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Creating a Winning Content Marketing Strategy in 2017

Creating a Winning Content Marketing Strategy in 2017

Online vendors take note: Content is key to conversions!

Content marketing is the process of developing and distributing valuable content that establishes a strong brand identity,which ultimately leads to shopping cart conversions. Capturing leads and nurturing them are critical to creating a winning content marketing strategy in 2017.

What is content?

Content can take the form of articles, blogs, infographics, press releases, games, videos, whitepapers, and any other formats of communication that are meant to inform, entertain, or promote your business.

“You want to view the content on your website as a living, breathing entity; the more you feed it the more it will grow,” says Jenna Mollard, Director of Business Development at Rand Marketing. She has managed over 30 employees when handling website design, development, and digital marketing amplification.

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Your articles, blogs, and videos will need to stand out over larger, more entrenched competitors. Here’s how to start strong, right from the beginning.

Sparking a conversation in a noisy room

Take an honest look in the mirror. Ask yourself if you have the type of product, service, or knowledge that can spark a digital conversation. Are web users likely to engage with, comment on, or share your content among their peers? If you do not have the type of product or service that draws a large search volume look to your team and see if you have the resources necessary to change the conversation around what you want to talk about.

History is filled with companies that have made the mundane into the extraordinary. Create exclusivity like Gray Poupon did with their Facebook fans. Create games in order to let users access content, such as Scrabble did with WiFi stops in Europe. Have a sensitive product? Take example from Squatty Potty who managed to sell $3 million just three weeks after airing.

“If you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation.” -Don Draper

Share now!

When your article solves a real world problem that an individual is seeking relief from, that individual is likely to share their victory on social media, or send the article along to another friend going through the same issue. Keep in mind that every individual wants to be of value to their intimate social circle. Give them this power through content marketing and you will find that higher conversions are only a “Share” button away.

Soft sell > Hard sell

“Most visitors that go to your site are not ready to convert,” says Mollard. In fact, a 2016 DemandGen survey found that 47 percent of B2B buyers consume three to five pieces of content prior to engaging with a salesperson.

The soft sell will have to be used like a boxer uses the jab; it won’t do a lot of damage, but it is a reliable and consistent way to keep the fight going, while staying out of harm’s reach.

The number one mistake sales and marketing teams were making in 2016 was trying to close MQLs (marketing qualified leads) before they were ready. If it takes most buyers three to five visits to your website before they are ready to talk, the worst mistake is to go for the hard sell too soon. This alienates them from your brand, and instead of coming across as a potential partner, the message that you’ll send is that you’re heavy handed and just in it for yourself.

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“You can’t have sales staff immediately go for the jugular,” observes Mollard. You will have to wine and dine your readers through high-value content. By providing value first, then asking for the sale–almost as an afterthought–you are creating exclusivity by providing the reader with enough space. Give them room to roam, browse, and come back for seconds–only then do you go in for the sale.

You will find that slow and steady will win the content marketing race in 2017. Keep your eyes on your analytics, and try to obtain emails and point-of-contact information through a resource center.

Capture leads through a resource center

A resource center will provide your organization with the single most important key to success. A resource center keeps your most valuable content in a crystal vault: the only way inside is by the user providing his contact information. You can build this resource center as a separate webpage on a site, or smaller landing pages that link to exclusive, high-value content. The price of admission will be a name and an e-mail. If you’re feeling confident that your content merits more than this, feel free to ask for other metrics, including a user’s job title, company name, years in the business, and pain-points. Keep in mind that the more information you ask from a user, the higher the bounce rate on the page will be.

How do you create content for a resource center? Simple. Just do what you’re doing with your content creation but better.

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For example, rather than create another bland blog post, consider beefing it up with greater statistics, quotes from thought leaders, current statistics and calling it a white paper.

The difference between a blog post and a white paper is exclusivity. Readers will give out personal information in order to access the latter. This makes the difference between a captured lead and one that leaves your site for good. You want to be intelligent about how you distribute your materials; not all content should be given away for free.

