Struggling to attract your ideal audience? Time for a content marketing revamp. Learn all the tips you need to succeed in this guide.
Here, you’ll find:
- The fundamentals of content marketing
- Various content formats to wow your audience
- Examples of successful content marketing techniques
- Goals to inform every piece of content you publish
In 2023, content marketing can make or break a brand. People consume more content than ever, with a 207% increase post-COVID. And what types of content do they love? Interactive content and media like videos, great storytelling, and influencer content.
Nail it, and you’ll build a loyal following and grow your business. Sleep on content marketing, and your target audience will hit the snooze button on you.
Still, no brand is immune to a traffic slump or conversion drop. But if it happens too often, you’ll see lags in revenue, and that’s the last thing a business owner or marketer wants.
At HawkSEM, we help our clients build bulletproof content marketing strategies fueled by data, insights, industry trends, and expert techniques. Want the intel on our process? We chatted with our senior content marketing manager, Caroline Cox, for the 411.
Keep reading for the essential content marketing tips you’ll need to make serious gains in 2023.
The importance of content marketing tips (even for seasoned pros)
As a savvy marketer, we don’t need to inform you of the benefits of content marketing: building brand awareness, boosting visibility, and targeting high-quality leads with value-packed content.
If you’re a beginner looking for a breakdown of all the essential content marketing basics, start here.
Bottom line? Solid content marketing is a no-brainer. But here’s the kicker: content is always evolving, from various types of content to how we format and package this information and share it across multiple platforms.
Staying adept at trends and best practices will help to ensure your content is fresh and relevant.
However, you don’t need to publish every type of content on every platform to make a splash.
For example, you might focus on video marketing, whereas other small businesses may prioritize email campaigns or specific social media platforms.
“It doesn’t hurt to leverage as many channels as your team has the bandwidth for, so you can maximize your reach and have a presence in all the places your potential audience (and your competitors) may be,” says Cox.
Looking at the whole content marketing pie can easily overwhelm. We’ve aggregated our top content marketing tips from our team of experts into one actionable list to give you a clear path toward creating and publishing great content with intent, rather than playing the guessing game.
7 content marketing tips to supercharge your strategy
So, which platforms should you focus on? How can you ensure your content goes the distance? And when should you pivot or double down on certain tactics?
First order of business: Ensure your content is unique and authoritative.
1. Beef up your content with delicious data
As an expert in your niche, you can build credibility by starting conversations on relevant topics. But why should audiences trust you? To support your claims and build a persuasive marketing strategy, incorporate objective data.
Shopify’s digital marketing plan is a great example. While the brand has plenty of credibility and recognition, in this blog post about store credit, the writer cites a NerdWallet study to support their claim:
Bolstering your content with credible research builds trust and makes it more valuable.
We apply this same principle to our content strategy. Check out this piece we published about healthcare SEO. While our team works with healthcare brands and understands the niche well, we insert relevant data to back our claims:
Now, what if you want to seriously wow your audience?
Collect your own data and present it with all the bells and whistles of a creative infographic. Statista is data royalty in the research world, but they leverage their data to create killer graphics in this blog post, too:
See the effect and credibility here? Data is trustworthy, and even more so when presented with such intriguing visual appeal. It also satisfies readers’ top motivation for reading blog posts: learning something new.
2. Have a goal for every piece of content
Does every writer you hire need to be a strategist? Not always — but you, as an editor, should be. Look at it this way: content drives action. But what action do you want each post to encourage?
Search Engine Land conducted a marketing survey and found these business goals (starting with the most popular) behind publishing content:
- Brand awareness
- Audience trust and credibility
- Audience education
- Growing existing customer loyalty
- Lead generation
- Lead nurturing
- Boosting event attendance numbers
- Product launch
- Growing a subscriber list
Notice anything interesting? Sales and revenue rank 8th on the list. How could a business prioritize seven other goals before a high conversion rate?
Cox offers insight into why a brand might place brand awareness as a top goal:
“Conversions are vital, of course, but traffic is what’s getting people to your site, which helps grow your reach and build your brand authority, which is also valuable and could still lead to a conversion down the line.”
Another way to strategize content goals is to consider your buyer personas and where they’re at when they find you. Traditionally, there are three stages of the buyer’s journey: awareness, consideration, and decision.
