For those working in marketing, I’d like to think that most are implementing a content marketing strategy. If not, I hope you have one planned for this year.
Those already executing a successful content marketing strategy know there’s a pretty good chance that your competitors are as well. However, if you’re not, there’s a big chance you will be left behind in the marketing race.
So how do you stand out from the crowd and ensure you are a winner in 2013 and beyond? Here are some ideas to help your company differentiate itself:
1. Basics are good, but no longer enough
A few years ago, having a blog was pretty advanced for most companies – now it’s imperative. Along with a blog are the usual social suspects: Facebook, Twitter, G+ and maybe Pinterest or LinkedIn if they are relevant. And don’t forget to throw in some whitepapers and in-depth articles. Unfortunately, this is standard practice – I’m sure you don’t want to be seen as average, so the first step is to recognise that these are now considered content marketing basics.
2. Let’s get adventurous
Video has become much cheaper to produce without comprising quality. There’s no reason why you can’t start thinking of engaging your audience in another way through video. If you are B2B, try having real conversations with your customers by utilising a platform where you can ask them pressing questions and start real conversations. If you’re B2C, what about comics or comical graphics? Another idea that works really well is custom graphs or, even better, some interactive tools created around your own data. Some companies have loads of great data, but more often than not it never gets used – customers love graphs and interactive tools.
3. Leverage your competitive edge
Use your competitive advantage in your industry and create content around this. Put simply, do the things that your competitors can not or will not do, and invest in a content strategy that you can execute well. Create content around what makes you the best and spread the word – let that be the centrepiece of your content strategy. Every business has their own competitive edge, so what’s yours?
4. Build a community
If you really want to grow and be a market leader, you need to be seen as an expert in your field. Building your own community is a great way of achieving this. Look at American Express OPEN Forum – they are reaping the rewards six years after starting their own community for likeminded people and committing to the strategy. Use contacts you have in the industry and get them to guest post on your platforms. Interview them and use their connections to amplify your content and message.
5. The right tools for the right job
I’ve come across many companies that don’t have a clear idea of whether or not they are winning! Apart from the standard measuring tools like Google Analytics and Omniture, there are several other tools you can use to measure your own success and see how your competitors rank against you. Some of these programs include:
- Ubersuggest (keyword ideas tool)
- KeywordSpy (SEM competitor spy tool),
- Social Crawlytics (identify your competitors’ most shared content)
- SocialBro (manage and analyse your Twitter community)
- Outbrain (content amplification platform)
Most of these are very cost effective and can help you further understand what approach to take moving forward.
It doesn’t take much to start your content marketing journey. But with the right tools at your disposal and the fortitude to maintain a consistent strategy throughout the year and beyond, 2013 could be your time to overtake your competitors in the marketing race.
Elmo Stoop – Key Account Manager