Best practices in PDF format: 25 actionable tips on planning, optimisation, social media, translation, and 2019 trends
Market Brighter: Preface
A good way to start the second half of the year is to review your existing strategy. Find the time to analyse all the things that worked well in the first six months and what needs to be improved.
This downloadable library for small and medium businesses may be of help here with 25 actionable tips to boost your corporate strategy for customer engagement while optimising the budget.
What makes this 35-page guide useful?
- It’s visual – Instead of relying on pages upon pages of boring blocks of text, you’ll ‘see’ an effective, memorable, and engaging ideas
- It’s concise – No fluff and filler. Remember and benefit more from ideas that are captured this way
- It taps in the power of planning – For your positive change and growth
The content represents years of learning and studying from books, courses, and workshops that I went through in my own personal journey to become a better translator and marketer. During that process I made some helpful and interesting discoveries about the knowledge I was consuming.
Some ideas and strategies kept copying up. And when it happened it was a clue to me that I need to capture the idea or a strategy and remember it. Here, I selected the best ideas and practical, impactful strategies to save you time and mental energy.
Below, you’ll find all the points in a blog post. But this format isn’t practical if you want to actually use this list. To comfortably review your content strategy, download its handy PDF version with 35 pages that contain detailed information for each tip and some extra space for your own ideas and notes.
A. Planning and Mindset
1. DO YOUR REASEARCH
Content marketing is becoming marketing. Successful brands know how to open the door for two way conversations and relationships with audience.
It creates clarity and focus – It helps you get crystal clear about the direction you want to go with your content strategy.
Keep it written – An outline of just a few pages can increase the clarity and effectiveness of your marketing significantly.
Identify level of awareness – Present your offer to your prospect based on 5 levels of awareness:
- The Most Aware
- Completely Unaware
Tip: The minute you make your brand the focal point of your content is the minute you lose your audience. Having clearly defined customer segments help you identify what’s important to your customer and how to engage them.
2. SET YOUR GOALS
From general goals like lead generation, SEO, and thought leadership companies customise strategies that are specifically designed to the goal which is most important to them.
People share and link to content for different reasons. So it’s important to create content that caters to your goals.
As you set content marketing goals for your content strategy, consider the following elements to add to your agenda:
• Building brand awareness
• Driving social traffic and engagement
• Generating leads
• Building a reputation with search engines
• Converting leads and/or upselling
Tip: Reveal the context you’ll need to stand out. Track how competitors approach content, which subjects they cover, and how content performs.
3. FIND WAYS TO DELIVER VALUE
Making the commitment to create and share quality information yields at least five benefits that are hard to beat.
• Define your value
• Become the answer
• Study your competitors
• Understand the difference between features and benefits
• Remember to address common objections
Tip: Blog content is now tied with traditional white papers as one of the most frequently turned to forms of content during research phases of the buying journey.
4. SHAPE YOUR OWN VOICE
If you can replace the logo on your content with someone else’s then you don’t have a strong, distinct voice. And if you don’t have a unique voice, you’re going to drown in the content sea.
A product/service needs a unique ‘angle’ to stand out from the competition. A USP (Unique Selling Proposition) is what will help bring the product or service you’re writing about greater awareness in the minds of your prospects. That greater awareness creates more sales.
• Do some brainstorming – Understand your product’s main benefit.
• Follow the guidelines – Create an effective USP.
Tip: Today’s consumers prefer publishers who provide information in a way that is pleasing to them. Things like format, length, accessibility, and voice can majorly impact whether people read your content or not.
5. CHOOSE KPIS AND MEASUREMENT TOOLS
A genuine content marketing strategy revolves around the carefully considered exchange of valuable content for valuable engagement, with a commitment to identifying and measuring that value.
Having all statistics in a visual format can help you get to the bottom of issues that need resolving, as well as identify big opportunities you may be missing out on.
