Content Marketing: How to Get More Readers

7 Actionable Content Marketing Tactics [Research]

Break Through The BS While content is 2013’s marketing mantra, to achieve their business goals, marketers must break through the noise to get their information read.

As a marketer, you’re up against a sea of messages competing for your prospects’ attention. Creating and distributing content that reaches your target audience and fulfills their needs without being promotional is a challenge.

7 Content marketing findings

Harris Interactive’s “Behavior Shift: Getting Content in Front of Consumers” provides important insights marketers can incorporate into their content marketing plans.

  1. Over 90% of US adults read online content. They spend over seven hours a week looking for content, read three to four articles per session and watch two to three videos per session.
  2. About a quarter of respondents get most of their content based on recommendations from social network connections.
  3. Almost half of respondents said that they were more likely to click on related content after reading an article.
  4. Consumers assess online content quality in terms of the following elements:

    • 60% consider a source already known offline
    • 24% consider images
    • 23% consider author image and byline
    • 11% consider an embedded video.
  5. Over half of online consumers said that they read and click on content sent to them via email newsletters from brands they use.
  6. Just under half of consumers trust content from a brand or manufacturer’s website for purchase information. While about one in ten trusts content recommended by a friend on social media. (Here are the ten trust elements your content marketing needs.)
  7. About two-thirds of the top twenty-five CPG brands averaged less than 100,000 unique visitors per month to their brand websites based on a study by Accenture, dunnhumbyUSA and comScore. Ignore this traffic at your peril since these visitors spent over a third more on these brands at retail than non-visitors.

3 Keys to getting your content discovered

Based on this Harris Interactive research, here are the three keys you need to grab your audience’s attention and get your content marketing discovered and consumed. Bear in mind that these elements must work together to engage your readers.

  1. Content. This is the information providing the answers to your target market’s needs and questions.
  2. Context. This is the framework in which your information is discovered. It adds a layer of meaning to your information. For content marketing, this often translates to incorporating branding elements. But don’t underestimate the power that context contributes to your information’s effectiveness. For example, Hidden Valley Ranch dressing tried posting recipes that did well on their website on Facebook only to find that they were the worst performing content on that platform.
  3. Composition. This is refers to how your information is presented to your audience. Specifically it includes the format of your content such as text, images, audio and video as well as bolding and chunking of information. (Here are thirteen tips to help you format your content.)

7 Actionable Content Marketing Tactics

Leveraging the combination of these three content marketing keys, here are seven actionable content marketing tactics to help you achieve your business goals.

  1. Determine how to present your total content across platforms (owned, third party and social media) to ensure that it resonates with your audience. This means using an editorial calendar and planning for content reuse. While information can be formatted in multiple ways to extend its life, different options work differently on different platforms. Test your content offering to ensure that it’s optimized for the appropriate venue.
  2. Format your content to make it trustworthy. Layout your content so that readers find it reliable. Don’t underestimate the value of presentation for encouraging readership.
  3. Include your branded website as part of your content offering. Think about your content marketing holistically to include your website, blog, email and other owned entities as well as social media. Consider your branded site as an entry point to your content. Use styling and how-tos with links to product pages to encourage visitors to purchase.
  4. Use opt-in, clean and targeted email lists. This means offering email subscribers what they need. Think beyond pushing the latest promotion since prospects click through to your branded website to read further. (Here are ten email tips to help you. Alternatively, check out  MarketingSherpa’s 2013 Email Benchmark Report (affiliate).)
  5. Distribute your content marketing across a variety of channels to maximize your audience. Specifically use your branded website, optimized search (including paid search), emailings and social media. While these content distribution options vary in usage by consumers, it’s critical to insure that you reach the broadest audience possible.
  6. Always offer visitors related content. As the research shows, these readers are interested in finding out more. Give them more information on the topic to keep them engaged. Where appropriate, incorporate relevant links to your product offering. This is a non-promotional way to support your sales.
  7. Encourage customers to write product reviews. Send shoppers a post-sale follow up email. This communication has three purposes: to find out whether the customer has any issues with your product, to sell  more of the same or related product, and to ask her to write a review. Whether you like it or not, customers trust other customers, not your sales team. Therefore, use this opportunity to get buyers to voice their opinion. Also, if there’s a problem, this email provides the chance to make good with your customer. (Just ignoring the problem, only allows it to fester.)

Remember consumers must hear something three to five times before they believe it according to Edelman’s 2013 Trust Barometer.  To get your content marketing to break through the noise, its content, context and composition must work together. This will make your content marketing more effective at achieving your business objectives.

How do you get your content marketing to break through the noise?

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen


Heidi CohenHeidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies. You can find Heidi on , Facebook and .

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  • Jay

    Some good guidelines to live by. It begs the question: If information like this is readily available to content creators, why do so many companies continue to put forth lackluster content.

    • heidicohen

      Jay – You raise an important question. Many content creators overlook the need to format their content to enhance its trustworthiness and ability to be consumed. Happy marketing, Heidi Cohen

  • http://www.incion.com/ web design orange ca

    Nicely presented. Each piece of content you send into the wild needs to have a purpose.

  • http://twitter.com/NMGPRSuzanne Suzanne Mannion

    Great post! Gets me thinking about Content in a much broader way. With “recommendations” in mind, I think that goes for our own blogs, as well. There’s so much great content out there – we recommend and ourselves SHARE so that more can benefit (why recreate the wheel!)

  • http://twitter.com/morgancarrie Carrie Morgan

    Good morning, Heidi! When you say “format your content to be trustworthy” – are there some specific tips you can share that help a post come across as more trustworthy?

    Are you talking about pure professionalism – making sure it is spell-checked, grammatically correct and attractive, and includes sub-headers to make the post “scannable” – or are you thinking of specific design layout tactics that encourage people to read further and trust in the author’s credibility?

    I’d be interested in some specifics about #2.

    • heidicohen

      Carrie–

      Formatting content is important for convincing potential readers to consume your content. It includes a wide variety of elements including your layout, how content is chunked and branding. Grammar and outlining also matter. (Check out the link to the 13 tips in the section above.)

      Happy marketing,
      Heidi Cohen

  • Katy

    I love tactic #6. Providing visitors with related content (and making it easier to find) is a great way to keep them engaged with your brand. I’ll definitely remember this one.