Changing your priorities in content marketing can be hard - most of us want to believe that great content is enough to get the kind of engagement and conversion the inbound methodology can facilitate. But with a little work you can develop a new way of thinking about your content marketing that can ultimately improve your engagements while streamlining your process. If you are a writer that loves content creation, get ready to adjust your expectations (and if you love designing promotional opportunities, get excited).
Never Forget What Your Job Is
Traditional models of “good” content production and promotion recommend spending about 50% of your time on each - half your time building your content, and half optimizing and promoting. While you might find some amount of success with this ratio, the best content marketers are spending close to 20% of their time creating their content and up to 80% of their time promoting. The 20/80 rule can be a hard pill to swallow, but once you’re able to move away from the “if you build it they will come” mentality, the benefits to your business, your content, and your time become clear.
A content marketer’s real job is to, well...market their content. If that seems annoyingly obvious, let’s quickly establish a definition.
“Content marketing is a marketing program that centers on creating, publishing, and distributing content for your target audience -- usually online -- the goal of which is to attract new customers.” - Corey Wainwright, HubSpot
Content marketing as a part of the inbound methodology is closely aligned with the buyer’s journey, and it’s all about creating value for your target audience. And even if you’ve made the most remarkable content to ever grace the internet, it will not do your contacts and followers much good if they never see it. Building a promotional plan and sticking to it will get your lovingly crafted content in front of the people who will most appreciate it.
Highlight and Repurpose What’s Already Working
Though you may be creating less new content, your best and brightest content now gets the chance to shine. Instead of spending time building content for content’s sake, you can now spend your time identifying your highest performing content and figuring out the smartest ways to promote and repurpose that content on different channels. Imagine the time you’ll save and the reach your best work will have when you can focus getting it to your audience.
From the time that you wrote your highest performing blog post to now, what have you learned about your readers? Have you converted any of the visitors to your blog into leads? Leads to customers? How can that content still bring value to your contacts at any lifecycle stage? Instead of thinking of new subjects to tackle in future blogs – projects which may or may not resonate with your audience – think about migrating some of that already high-performing content into a handy checklist, or creating a video or podcast out of your blog post. Imagine the ROI and new opportunities for SEO when you can take content that’s already popular on one channel, and turn it into a high performer on another.
Optimize For Your Audience
Though you may think you have a good idea of who your audience is and the type of content they like (hopefully based on engagement and analytics) don’t assume that your impressions tell you everything. If you just have a feeling that your social posts get the most shares at 3:00 in the afternoon or your blogs do best when released on the Thursday before a full moon, you need to reassess and seriously consider adding some new tools into your content creation and promotion process.
A tool like Atomic Reach utilizes AI technology to analyze your content and then shows you not only when your posts tend to perform better, but also how to utilize different tones, content, where and when to publish, and even type of language to better engage your audience (and it’s integrated with HubSpot!)
Ready to Make a Change?
Just like content can’t be everything in your marketing plan, promotion can’t be your only priority either. The 20/80 content production to promotion ratio only works when the content is excellent. Terrible content expertly promoted won’t help you (and will likely be pretty embarrassing) just like incredible content doesn’t do anyone any good if no one ever sees it. Find the right balance and move your marketing strategy from good to great!
Create valuable content for your target audience, and then get that content to them. Let your content production follow your promotion - learn what is successful, where it’s successful, listen to any feedback and engagement that you get, analyze results, and consider new data when you move into creating anything new.
With better and more targeted content thoughtfully and thoroughly promoted, you set yourself up for the potential of higher engagement, the ability to ask for more valuable information in your CTAs, and the opportunity to convert your customers to evangelists. Bring the conversation to your audience through promotion, and listen to what they have to say.