Connect with us

MARKETING

10 Content Marketing Skills You Need to Master (Plus Tips on How to Master Them)

Published

on

In a world of ad blockers and AI automation, content marketing is essential to your marketing plan.

For example, the number of people using ad blockers has risen by 10% in six years. No matter how much you spend on your paid advertisements, there’s a 26% chance your target audience won’t even see them.

Voice search is growing. To date, there are 4.08 million voice assistants in use worldwide. This means users can get answers to their online queries without even visiting a website. In the future, the only content people will read is authority content written by experts.

So, now it’s time to focus all your energy on content marketing!

But wait…

Not so fast.

Because there’s content marketing that works. And there’s content marketing that doesn’t.

To achieve the former, you first need to master the right content marketing skills for success.

What are these skills?

The Top 10 Content Marketing Skills to Learn for Greater Brand Success

The good news is you don’t need a special degree or inborn talent to master these 10 essential content marketing skills. All you need is to know what these skills are and to practice until you’ve mastered them.

Let’s get started!

Skill 1: Detective Work – Digging Up Facts About Your Audience

No matter how compelling your content is, you won’t convert anyone if you don’t know exactly who you’re speaking to.

For instance, look at this content from Vixen Daily’s email campaign.

vixen daily email

The email holds enticing promise to readers who want to move on after a breakup. But what makes it compelling isn’t fancy wording or clever phrases. It’s simply that Nick Bastion knew his audience’s pain and need before writing it.

When you know your audience intimately, producing content they’ll devour becomes easy.

Here are a five powerful ways to put on your detective’s cap and dig up clues about your audience:

  • Use Google Analytics to find out who’s visiting your website. Analytics gives you information like the names, ages, and genders of your site visitors.
  • Go on Quora or Reddit and research topics around your niche. What are people saying? What are their fears/desires/dreams? Reading what they talk about will help you understand them on a deeper level.
  • Take note of how users respond to your content. With a tool like BuzzSumo, you can learn how people are reacting to what you write. Analyze your top engaged posts and discover what made them appealing to your audience.
  • Offer surveys (with incentives like free downloads – a mini e-book or cheat sheet work great).
  • Engage with people in the comment section of your blog. Listen to what they’re saying and respond personally and directly.

Remember, speaking to your audience should be like conversing with a friend. The better you know this friend, the more personal and appealing your message will be.

Skill 2: The Art of Subject Matter Expert Interviewing

To write amazing content, you need to be an expert on your topic.

Does this mean you need to enter medical school to write a blog about health issues and treatments?

Not necessarily. When you master the art of conducting subject matter expert interviews, you can produce authority content even if you don’t have a degree in the niche you write in.

But you can’t just jump into an interview with an expert and ask any question that comes to your mind. Remember, the value of the information you get depends on the quality of your questions.

Here are five tips to make your interviews seamless and value-rich:

  • Be prepared. You don’t want to come to an interview with absolutely no idea on the topic. Rather, you want the interview to be a deep dive into the topic. So, before you call your SME (Subject Matter Expert), do as much research as you can. From your research, make a list of questions you can’t find the answers for online.
  • Skip the dead air with open-ended questions. You want your SME to gush over the topic. You want them to feel excited. To do that, whet their appetite with unusual questions. For instance, instead of asking, “Is your profession inspiring?” you can ask, “Can you give me some facts most people don’t know about your profession?”
  • Bring your content outline with you when you interview. Asking a bunch of random, unrelated questions wastes time. To avoid this, base your questions on the outline you prepare for your content. This will help you ask specific, driven questions you can use in your writing. For instance, if you’re going to interview a psychiatrist about Bipolar disorder, it’s best to skip questions about other types of mental illness.
  • Record your conversation. Later on, you’ll want to go back over the exact words your SME said during the interview. Also, keeping busy catching up with notes will distract you from what the SME is saying in the moment.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification. If there’s something you don’t understand during the interview, ask! This can open doors for an even deeper dive into the topic.

When you approach interviews with a genuine passion for your topic, there’s nothing you can’t dig up from the experts’ knowledge banks.

Skill 3: Writing Each Piece of Content with a Goal in Mind

Writing random content wastes time without doing much for your brand. What you need to do is attach a specific goal to every single piece you write.