“Understanding the buyer journey is important because it can help you determine the direction to take when you’re outlining and writing your content,” says Cox. “If the content is more upper funnel, you can be broader or provide more high-level info. If the content is directed at more bottom-funnel readers, you can be more specific about the problem that your product or service solves.”
3. Consider outsourcing SEO
Can you keep up with Google’s algorithm updates or endless keyword research? If not, your SEO game might not be on par with your competitors.
Time and time again, we’ve encountered new clients with solid content but poor rankings. Most of the time, it stems from two culprits: lack of SEO knowledge and “too-many hats” syndrome, aka busy employees that can’t dedicate enough time to SEO.
It’s time to consider outsourcing SEO efforts in 2023.
Want to know what that looks like? Our client DILO wondered, too. They came to us after their website redesign resulted in an immediate drop in traffic and keyword rankings.
The web designer provided solely a design service, not an SEO service. DILO needed an SEO overhaul, which involved:
- Meta tags: New web elements and posts needed new meta tags for the SERPs.
- Target keywords: New content required updated keywords to align with their audience’s most recent queries.
- Sitemap and robots.txt file: To make it easier for Google search engine crawlers to rank their site.
Within six months, outsourcing DILO’s SEO strategy resulted in:
- 36% increase in organic clicks
- 24% increase in Google clicks for high-value keywords
- 46% in Google impressions (in three months)
Search Engine Land shares a few reasons to outsource SEO, but they all come down to producing the best content for people and Google: ROI. Help from the outside gives you a fresh perspective, industry expertise, and uninterrupted dedication so your team can focus on what they do best.
4. Publish valuable, original, updated content
A great user experience relies on content that is engaging, filled with relevant and accurate information, and flawless grammar. The standard is stellar if you want people to keep coming back. Step one?
Ensure your content is up-to-date. Between trending topics and outdated links, not all content can be evergreen. That’s why regular updates and content audits to your existing content are so important. Shoot to update content at least once every two years, but as needed.
“There’s no magic number when it comes to how often content should be updated,” says Cox. “I’d say it’s wise to conduct a content audit at least twice a year, so if there’s an article that’s six months old and some of the stats are out of date or a link is broken, there’s an opportunity to refresh that piece to ensure it’s up to date, accurate, and as valuable as possible for the reader.”
Great content must be original to stand out.
For SaaS, the market value jumped almost $20 billion within a year, meaning more and more SaaS businesses are popping up in an already competitive field.
The ecommerce grocery market is expected to jump 12% in the next four years.
Business competition experts at Crayon conducted a study to shed some light on why this is happening. They found that it’s “easier than ever” for competitors to enter the market and infuse new innovations. Additionally, automation and other analysis tools have given businesses an edge in standing out from competitors.
Bottom line? Increased competition means it’s tougher to stand out in nearly every industry and niche. And with that comes a bigger risk to repeat and reuse competitor content, whether intentionally or not. That’s why it’s so important to put every effort into maintaining high-quality, original content that’s thoroughly researched, fact-checked, edited, and optimized.
We already discussed collecting original data and insights, but how else can you create original content?
What’s one surefire way to make your content stand out? Interviewing industry experts.
Look to your network for unique industry relationships and connections. You might interview a niche public figure to produce a completely original blog post or even a podcast.
Health food provider, Aduna, has the right idea with this nutritionist interview:
Inspire user-generated content
User-generated content allows your customers to speak to your value. A trusted example is a positive product review. But you can implement this concept into your blog as well.
Credit Canada has the right idea with their “lessons” series. The credit counseling agency asked their readers to share financial lessons and personal stories, and used them to create user-generated blog posts — talk about relatable, informative, and one-of-a-kind!
Source original quotes for your content
Services like HARO (Help a Reporter Out), Editorielle, and Help a B2B Writer are platforms for sourcing original quotes from industry professionals in exchange for backlinks. With services like these, infusing original insights into your content is easier than ever.
You can also look internally to your team or network for article quotes, like affiliate marketing SaaS company Affilimate did for this article:
5. Repurpose content into multiple formats
The thing that makes good content marketing so effective is also what makes it so intimidating: you have tons of content formats at your disposal. How can you make your content work smarter, not harder?
By repurposing content.
