Three weeks — that’s how much time (or how little, rather) we have left in 2019. As the year comes to a close, it’s time that business leaders reflect on their achievements, missteps, and lessons learned over the past 12 months and create new goals for the year ahead. This is especially necessary when it comes to content marketing.
Content marketing — once viewed by skeptics as nothing more than a passing trend — remains an essential aspect of a successful marketing strategy. And it can help you achieve your business goals in 2020. In fact, according to the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs’ B2B Content Marketing 2020: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America report, content marketing helped achieve the following goals for B2B marketers:
- Create brand awareness (86%)
- Educate audiences (79%)
- Build credibility/trust (75%)
- Build loyalty with existing clients/customers (63%)
- Generate sales/revenue (53%)
- Build a subscribed audience (45%)
Yet, despite these goals, the same report found that the majority of B2B marketers (58%) said their company’s content marketing had been just “moderately successful.” In short, there’s room to improve, and a new year serves as the perfect opportunity.
If you’re looking to achieve similar business goals in the new year, here are four content marketing solutions to consider:
Goal #1: Increase overall brand awareness.
Solution: Optimized content
If you’re like most, getting your name out there is probably at the top of your list of goals for the new year. And creating engaging content is a great start. But that’s just it — it’s a start. Creating content in the hopes that it will attract more people to your brand isn’t enough if that content can’t be easily found. But optimizing your content will go beyond traditional SEO strategies (i.e., link stuffing) in 2020.
One way to better optimize your content and increase brand awareness is to focus on mobile and voice search. While optimizing for mobile isn’t a new trend, it’s a trend that’s here to stay. And because voice search typically occurs on mobile devices, incorporating voice search strategies, such as focusing on conversational queries and how-to pieces, is a great way to help your brand stand out in the new year.
It’s important to remember that mobile-friendly is voice-search-friendly; what’s good for one is often good for the other. If you want to find out if your website is successfully optimized for mobile, check out Google’s nifty mobile-friendly test.
Goal #2: Establish yourself as a thought leader.
Solution: Data-driven content
While working in the content marketing industry, I was surprised to learn how few people actually know what thought leadership is. In short, to be regarded as a thought leader is to be recognized and trusted as an authority on a particular subject. And in a world where content is produced, consumed, and replaced at an unimaginable pace, thought leadership content has to be incredibly valuable to stay relevant.
A great way to create lasting value is to base your content on original research. Conducting your own research through an online survey tool like Pollfish or SurveyMonkey not only ensures that it’s one-of-a-kind, but also opens up doors for various topics, forms of content, etc.
Rather than pulling data from multiple outside sources (or, if you’re like me, searching long and hard for a stat that simply doesn’t exist), you can support your thoughts with facts garnered yourself. This is a very natural and credible way to establish yourself as a thought leader within your industry.
Goal #3: Build credibility with your target audience.
Solution: User-generated content
If you’re shopping around for a pair of running shoes, are you more likely to trust the recommendation of a brand that sells running shoes or a friend who’s an avid runner? Probably the latter.
While brands can establish credibility in a number of ways, one of the most reliable ways to do so is to gain the support of people who embody your target audience. This is because an increasing number of people refer to Instagram, YouTube, blogs, and other influencer-based social platforms when researching a brand, product, etc. These various forums have led to the rise of user-generated content, and if you’re not taking advantage of it, you’re missing out.
To encourage this “social proof,” offer your audience an incentive to share your brand with others. This can be as simple as offering a discount code for sharing a photo or video of your product in action. The key here is to encourage the creation of honest, positive content.
Goal #4: Improve engagement with your brand.
Solution: Interactive content
While blog posts, long-form content, white papers, and written case studies are great ways to deliver valuable information to your audience, you can easily break up the monotony of text-based content with more interactive content. This can include anything from quizzes or surveys to live streaming or gamified videos.
The idea is to engage your audience in a new way by involving them somehow, having them take a specific action, or simply entertaining them. This way, they’re encouraged to stick around.
If there’s one thing 2019 has taught us, it’s that content marketing isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. And it’s a good thing, too, as it can help businesses reach their goals in more ways than one.