Here’s a frightening statistic: more than 2.73 million new blog posts are published every day. On a positive note, this shows that the overwhelming majority of businesses now recognize the power of content marketing to increase brand awareness and generate leads. Unfortunately, this also means that there’s a glut of not-so-great content, and making your voice heard over the clangor can be challenging. So how do you make an impact when it seems like everybody’s using the same basic content strategies? Try these five tips to stand out from the crowd this year.
Create easily digestible rich media.
There’s no denying how pervasive rich media—especially online videos—has become. Web users collectively watch six billion hours of video on Youtube alone every month, and last year Cisco predicted that video would make up 84% of all internet traffic by 2018.
You don’t need a huge budget or a film degree to start incorporating video and other forms of rich media into your content marketing. One inexpensive way to start is to get creative with the 6-second video-making app Vine (check out how Lowe’s uses Vine for clever DIY tutorials). Explainer videos, behind-the-scenes company videos, and interviews with thought leaders also make for compelling and easy-to-produce content.
Let customers tell their stories.
Customer testimonials are hardly a new concept, yet many businesses still fail to leverage them successfully in their online marketing. A good testimonial is more than just a customer raving about your product or service. The best ones tell an actual story—that is, the speaker gives some context about who they are and what challenge they were encountering in their daily life, and then explains how a product or service helped them overcome it. Testimonials grounded in a story are more likely to resonate with your audience and establish social trust for your brand. Rosetta Stone offers a great example of how to do this through videos on their website.
Boost engagement with interactive content.
If you’ve logged onto Facebook or visited a website like BuzzFeed in the past year, chances are you’ve seen web users posting or sharing the results of an interactive quiz, such as “What Kind of Disney Princess Are You?” or “Are You Bed, Bath, or Beyond?” Those examples are pretty silly, but interactive content is incredibly popular and highly shareable (in fact, BuzzFeed’s top quizzes generate millions of shares on Facebook). Not only that, they’re a great way to generate data about buyer personas that can inform future marketing strategies. For example, a company that creates email marketing software for small businesses could create an assessment called “What’s Your Email Marketing IQ?” to drive engagement and get a sense of the existing email marketing strategies and pain points for their site visitors.
Show your audience something new with data-driven content.
Spend some time on your competitors’ blogs and you’re likely to see some very similar-looking topics. It can be difficult to come up with things to say about a niche industry that haven’t already been said thousands of times before… unless you’re the one paving the way with new data-driven content. The software review company Software Advice illustrates this nicely with their market research series, which feature types of content like original survey reports and case studies relevant to their customers’ industries. In some cases, they’ll even mine available public data, such as job listings on Indeed.com, to uncover interesting trends.
This type of content obviously takes longer to produce than the average blog post, but the payoff can be worth it: Software Advice has gotten exposure from major news outlets like The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, further strengthening their credibility with their audience and making them stand out as an industry authority.
Never neglect content quality.
I’ve included this obvious-sounding tip because I want to stress just how important it is. It’s not enough to just produce content on a regular basis: you have to produce high-quality content. That means – original, well-thought-out ideas and grammatically-correct, typo-free copy. The quality of your writing will affect both what your readers think of your brand and how well you rank in the SERPs. In fact, Bing’s head of organic search recently announced that Bing’s algorithm takes spelling and grammar into account. And while Google reps tend to stay pretty vague when talking about their search algorithm, they frequently stress that creating high-quality content is the first step to having a Google-friendly site.
As you move forward with your 2015 content calendar and new strategies, make sure that you and your team keep the primary focus on quality content.