What does valuable content really mean? The answer to question will always be different depending on who you’re asking, whether it’s a blogger, marketing executive, or everyday person. What you need to understand, though, is that the answer actually doesn’t matter as long as you understand the psychology behind it. Content marketing is less black and white than traditional advertising, which tries to take advantage of unconscious urges and responses. Blogging isn’t about appeal, but rather, authenticity.
- The Line Between Sales Pitch and Story
No one wants to read a disingenuous blog post that sounds like it was written by a marketer whose only goal was a sale. Copyblogger talks about effective content marketing as getting to the heart of a story with a relatable protagonist, since that’s how the readers will then see themselves. Just like in a novel, you need to have someone who has an authentic story to tell that will draw visitors in. Unlike fiction, however, the storyteller always needs to be a reliable narrator. Figures who exert blogger influence that’s long lasting and continues to grow, whether in-house for your business or someone with whom you’re working, all possess this magical quality. Effective content marketing is all about authenticity, relatability, and allowing the reader to cast one’s self in the role of protagonist.
- Review the Creator Behind the Content
The Content Marketing Institute takes a cue from the most successful bloggers and highlights the fact that great content creators can’t work alone. For example, there’s a huge difference between being a great copywriter and being a great copy editor. Whether you’re a seasoned marketing executive or a entrepreneur who’s only dabbled in the industry, everyone knows that content is king. However, what many people forget is that even with stellar content, there’s no replacement for effective application of that content. You need to vet your team to find strengths and weaknesses, and then respectively capitalize on it or downsize as necessary.
There are also several different measuring sticks of effectiveness and results. One is using hard data and metrics with tools that gauge blogger influence, a standard part of content marketing given how effectively it can drive sales. A list compiled by Brandwatch of the best free tools available today to measure influencers’ reach includes Klout, a tool that’s been around since 2008 and is well known, and also PeerIndex, which functions by measuring metrics in context. Overall, these tools tend to either lean toward more subjective interpretations of data or relying on hard numbers such as follower count and comments to measure a range of influence. It’s worth trying multiple versions to see which ones work for you.
These are two ways in which content marketing is approached today, with news tools for measuring influencer metrics coming out every year. Whether you’re trying to boost results by refining your content creation process, utilizing hard metrics, or a combination of both, the idea is that you can’t rely solely on the old adage of content being king without some serious scrutiny.
- Playing the Role Readers Want
In a slideshow assembled by Schaefer Marketing Solutions about how to build an actionable audience through content marketing, Marcus Sheridan of Sales Lion describes creating content as a “communion.” In other words, an influencer who gains followers and admirers doesn’t do so by sounding clever or smarter, but by sharing a message with which their audience can connect. The key piece of information to take away from this philosophy is that your audience doesn’t want to be talked down to or feel like they’re being enlightened in a way that presupposes their cluelessness. Successful influencers are usually the ones who approach their audience as a peer, even if their expertise in a particular field is also just as essential to their impact.
- Content Is Not For Sale
One of the biggest newbie mistakes when it comes to content marketing is expecting to charge people for it. There’s no better way to shoot yourself in the foot than to expect people to pay for your content, regardless of how great it is. In fact, such an action might actually turn visitors off completely. The idea behind content marketing, according to Inc., is to draw attention to your brand and product, and then convert this attention and engagement into a lucrative customer relationship. You can draw this type of attention by using your content as the product, since you’re no longer marketing so much as selling right off the bat.
You can measure the metrics of blogger influence and count how many likes or shares a blog post has, but that won’t necessarily earn you success with content marketing. While this hard data can definitely help and guide in you in a particular direction when choosing which influencer to work with or what kind of content gets responses, you always need human intelligence in the mix. This is one of the keystones of successful content marketing.