Advertising
Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

“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.

Advertising

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.”

Advertising

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

Trending in Career Advice

1 10 Essential Career Change Questions To Ask Yourself This Year 2 10 Job Search Tools Every Jobseekers Need To Know About 3 10 Websites To Learn Something New In 30 Minutes A Day 4 50 Great People To Follow On LinkedIn, No Matter Your Industry 5 If You Have This Key Behavior, You’ll Be More Successful Than 90% Of People

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on January 14, 2019

The Key to Finding Job Satisfaction and Having a Successful Career

The Key to Finding Job Satisfaction and Having a Successful Career

Regardless of whether you hold an entry-level administration role or regularly travel to the ends of the Earth as a hot-shot senior executive, you can still find yourself harboring an emptiness… a feeling that something is missing. A popular assumption that experiencing job satisfaction and a successful career should be underpinned by a well-rounded suite of tangible benefits, no longer holds true for many of us.

We’d never deny health care benefits, appropriate and fair remuneration, bonuses and travel perks in a job package. However, even if served to us on a silver platter, those features can only satiate us to a certain point.

You might wonder what governs entrepreneurs and start-up business owners to quit their lucrative jobs, essentially look the gift horse in the mouth and kiss such benefits goodbye! There can be an irresistible pull to mastermind a business with products and/or services that serve the greater good of community wider than that constituting their daily existence.

Even with research showing entrepreneurship to pose greater threats to their mental and physical health, this unique breed of individuals choose to go against the grain in chasing their dreams of being their own boss. Why? Why would anyone risk this type of career suicide?

Whether you’re an employee, have recently taken the leap to being a business owner or been in business for a while, the commonality is a congenital condition we all share as human beings; to feel a sense of purpose, value and contribution to our community. Despite it being harder to find this for ourselves in today’s world, these approaches will help you achieve ultimate satisfaction through the twists, turns and joyrides that are essential features of shaping a successful career.

1. Search for Opportunities That Feed Your Passion, Not Temporary Excitement

Even though well-intended, the ‘feel good now’ compass that career coaches and consultants often recommend you use to create career satisfaction can actually do you more harm than good. Excitement is transient. It doesn’t last. Passion is the compass you need.

Passion and excitement are two different things. The resounding career legacy that still draws you to turn up on the job regardless of the sunshine or storm that awaits you…that’s passion. It’s like a mental and/or emotional itch you can’t shrug off. Staying attuned to that calling will breed success for you sooner or later. Patience is key.

You’re also likely to have more than one key passion. Beware of getting caught in the notion you have to find your one true purpose. In fact, run immediately from any coach who tells you there is only one. There isn’t.

Advertising

Your passion is a journey that can take multiple forms so forget thinking there is the single dream job out there that will give you satisfaction in every way you can imagine. It simply doesn’t exist.

Consider embracing different roles and projects to help you fuel your passion or fuel your pursuits in finding it. Job satisfaction and your career success will be all the more sweeter from a wider range of enriching experiences.

2. Don’t Position Job and Career Satisfaction Assessments as Pivotal Guides to Your Success

Despite their popular use for vocational guidance, assessment tools such as Gallup’s Clifton Strengths and the Myers Briggs Type Indicator have come under fire[1] as being limited to the amount of true value and direction they can offer partakers.[2] These and many other guidance assessment tools (e.g. VIA Character Strengths , DISC ) are self-report questionnaires that don’t have normative population data against which to compare your results.

Simply remember these tools help you develop a stronger sense of what you identify as strengths and weaknesses within yourself, not in comparison with other people. They will still add insight around what sorts of career opportunities, tasks and projects are going to light your fire, what ones are going to extinguish it and what will prod and keep the coals steadily smoldering.

3. Be Clear on Your Personal Values, Ethics and Principles and Choose Relationships That Support You Honoring Them

Teamwork, collaboration, open communication and trust are commonplace for any flourishing work environment. However, whether or not your personal values can be honored in your work can make or break your job satisfaction.

How committed do you want to be to an organization that expects an average of 10 unpaid overtime hours every week under the guise of ‘reasonable overtime’? Are you willing to accept their construing this expectation as ‘strong commitment’ at the expense of your partner and children waiting at home for you? What are your boundaries concerning when you clock on to their time and when you clock off to yours?

Being very in tune with what your personal values, principles and ethics are will bid you well in the job satisfaction stakes. Spending time to reflect on experiences and working relationships you’ve had – the good, the bad and the ugly – will help you make well-informed searches and grounded decisions that will propel your career success.

Finding and nurturing relationships with associates and colleagues who share similar values doesn’t just make your day-to-day pursuits more enjoyable. You become fortunate to work with like-minded people who will support, understand and appreciate you like a second family.

Advertising

Being able to honor your personal values in your work means you will still be able to sleep at night when you have to tread where others fear to, and make extremely difficult decisions others would never ever dream of having to make as you forge success in your career.

4. Be Clear on Your Own Definition of What Having a Successful Career Means for You

It’s tempting to get caught up in the ideals and projections of success expressed by those we love, admire and respect. Underneath, we all want on some level to belong to a successful club of some sort.

