You now know the key to an unforgettable and successful marketing campaign starts with brilliant content. Yet 74% of marketers focus solely on the content itself, not the actual publication. If you’re adopting an “if I write it, they will come” philosophy, you will undoubtedly experience failure. Creating relevant, educational, and unique content for your audience is only the first step. The second step – and in many ways the most crucial – is getting published.
Earlier in 2014, Google’s Matt Cutts essentially ‘spelled the end of guest blogging.’ (https://www.mattcutts.com/blog/guest-blogging/) That was bad news to anyone not on the content marketing train, but most savvy marketers knew by then that creating their own content and publishing it throughout the web is the secret to customer acquisition. This was only another nail in the coffin regarding the old ways of generating leads.
Content alone is not the only component to successful content marketing. There is a trifecta that must be mastered by companies if they want to play big. The three prongs of content marketing are:
1) Content – unique, compelling, and timely.
2) Audience – you absolutely must have a clear focus on who you are marketing to, based on research that shows your who your quintessential customer is.
3) Timing – content must be relevant, never outdated, and important to your demographic as it is published.
Step 1: Finding Your Voice
Before you publish a single blog or video, it’s essential that your company spend time establishing a clear voice and identity. If you’re all over the map with your marketing, it will show. Consumers will become confused by your messaging, and loyalty will be incredibly hard to come by. Furthermore, it’s bloody hard to draft content when you’re unclear about what voice to use.
As you clarify your brand’s identity, find a voice that is authoritative but not off-putting. Your content creators must have the ability to write with conviction and confidence, but in a way that relates to your readers. This is by no means an easy balance, and it’s the reason why hiring cheap freelancers that don’t know your business can cause more harm than good.
Keep in mind, too, that the best way to engender confidence is to speak the language of your customers. Use the art of surveys and polls to learn more about your demographic, and log metrics religiously so when you draft your content, you know exactly who you’re speaking to. Case studies are also invaluable assets to your marketing team; by understanding your previous successes and failures, you continue to narrow in on the exact sweet spot your company has carved out. That’s precisely who you should create content for.
What does this have to do with publishing your content? Absolutely everything. If you don’t have a clue about who your ideal customer is, you don’t know what publications to seek out. And if your content isn’t created with an air of authority and expertise, your target publications will no doubt pass you by. Step one is always about establishing your thought leadership prowess; otherwise, you are likely to get lacklustre (at best) results.
Avoid Duplicate Content
If you want to be published in any reputable publication, you need to have something unique to say. In this age of content clutter, that is no small feat. Need some inspiration? Here are some tips for creating intriguing and original content:
1) Take a New Perspective
Finding a brand new topic in your industry and area of expertise may seem impossible. But what about taking a different position on a commonly discussed theme? If everyone is talking about the features of a given piece of software, as an example, talk about the target user. Or the inadequacies. Or perhaps the competitive landscape. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, but you do have to find a different way to talk about what the wheel does.
2) Expand Your Thought Horizons
Most content these days has a somewhat narrow focus, discussing how things are impacting the present moment. Don’t be afraid to expand into the historical or future implications of any given product or movement. If you’re a business that’s been around a while, let your content tell the story of your evolution, the snafus you encountered, the lessons you learned, and everything in between. Examine details that haven’t yet been discussed, or expound on future plans; either on a minute or a broad scale. The point here is to encourage you to think beyond the obvious, and to create thought leadership around the topics you know best.
3) Interview the Experts
Find people that know your world well and feature interviews and quotes from these top-tier contributors. Interviews are still very popular in almost all industries, and they’re a great way to generate compelling content and inspiration for future pieces as well. Plus, you’ll gain loyalty from those you highlight, as well as access to their audiences. Featuring influencers is always a win-win.
Once you master the process of speaking to your audience in a commanding way, and you know exactly how to create pieces that fill in the information gap, you are absolutely gold to publishers. Next, you’ll want to spend significant time finding the online magazines, blogs, and sites that cater to your audience. Don’t just rely on top tier destinations like Forbes; branch out and find niche sites that are magnets for your demographic. To find these, comb through articles AND comments to find what sites are most engaging amongst those that feature content from your industry. Analyze social sharing metrics, and start relationship building with these publishers so your amazing content finds its ideal audience.
Getting published starts with knowing your audience, creating relevant content, and then creating bonds with the folks that need your creative genius. Publishers need great content, and content creators need successful publishers. If you focus on these two aspects of content marketing, you just might see results that exceed your wildest dreams.