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5 Proven Content Marketing Strategies

5 Proven Content Marketing Strategies

An increasingly huge segment of the capital that modern businesses are assigning for marketing is being dedicated to online marketing. In fact, research has identified content marketing as the single most productive and sustainable form of attracting a loyal customer base in the 21st century. After decades of newspaper, radio, and television advertising, the global audience is waking up to the competitive advantages of a new online media. These advantages have influenced the ever-growing dominance of content marketing. The main advantages of content marketing allow marketers to:

  1. Fluidly incorporate the creative edge of 3D content
  2. Have a comparatively cheaper option for marketing
  3. Create a long-term market presence using online media
  4. Accommodate emerging trends of the Information Age
  5. Personalize content despite using social/mass media
  6. Integrate multi-media platforms with both video and audio

Regardless of these advantages, however, content marketing does not work for everyone. Some firms invest less capital and still convert more visitors to active customers. In contrast, other firms invest gigantic sums only to attract a few customers. It would seem, then, that success in content marketing depends on the science of marketing, not on the amount of time or resources invested. Like every form of marketing, content marketing is both a science and an art. This means that content marketing employs a creative and artistic strategy to attract online traffic to a site and then converts this traffic to loyal customers.

The question now becomes, “How can you improve the success of your content marketing program?” Previous research has proven that it is possible to improve the success of your content marketing instantly. You need only use a precise set of strategies, most of which have proved extremely effective for modern online entrepreneurs. The following five strategies are among the most essential and effective secrets to improving your content marketing outcomes.

1) Creating Problem-Solution Content

Improving your content marketing must always start by attaining the content’s purpose. Content marketing is, after all, a strategic and purpose-driven marketing approach that helps create, publish, and distribute valuable content for a clearly defined online audience. Content marketing seeks to move a customer towards taking profitable action. Before promoting a product or service, content marketing must first inform, educate, and positively improve the customers’ knowledge of the product or service. Such education preferably comes from an expert’s point of view. Only then can the content attract and sustain worthwhile traffic.

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    This explains why “how to” online content generates perhaps the highest portion of online traffic. Potential customers seek to know, learn, and understand issues that are of personal interest to them. Content marketing thus needs to precisely and concretely address realistic customer concerns, guide them towards ideal solutions, and offer a problem-solution exchange. Online marketing succeeds when it shows a customer how to do several things, including:

    1. Know more about an issue that is interesting to them
    2. Service their needs effectively and without additional cost
    3. Progressively improve their homes or workplaces
    4. Make their lives more enjoyable and affordable

    2) Anticipating Emerging Trends

    Content marketing helps anticipate future trends in the market. It is also becoming the only possible way to embrace these trends. Leading media companies that had previously relied on newspaper and TV advertising have acknowledged an emerging marketing trend. This new marketing trend is exclusively underscored by content marketing. Consequently, modern media giants have launched content marketing studios to service a new age of marketing dynamics. Companies that have traditionally relied on their global reach are gradually attaining the same outcomes through online platforms. Their online activities usually include posting videos and articles through their social media pages and blogs.

    Significant trends in advertising hinged on content marketing are evident in modern business. According to recent research, over 62% of content marketers have claimed that they saw an increase in the success of their content marketing strategies this year. This included over 88% of business-to-business advertisers who were using content marketing by the end of 2016. Furthermore, over 76% of all marketers claimed that they were planning to improve their content marketing strategy by 2017. Evidently, content marketing is no longer a choice. Rather, it is a mandatory component of 21st century marketing. This reality is the product of several emerging practices:

    1. Increasing the positive impact of content marketing on contemporary businesses
    2. Reducing the cost of content marketing
    3. Increasing the usage of social media platforms
    4. Personalizing general marketing messages for online visitors
    5. Customers making purchasing decisions using online content

    3) Optimizing the Marketing Message

    Content marketing should provide content that markets a product or service. As such, the mere presence and frequency of high quality content on an e-commerce site are not the only requirements. Long before dissemination, content marketing must start with a creation process. That process of creating content is both an art and a science. By default, the success of online marketing relies on how well both the art and the science are integrated.

