Content is king. Bill Gates is credited with first coining the term in a 1996 blog post, and the phrase has since been discussed, critiqued and repeated ad nauseam. Yet, it couldn’t be truer today. In an always on, internet-driven world, content is more important than ever and the competition for consumer eyeballs has never been stiffer.
Creating content is often difficult and expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are five strategies to get the most out of your content marketing.
1. Hire an in-house editorial rockstar
If your budget allows for it, a full time editor or content creator can mold the voice and personality of your brand. This content creator should be a master jack-of-all-trades: equal parts journalist, blogger and social media expert, with an attractive personality to match. In 2009, Groupon famously hired an “in-house comedian” in senior marketing copywriter Daniel Kibblesmith, who was responsible for the site’s quirky and hilarious deal descriptions. Kibblesmith recently left the company for a career in stand up comedy and freelance writing.
2. Solidify your distribution channels and establish content partnerships
If you write a blog post and no one reads it, does it make a business impact at all? No matter how mind-blowing your content is or how shareable it might be, no one will see it without solid distribution channels and engaging partners. Sharing on social media is a decent first step, but partnering with content discovery platforms like Outbrain and Percolate can bring your brand to new heights.
Content creation all-stars will also have a well-rounded and prominent group of content partners. By partnering with multiple brands, you can reach new customers and expand the breadth of your business. American Express has done an outstanding job of this with Amex Unstaged : the partnership between Amex, YouTube, and best selling musical acts has been a win for all parties.
3. Explore content creation marketplaces
If hiring an in-house editor or a dedicated freelancer is too much for your content needs or budget, consider sourcing talent from an online marketplace. With the marketplace model, your business can connect with an expert content creator or even a whole team for a single project. Visually offers the world’s top creative talent for infographics, data visualizations, animations, and videos; Contently is disrupting freelance journalism by connecting and empowering writers and publishers alike; Elance boasts a talent pool of over 2.5 million freelancers with skillsets from programming to marketing to design. These marketplaces allow you to shop for the talent that best fits your needs, complete a project in as little as a few weeks, all while generating cost savings.
4. Harness the power of video
Everyone knows that a picture is worth a thousand words, but what’s a video worth? Ten thousand? A million? For marketers and content creators, it could be priceless. Adding video to your content marketing strategy is an easy way to give your business a much-needed boost.
Blog posts that include a video component attract three times as much inbound traffic than those without, and the rise of short-form video sharing apps such as Vine and Instagram make video production nearly effortless. Advanced strategies include partnering with video content specialists like TernPro, a startup that loans GoPro cameras and edits the footage into a professional video, or Grape Story, Gary Vaynerchuck’s “micro-content” agency that pairs brands with Vine and Instagram’s brightest stars.
Or, you can take the marketplace approach (see above) and head over to Visually, where a creative team of designer, script writer and animator will be assigned to create a video that best fits your content needs.
5. Measure, analyze, optimize, repeat.
It’s no secret that measurement and optimization is a must in today’s data-driven world. Once you can establish what kind of content works best, focus on developing your brand and voice in that direction to reach the widest audience possible.
There is no shortage of strategies and tools to optimize content to fit your business needs. Simple and free tools such as Google Analytics and Hootsuite are great for website and social media management, respectively. More in-depth tools such as consumer behavior database Compete Pro and intelligence delivery platform RightIntel can take your analysis to the next level.
Jon Salm is an associate client analyst at Millward Brown Digital in New York City and a freelance data journalist in the Visual.ly marketplace. He has a bachelor’s degree in English from Washington and Lee University. You can find him online at about.me/salm.jon and follow him on twitter @S4LM3R.