For instance, look at this sales copy from AWAI.

AWAI sales copy

The lead is interesting and informative, but this piece has a main goal: to compel readers to buy the How to Make Money as a Social Media Expert course at half its usual price.

Remember, goals aren’t only specific to selling products or services. For instance, you can write a lead magnet to grow your email list. You can write an email series with links to different blogs on your website.

You can write an authority blog to gain your audience’s trust. And so on. The secret is to determine the goal of every single piece of content you write.

Skill 4: Knowing How to Stand Out

Your goal is to compel your audience to read your content instead of your competitor’s. How do you do that? By providing content you can’t find anywhere else online.

Here’s how to come up with this content:

  • Spy on your competition. What are they doing right? What’s missing in their content that you can add to yours?
  • Present content uniquely. Your content can be similar to what your competitors are saying (because who can change facts?), but if you package it differently, it’ll always look like something new.
  • Develop your own personal style. You’ll be surprised to find how many people will keep reading what you write because of the way you write it. For instance, maybe you take technical subjects like best SEO practices and write about them in a way that’s fun, engaging, and easy-to-follow. People will read your blog instead of blogs packed with jargon and long paragraphs of text.

Remember, though, not to go too far with uniqueness. Sometimes, there’s a reason why your competition isn’t doing something.

Skill 5: Keyword Research Savviness

Keywords don’t only help you rank higher on Google, they act as the spine of your content. Keywords direct what you say and allow you to stay relevant with what people want to read.

So, how do you choose keywords to use in your content?

  • Go for long-tail keywords. For example, instead of choosing “dress,” go for “Walt Disney princess dresses for kids.” Keywords like this help direct quality traffic to your site.
  • Choose low competition keywords. If you go for a keyword like “shoes,” you’ll find yourself up against content from huge brands like Adidas and Nike. As a rule of thumb, go for keywords with a score below 50.
  • It’s OK to select a keyword with low search volume. As long as there are people searching for this keyword, creating content around it will get you results.

To help you find the best keywords for your content, you can use tools like KWFinder and SEMrush.

Skill 6: Looking Ahead – Planning Content Way Ahead of Time

You don’t want to wake up one morning panicking because you have to produce content but have no idea what to write. To avoid this, create a content calendar.

For example, here’s what Buffer’s content calendar looks like.

Buffer content calendar

With a content calendar, you’ll avoid problems like repetitive content and stay up-to-date with events like holidays and special occasions.

Always remember, however, to leave room for spontaneity. For example, if a relevant question from one of your followers suddenly pops up on your Twitter account, why not address it at length in a blog?

Skill 7: The Ability to Repackage Content

The goal above begs the question, “How on earth can I come up with enough new topics to fill an entire calendar?”

The good news is you don’t have to. You can take older content you produced and simply repackage it.

For instance, you can take a 3,000-word guide and turn it into three separate blog posts. You can turn those three posts into videos.

You can take the sub-headers in a long blog and turn each one into a separate post. You can update an old post with new stats and tips.

The key is to be creative. In no time, you’ll have enough content to flood your yearly content calendar!

Skill 8: Optimizing for Voice Search & AI

As mentioned earlier, voice search is a major trend to watch out for. If your content isn’t optimized for voice search, chances are low Google will choose it to answer a searcher’s query.

So, what are the best practices to follow when optimizing for voice search?

Here are a few:

  • Use whole questions instead of phrases. According to Google, 41% of people imagine themselves talking to a friend when addressing their voice assistants. When addressing friends, we don’t go “Hey Bert…restaurant near me.” Instead, we use question phrases with words like where, when, which, and how. Use whole questions in your content to optimize it for voice search.
  • Structure your content to be featured in snippets. With voice search, users no longer need to click through to a website to get questions answered. Google will find the answer for them via their voice assistant. The good news is the answer they get can come from your site. To increase this chance, divide your content into relevant H2s and H3s and use your keywords in them. Also, use numbered and bulleted lists.

Skill 9: Using Links for Higher Authority & Relevance

Links are essential to your content. They can:

  • Help Google understand what your site is about by connecting it with high-authority sites in the same niche.
  • Show Google which of your pages are most important (by linking to them).
  • Invite other influencers to link to you (if your content is stellar).

