Tuesday, 20 February 2018

5 Rules Of Thumb For New Businesses To Win In Content Marketing

Must-dos for New Businesses in content marketing

You are stuck.

Aware that you cannot afford the Super Bowl ad, you turned to content marketing for aid. To do it successfully, you need a cutthroat SEO package to withstand your competitors, or you don’t get seen. 

SEO can be expensive and time consuming, but your online business cannot succeed without it. Some surveys show that organic traffic brings in more quality leads. Whether that's accurate or not, both organic and paid traffic are complementary to one another.

Apparently, there are less than 4 billion internet users across the globe today and less than 3 billion social media users. 34% of this number use social media just to take mental break from work, while 27% use it to connect with friends and family while at work and more.

For online sellers, however, internet users can be categorised into 3:

1.   Business owners who are online to sell.
2.   Researchers who only need some online resources.
3.   Internet shoppers who initially wanted to buy online or didn’t know they wanted to buy – until your content showed them they should.

But that classification doesn't matter. Whether you are a B2B or B2C, an ecommerce site or a blogger, your success depends on them knowing about your business. They are all your prospects. They all fall into the last category. But you are not the only one whose success depends on them. Others, including those who sell the same products/services as you, are also spending top dollars to grab their attention. Then Content Marketing turns out, again, a battle for survival.

For many reasons, the odds are against you. One of them is the fact that 91% of Google users don’t go beyond the first page, according to a study by Chitika Insights. While there is no doubt that numbers given vary across researchers, all of them agree that majority of online users stop on the first page. And you are pretty unlikely to be there.


First, indexing your web content by Google spiders could take time, in which case you have no option than to wait.

Second, your competitors who have long been in content marketing will not see you take over. Due to their long presence on the web, they have competitive advantage to rank over you on the SERPs.

So, what’s the buzz all about? Is success still possible with content marketing?

Yes, it is.

Let’s begin to see what winners in content marketing are doing, so that you can inculcate these best practices from the beginning. Foundation, you know, is very important.

1. Get Seen

Let me simply assume you already know it’s necessary to keep a content schedule, identify your KPIs and hire a competent team (Obviously, not more than your budget can take), so I will just move on to discuss what should be done, why and how to do it.

To get seen, there are two available to you:

  • Social media
  • Google

This is how to use them, beginning with social media.

How to use social media to win in Content Marketing

Given that paid ad is an absolute must if your content will get seen on social media, what we should be discussing is what kind of content get shared and engaged on social media. The first rule of thumb here is to create highly shareable content and do so consistently.

So, I’m going to be showing you, with examples, the most effective 3 hacks in creating contents that go viral.

In his book “Rhetoric”, one of the specific things Aristotle concluded a viral content must have is “to appeal to the emotions.” “Pathos”, he called it. These 3 tips fall under this emotional category, and it had been widely tested and proved by content marketing warlords.

1.   New discoveries

Too often as human beings, our consciousness is left wandering in the wilderness of unanswered question, an unsolved mystery about a particular subject. It may be about disease; it may be about technological advancement or anything we subconsciously care about. We don’t always realise this until when some scientific answer comes and affirm or disaffirm our fear. Once a discovery is made about something that interests us, it doesn't matter whether it is negative or positive so long as it satisfies our curiosity. That is our emotion at work.

This perhaps account for the virality of “New Alzheimer’s treatment” in 2015.

It appealed to our emotion by making a new claim about something we all care for, whether we know it or not.

That’s the way to go if you are interested in going viral. Dig deeper into something that interests your buyer persona and open a new perspective that will awake the interest of even the most absentminded internet surfer. By this, they promote you because they feel good for sharing your content.

2.   Appeal Segmentation
Narrowing your content down to a specific audience has two distinct effects. First, it draws the attention of your target segment. Second, it arouses the curiosity of their opposite. How? Read on and see the example below.

Here is a post with the headline “Bald men are sexier, more masculine...”

The post is surely meant to stir reaction from non-bald category of men, too, not just from the bald men.

It announces their extinct by claiming they are less masculine. And who would not be moved by such a troubling claim?

If bald men are sexier, what then are the non-bald? Less masculine? Less Sexy? You see, these and other questions are  just few of many that would be brought  up. And either in agreement or disagreement, readers will click on it and this ultimately works in your favour.

At the end of the day, the only person gaining substantially is you who manage to drag more eyeballs to your content – the threshold of your sales funnel.

3.   Some rare information about an influencer
Influencers are people who are highly known and respected. Their opinions become fuel for courage and their life histories are go-to places to learn about what they did right. We use their words as quote to aid our claims because they are the people who have been there and done it. And their life story undoubtedly serves as affirmation or dis-affirmation of popular philosophies and beliefs.

Below are two examples of how rare information about great men draws traffic in.

Since its publication in Dec. 2017, the post has seen more than 1.5 million reads. The secret behind it is simple: The headline is promising and spectacular. It promises to show people something they probably don’t know about two individuals they are most likely interested in.

I have no access to a particular data showing how many times this has been read, but it certainly is one of the headlines that attract a large majority. It is rare to find a business owner today who doesn’t use email, not in a content marketing world.

Aside these three, other forms of content that attract high viewership are data driven contents, surprising stories, listicles, memes and powerful responses. But if you can master these three, you are fast on your way up to winning the content marketing game.