    It is during the creation process that a message is strategically constructed. In most cases, content is judged based on its information value. For the marketer, however, the purpose is not to inform, but to market a product or service. The science is in making that marketing goal indirect yet convincing. Only when informative content is created can the content then be used to convert the reader to an active customer.

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    4) Embracing the Era of Multi-Media Usage

    According to recent research, advances in communication technology have triggered the use of and reliance on mobile devices. The prospective customer simultaneously uses assorted stationery and mobile devices. This means that the online content must be effectively accessible from smartphones, tablets, desktop computers, and laptops. Successful content marketing must embrace the simplicity and liquidity of being available and accessible in what has become a multi-device world. The marketer should customize the content for consumption by a relatively mobile public.

    content marketing

      The world is going mobile, and content marketers should therefore always cater to a mobile audience. Unfortunately, that is not all. In a recent study commissioned by Facebook, it was found that the international audience targeted by content marketing uses several mobile devices simultaneously. Among a sample of 2000 adults in the UK and the US, the study recorded over 60% of adults online accessing the internet using at least two mobile devices on a daily basis. Most of these adults used the mobile devices simultaneously. Further still, 25% of Americans and 20% of UK residents simultaneously use three mobile devices. Interestingly, over 40% of the sample in both countries start an online activity using one mobile device and then complete the activity using another device. The impact of content marketing thus depends not only on how well it caters to a mobile audience, but also on how well it facilitates multi-device usage.

      5) Personifying the Marketing Appeal

      Readers largely prefer reading information given by experts. This explains why quality content marketing needs to have the perspective of an authoritative voice. Even so, when marketers make the content personal, they take the content to a level it might never have reached even with an authoritative voice. Personalized content is more attractive, appealing, and convincing to the reader than abstract text. TED talks, how-to articles, and advisory YouTube videos, for example, attract such a gigantic following because their content is always personalized.

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        The problem with content marketing is that it cannot attain essential eye contact. Nonetheless, even without eye contact, the content attains nearly the same effect with a personalized interaction with the reader. Content that does not address “the” reader, and which builds an interactive discourse with “you,” helps attain the goal of content marketing better. Once that personal contact is made, sustaining it with reliable, consistent, and regular content solidifies how well content marketing attains its primary goal.

        Content Marketing Is Invaluable

        The future of content marketing is evidently more prosperous, influential, and critically essential than any other traditional form of marketing has been. Content marketing is not only becoming dynamic, but is also a combination of advertising art and marketing science. It might be extremely cheap to get likes on Instagram, for example, but the potential marketing impact of those “likes” is priceless. That said, use the advice here to tap into this potential and consolidate your content marketing success. This success in content marketing is both attainable and essential.

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        Vikas Agrawal

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        Last Updated on April 17, 2019

        10 Essential Soft Skills That Will Help Advance Your Career

        10 Essential Soft Skills That Will Help Advance Your Career

        What’s the secret of professional success? Some of it lies in the mastery of your discipline and all the technical skills you have to carry out your job; but a much bigger part lies in the soft skills list you possess.

        Soft skills are your people or relationship skills—how well you get along with others and your ability to communicate and collaborate—as well as the personal characteristics you bring to the job, such as optimism, a can-do attitude and the motivation to work hard. These skills are not always easy to point out, but their absence can cause serious problems and negatively affect the whole work atmosphere.

        They say that hard skills will help you get the job, but soft skills will help you get along—and get ahead. With that in mind, here’s the top-10 essential soft skills list to help you advance your career.

        1. Communication Skills

        Communication skills are hands-down the most sought-after soft skill that bosses want, and this one ability covers a lot of ground.

        To communicate well, you have to listen carefully, interpret the context of the conversation, express yourself clearly, persuade others of your point of view, check your body language and use an engaging presentation style that won’t intimidate or bore your audience. That’s a big ask!

        Your personality traits can influence the way you communicate with others. For instance, some people get straight to the point and center their arguments around facts and logic; others are cooperative and sensitive to how others feel. Both these approaches are equally valuable but there can be misunderstandings if you don’t understand where the other person is coming from.