The key to choosing the best links is to analyze them with Alexa’s free tool. If the site ranks below 100,000 it’s good to go to use in content.

Skill 10: Measuring Your Content’s Success

Attaching metrics to your content will help you determine whether the content is successful or needs improvement. Here are three great ways to measure content success:

  • Email click-through rate. If people are clicking the links in your email series, take note of what makes this series different from others.
  • Bounce rate. Do people leave your site without clicking through to other pages? The rate at which they do so is your bounce rate. If people click away more than 70% of the time, you need to improve your content.
  • Scroll depth. Do people read your introduction and then leave the page? Or do they scroll all the way to the bottom? At what point do they stop reading? When you analyze what’s working and what’s not, you’ll be able to strengthen your content.

Mastering Content Marketing Skills for Your Brand’s Future Success

Content marketing is powerful, but that’s only if it’s done right.

And doing it right doesn’t mean taking the web by storm with a flood of random blog posts and web pages.

Rather, it’s digging up what your specific audience wants to know. It’s talking to them as a friend, in your own unique way and voice. It’s keeping up with current trends in technology, but only so you can serve your audience better.

When you master these skills, your content strategy will lift you to success in no time.

More Resources:


Image Credits

All screenshots taken by author, February 2020

Searchenginejournal.com

MARKETING

State of Content Marketing in 2023

Published

on

State of Content Marketing in 2023

I just pressed send on the manuscript for my book to be released in September. It’s called Content Marketing Strategy (snappy, eh?), and Kogan Page will publish it.

Last week, marketing professor Philip Kotler wrote the foreword. I won’t spoil it, but he mentioned the need for a strategic approach to owned media.

He writes, “(T)he company doesn’t carry an account of showing these marketing assets and their value. As a result, the company cannot show the CEO and company board members a return on owned assets or content.”

Luckily, my upcoming book shows exactly how to do that. Funny how that works out.

In any event, all this struck me that now is an opportune time to look at where the beloved practice of content marketing stands today.

First, let’s go back to 1999 when Kotler published Kotler On Marketing, one of his more than 70 books. The latter 1990s – a time of tumultuous change – fueled most of the thinking for the book. But he knew that it was merely the beginning.

Kotler concluded the book with a section called “Transformational Marketing.”  In the next decade, he wrote, “marketing will be re-engineered from A to Z. Marketing will need to rethink fundamentally the processes by which they identify, communicate, and deliver customer value.”

Well, it’s taken over two decades, but it’s finally happening.

Consumers have changed, but marketing operations are just starting to

In case you didn’t notice, almost every marketing conference these days starts with the same four or five requisite slides:

  • Digital technologies, such as search and social media, empower consumers today.
  • Consumers research, engage, buy, and stay loyal to brands in ways that have fundamentally changed.
  • First-party data and privacy are of the utmost importance.
  • Artificial intelligence begins to threaten the idea of the usefulness of search and pressure companies to deliver better and more personalized experiences.

You get it. Consumer expectations in the age of the social, mobile, and AI-driven web are different than they were.

However, the continuing challenge in 2023 is that content and/or marketing operations in enterprise companies are only beginning to evolve. Most marketing departments have remained as they were when Kotler wrote his book — they still work from mid- to late-20th century hierarchies, strategies, and processes.

Most marketing departments still work with mid- to late-20th-century hierarchies, strategies, and processes, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Content marketing isn’t new, but a content marketing strategy is

For hundreds of years, businesses have used content to affect some kind of profitable outcome. But the reality is this: Whether it was John Deere’s The Furrow from the 1800s, Michelin’s guide to car maintenance in the early 1900s, or even Hasbro’s GI-Joe partnership with Marvel in the 1980s, content was not — and is not for the most part now — a scalable, repeatable practice within the function of marketing. In short, companies almost always treat content marketing as a project, not a process.

That fundamental change will finally take hold in 2023. It could happen because of the digital disruption and ease by which you can now publish and distribute content to aggregate your own audiences. It could happen through the natural evolution that the ultimate outcome – more than the marketing – matters more.

