9 Simple Ways to Improve Your Content Marketing

  • Categories:

    Content Marketing

  • Date:

    August 25, 2022

9 Simple Ways to Improve Your Content Marketing

Content Marketing

Content marketing offers endless possibilities for earning your target audience’s business by helping them solve a problem or learn something new. Still, developing and distributing content in a way that engages your audience and drives profitable action is easier said than done. Anyone can create content, but whether that content moves the needle for your business is a little more complex.

Thankfully, there are a variety of tips, tricks and ideas that can significantly boost your content marketing efforts. We’ve come up with a list of nine ideas to help you think differently about your content marketing strategy and how you earn your audiences’ trust — and, ultimately, their business.

1. Find your brand voice.

To some, this isn’t anything new. For others, however, this may be a revelation.

Understanding your brand voice is essential to publishing content that establishes the company as an expert and sets you apart from others. If your writers and storytellers don’t have a firm grasp on your brand personality and language, you’ll end up with a garbled message, touch points that don’t connect and content that fails to drive meaningful action.

2. Write for your audience.

Writing for the people to whom you’re selling is one of the greatest challenges in content marketing. Why? We are so close to our products or services that we know why they’re great, but that doesn’t always translate well in our marketing.

Creating personas for your target audiences — whether simple or complex — helps you see your product through your customers’ eyes and think more as they would. You can tell them what they want to hear, not what you feel the need to say.

3. Speak the way your audience speaks.

    If you truly know your audience, you will have a good feel for not only how they speak but also how they want to be spoken to. For instance, with most B2C content, unless your audience is a highly knowledgeable and well-studied group, you should limit industry jargon or highly technical terms. On the other hand, many B2B audiences want you to get technical and will quickly grasp more complex explanations because they’re well versed in the terminology of their industry.

    Regardless of your audience or their level of expertise, following these principles will serve you well:

    • Keep your message simple, clear and easy to understand.

    • Don’t use jargon or big words when they aren’t necessary. You don’t want to come off as “smarter than everyone.”

    Talk to people as people. Be clear. Be concise. Be helpful.

    4. Establish a content strategy.

    Like brand voice, this may seem obvious, but according to Semrush, only 77% of companies say they have a content marketing strategy.

    Ideally, it would be ALL companies, right? Having a planned and documented content strategy keeps your marketing efforts on point and on track. It helps you create relevant, targeted content rather than randomly smattering the landscape with disconnected content that may or may not actually be useful to your audience.

    It doesn’t need to be complicated either. It’s best if you keep it simple. Think of it as an elementary math equation: Content strategy is equal parts why and how.

    The “why” is understanding whom you are trying to reach and what matters to them. If you haven’t identified your target audience, you have nowhere to aim.

    Knowing your “why” helps you develop “how.” What is your message, and what are you going to do to get it to the right person, at the right time, in all the right places?

    Planning in line with these two simple ideas helps you create a solid launchpad for successful content marketing efforts.

    5. Avoid writing for the sake of SEO.

    This one is challenging and requires a delicate balance, so before you click away in a huff, please hear us out. SEO is critical. There’s no debating that. It’s one of the keys to attracting more organic traffic.

    Writing a blog post about a keyword you want to rank for isn’t bad. Writing it when you don’t know much about the topic is. Using SEO to help guide your content is necessary, but writing something that isn’t meaningful to your audience or that you aren’t equipped to write about simply because it has the right keywords is unhelpful.

    Stuffing your content with a keyword to optimize it for SEO is not the way to get your brand noticed. The best way to do that is by creating quality content that educates, entertains and helps your customers with a problem they need to solve.

    Once you have the quality of your content in a good spot, you can focus on using SEO best practices to ensure it gets noticed.

    Here are a few quick tips to maximize SEO for quality content:

    • Create blog posts that are at least 400 to 500 words, although 800 words or more gives you a better chance of ranking in search results.

    • Make sure your content is readable, with clear sections, captions, headings, subheadings and highlighted text.

    • If possible, use your primary keyword in your title and the first paragraph of your content.

    • Include relevant internal and external links in your copy. Make sure the linked text is descriptive.

    6. Aim for quality, not quantity.

    Too often, marketers get into the churn-and-burn mentality, thinking they need to crank out piece after piece, rinse and repeat. We’ve all been there. If you’re not feeling overwhelmed with projects, you wonder if you’re doing it right.

    Sometimes, putting more quality time into a project means creating less output. That’s OK!

    Taking a thoughtful, thorough approach to even a single blog post; considering search trends; providing helpful, practical advice that talks to your target audience; and complementing your copy with graphics, photography and/or video can cut through all that noise and resonate clearly.

    Each piece of content should serve a clear purpose. If you create and publish content frequently that is intentional and helpful, that’s great. But simply creating content for the sake of quantity won’t benefit you or your audience.

    7. Don’t use a platform just because it exists.

    Whenever a shiny new toy is created in marketing, we wonder how our brand can play with it. If you can fight that impulse, you’ll be better off.

    For example, TikTok has become one of the hottest social media platforms for marketers. However, that doesn’t automatically mean TikTok is the best next place to expand your marketing efforts.

    Before you dive into sharing content on any new platform, do some critical market research.

    Ask yourself these questions:

    • Is your audience there?

    • Are your competitors there?

    • If so, how are they doing?

    • Do you have the resources to create enough content for this platform or network?

    Think about your brand and your audience and determine what would make the most sense strategically. Then you can execute what you know works best for your company and brand.

    8. Don’t be the hero.

    Your brand is not Batman.

    Hollywood has created a culture where we all want to envision ourselves or our brands as the heroes who come in and save the day for our customers.

    Here’s the problem: To create successful content, you can’t be the hero; your customer has to be. If you make yourself the hero, the content and story become about you and what you can do and less about your customer and what they need.

    Your brand needs to be the mentor, leading your customer — the real hero of the story — along the right path through empathy, education and wisdom. Think of your company as Yoda, Mr. Miyagi, or Alfred, Batman’s faithful butler.

    If you make yourself the hero, your audience will tune your message out quickly.

    9. Learn from every mistake.

    Albert Einstein once said, “A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.”

    No one wants to make mistakes, of course, but they can be incredible lessons on how to improve for the future.

    One practical way to do this is to dive into your analytics, see what resonated and what didn’t, and try to understand why. Finding clarity on why something works and why something doesn’t can help you allocate your resources in a more beneficial way.

    Keep in mind that it’s not only your mistakes you learn from; marketing teams are always trying new things and failing. Thankfully, many are humble enough to share their missteps to help others avoid the same fate.

    What’s next?

    As mentioned earlier, content marketing is a realm filled with infinite possibilities. These nine ideas are a drop in the proverbial bucket when it comes to methods to improve your content marketing efforts.

    We haven’t even discussed the multitude of options you have to consider when planning your content marketing strategy. Even with one platform, there are more ideas to consider.

    The beauty of this industry is that it is a constantly evolving organism where new ideas break through to more and more ways of telling great stories.

    Are you looking for more ways to improve your content marketing program? Take a look at our “17 Tips to Creating Better Content” for even more helpful ideas.

    Explore more articles from Wray Ward.