        Taking a comprehensive personality test can help you understand why you communicate the way you do and where your blind spots are. It can also help you understand other communication styles is so you can tailor your communication to the person you’re dealing with.

        After all, connecting with your conversation partner is the hallmark of good communication.

        2. Flexibility

        Change is an essential part of any business. Companies need employees who are flexible enough to work with new initiatives, open to new ideas, and generally are able to tough it out when things don’t go as planned.

        Research has found a link between job performance and flexibility over the long term because there will be times when you have to step outside your routine and rise to fresh challenges that didn’t exist before.

        Being flexible doesn’t mean you have to hop into a new task or job role like an expert. Rather, it’s about showing you’re willing to accept new responsibility and learn different things.

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        Bosses look for people who are prepared to step outside their comfort zones and are open to alternative solutions when their first idea doesn’t work.

        3. Being a Team Player

        Working on a team can be challenging but learning to do it well can definitely help you get ahead in your career. Employers look for people who can negotiate, cooperate and manage conflicts with other people to achieve a common goal. That includes the ability to build lasting relationships with customers and clients.

        What makes a good team player? Essentially, it’s someone who knows the goal and knows her role. Employers look for evidence that you know your strengths, your responsibilities and how you can best contribute to the team, then put those skills into action by sharing ideas and communicating in a respectful manner. That’s the definition of being a good team player.

        This is another area where taking a personality test can help you get ahead. When teams work together, each member brings a unique set of skills and qualities to the group. Research has shown that different combinations of personalities affect how teams collaborate and how productive they are.

        Knowing who you are, and how you work on a team, can drive new insights and open the door to better teamwork.

        4. Positive Mental Attitude

        There are plenty of things you can’t change at work, like the people you work with or the fact that the printer is broken again. The one thing you can change is how much you let these things bother you.

        Bosses like people who are calm, rational and upbeat—those who diffuse tensions in the workplace, not get all grouchy and go around slamming doors.

        Studies show that people who maintain a sunny disposition have better relationships at work, are happier in their jobs and make better decisions than those who whine and complain. Some suggest that a positive mental attitude can also make you live longer—which means it’s beneficial for every area of your life![1]

        It’s not always easy to keep a “glass half full” mentality when work is stressful and the deadlines are piling up. But there are some things you can do to help maintain a positive attitude. Laughing at your unfortunate circumstances keeps the work environment positive, and taking “sanity” breaks can help you keep your cool in high-pressure situations.

        Managers look for positive mental attitude in a team member that is ready for a promotion, so it really does pay to keep your cool in challenging situations.

        5. A Strong Work Ethic

        People with a strong work ethic are committed to the role, persevere when things get tough and are inspired by challenge. These people are ambassadors for the organization, and will always be seen as top talent and ideal candidates.

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        If you can exhibit this skill, then expect to be seen as a great candidate, eligible for new opportunities and positions throughout your career.

        Since a strong work ethic can mean different things to different people, it helps to show specific examples of your exceptional work ethic during a performance appraisal or interview. For instance, you might talk about:

        • A time when you persisted in the face of challenges and did not shy away from hard work.
        • How you volunteered to help with projects even though these tasks did not form part of your job description.
        • The networking, workplace learning and skills betterment you’ve undertaken, which shows ambition and drive (people with a strong work ethic have those qualities in spades).
        • How you own your mistakes and never, ever point the finger of blame at others.

        For help with building a strong work ethic, check out these tips: How to Build a Reliable Work Ethic

        6. Public Speaking

        Who’s terrified of public speaking? Pretty much everyone, since public speaking is America’s number one fear, ahead of death at number five and loneliness at number seven.

        Yet, according to Warren Buffett, mastering this one skill you could increase your personal value by 50 percent.[2] That’s huge!

        If you’re not natural at public speaking, you’re in good company. Buffett had to work hard to overcome his stage fright and once dropped out of a public-speaking course before it started—because he was afraid of public speaking! He eventually realized that he needed to build up his confidence by just doing it; over and over in front of small groups.

