There are four key points to remember when it comes to effective content marketing: educate, entertain and engage.
The fourth point? If you focus on yourself, that’s the fourth point: extremely boring.
In this segment, David Gould of Vertical Measures goes over three common content marketing mistakes, and what you can do to fix them. It’s about three minutes, and if you’re a content marketing creator, it’s worth a look.
Fluff. It’s comforting in pillows, appealing in clouds and essential in marshmallows.
But when it comes to content geared toward communicating your brand message, fluff is the unnecessary stuff that can block the purpose of what you have to present. That can cost you customers, which is the ultimate goal.
It’s always a challenge to communicate what you have to say effectively and precisely, especially when it comes to marketing a product or brand. The temptation for those creating written content is to show how much they know by producing as much as they can.
Unnecessary words creep into the narrative, clichés work their way into the presentation, concise descriptions are replaced by wordy phases.
The fluff can obfuscate the message you wish to present of your business or brand, which is not what customers seeking to be informed and educated want.
The quality of the writing and how you deliver your point is key, rather than how much of it is written. Tight, concise writing is essential to reach out to those with limited attention spans and a multitude of online distractions.
It can be a task, but the goal is getting the job done with content that connects with your consumer audience, and doing it effectively.
You’re the person in charge of creating content that enhances your brand’s profile and makes people want to know more and share it with others. The content will be well written, engaging and shareable by your target audience.
But do your know what that target audience is?
If you’re creating a digital narrative of the joys of owning and driving a luxury sedan, what is your focus? The consumer with the income to own it? Someone with the resources to lease it? Or who likes German engineering? Or who is interested in being a second-generation owner?
You’ll need a solid understanding of your customers and what they need and want, and how your company’s product, service or brand benefits them. You’ll also need a thorough knowledge of what you can present in the content that shows what your company, your business, can offer.
There are resources available to help you determine the audience to reach out to with your content.
Google Analytics shows who’s visiting your website, how they got there, how much time they spend and more. Surveys tell you what your customers are thinking about your brand. The use of Census Bureau economic statistics can also help in plotting your audience strategy. Try online resources like articles focusing on your particular audience, or blogs that record feedback from people who communicate their opinions.
Ask yourself some questions: Is this the audience I want to reach? Will it really benefit from the written marketing content? Are you giving the consumer something new, a nugget of knowledge they did not have before? Is this message effective enough to reach this particular audience based on the information you collected?
Learn your audience. The more you know about it in advance, the more effective and receptive the content you produce can be.
Users of mobile devices don’t spend a lot of time digesting lengthy Web content. One research study found that only 16 percent of people read what they see on a website word for word. Everyone else mostly scans the page for the information most relevant to them.
But give the user good information of interest, and even scanners can be convinced to become readers.
That means giving the user what they want in written digital content: compelling headlines, factually rich material, and strong organization of the content.
Your brand is the message that is being presented in the content. It can be sharply written, but should follow Web content basics. Get to the point high in the text. Focus on concise paragraphs. Use carefully worded headings to draw and maintain the reader’s interest. And even though it’s marketing content, resist the self-promotional urge.
Try these steps to convert the page scanners into readers of your written content.
British comedian David Schneider has some advice for using Twitter effectively for business.
Schneider, who counts more than 170,000 Twitter followers, did this segment for the Guardian of London as part of its Guardian Masterclasses series. In summary, Schneider encourages those looking to get the most out of Twitter, like those embracing it as part of their content promotion strategy, to follow these steps:
Creating content for the Web involves many elements, from well-written and researched text and compelling images to video that promotes your brand. Yet the most effective part of the content can be summed up in a few words.
The headline is what first catches the eye of the reader, the initial words viewed of your marketing content. It is where the SEO keywords go that put your article high on the list of interest. Creative and informative headlines are particularly effective for a mobile device. But, when written without much thought, they can also turn off a potential consumer.
So, how do come up with a headline that attracts the reader and keeps them focused on your content?
Good, quality written content cannot be underestimated. It should present your message in a way that is clear, uncluttered, concise, precise and informative. The better the written content, the more effective your brand marketing efforts can be.
It’s easy to overlook the written content part when you’re planning a brand marketing campaign. The focus often turns toward the integration of images, animation and video content to draw and retain consumers with short attention spans.