This has an additional benefit: every share and reference your post gets on social media serves as another backlink to make your website rank higher on Google Page.

How to use Google to win in Content Marketing

Ah, Google.

SEO is hell-bent on truncating your efforts. You are always gasping for air, learning and fighting for attention as if SEO is the only thing there is. As a matter of fact, no SEO expert or knowledge is potent enough to make you win.

Why? For every great expert you contact, there are thousands of you contacting him. And each resource you read about it is made available to your competitors as well. Then you have limited time and limited resources. So, what are your chances if you are just starting out?

Nil, it is.

But don’t leave it to chance. I’m going to show you some wonderful 3 hacks to make winning possible.

1.   Optimise your content for search engine

In other words, do SEO. I know it sounds like contradiction, but it certainly is not. We are just about to move on to the next two other tips. But doing SEO is a general rule. And if by chance, your SEO efforts bring you to the first or second page of SERPs, these next two will benefit you greatly.

2.   Be different

Say you are into connecting people with influencers in their industry and there are many of you doing that online, your content will mostly talk about why people need influencers or how to find their ideal influencers and so on.

Change that. Write something about whether influencer marketing is worth the entire buzz, if your SEO see to it that somebody gets to see it on Google page, this new perspective will definitely catch their attention and lead to shares. More shares means more readers and more readers means more leads.

Use the common content you are all churning out to keep your blog fresh and optimised, then use new perspectives whenever possible to grab more attention to your own post.

Do this, and do it as much as possible.

3.   Make it indispensable throughout

If you are keenly following the post from the beginning, you’d understand by now that the first recommendation is that you attempt to get seen on Google (by doing SEO), the second one is to drag them to reading, and this third one is about making them read further and sharing your posts.

How do you make reading your post unavoidable?

It starts from the headline. First, your headline must answer a specific question or raise one, one that can’t be ignored even by the coldest reader. 

Second, your content must deliver on that promise by making your intent clear from the first paragraph and inculcating a lot of information.

While you do that, don’t forget to adorn your post with visuals. And take this visual advice as an important part of this process which on its own can stand as an independent blog post.

2. User Generated Content (UCG)

User-Generated Content is not a so new concept that’s gaining currency in an internet world. Popular magazines and smart advertisers have long understood its value and harnessed it.

In the 19th century, one of Australia’s culturally and politically formative magazines, The Bulletin, cherished for many years the tagline “half Australia writes it, all Australia reads it.”

The idea of this campaign is explicit in the tagline; it was apparently to tell the Australians that their content were not some officialdom-doctored content, while positioning them as citizen-centric magazine and ultimately boosting wider circulation and acceptance.

And even before the system got the nod it has on the internet today, talk-back radio and TV shows have been used to advertise through consumers’ voice.

As you can see from the points above, UGC works even without any special survey to back it up. But researches and surveys today aren’t short of data to prove its effectiveness.

79%of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

92% read online review.

44% say a review must be written within one month to be relevant.

On and on it goes. Suffice with this for now.

3. Measure

Continual improvement as it is in anything is important when running a content marketing campaign. Why? It helps you uncover what works and what doesn’t.

You want to measure what you do as to know if there is any need to change the status quo. It is why at the beginning of every content creation, it is crucial to ask yourself “Why am I creating this content?”

It is based on your answer that your success will be measured. Whether it is to increase your brand awareness, customer retention or lead generation, you end up knowing where you are and where to go from there. Evolving and adapting sit at the heart of every successful campaign. It is why big companies in the system have mastered the science of measurement and change according to consumer’s behaviour.

Bottom line: Measure.

4. Share industry news

Desperate times call for desperate measures. The survival-of-the-fittest nature of the internet today calls for disruption. To do this, I decided to find out some rare thing that has been proven to work. One of the things I found out is that sharing industry news can help you win in Content Marketing.

How does this make sense?

It does by bringing a large chunk of organic traffic to your website. According to the newest survey of Quartz, 63% of people say they trust “search engines” for their news more than the news outlets, as opposed to 53% that say they trust “online-only media.”

This survey means more people are still using Google Searching news items to see whether a news is true or otherwise. It is for you to use this to your advantage. Advantage as in doing what others wouldn't do and thus bringing a large chunk of audience to your website by providing what they wouldn't find elsewhere.

5. Repurpose

In the current content world, just publishing your content won’t suffice. Of all the limited resources we have, time is the most limited one. Knowing very well that money we invest today can be recovered tomorrow in manifolds, when do we recover time? Never.

To this end, you need an escape route from burn-out and from exhaustion of your most limited of limited resources.  Repurposing saves you the brainstorming time, the initial creation time and much of the painful proofreading hours.

Lucky for you, the options are many and even two or three of them can do the magic.

Repurposing is a must-do for everyone and even most importantly for a new business. But that’s not peculiar to you. A survey from Marketing Profs and Forbes shows that creating new content is the biggest challenge faced by B2B owners across board. One most valid ways to surmount this roadblock is by repurposing your content.

Repurposing has many benefits. I wrote extensively on it in one of my columns for Entrepreneur Magazine. Below are some benefits of repurposing in summary:

·      Increased chances of closing sales
·      Making the most of your efforts
·      A chance to redeem less successful contents
·      Improves organic visibility

For further explanation of any of that, you can read my piece on Entrepreneur.

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