Content Marketing 101: 3 Strategies for Delivering Better Content

Search “content marketing” on Google and you’ll get nearly 19 million results. Article topics range from definitions and examples to industry trends and tools. The number of choices and options available are overwhelming.

Every day we help marketers from a variety of industries. We know a “one size fits all” content marketing program doesn’t exist. So we’ve broken down the top three strategies content marketers use to deliver better content to help you find the best strategy for your brand.

 

  1. Create content

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If your mind buzzes with new ideas and you love to collaborate with creative people, you probably want to try creating content for your brand. After all, digital tools and technology have made it easier than ever before to write, publish, and share content with an audience. But to create better content, you need to keep a few things in mind:

  • Define your audience. Imagine this scenario: You ask a friend for details about his daughter’s birthday party. But he only wants to talk about the great deal he got on the birthday cake. He goes on and on about the low cost, great service, and delicious butter cream frosting. Sounds annoying, right? Many businesses treat consumers like your friend treated you. They talk about themselves instead of giving consumers the desired information.

Before writing or designing content, know who your audience is and what they want.

  • Plan your content. You should produce content consistently. If you post sporadically, people won’t see your brand as a reliable source of information. Share content with your audience on a consistent, scheduled basis so they pay attention. Successful content marketers use an editorial calendar to plan what they will create and on which channel they’ll distribute their content.

Editorial calendars help you plan content creation and give you a long-term view of your efforts.

  • Budget for your talent. Content creation takes a lot of time, and it’s resource-heavy. The average annual salary for a content writer in the U.S. is $40,000, depending on the writer’s experience and skill level and the job location. Then there’s insurance, sick leave, training, pay raises, and conferences to consider – not to mention a growing list of digital content channels combined with traditional print and broadcast outlets.

Many brands employ more than one content creator, and those resource costs add up over time.

If you’re panicking after reading to this point, take a deep breath and relax. We’ve got a strategy that can help stretch your content marketing budget: content curation.

 

  1. Curate content

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In theory, content curation is easy: You find content — a blog post, an article, an infographic — that your audience would want, and then you share that content with your audience. Done!

However, content curation is tricky in the execution. Content marketers have told us that nearly 50% of marketers worry about using copyrighted and trademarked content without permission. They also worry about finding content and conveying their brand message to an interested audience.

Curating content can help ease budget woes, but a smart content curation plan requires the following:

  • Give your audience your voice. You can’t simply host links to curated content on your social media. Eventually your audience will skip visiting your channels and will go straight to “the good stuff.” To keep them interested in your brand, you should provide context with curated content. Add additional statistics or ideas, send a call to action to your service or product, or include some brand personality to add value beyond what you’ve curated.

Plan to include a branded message with each link to curated content so your audience knows why they should care.

  • Automation and alerts help. Content curation tools and alert systems let you browse hundreds of content pieces collected from a variety of sources, or send relevant content containing specific keywords straight to your inbox. Pick the tool and the process that works best for you. The Ultimate List of content curation tools by Curata is handy for interested content curators who don’t know where to start. (Also, this is an example of curated content coupled with an original content piece! Pretty cool, huh?)

Use tools and alert systems to make the actual duty of curating content easier.

  • Track audience engagement. As you uncover what your audience likes to read, pay attention to engagement metrics (Likes, favorites, retweets, followers, comments) to gauge what your audience values. Then refine your automation and collection process to curate content that reflects those metrics.

Pay attention to what your audience engages with and focus your content curation efforts on those topics.

Remember those marketers worried about copyrights and trademarks? About 20 percent of those who were worried also revealed they outsource their content marketing programs.

 

  1. Outsource content development

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An outsourced content strategy means you hire an outside company or partner to create and curate content according to an editorial calendar they develop to meet your business goals. They help take the burden off of you about compliance, citation, measurement, leads, distribution, and other content concerns.

When you outsource content, you get to focus on running your business. A good outsourcing partner will deliver reports to you about the results of their efforts, but you won’t need to help them do their job. Instead you do what you do best.

Here are some considerations for outsourcing content creation:

  • Money well spent. Your content — whether created or outsourced — is only as good as your investment in it. Cheap options like content mills exist, but they’re not a true bargain. They use faulty SEO practices that Google penalizes in its search engine page results. They also make content that doesn’t offer real value to your audience, so the audience you already have will stop paying attention.

Budget to hire a reliable team with content creation expertise.

  • Keep that personal touch. Your brand is important to you. You’ve invested so much of yourself into making an awesome service or product for your customers. When you communicate with current and potential customers, you want them to come to love your brand as much as you do. But some external content teams mass produce content that isn’t personal or meaningful to your brand, even if it is compelling to your audience.

Choose a partner that offers compelling content for your audience paired with ability to personalize that content.

 

You can create content from scratch, curate other people’s content, or outsource your content marketing to another company. You can also mix and match these strategies according to your brand’s strengths and sore spots.

The hardest strategy to master is content creation. While we’ve shared some insider tips to creating better content, we want to help would-be content marketers even more. So stay tuned for an in-depth look at creating a content marketing program.

 

(If you’re just joining our Content Marketing 101 series and what to know what all the fuss about better content is, or want to know some common obstacles or great roles models for better content, check out our earlier posts!)

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