• Take your goal and work it into the SMART framework
• Measure interest with newsletter sign-ups
• Measure relevancy with call-to-action clicks
• Measure appeal with resource downloads
• Measure efficacy with requests and contact form submissions
ADDITIONAL POINTS TO REMEMBER:
- Extract your data
- Don’t share everything freely
- Use paid media
- Don’t become fixated on individual signals
B. Optimised Content
6. BE INFORMATIVE
Getting the right customers/prospects to view the content is marketer’s greatest challenge. To succeed in it, do not limit your content to your brands.
90% of the most successful content marketers prioritise educating their audience over promoting their company’s sales message.
• Provide answers
• Don’t align by format of content
• Try content curation
POINTS TO REMEMBER
- Don’t waste your readers’ time
- Use the inverted pyramid technique
- No hard sell
- Connect emotions to your brand
- Be flexible
7. OPTIMISE FOR CONVERSION
Odds are that 20% of your pages/products drive 80% of your visits/sales. If you try to focus on everything, you end up focusing on nothing.
• Don’t forget a lead gen CTA
• Don’t forget secondary CTAs
• Consider adding contextual CTAs
• Email them
POINTS TO REMEMBER
- Without trust, you have nothing
- If you don’t meet a need, you are ignored
- Urgency doesn’t allow customers to slip away
In a survey of 500 digital marketers, 88% said their marketing strategy includes blogging, and most posts they publish have at least one visual.
Some trends are changing, but there are several things that remain the same. B2B companies with a blog receive more leads than those that don’t. A company blog has more long-term ROI than traditional marketing efforts
The key to successful business blog is variety. Several types of blog posts that can draw new visitors and help build audience relationships. Mix them up and monitor the engagement. With these types of posts, you don’t have to hard-promote your brand and products.
- Local customer success story
- Hot news
- Link round up
- Frequent questions
- Trends and insights
- Future plans
- Product or service review
- Behind the scenes
- Video post
- Explain how you do it
- Your charity work
- Your blunders
- Regular feature
- Industry secrets
- How-tos and guides
- Round up
9. PAY STRONG ATTENTION TO VISUALS
Google is getting better at understanding what an image is with their enhanced search announcement.
Eyes need more rest – Visual “break-outs” is where readers rest their eyes while scanning. They can also communicate important points in a more visual and memorable way.
- Break text blocks
Tip: Which of visual formats perform best and drive the most engagement? Original Graphics, videos and presentations, charts and visualisations, stock photography, gifs and memes.
10. SEO OPTIMISE
93% of online experiences begin with search, and 51% of web traffic comes from organic search.
Attributes of optimised content:
• With right keyphrases
Tip. Identify long-tail keywords to develop a targeted and unique angle. Highly competitive keywords are already secure for top positions.
C. Social Media Tactics
11. FOCUS ON ENGAGEMENT
Currently, connecting and marketing with users through social media is about interacting within the site and application instead of trying to get visibility and traffic back to your website.
Updated social media algorithms are aimed at meaningful interactions. There’s no short route to genuine engagement. It’s not enough anymore to encourage people to like, comment, share as social platforms are trying to cut down on engagement bait techniques.
• Use social media for sales enablement
• Do not chase for increasing your followers
• Consider user-generated content
• Show the human side of your business
• Build niche or subculture communities
POINTS TO REMEMBER
- Be inspiring
- Be honest
- Ordinary posts just won’t cut it
12. NARROW DOWN THE FOCUS
Who is the target audience for your content, and where are they active? Evaluate your audience (or lack thereof) in each of the channels where you publish, and see if something is amiss.
Social media marketing is becoming more competitive. You need to focus on the best-performing channels for your business.
• Review your social media channels
• Consider quitting certain social media networks
• Find out where your audience is
Tip: There’s no need to broadcast the same message to all platforms. It simply does not work like that.
13. AMPLIFY YOUR CONTENT
Amplification is the strategy you use to increase the reach and visibility of your content.
