I think we can apply the same concept to content marketing. Content marketing is still a relatively new field. It’s something many of us want to be better at. And it’s something that many marketing plans are starting to incorporate into goals and objectives. Instead of talking about good content marketing practices (though those articles are also very worthwhile) let’s talk about good habits of effective content marketers.
Effective content marketing habit #1: Actively listen.Interview customers and ask what they want to know more about. Talk to your sales and customer service staff to find out what the most common issues are. Read comments to see where your audience needs more help. Your most effective content pieces will be pieces that are truly of interest and value to your audience - so develop the habit of listening to your audience regularly.
Look outside your company as well. You can learn a lot about your prospects by monitoring social media channels in your industry and of your competition. You’ll also get a good look at what your competition is doing and be able to respond in a timely manner.
Effective content marketing habit #2: Never stop researching.If you are writing on a regular basis (and a good content marketer is doing just that), your own creativity isn’t always enough. Talk to others in your company. Incorporate Q&As from other people. Interview people in related industries for a fresh perspective. Read and read a lot. Industry publications, blogs, magazines, books - think about why the material interested you and leverage that for your writing. Listen to podcasts. Watch TedTalks. If you want to learn something new, be inspired or expand your knowledge - you need to put in the time for research.
Effective content marketing habit #3: Watch & learn.Those analytic reports can really tell you something specific about your audience. Which posts are garnering the most reads? Expand on those topics, develop downloadable materials with in-depth information about them, research to find closely-related topics. Where are visitors going on your site? Can you write anything that will help them find related information of value? Don’t just write and assume you are reaching the right targets. The Internet can show you where your audience is going - watch and learn from them.
Effective content marketing habit #4: Plan the work and work your plan.Don’t get stuck in a situation where you’re constantly developing ideas at the last minute. Sit down with others in your company and set goals for your content marketing strategy. Then strategically develop communication pieces that support those goals. Lay out an editorial calendar to help you plan interviews and research ahead of time. Make sure your content is focused and works together to build value and interest. Look for opportunities to re-purpose content. Taking the time upfront to plan may not be something you’re used to doing, but it’s a habit that will serve you and your content marketing strategy well.
Effective content marketing habit #5: Question yourself.You know that the best content marketing pieces aren’t branding pieces or even those with strong marketing messages. The best content marketing answers your target market’s questions, shows them new ways to use your product or service, teaches them how to do their job better. Develop the habit of questioning yourself and with each article or piece that you develop, ask the simple question: Is this really of value to my target audience?
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