With research reporting how much money we feel we need to be truly happy,[3] many of us try to subscribe to the notion that having the car of our dreams or taking a European holiday annually will not bring us happiness. The truth, however, for many of us is these tangible rewards are congratulatory reminders of our persistent efforts to chase our career pursuits.

If those are things you aspire to, don’t let anyone steal your desire and want to feel deserving of these things, that those are some parameters by which you define your career success.

Despite consistently being the top revenue earner for two years running, you may not wish to become the sales manager. You may not wish to step out into running your own business even though you consistently excel as an employee, delighting clients and repeatedly receiving glowing testimonials.

Your definition of career success might be enjoying the predictability of a regular workplace routine. You get to leave – without feeling guilty – at the same time each day, love the people you work with and get to spend a good, uninterrupted amount of work-stress free quality time with your family. That picture is also blissful job satisfaction and complete career success.

5. Identify the Sorts of Challenges and Problems You Want to Learn to Overcome

Standard advice you might receive from a career coach might be to look for opportunities where you get to capitalize on exercising your strengths and career-related activities you enjoy.

However, to become a success at anything involves improvement. To excel at anything often involves stepping outside boundaries and comfort zones where others wouldn’t. This means dedicating focus and attention to things you’re not so good at and things you don’t like.

Advertising

Here’s where working with a coach can be particularly helpful. Map out the experiences that were unsavory in your working history. Were there challenges you opted out of, projects you failed at or toxic relationships that blasted your sense of purpose and self-worth into oblivion? It’s within these experiences that you might just find the most valuable lessons and guiding lights for your trajectory to achieve greater job satisfaction.

If your natural leadership style is to be a collaborator, finding opportunities that require you to apply a more dictatorial style might be needed. Discussing a secondment or short-term project where you get to develop and test your skills can be a step further in earning contention to lead a larger project down the track.

With several of the company’s boldest personality types penciled to roll out the operation, you’ll not only develop skills that earn your right to throw your hat in the ring; those key players have an opportunity to see your competence. You can then work on building relationships with those stakeholders before you need to hit the ground running should you win the lead.

Greater job satisfaction comes with planning and choosing the lessons and opportunities you want to learn, not desperately flailing, floundering and hoping for the best.

6. Keep Reviewing Your Goal Posts and Be Amenable to Change

The word ‘career’ is indicative of a longer-term pathway of change, growth and development. The journey is dynamic.

You will accumulate new skills and let those you no longer need, become rusty. Your intrigue will be stimulated by new experiences, knowledge and people you meet. Your thinking will continue to expand, not shrink. As a result, your goalposts are likely to change.

A major part of enjoying a successful career is not just setting goals effectively, but regularly reviewing and readjusting them where necessary. However, moving the posts or the target still needs to take place by applying the same processes by which you originally created them. The strength of your emotional connection to those revised goals needs to be the same, if not stronger.

By asking yourself the following questions, you can assure your developmental and growth trajectory is still on course:

Advertising

  • Would working toward these goals still allow me to honor my personal values, principles and ethics at the same capacity if not greater?
  • Do the activities I need to undertake to meet these goals honor my highest priorities?
  • Does this feel right for me and those who are nearest and dearest to me?
  • Is this aligned with my passion?
  • Is chasing this goal a right step for me to take now or is this a detour or distraction which could delay my greater plan?

Each of your career goals should have different review periods. Whatever you do, stick to the review schedule you set. It will not only keep you focused but help you see your progress (or lack thereof) and allow you to timely re-chart your course before you get too far down the track. You don’t want to waste time haphazardly heading in the wrong direction.

7. Be Prepared to Let Go

It can be unfathomable to us as to why others risk leaping into the unknown when everything truly appears fine and dandy in the career realm. The company provided stability, recognition, financial success, interesting projects and the promise of a promotion…what was wrong? Why now jump sideways to run a café or train in another field altogether?

Nothing may have been wrong at all. It was all going right. It was just the end of a chapter. Perhaps the yearning for the next step is actually taking a different trajectory entirely. You may want to simply experience a different rhythm. Perhaps it’s time to pursue a different passion.

If you have leaped from employee-land to freelancing or have made the reverse-jump (or you know someone who has), you will have quickly grown a different appreciation for pros and cons each work lifestyle brings. Working for yourself can bring the greater realization of your creativity, whether or not it can be monetized to earn you a living.

When your customers are buying you or a product you designed and fashioned, there is a direct level of appreciation and gratitude that can elevate your confidence in the way you have never experienced as an employee, regardless of your rank.

Similarly, there are times where we need to recognize our business ventures were adventures, not long-term life-changing empires. There are times we need to recognize that time is what provides the clearest limitation of how long we persist for in such pursuits.

We have to recognize the absence of enough financial, mental, emotional and physical breadcrumbs that tells us we’re no longer meant to push in that direction. At least, not for the present time.

The Bottom Line

Above all, keep the momentum. As long as you remain committed to pursuing work opportunities that allow you to honor your highest priorities, the truth of who you are and what you stand for, achieving ultimate job satisfaction and a successful career will never be too far away.

More Resources to Help Advance Your Career

Featured photo credit: Csaba Balazs via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next