The vast majority of online content gets few social shares and backlinks. In fact, 94% of all blog posts have zero external links while 1.3% of articles generate 75% of all social shares. You didn’t spend all this time creating content for nobody to look at it.
• Set up a content schedule
• Use promotion wisely
• Publish across multiple platforms
• Get involved in niche communities
• Know your hashtags
• Repurpose and recycle
POINTS TO REMEMBER
- Dig deeper
- Backlinks do not equal social shares
- Use questions
- Don’t overthink your schedule
- Audiences like lists
- Long headlines are awesome
- Different formats are good for different tasks
14. IMPROVE CUSTOMER SERVICE WITH AI
Gone are the days when generating audience engagement on social media was mostly a passive process. Audiences want to be involved, interact, and co-create. After some advancement, chatbots become widespread across social media.
Social media has made it easier for customers to reach a brand which means that the expectations about the response time are increasing. Many experts predict that by 2020, more than 80% of all customer service will be powered by AI bots.
• Build a Facebook Messenger chatbot
• Make your bot as authentic as possible
• Provide automatic answers
• Try new platforms
• Use messengers for social engagement
POINTS TO REMEMBER
- Younger generations are leading the change
- Integrate customer care and social analytics
- Consider monitoring social media
15. LOOK OUTSIDE YOUR FIELD
We’re taught to pay attention to our competitors and what they are doing. However, looking beyond our competitors when it comes to content marketing can help uncover a goldmine of ideas without unconsciously creating similar work.
Yours isn’t the only industry focused on creating exceptional customer experiences. Every company that wants to succeed needs to keep customers happy and engaged.
• Lesser artists borrow, great artists steal
• Novel solutions are often found in different areas
• Try and consume media totally outside your field
• Keep an eye out for unique and original
Tip. You can still try the good old competitive research. Two main categories of competitors to watch out for are companies located within close physical proximity and competitors who appear on the same search engine results pages.
D. Translation and Localisation
16. PLAN YOUR STRATEGY
Choose the most promising markets and languages for your brand. Then start planning content translation strategies for your new markets. Re-create your marketing material so it packs the same punch everywhere.
It creates engagement. Localisation of content is critical for engaging audiences because it represents marketing personalisation in its purest form.
• Get clear about how you’ll handle translations
• Think international from the start
• Good translation makes a difference
• Resist the temptation to do it yourself
Tip. Translation prices range from 1 to 10, and while high prices do not necessarily mean high quality, below a certain level you are unlikely to receive a text that does credit to your company and its products.
17. CONSIDER WHAT SERVICES YOU NEED
Companies will see the need to create even more personalised, localised content for their global audiences.
Marketing translation services provided by translators include:
• Agree on a goal
• Maintain focus on the reader
• Get it in writing
Tip: Important = Premium. For ads in glossy magazines and important publications, it makes sense to buy premium text. For in-house memos, or documents with limited circulation, a less polished (and less expensive) option may be fine.
18. KEEP IT AGILE
Match your translation efforts and budget to your business goals.
Just like in programming, the agile translation method is aimed at quicker planning, faster updates and the ability to adapt. Agile translation focuses on small batches of content but on a continuous basis.
• Do some brainstorming – Identify the content that best supports your business goals.
• Don’t reinvent the wheel – Dig into your data to see what documents are vital and what evergreen content is performing well and brings you the most leads. Translate it or create original content on a similar subject.
Tip. Your biggest challenge is the lack of local market knowledge. Most retail marketers manage international marketing from a central in- house team. This is one of the main reasons one in four marketing teams use Google Translate. 1 in 4 marketers relies on Google Translate for translating marketing content. The results are often unacceptable.
19. USE TRANSLATION BEST PRACTICES
Build language quality processes so your content is as precise and engaging as it can be.
A translation project can go off track hundreds of ways
• Finalise your text
• Be clear with your goals
• Register is also important
• Be ready to improve the original
• Avoid final fiddling
• Arrange a final pass
POINTS TO REMEMBER
- Be open
- Look for native professionals
- Teachers, academics, and students – At your own risk.