Why not distill the key information in a long-form blog post into a short snippet and post it to your social media accounts? Prime example: Fintech and alternative online bank, KOHO’s, LinkedIn post below.
But we’d recommend going a step further. You could repurpose the highlights of a blog post into a sliding infographic on Instagram:
“I think it’s all about the format,” says Cox. “Rather than trying to turn the transcript of a podcast into a blog article, for example, you could insert an audio sound bite into a blog post to give it a multimedia element.”
Cox elaborates that the options are endless:
“You can turn a strong quote into an Instagram post. You can put a webinar clip on YouTube. It’s all about being creative to see how you can pull a thread from one thing and weave it into another.”
Here are a few more ideas for you to repurpose content:
- Publish step-by-step blog posts from product videos
- Write ebooks from multiple blog posts on a related subject
- Share Instagram reels composed from industry interviews or podcasts
- Use voice-overs on PowerPoints in YouTube videos
- Craft informative LinkedIn post highlighting important tips from a blog post
6. Automate scheduling, competitor, and performance analysis
A successful content marketing strategy produces high-quality content in the most efficient manner. But let’s be honest — it can make any marketer’s head spin. Sometimes, all the tasks surrounding content creation take up even more time than the creation itself.
Just ask any social media or content management expert how long it takes to tweak Canva templates, search for relevant hashtags, or input data from metrics into a performance spreadsheet.
But it’s 2023, and you have dozens of tools at your fingertips to automate your work.
One way to stay in the know on competitor content? With a few clicks, Zapier will populate a Google Sheet with every new publication, content URL, and a short description of the content.
What should you do with this information once you have it?
“Glean inspiration or explore new avenues and channels you might not have tried before,” advises Cox. “Your brand has its own unique voice, tone, and approach to marketing, so maintaining that is the key.”
Performance monitoring and analysis
Effective content marketing campaigns are backed with data-informed insights. But you don’t have time to sift through all the SEO specs, clicks, heat maps, and conversions for every single piece of content.
Pro tip: Partner with us to optimize performance with our proprietary tech, ConversionIQ. You’ll know exactly which leads and content brings you the most organic traffic and revenue, so we can refine your strategy and lean into what’s working.
Blog and content calendar scheduling
Throwing together a content strategy isn’t sustainable. With so many moving parts, you risk tasks slipping through the cracks, or falling off your posting completely. Yikes.
A better way? Map out all of your content in a content calendar. Organizing the content type, channel, creator, editor, publishing schedule, and important details will ensure no stone gets left unturned.
7. Create a style guide that mirrors your brand
Should your writers infuse a punchy, badass persona into your content, or is a calm, laid-back voice more on-brand? Are you a fan of the Oxford comma? Do you like bullet points for lists?
These are some items to include in your brand style guide. You might use it exclusively for written content, or expand it to include visual instructions for brand colors, interactive elements, fonts, and more.
This comprehensive brand bible will dictate the tone and style of every piece of content you or your team creates.
Why? Because you want your brand to be identifiable and cohesive.
Think of every content marketing channel you use to reach your audience. Facebook, Instagram, blogs, news releases, and case studies are just a few.
Now, imagine how many hands touch that content. A style guide is essential to minimize the risk of venturing off-brand. It maintains your brand’s integrity and ensures it’s unswayed by any channel, writer, or format.
“[Your guidelines] can be as simple or in-depth as needed, but codifying elements like who you’re speaking to, the tone you want the content to take, and some helpful examples of what to do and what to avoid can do wonders for creating transparency and consistency with a brand voice, especially as your roster of writers and contributors evolves and grows.”
One way to streamline the process? Get a Grammarly Business account and upload your style guide. Then, when you check for grammar and other inconsistencies, Grammarly will suggest edits that’ll make the copy more branded.
Content marketing is an act of service to your potential customers. Every piece of content on your web pages, blog, social media platforms, and beyond is a window into your brand.
By creating quality content, you’re helping solve problems, and in turn, turning your brand into a trustworthy entity.
In return you’ll get brand loyalty. Show up for your audience with a robust content strategy that’s based on their needs, and watch the needle move on traffic, followers, and revenue.
But we get it: creating content is tedious, even with the best content marketing tips at your disposal. That’s why ecommerce and SaaS brands turn to us for help.
You don’t have to go it alone. If you’re ready to level up your content marketing and see more ROI, let’s connect.