        For a more structured approach, Toastmasters International teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a variety of pathways. Membership of this non-profit looks good on your resume but the real payoff will come when you can put your newfound skills to use on the job or in the interview room.

        Or, you can check out this advice: The Ultimate Public Speaking Tips to Hook and Impress Any Audience

        7. Integrity

        From a manager’s point of view, the two integrity skills that will set you apart are:

        • Always doing what you say you will do
        • Owning an error instead of minimizing or hiding it

        …even when no one is around to check up on you.

        There are lots of people who have climbed the ladder without scruples, but they are not the people who others trust, respect and support when promotion time comes around.

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        Behaving with integrity is a safe and consistent way to enhance your reputation and achieve your professional goals.

        8. Managing Your Time

        Phone calls, texts, Slack pings, meetings, huddles, side projects, multitasking—we are busier today than any generation before us. There’s no denying the workplace is an incredibly distracting place to be.

        A lot of us have traded effectiveness for busyness which we wear as a badge of honor, both as a proxy for productivity and to show our value to the company. But what bosses want, what they really, really want, is someone who actually gets stuff done on time.

        Time management is not merely the art of being on time, but of managing your time so you focus on the projects that really matter and add value to the business. This means prioritizing well, sticking to schedules, delegating, and not getting distracted by tasks that are easier to perform or less important. It means planning ahead and learning when it’s appropriate to say no.

        Time management can be a tough skill to maintain, but not a difficult one to pick up. Monitor your actions for a few days—how long do your tasks take to finish? What’s interrupting you? What causes you to lose focus? Once you have the answers to these questions, you can set a schedule for yourself to make sure you’re spending your time wisely and this valuable asset is never wasted.

        These 20 Quick Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity are also great to try.

        9. Assertiveness

        In any workplace, you typically will find people with the following conflict styles:

        • Passive: Those who go out of their way to avoid conflict.
        • Passive-aggressive: Those who express their negative feelings through actions rather than words.
        • Aggressive: Those who respond to conflict in a hostile and rude manner. These people get their opinion heard but they won’t make any friends in the process.
        • Assertive: People who stick up for their rights while still respecting the rights of others.

        Managers look for assertiveness above all other styles because it allows decisions to be made without conflict or alienating people.

        How do you use this information for yourself?

        It starts with understanding your personality so you can anticipate how you will react when conflict arises and address your own shortcomings. Then, you can start influencing the team for top results, and securing your own career advancement in the process.

        Learn how to be assertive and gain respect:

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        How to Be Assertive and Stand up for Yourself the Smart Way

        10. Creative Thinking

        LinkedIn recently analyzed over 50,000 skills that employers search for when looking for candidates to find out what skills are currently in demand.[3] Taking the number-one slot on the 2019 soft skills list was creativity: the ability to solve problems and think outside the box.

        Creativity is about bringing fresh, and sometimes unorthodox, ideas to the table. This helps companies to innovate, and companies that do not innovate will not survive very long.

        How do you showcase your creative thinking skills? The golden rule is to participate.

        Be brave and share your ideas during group brainstorming sessions. Volunteer to run a society, networking event or recruitment drive. Ask “what if” questions: “What if we add this information to the client welcome pack?” “What if we eliminate step 3 from the process?”

        These activities demonstrate that you’re prepared to go beyond “business as usual” towards creative problem solving—an ability that will serve you every day, all throughout your career.

        You can learn to unleash your creativity power:

        What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

        Final Thoughts

        The good news? Every item on this soft skills list can be learned. Although you may feel lacking in certain areas, taking an inventory of your strengths and weaknesses will allow you to focus in on the areas that you’ll benefit from developing.

        So take an inventory of your personality, skills, and talents. This will give you a baseline for your communication style, attitude to change, conscientiousness and more. You can then identify your weak areas and develop strategies for improving your team-building, assertiveness and conflict skills.

        The better news? The effort is worth it. Developing your soft skills opens the door to a new job or a promotion, and helps you succeed once you get there.

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        Featured photo credit: Rachael Gorjestani via unsplash.com

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