Pro SEO Tip: This resource center should contain keywords your organization is hoping to rank for. Google and Bing’s search algorithms will crawl these sites, giving you prized SEO juice that will aid your other marketing campaigns.

Final thoughts

“Content really is key to conversions,” says Mollard, who is now leading efforts to create a Resource Center on her new clients’ pages. “You want to track your visitors and give them what they are looking for, but you never want to give all away for free. Always keep conversions in mind.”

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As you build out your content strategy for 2017, keep in mind this final piece of advice, straight from the lips of Claude C. Hopkins, the Father of Scientific Advertising:

“[Advertising] is not for general effect. It is not to keep your name before the people. It is not primarily to aid your other salesmen. Treat it as a salesman. Force it to justify itself. Compare it with other salesmen. Figure its cost and result. Accept no excuses which good salesmen do not make. Then you will not go far wrong” (Source).

More by this author

Alex Pop

Senior Content Writer

Creating a Winning Content Marketing Strategy in 2017

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Be Happy at Work and Find Fulfillment in Your Career

How to Be Happy at Work and Find Fulfillment in Your Career

If you’re going to spend 1/3 of our life at work, you should enjoy it, right?

Trust me, I know that’s easier said than done. Difficult coworkers, less-than-desirable tasks, or even just being in the wrong position can all lead to a lack of enjoyment and fulfillment in your work.

But what if I told you it doesn’t have to be this way? Or better yet, if you struggle with all of the above (and then some), what if I told you that enjoying your work and finding fulfillment regardless of those obstacles is possible?

Don’t believe me? I don’t blame you because I was there too. Before implementing the tips below, I struggled to get through each day, much less find real fulfillment, in the office. Now, even after the toughest days on the job, I still come away with feelings of pride, accomplishment, and fulfillment. The best news is, so can you.

If you’re ready to make those hours count and find happiness and fulfillment in the office, then read on to find out how to be happy at work and find fulfillment in your career:

1. Discover the root(s) of the problem

For this first step, we’ll need to think back to 8th-grade physics (humor me). We all know Newton’s 3rd law, “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” When you think about it, the same can be said outside of physics, and we see this law play out in our daily lives, day after day.

Simply put, all the issues we deal with in the office (and life in general) affect us in a noticeable way.

If you’re appreciated at work, like the work you do and receive frequent praise, promotions, or raises, then this will probably have an altogether positive effect on your life in the office.

But what if we reverse this? What if you feel under appreciated, get passed up for promotions, or get denied raises? This is sure to affect the way you feel at work on a negative level.

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So, before you can implement the steps of feeling happy and fulfilled at work, we first have to discover the reasons why you don’t feel that way already.

Think about it, write a list, or make a mental note. Run through all the reasons you’re dissatisfied in the office, and don’t hold back. Knowing the exact obstacles you’re facing will make overcoming them that much easier.

In fact, as a side-challenge to this article, I recommend picking the top three reasons contributing to your dissatisfaction at work and using the following tips to tackle them.

2. Practice gratitude for an instant uplift

Did you know the simple act of feeling grateful can increase your happiness and make you more fulfilled at work?[1]

Well, it’s true, and it’s scientifically proven.

Dr. Lisa Firestone notes that practicing gratitude “reminds us of what we lacked in the past.” Meaning, it serves as both a boost to happiness and a bit of a wake-up call that things have been or could be, much worse.

Trying to conjure up feelings of gratitude can seem almost impossible when your work situation seems bleak, but hear me out: There are incredibly easy ways to get started and it doesn’t involve trying to “force” yourself to feel grateful about things that stress you out.

For an instant pick-me-up, try this:

Find a loose piece of paper, a blank sticky note, or anything you can write on, be it physical or digital. List just three things that you are absolutely without-a-doubt thankful for in your life.

Now here’s the trick: Don’t just list what you’re grateful for, you have to list why you’re grateful for them, too.