- Bilingualism is not a profession
- Prepare a glossary
- Track results and provide feedback
20. DON’T FORGET THE SEO
Translated, curated and created content will fit into your marketing strategy more effectively when combined with SEO optimisation and search marketing.
Both for marketing translation and for transcreation, keywords are not always a part of the source. In that case, they need to be copyedited in.
• Do an honest evaluation
• Two ways to use keywords
• Proceed with keyword research
• Do keyword insertion
Tip. Opt for valuable content. If the quality of your content is bad, no one will read it, regardless of how relevant to the search query it is. The same goes for if you find yourself saying, “it’s fine.” There are thousands of better options for your audience than “fine.”
E. New and Trending in 2019
21. HARNESS THE POWER OF MOMENT
Stories and other short-lived content continue to gain popularity across networks capturing the hearts and minds of the audience.
A couple of years ago, Google coined the term “micro-moments” to refer to those short, frequent sessions throughout the day when consumers turn to their mobile phones (or other devices) to finish a task, consume content, or get an answer.
• Identify micro moments that you can use as a business
• Understand the searches
• Be there and be quick
• Use messaging apps
• Be human
• Take them behind the scenes
POINTS TO REMEMBER
- “Intent-rich” moments when people want to learn, discover, watch or buy something are short.
- The goal is not to just be quick, but rather be concise.
- Micro-moments work best when they are timely and/or relevant.
2. EARN AND KEEP THE TRUST
It is important to put people at the heart of each of your media tactics to get a real possibility of making connections people care about.
While online trust waning with all the fake news, manipulation, and privacy disasters that happened in 2018, an overall sense of uncertainty prevails.
• Stop asking
• Stop selling, start communicating
• Get your own advocates
• Show how you fit
• Add an “About Us’ page
• Proofread again and again
• Create intimate, meaningful dialogue
Tip. Your audience must believe the people behind your content marketing. In part this is the logic behind the increased use of influencer marketing.
3. CREATE CONTENT CLUSTERS
Focusing on keywords isn’t enough to get your content to the first page of search results. In addition to keyword-based topics and micro-moments, plan your content around topic clusters. Topic clusters are a collection of content with internal links that support a central theme.
This develops your site’s authority around a topic leading to better visibility and higher returns on your content marketing investment.
• Decide on your ‘umbrella’ topic
• Enter keyword research
• Add ‘cluster content’
• Link to other cluster content pieces
• Focus on the links
POINTS TO REMEMBER
- Think long term
- Become the go-to resource
- Follow your updated personas
4. GET READY FOR VOICE SEARCH
The three attributes of voice search according to Google:
- Most likely to be about an on-the-go or mobile topic
- Doesn’t contain sensitive information
- Unlikely to lead to a website that requires significant interaction
ComScore estimates that by 2020 half of all Google searches will be voice searches instead of text. Voice searches tend to be phrased longer and contain more questions.
• Move away from fragmented keywords
• Think featured snippets
• Focus on FAQ pages
Tip. Use long-tail key phrases. Because people speak more quickly than they type, voice searches tend to use longer phrases than text searches.
5. BALANCE YOUR APPROACH
It’s great to use most of the time focusing on your best-performing channels, but it’s still useful to allow some time (and budget) to try out new ideas.
Balancing between trends is important because once a trend becomes commonplace, it often switches direction or falls off completely. We should prepare for trends to change, vanish, or adjust throughout the course of the year.
• Change is the only constant item one can expect
• Always plan evergreen content
• Try new types of content
• Analyse your content portfolio to be sure it’s differentiated
Tip. Don’t stop listening. Monitor your audience’s feedback and always be flexible enough to address any changing habits.
Did I miss anything?
What do you think? Will this guide help you and your business content marketing activities?
Did I forget to include an important point? Let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear your thoughts.