content marketingGuest Post by Monika Jansen

There’s a lot of noise out there. You are drowning in emails, ads and brand messages – and so are your prospects and clients. The best way to stand out from the noisy crowd is by employing a few tricks of the content marketing trade.

As you work on your content marketing strategy, keep these in mind:

Talk to your audience, not at them

People don’t care about what you do; they only care about how you can help them. That means you need to write messaging that’s completely client-concentric. Instead of “We are an award-winning catering company” say, “Your guests will be wowed.”

The next time you write marketing copy:

  • Use “you” instead of “we”
  • Focus on the benefits of working with/buying from you
  • Write like you talk

Ask for feedback, ideas and insights

You can’t give people what they want unless you listen to them first. So, talk to your clients!

  • Ask questions on social media
  • Create surveys
  • Gather feedback from your sales and customer service teams
  • Create a group of “client insiders” to provide you with feedback on new products or services
  • Call your best clients and ask, “What can we do better?”

Segment your target markets

One of the best ways to break through the noise is segmentation. Divvy up your target markets based on interests, demographics, job title, industry – whatever parameters make sense – and create content and offers that are specific to each segment’s needs.

Let’s say your target market is new parents. You could break that group down in so many ways: moms, dads, gay couples, parents who adopt, Millennials, Gen X, etc. Though some of their interests may overlap, creating content, offers and products or services specific to each group will make your content more valuable and your marketing more effective.

Share the right content on the right social media network

Every social media network is different, which means your audience and/or the information they’re looking for is different, too. Knowing this goes a long way toward making your social media marketing successful.

Here are three examples:

  • Facebook is best for B2C companies that share short, consumable content (see below) and special offers or discounts for first-time buyers
  • LinkedIn is better for B2B companies that publish thought leadership articles and get recommendations
  • Instagram works for both B2C and B2B companies that post inspirational, aspirational and behind-the-scenes images

Offer consumable content …

Consumable content means a quick, fun message that is easy to engage with or respond to. It could be an inspiring quote (from you or someone else), a question (“What’s the top thing on your bucket list for this year?”), or a tip.

Makes these pieces of content extra special by turning them into a graphic. Canva is great for this, as it’s a free graphic design tool for non-graphic designers.

And long-form content

Meaty, comprehensive guides are fantastic lead generation tools. Think ebooks, white papers and even blog posts. Don’t worry about giving away the farm; people will only do so much themselves before they turn to you for help.

Create bare-bones lead nurturing emails

By bare-bones, I mean two things: plain-text and short, concise copy. Plain-text emails look more personal, less marketing-y and actually have better open rates (HubSpot does a great job explaining why in this blog post). Concise copy ensures the message is focused and quick to read.

Put these two things together in a lead nurturing email campaign, add super valuable and helpful information and watch your open and click-through rates go up.

Use keywords

Any content marketing that will live online must be optimized with one main keyword to satisfy the search engine gods (aka, Google). If your content can’t be indexed and found online, you’re wasting time and money.

No clue what keywords you want to be found for? Seek out a reputable, high-quality SEO agency to help you get your search ducks in a row.

Don’t create custom hashtags

Unless you have a very well-known, established brand with a large following, don’t bother using hashtags on Twitter or Instagram that are specific to your brand. People won’t use them, and therefore they won’t be used enough to make your content findable.

Instead, use hashtags that are already popular and align with your brand. Once you have a large following, you can experiment with branded hashtags.

Track results

This is one of the most important – and most ignored – content marketing rules. You must regularly track how well your content is working on your behalf.

  • Are people engaging with your social media posts?
  • Are they sharing your posts and emails?
  • Are your messages and offers pushing people to your website?
  • Once people are on your website, are they converting into clients or buyers?
  • What web pages are they visiting?
  • What content are they reading and downloading?

Depending on what you find, make tweaks as needed to ensure your content is working for you.

Good luck – and have fun experimenting with your content marketing!

Image: Twenty20 via Pexels, Creative Commons CC0

Monika JansenMonika Jansen is Head Kick-Ass Copywriter and Strategist at Jansen Communications, a boutique marketing agency that specializes in copywriting and social media marketing. She and her team work with clients to create outstanding content and get it in front of the right people so they can hit their overall business goals. When she is not working, she hangs out with her husband and kids, travels, snowboards and laughs as much as possible. Connect with her on LinkedIn or Twitter