As we roll through 2023 and beyond, content — and the exponentially increasing quantities of it produced by every organization — deeply affects not just your marketing strategy, but your business strategy. Content in marketing is now bigger than simply content marketing, and it should be dealt with as a component of that business strategy throughout the enterprise.

#Content in marketing is bigger than #ContentMarketing. Treat it as a component of the business strategy, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

In 2023, the No. 1 focus of my consulting and advisory practice these days: help companies transform content into a repeatable, scalable, and measurable function that drives value through a multi-channel strategy. It’s bigger than publishing a blog, creating a lead-generating resource center, or sending an email newsletter. Today’s content marketing team is being absorbed into marketing because marketing and its various operations are fundamentally transforming into a content-producing machine.

It is not good enough to produce content “like a media company would.” The goal must be to operate as a media company does. Your job is not to change content to fit new marketing goals. Rather, your job in 2023 is to change marketing to fit the new business content goals.

Your job in 2023 is to change #marketing to fit the new business #content goals, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

The unaware builds a case for the aware

The term “content marketing” continues to evolve. Even today, I run across those who still call it “brand publishing,” “custom content,” or “inbound marketing.”

My take matches with what Kotler described in 1999. I always thought the term “content marketing” would become part of “marketing” more broadly. In 2023, that happened. So, returning to the lexiconic debates of 2013, 2014, or 2015 doesn’t seem terribly productive. Content marketing is just good marketing, and marketing is just good content marketing.

That said, two kinds of companies do well at the broader view of content marketing. Some of them, such as Cleveland Clinic, Red Bull, Arrow Electronics, HubSpot, and REI, have purposely devised content marketing strategies as differentiating approaches to their marketing. They are succeeding.

Others, like Amazon, Microsoft, JPMorgan Chase, and Peloton, backed into a smart content marketing strategy. But executives at those companies probably don’t recognize it as such. If asked (and some have been), they would say acquiring or launching a media company operation was just a smart business strategy to diversify their ability to reach their consumers consistently.

They’re right, of course. Many have yet to read books about content marketing, been influenced by the Content Marketing Institute, or even recognize content marketing as a separate approach (as far as I know). And they are also succeeding.

Consider this proof: As I write this article, six companies have a market capitalization of more than $1 trillion. Four of the six wholly or partially use the business model of media creation to further marketing and business strategies. Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet, and Amazon are all, in part, media companies that also sell products and services.

Why would you not avail yourself of that same model?

The future looks cloudy and bright

As for the overall state of enterprise content marketing, it’s in transition, as all marketing is. As a focused project-based approach, working in ad-hoc ways across a business, content marketing appears to have proven its worth. Hundreds of entries every year to the Content Marketing Awards feature myriad case studies using content marketing techniques in strategic ways to profitably affect business results.

And yet, it remains to be seen whether you can make content marketing a scalable, repeatable, measurable function within marketing.

As to what the discipline’s future holds? At last year’s Content Marketing World, one of my favorite events, the Executive Forum gathered senior leaders from brands succeeding with content marketing. As we talked about the future, one participant said: “The only certainty is change. I can’t tell you where or when, but I do know there will be change, and this is the principle we build on now.”

As for my take, Kotler’s idea of transforming the marketing function seems to have gotten lost along the digital road traveled by marketers. In so many cases, marketing – and especially content – remains just an on-demand service function within the business. Its sole job is to produce ever more voluminous amounts of content that describe the value of the brand (or its products or services) so that sales can sell more efficiently, customer support can serve more effectively, and all manner of customer interfaces are more beneficial to both sides.

However, and maybe because I need to rationalize now that my book is finished, I passionately believe it’s finally time for marketing to reclaim its ability to create value — not just reflect it in the polished shine of your traditional products and services.

Almost 27 years ago today, Microsoft founder Bill Gates wrote an essay called Content is King. In it, he said that “(C)ontent is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet, just as it was in broadcasting.”

It certainly was one of his more prescient moments. Nearly three decades later, his words have proven true. The essay title has become the rallying cry for thousands and thousands of entrepreneurs who now make their living on creating, managing, optimizing, and measuring content on the internet. (A Google search for “content is king” nets more than 1.7 million results.)