However, a Web site with sharp graphics and cool images can be compromised if accompanied by poor written content accompanying it.
Badly written text makes you, the content marketer, look unprofessional and your brand unworthy to follow. Good written content that includes effective, SEO-optimized keywords makes for excellent material the customer will turn to when using their mobile device.
Consider the content as if it was a resume for your brand. Experts say one of the most critical mistakes a job seeker can make is submitting a resume that has typos, is disorganized, or fails to get to the point – “This is what I can bring to this position” – quickly enough.
Well-researched, well-written content is a foundation that you should build your content strategy on. Think of it like a resume that effectively sells your business or brand.
The effective use of video content is not just essential to content marketing strategy, it’s a required element. Consider predictions that say 90 percent of Internet traffic this year will comprise of video.
That’s a lot of webinars, product reviews, corporate Q&A standups and branding campaigns to sort through, particularly if you are using a smartphone of tablet device.
Well-produced, well-executed video content that’s unique and shareable can go a long way in ensuring that your brand marketing plan takes off in the right direction.
But putting that component together requires some thought.
Here’s some advice to help the content marketing planning braintrust get started when it comes to video content, courtesy of Business 2 Community:
Do explore multiple types of video content.
Don’t go on too long, or risk losing audience engagement.
Do invite your audience in. It’s okay to encourage the viewer engagement experience.
Don’t exceed your ability. Bring in an expert with experience in creating and editing video for best results. It’s better than posting poor video content.
Do consider your video marketing distribution and promotion to amplify the brand message and expand the audience discovering your work.
Do make sure your video content aligns with the overall marketing strategy and brand. Adhere to the company’s tone and style to enhance its image.
Longer can sometimes be better when it comes to writing digital content, unless the content is for a mobile device.
When it comes to content that appears on the smartphone or tablet, there are differences of opinion as to the ideal written length. A blog post of, say, 1,500 words may be okay to leisurely digest on a laptop, or even on an iPad, but is less than optimal for a smartphone.
Producing quality marketing content takes time and effort, not to mention the right keywords.
These general tips can help in writing more effective content for the small screen:
Headlines are the first words someone sees. Make them strong and eye-catching to draw interest to the content.
Be concise. Pare down the word count as much as possible.
Write for your audience. Jargon is dull, whether for a corporate CEO or someone who comes across the content while surfing the Web. Don’t dumb down the content, but keep it interesting and lively, without superfluous text.
Make it easy to scan. Mobile device users with other tasks on their minds are likely to give the article a quick read before deciding if it is worth their time. Short sentences make the scanning easy.
Writing for the mobile device can be a challenge, but one that can be met. Effective written content is an easy way to give your corporate brand a digital boost.
California legislators are proposing a law that would be the first in the nation to require that all smartphones and tablets sold in the state have disabling technology installed that would render the smartphone or tablet inoperable if stolen.
As we said in a recent post, the proposed “kill switch” law could catch on nationwide as thefts of mobile devices continue to be a serious and dangerous issue. If passed, the law could go into effect as early as New Year’s Day.
Until then — or if you live somewhere other than California — here are a few low-tech ways to safeguard your mobile device from theft:
Don’t leave your device unattended. It only takes a moment for a thief to walk off with your $600 iPad or $400 smartphone when you’re at the coffee shop counter. Don’t leave it alone in public places.
Be aware of your surroundings. Avoid using it in areas that appear unsafe. Be wary of people who act suspiciously, and keep both hands on the device when using it in public.
Install a tracking app. This comes in handy in case someone does swipe your mobile device or takes it by force. Both Android smartphones and iPhones offer free tracking apps. You can log in to another device like a laptop or tablet to locate your missing device. Get help from law enforcement; don’t go after it yourself.
Use the protection features installed on your device. Whether it is fingerprint technology, retinal displays or a password, use these features to render the phone or tablet or iPad useless to thieves.
Treat the device like your wallet. You make sure your wallet containing your cash, ATM card, personal photos and other sensitive items is secure from pickpockets. Your smartphone or tablet has sensitive data, passwords, mobile banking information, all of which can be a big payoff for thieves. Treat your mobile device like you would your wallet.