Content Marketing Best Practices for 2018

September 10, 2018
September 10, 2018 Madeleine

Since the beginning of social media channels in the early 2000’s, the word content became one of the most used words as brands and individual creators attempted to define what they did.

These days, content marketing is a big industry that runs into billions and for the greater part of the last decade, it involved aggressively pushing your product or service to the top of the pile or consistently trying to outmaneuver Google’s algorithms in order to achieve a ranking on the first page of their search results.

But in 2018, content marketing is taking a new direction. In fact, it is reverting to its original direction which involves brands focusing on creating and maintaining emotion-based connections with their fans or their customers. 2018 is seeing more attempts to take on a human tone in order to reach out to consumers in order to meet them on their customer journey and guide them with whatever needs they have.

In fact, brands that have begun to deploy strategies derivative of this are beginning to see results. One brand noticed that consumers are landing and engaging with their content in a measurable way. They are subscribing, downloading, clicking through and most importantly buying.

So how can you make your content consumer friendly? Well here are some tips to get you started:

Stop Selling and Start Informing

What a lot of brand managers and social media personnel fail to realize is that content marketing is not like the normal marketing. With content marketing, the rules of engagement are greatly different. With conventional marketing, marketing plans usually involve placing the product or service directly in front of the consumer hence putting the brands first.

With content marketing, it is a little different as you have to put the consumer’s needs forward first. Content that aims to inform, educate or solve problems tend to make consumers engaged enough to click through whatever link or channel you are directing them to. Focus on answering questions rather than selling or discussing your brand all the time.

Know Your Audience, Then Target Them

We live in a world where everyone has a voice. Hence developing content generic content plans that pay little or no attention to particular demographics could do more harm to your content plan than it does good. It is important to figure out whom you are talking to and what they want to know.

Developing target specific content plans is simpler because it affords you to focus on specific needs and pain points. You also get to align your content plan to mirror their user journey, providing support when necessary.

Optimize Your Content

In 2018, your content doesn’t get to the top of the first page on Google’s search without you ensuring it is properly optimized. Ensuring that it is easily delivered and located without having to sacrifice any shred of quality and readability is essential.

Try using the following guidelines when attempting to optimize your content:

  • Title: Otherwise known as your heading. Ensure your keywords are positioned to the left as much as possible and try keeping them under 75 words.
  • Subheadings: There is a difference between the H2, H3, H4 header tags. Know what these tags stand for and use them when appropriate. Ensure you phrase the subheading as questions or long-tail keywords.
  • URL: It Is important the URL of your page matches the title of the page whenever it is possible. With the exception of conjunctions and prepositions, use lowercase letters and hyphens to separate words.
  • Meta Description: This is where a lot of content plans go wrong. Failure to provide a clear, accurate and enticing summary of the content would lead to fewer people viewing without clicking. Endeavor to keep your meta description between 300 – 320 characters.
  • Images: The best brands ensure to factor in images into their content plan. But it is not enough or right to simply pick any stock photo and call it a day. Image selection needs to be intentional, and all images are expected to be described appropriately and sized accordingly. Alt tags and captions need to be included as well to fully optimize the image.

Keep Your Publications Consistent and Frequent

This is not to be confused with spam your followers with content at every turn or at every point of their user journey. The Content Marketing Institute’s benchmarks, budgets and trends report of 2018 indicated that the most successful content marketers achieved their goals in part to their consistent delivery of quality content.

Beyond posting quality content, they were also able to hit a rhythm with regards to posting which they capture consumers. A good way to achieve this is by creating a content calendar which will help you know what you need to post months beforehand.

At the end of the day, the rate at which you post will be a result of your available resources, goals and target audience. However, it is important you maintain consistency.

Diversify the Means Through Which You Distribute Content

The best content marketers are always looking for new ways they can plug in their content. Beyond the social media sites and the newsletters, it is important you continuously research new and existing technologies in order to find new channels.

Promotion and distribution should be an essential part of your content marketing plan. If you find out you cannot do this yourself, you can try outsourcing it but ensure you do not get limited to just one or two channels.

And finally, the most important tip:

Don’t Forget to Keep Measuring

We live in a data-driven world which measures everything. From click-through rates to the number of impressions to the number of engagements a post receives. It is important you keep track of these numbers and know what they mean in order to better your content plan.

Posts with terrible numbers should either be scrapped or modified while posts that had great numbers should be studied in a bid to know how they could be replicated.

Developing a content plan isn’t done in one night. Neither is it done in a week or a month. It is a continuous effort that requires constant tweaking and modifying in order to get the best version of your brand into the consciousness of the consumer.

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