But it’s the last line of his essay that I find the most visionary: “(T)hose who succeed will propel the Internet forward as a marketplace of ideas, experiences, and products – a marketplace of content.”

That’s what content marketing is for me in 2023. It’s just marketing – optimizing the value of ideas, experiences, and products in a marketplace of content.

Time to get to work.

It’s your story. Tell it well.

Get Robert’s take on content marketing industry news in just five minutes:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=videoseries

Watch previous episodes or read the lightly edited transcripts.

Subscribe to workday or weekly CMI emails to get Rose-Colored Glasses in your inbox each week. 

HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT:

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute



Source link

Continue Reading

MARKETING

27 Best About Us and About Me Page Examples [+Templates]

Published

on

Your about page summarizes your history, values, and mission — all in one place. That’s a tall order for just a few paragraphs. If you’re feeling stuck, turn to these about-page examples for inspiration. 

about us page example: laptop held in palm of hand

(more…)

Continue Reading

MARKETING

MarTech’s marketing operations experts to follow

Published

on

MarTech's marketing operations experts to follow

Marketing operations is what makes the magic happen. These are the folks who see that your martech stack doesn’t get stuck. They are the maestros, modelers and makers who make sure the trains run, the data is digestible and that you have the programs you need. Where would we be without them? That’s too scary to think about. Here’s our list of MOps experts who have the ear of the profession.

Darrell Alfonso

Darrell is director of marketing strategy & operations at Indeed and the former global marketing ops leader for AWS. He’s the author of “The Martech Handbook: Build a Technology Stack to Acquire and Retain Customers.” In addition to speaking at many conferences, Darrell was named one of the Top Marketers in the US by Propolis 2022 and among the “Top Martech Marketers to Follow” in 2020 by Martech Alliance. He’s a regular and popular contributor both to MarTech and the MarTech conference; you can find all of his articles at this link.


Eddie Reynolds

Eddie has been in business a long time, starting his first company when he was 14. “A pretty minimal enterprise,” he told one interviewer. “I had a tax ID number, a legal entity, and a company name. I even had the IRS coming after my dad for sales tax that I failed to report properly.” Today he is CEO and revenue operations strategy consultant of Union Square Consulting. He publishes The RevOps Weekly Newsletter and the podcast RevOps Corner. Eddie’s large LinkedIn following attests to the quality of the insights he shares there on  sales, marketing, service, and admin roles. 


Sara McNamara

Sara is an award-winning marketing and sales operations professional whose work has been recognized by awards from the likes of Salesforce (Pardot), Adobe (Marketo), Drift, and LeanData. She is a Senior Manager, Marketing Operations at Slack and a martech stack (+ strategy) solution architect. That and her passion for leveraging technology and processes to improve the experiences of marketers, sales professionals, and prospects, explains why she’s a regular guest on MOps podcasts.


Ali Schwanke

Ali is the CEO and founder of Simple Strat. The firm specializes in helping companies get the most out of HubSpot — from CRM strategy and setup to marketing automation and content creation. She is also host of HubSpot Hacks, “the #1 Unofficial YouTube show for HubSpot Tutorials” and has been a guest speaker at the MarTech conference.


Mike Rizzo

Mike’s career in marketing operations showed him that there is a real and significant MOps community. That’s why he founded MO Pros/MarketingOps.com, the fast-growing online community for people in marketing operations. He is also co-host of Ops Cast, a weekly podcast. 


Get MarTech! Daily. Free. In your inbox.



About the author

Constantine von Hoffman

Constantine von Hoffman is managing editor of MarTech. A veteran journalist, Con has covered business, finance, marketing and tech for CBSNews.com, Brandweek, CMO, and Inc. He has been city editor of the Boston Herald, news producer at NPR, and has written for Harvard Business Review, Boston Magazine, Sierra, and many other publications. He has also been a professional stand-up comedian, given talks at anime and gaming conventions on everything from My Neighbor Totoro to the history of dice and boardgames, and is author of the magical realist novel John Henry the Revelator. He lives in Boston with his wife, Jennifer, and either too many or too few dogs.

Source link

Continue Reading

Trending

en_USEnglish