books, podcasts and landing pages.
6. Be Original
One of the biggest marketing trends in 2018 is the preference for original content.
Investing in developing your own custom content, instead of just sharing other people’s content, should garner more engagement.
You may also like to spread the workload or cost by partnering with a like-minded organization to co-create content.
7. Be Visual
Your consumers remember 65% of what they see and only 10% of what they read, meaning visual elements should be a core feature of any content.
With the exponential growth of visual platforms like Instagram and Pinterest, as well as Facebook, the bar has risen in terms of what kind of visuals to include.
Visuals needs to be interesting, awe-inspiring, entertaining, or tell a story.
If you don’t have access to visually striking images or they don’t make sense to use in your content, you can incorporate screenshots or stock photos.
8. Incorporate Video
Video remains one of the most effective types of content marketing with demand growing exponentially over the last 12 months or so.
Recent research reveals that 43% of people want to see more video content from marketers, and 51.9% of marketing professionals named video as the type of content with the best ROI.
Whether you’re using Facebook Live, creating explainer videos, or communicating your brand story, video is an excellent tool to reach and engage your audience.
9. Actively Look for Topic Ideas
One of the biggest challenges when it comes to content writing is finding new and interesting topics to write about.
Stay on top of what’s happening in your industry by reading news sources specific to your business, and products or services.
More general news sources and social media platforms, and even your competitors’ content can also be useful sources of inspiration.
If you’ve hit a brick wall though try using a blog topic generator to point you in the right direction.
10. Create Content Regularly
Brands will need to continually think like publishers or media companies rather than advertisers in 2018.
A key part of this is regular content generation, with higher frequency publishing garnering bigger results.
For example, companies who publish 16 or more blog posts a month net about 5x more leads than non-blogging companies, and 1 in 10 posts are compounding, which means they generate traffic and leads for days, weeks, months and even years to come.
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