Congratulations! You're a Publisher
Websites, infographics, social media, video, email. We push out content across so many channels these days that in some ways our brands have become, for all intents and purposes, publishers. And with each unique channel at our disposal come features, tools and nuances to master. These we must understand in order to craft and deliver content that breaks through the noise, reaches our audiences and drives conversions.
With a content strategy that provides the right mix of compelling content for your brand, that’s optimized where, when and how your users engage with you, you might just become the media powerhouse we all know you can be.
Here are some handy tips (maybe some refreshers, too) to get you on your way.
First, let's get back to basics. Folks often find writing very daunting. An article, press release, blog, what have you. It’s hard to get started, and you just want to get it done – and fast. Sally Kerrigan takes the fear out of the process with simple steps for achieving focus, formulating thoughtful ideas (not just words for words sake) and delivering true value to your readers. In other words, “crafting purposefulness.”
What’s more, once you’ve got the hang of it, you’ve got the opportunity to submit your work for publication in A List Apart.
Attract, Engage, Convert
The whole point of your content strategy is convincing your audience to do something, right? But this requires meticulous thought and strategic content that guides your audience through every step of the conversion funnel. This article lays out a plan designed to get your users’ attention on your blog (think Top 10 lists), encourage engagement on social and email (value-add articles) and ultimately “close the deal” with qualified leads (problem-solving pieces).
Content + Design = Infographics
With the unstoppable success of visual content in social media, paired with the boon of big data, you should consider infographics as part of your content strategy. The rules for infographics are no different than those for traditional content. They must be interesting, relevant, timely, entertaining and shareable. And now there’s some science behind a strong infographic from a visual standpoint, as Harvard researchers tried to answer the question, “what makes a visualization memorable?” Here are some great infographic examples:
For most of us, videos have become a part of our daily routine, so of course many brands are eager to delve into video content. But how... and what? Highlighting the popular programming tutorial, “Rails for Zombies,” this article discusses how videos that demonstrate a brand’s expertise or teach a viewer something new yield meaningful engagement and social sharing. The Moz Blog’s popular “Whiteboard Friday” video series is another example of engaging, how-to video content. And just for fun, research tells us that users are more likely to share when the content evokes a strong positive emotion.
By now we know that Facebook posts should compelling, move a conversation forward and encourage engagement. This infographic from ShortStack provides 12 helpful hints for leveraging Facebook, including some specifics for your posts: “Posts between 100 and 150 characters (fewer than 3 lines of text) see 60% more Likes, comments and shares.” And once again, it reminds us that we’re visual, so try to change your cover photo at least once a month to get visibility in your fans' feeds.
Don’t Discount Evergreen
Buzz-worthy pieces and punchy top-10 lists will always attract lots of attention, but don’t abandon your evergreen features just yet. They have a place. Try mixing your timely content with some regular columns (e.g., FAQs, resources, weekly blogs by a well-known personality) to help position your brand as a trusted source of information on various topics. Offering unique, reliable content that a reader cannot get anywhere else is a great way to build brand loyalty and a strong following that grows as your readers share your content with their friends and followers.
The Power of Email
In a recent Guardian article, ExactTarget's Bryan Wade, senior vice-president of email, mobile and content, said that their customers see amazing ROI on email marketing. Specifically, $40 back for every dollar they spend. Lately overshadowed by social media, email remains one of the most effective ways to make direct, long-lasting relationships with your audience. But how do you craft that perfect email - one that a user opens, reads and engages with? In 37 extremely useful tips, learn how to get the most mileage out of your email campaigns - from subject lines to style to “power words.”