20Nov
By: Paula Borowska November 20, 2016

Content marketing connects awareness and lead generation for your company. Successful content marketing will build trust within your customers by fostering familiarity of your company. It’s worked well for many companies. However, content marketing will not generate success for any company overnight. It’s definitely a long-term investment. If you’re looking to read more about content marketing check out our content marketing template guide. I’d also suggest reading up on general, online marketing tips for small businesses as well. To ensure you start your efforts right, let’s talk about some of the content marketing best practices.

Support from the stakeholders

Because content marketing is a long-term investment, you need support from the company’s decision makers. They are the people in charge of funding decisions. You will need support and money to keep going with content marketing over time. No content matter how many blog posts on marketing best practices you will read – this will stay the same. The long-term nature and slow start of your content marketing efforts will force you to have stakeholders on board with your efforts.

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The best way to get buy-in is not to explicitly mention content marketing. That usually goes over people’s heads as, in itself, it is a meaningless term. When speaking to stakeholders focus on the goals of the business instead. Talk about the pain points of the business like low traffic or low conversion rates. Explain how content marketing can improve these pain points. Content marketing is a valuable way to get better results for your business.

Understand who your audience is

Content marketing is not about selling your product. It’s marketing your company and the valuable insight it provides in your industry. Content marketing is about educating and entertaining. Any advice about content marketing best practices will mention knowing your audience. It’s too important to screw this step up. To understand your audience means to provide content they want to see, read and engage with. If you get this wrong, your content marketing efforts will yield poorer results because you’re targeting the wrong kind of person.

Do a lot of research. That’s all it takes. Do your due diligence to understand who your customer is and what they are like. Develop customer personas to understand their interest and why your products fit into them. Who is your ideal customer? What kind of life or lifestyle do they lead? What are their pain points? What problem is your product solving for them?

Understand your customer’s purchase journey

The goal of a customer journey is to make your content fit well within it. You shouldn’t just add a blog to your website and call it a day. Integrate your content into the purchase process. Most companies link to products on their blogs as needed. That’s important. Yet, more importantly, you can link to your content while selling your products. Show your customers useful information in their journey. Show them you are here to help them make a good purchase. That’s the whole point of content marketing!

Start with a road map your customers’ journey. Write out the steps in how they make a purchase. Make notes on where they come from, what questions they have, what got them to make the final purchase. There will be different ways in which customers make a purchase. That’s good to know them. Some of the information will be speculations. Some will be answered by analytics. Yet, some of these should be backed up by doing research and interviewing your customers. Once you have this information it will be easy for your to see where and how your new content fits in.

Curate your content

I’ve mentioned this briefly previously, but create content that is right for your audience. Avoid creating content that’s just another marketing message or worse, click bait. Your content marketing efforts will die a quickly and painfully. Never forget that content marketing is not about your company, it’s about your customers. I’ll say it again, content marketing is about your customers, not about you. Never forget this. When planning and creating content, always take a customer-centric approach. Doing anything else defeats the purpose.

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You’ll need an array of content across multiple channels. You’ll know which channels, platforms or even devices are used by your customers and audience through your research. Create content that fits well within those.

Lastly, don’t just create content, curate it too. You shouldn’t only provide links to your own website. That’s selfish. People see through that. Share relevant, useful and quality content from others as well. It will make you credible. People like that.

Content marketing best practices: be organized

The short and sweet of it is, be organized. Keep an editorial calendar. Keep a social media calendar. You’ll be working with a lot of things. It will get overwhelming quickly. So, get organized quickly too.

Be SEO conscious

Learn about the best SEO strategies for small businesses. It’s going to have to be a big part of where your traffic comes from. Unfortunately, posting links on your own social media can only go so far. Top 4 pieces of advice to start you off are as follow:

  • Target one keyword per page: search engines love it when a page and its content are focused. It’s also easier on the person consuming the content. It’s hard to follow a page that is trying to target 5 things at once. The key word for this article, for example, is ‘content marketing best practices’.
  • Include the keyword within your content copy: For the keyword to work for you, you’ll need to include in within your content multiple times. That’s how it becomes the keyword. Use it within the body of the content, within the title and within the introduction of your content. Additionally, use it in the names of your images used in the content as well.
  • Always use the exact keyword term: Don’t use variations of the keyword. It defeats the purpose. For instance, in this post I haven’t used ‘best content marketing practices’ or ‘awesome content marketing tactics’. These two are not the same as ‘content marketing best practices’.
  • You’re writing for people, not search engines: Think about the experience of your audience. The only way to provide them content they are willing to consume and engage with is if it’s written in a human way. Don’t create crappy content just to fuel some SEO your way. People enjoy well-written posts that have a natural and authentic voice. This blog post is not written by or for robots.

Make your content work for you

Short and focused content works best. Break out your content into smaller pieces. It’s great to have a few different pieces of content that fall into a larger topic. Look at Oberlo. We have so many different pieces of content under marketing. We have content covering many different aspects of content marketing like content marketing best practices, content marketing template or what is content marketing.

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If you have a large white paper, essay or even an ebook. Take out one main idea at a time and turn it into a few blog posts. Link them to one another in the intros and anytime you mention it briefly within the body of your content. Over time, you will have many different pieces of content working for you. Plan your content for scalability. It’ll give you the maximum benefits.

Now you know content marketing best practices 

Content marketing is a long-term game. With these few content marketing best practices you’ll be off to a great start. It all boils down to being strategic and smart. Check out our content marketing template to start acting upon your intentions.

  • Lea Schwartz

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