There are seemingly endless articles out there highlighting specific tactics that will help increase the quality of your content marketing efforts. But what elements make up a powerful content marketer at his or her core? The following 10 traits combined in one way or another run true across the most effective content marketers. They:
1. Constantly research.
Dive into what’s going on in the industry by carving out a few minutes a day to read up on industry trends. What are your top ten resources you turn to for advice? What can you read about each day to help make you a more effective content marketer? Check those daily, save tips from them in a file, share on social, do whatever you need to do to absorb and capture that information. Constantly researching industry news and trends helps you build your knowledge and grow as a content marketer.
2. Network and monitor others in the industry.
The content marketing industry has many conferences, tradeshows and workshop events all throughout the year nationally and, likely, locally in your area. Research those and get yourself attending, learning and meeting others in the industry doing exactly what you’re doing … trying to become better content marketers. On a regular basis check out the websites of those you’ve met or heard about at those events and see what they’re doing for their own content marketing and social outreach. It’s OK to get some inspiration from those doing what you’re doing. Working in a silo can be tough, especially when you’re trying to be innovative with your brand. Seeking out information via events, through networking and getting to know how others manage their brands through content, can help you become a better content marketer.
3. Always ask, “Does this provide value to my audience?”
One of the best habits any content marketer should practice is to always look at your content through the lens of your readers and ask: Does this provide value?
In order for anyone to read your content it has to be educational and provide value. Otherwise, it’s just a ton of work going into creating it with no real connection at the back end. Content marketing is your chance to build valuable relationships with your audience. Make sure you know them well. Have you developed buyer personas of your audience? If not, here’s an e-book that will help you get started. What are their pain points? What type of content are they looking for? What tips or information do they seek out? Connect with your sales team, or those talking to your audience on regular basis, to see what types of questions they have. Answer those in your content.
4. Make sure they’re consistent
“Content marketing doesn’t usually fail because of content quality. The main reason is because it’s inconsistent or it stops.” Says @JoePulizzi from the Content Marketing Institute
Being consistent is key for effective content marketing. You’ll see an uptick with this over time when reviewing Google Analytics web traffic numbers and social engagement, I promise you! You want to build a loyal audience –an audience that comes to you for the information you provide. That takes time and consistency. Set up a calendar and stick to it! If you have a blog, we suggest you post 2 to 3 times per week, share those on social along with other social posts beneficial to your audience. This keeps your brand top of mind on a consistent basis.
5. Focus on quality
“Google will only give you search traffic if you have high-quality content.” Says @neilpatel from CrazyEgg and KISSmetrics
Yes, you want to be consistent, but that doesn’t mean to sacrifice on quality. If your content is a mess, your audience won’t read it. Developing quality content includes researching the best topics your audience will find valuable and producing pieces that are written well. Bad quality content won’t help your SERPs rankings either. Google, being the number one search engine, won’t reward websites that don’t provide good stuff.
6. Are curious
Really dive into what your audience is seeking. Ask questions of them such as: What are their goals? What types of things interest them? What do they love about your product? What are some down-sides to it? Check with the staff — why did they choose to work with you? What about you really drew them in? Those are all great highlights for content topics.
7. Find a content mix
Depending on your company needs and objectives, you might want to develop different types of content to deliver to your audience. Give them a mix of content types. Think about producing some of the formats below that can be either longer form pieces of content, if you really want to embrace a topic, or shorter more visual pieces to get your points across quickly.
8. Monitor customer conversations
Knowing what your audience is saying out there, whether through blog comments, reviews or social interactions, will help you understand their needs and wants. This is just more intelligence that can help you produce content that meets their needs or helps solve their problems.
9. Keep the customer experience in mind, and make sure it’s good!
Read your blog like a customer, visit your website and take actions just like your customers would. Is it easy to navigate? Does it answer the customers’ questions? Does it drive them to another page that brings them deeper into their quest to research what they came for? Here are some tips to keep in mind when creating a great user experience:
- Mobile site accessibility experience
- Clear calls to action in content and product pages
- Attention grabbing headlines
- Clear and well laid out content formats
- Compelling visual content
- Landing page content and calls to action within them
10. Live in “idea mode”
One effective trait I’ve picked up, as well as my marketing colleagues, is we’ve learned to come up with blog posts and e-book topics frequently – going through the day with that thought in mind of how can this help our audience and be created into a piece of content? Sometimes ideas flow faster than you can keep them organized – when you’re on, you’re on! Keep those topics flowing and make sure they’re in your arsenal, then when it’s time to create some content, check in on those topics.
For me, “idea mode” really kicks in when I start my day looking for social media topics to share or when reading industry news resources like Content Marketing Institute’s blog, Copyblogger, MarketingProfs or MOZ blog. Whatever I’m gaining, I’m always thinking of how I can relay it back to my audience so I’m spreading the value right back to them.