When you ask Google a question about the best marketing apps, try to diagnose the reason you’re feeling sick today, or search for listicles of recipes for your dinner guests, chances are that the articles you click on are all content marketing articles in some way or another. While these articles typically reside in the backlog of a website’s blog, they’re often first to pop up when someone needs information now.
Regular content is necessary, but it can sometimes lead to lackluster content. Great writing is just as important as marketing, and both are needed for good branding. How do you balance good writing with good marketing?
Taking a Cue from The White Papers
Do you know what a “white paper” is? No, it’s not just a white sheet of paper. It’s an authoritative report that explains a complex issue to readers in a concise way, yet still manages to include all of the important details. This kind of a piece, or a “white paper,” is a good template for formatting your content writing, at least from a business perspective.
Professionalism and matter-of-factness matter because it’s important that your brand, company, or organization becomes the authority on the industry you’re in. This will help to ensure that your readers trust what you’re saying. Metaphorically, this is akin to “dressing for the job you want,” so write like you know what you’re talking about because you do indeed know what you’re talking about.
There are some general universal guidelines to formatting a white paper, which were summarized (in white paper format, no less) by Appnovation on its blog. The basic outline introduced by them is as follows:
In essence, it’s similar to writing an essay. However, sometimes content takes more than just a professional approach. It involves consideration of the reader.
Keeping Your Audience In Mind
Despite its promotional nature, content marketing is still writing. Therefore, as important as things like professionalism and data are (see below), creativity and catering your work to your audience are also incredibly vital. One trick some writers use to stay creative is reading things that inspire them before writing. By doing this, you can use the inspiration to drive your own writing and work.
Considering your readers means considering your article’s general aesthetic as well. Just about any content marketing tips sheet will tell you to keep your articles long-form. What that means is using pictures, subheadings, graphs and stats — in general, making your articles appealing for your readers to look at.
And lastly, shorten your paragraphs. Reading large blocks of text can be hard for anyone, especially when those blocks are composed of numbers, stats, big words, etc. Part of upcycling your best content is simply breaking up the paragraphs to give reader’s brains a break.
Using Available Data
Considering your audience doesn’t just mean writing to their taste, but also understanding how they relate to your output. In this age of multi-channel marketing, tracking data is important, as it provides you with the evidence you need to evolve your marketing methods. This is where analytics come into play.
Analytic insights are vital to marketing in any capacity nowadays, and there are more resources than ever to obtain relevant data. Google Analytics, Zoho, Adobe Marketing Cloud, and IBM Analytics are all good for obtaining that sales-additional data necessary to a great marketing campaign. Who is reading your content, how many people are reading it, and what your bounce and click-through rates tend to be the most helpful measures of success to have and understand.
Additionally, setting up your content to be easily found is essential. Good and consistent SEO skills beat constant money posts, no doubt about it. This is content marketing 101, and much easier than you might think. Websites like Search Engine Land can help you with this, and it’s a very good idea for you to read their content and try to follow accordingly.
Of course, data works best when it’s spurring great, readable, and inspiring content. Approaching your content like a white paper — which is concise yet detailed and informational — and writing to your target audience will always be important because that’s what will keep people coming back. Content marketing is, after all, marketing; how you reach people is crucial.
What are some of your best content marketing tips for engaging readers and getting good responses? Let us know in the comments below!