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For example, simply saying “I’m grateful for my kids” will probably make you feel good, sure, but what if we could amplify the warm, fuzzy feeling into real, lasting motivation?

Instead, write the reason you’re so thankful for your children. Is it because they make you laugh and forget about other stressors? Or maybe they help to remind you of why you go to work every day in the first place?

Whatever your reasons may be, jot them down and keep your list somewhere you can see it while you work. A quick glance at your gratitude list throughout the day can provide powerful, positive motivation to keep going.

Bonus:

If you can find just three things to be thankful for that specifically relate to your job, and list why those things make you grateful, your list can also help you find fulfillment in your work itself which can give you an even bigger boost of positivity throughout the day.

3. Take meaningful time for yourself

We all know creating a strong work-life balance can be crucial to feeling satisfied in our jobs, but rarely do we ever address how we’re spending our time outside of work.

Many of us survive a 9-hour work day and commute home only to find ourselves busy with our personal to-do lists, running a household, and taking care of a child (or 2 or 3, and so on).

If you spend all your time working, whether in the office or within your household, you’re going to feel drained at some point. This is why setting meaningful time for yourself every day is highly important.

Look, I get it: I don’t know anyone in the working world who can shun all responsibility for a 3-movie marathon or happy hour with friends whenever they feel like it. But finding time for yourself, be it just 30 minutes to an hour, can really make a difference in how you feel at work.

This works because you’ll have time to actually relax and let the day’s stress melt away while you enjoy something just for you. The to-do lists and stressors will still be there after you’re refreshed and ready to tackle them.

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No time for me-time? Try this:

If you have a busy household, you’ll need to capitalize on a block of time you know will be completely uninterrupted. The easiest way to do this: try waking up 30 minutes to an hour earlier than usual (or push bedtime back an hour if you’re a night owl, like me) and take time to do something you enjoy.

This could be reading with a cup of tea, catching up on Facebook, spending time on a passion project—anything! As long as it’s meaningful to you, it works!

Bonus:

Starting your day with meaningful time for yourself can set you up to have a positive mood that lasts well into office hours, and having your me-time in the evening can give you something positive to look forward to during the day.

4. Get productive and feel accomplished

Don’t you just love the feeling of checking the last item off of a hefty to-do list? That’s because self-motivation can be a huge driver of positivity and success.

When we accomplish something, no matter how small, it makes us feel good, plain and simple. Applying this tactic to your daily work can be the motivator you need to find fulfillment during the daily office grind.

While there are tons of steps to get more done at work, I’ll share my personal favorite: Prioritizing.

Now, many people handle prioritizing differently. Some like to tackle the little tasks first so they can spend focused time on the big to-dos. Others like to knock out the big items first and get to the smaller ones when they can.

No matter which camp you’re in, you may be missing one crucial step: Time management.

So how’s this work? When you factor in the amount of time your priorities will take, it can transform your productivity ten-fold.

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Say you have three top priorities for the day. You might jump into the smaller ones or the bigger ones depending on your preferred method, and then find yourself out of time and bringing work home with you at the end of the day.

This is prevented when you factor in time. Knowing how long each item will take, or deliberately setting specific blocks of time for your priorities can help you accomplish more in the same 8-9 (or 12) hours that you typically spend at work.

Try this:

Take a look at your priorities and consider how long they should take. Pop into your Google calendar (or Filofax, whatever works for you) and schedule time to work on your priority items around any important meetings or events of the day.

The most important thing to remember is to stick to your dedicated time.

Often, when we know exactly how long we have to work on something (and honor this time limit), we’re motivated to get more done on time to avoid taking work home at the end of the day.

The bottom line

There’s no need to waste 1/3 of our lives feeling unsatisfied at work. Luckily, you now have the tools to get started, take back your time, and become happy and fulfilled at work again.

The only question is — which tip will you try first?

Featured photo credit: Ellyot via unsplash.com

Reference

[1]Psychology Today: The Healing Power of Gratitude

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