HOW TO DOMINATE CONTENT MARKETING IN 2015

Neil Patel / Forbes

This can be the year that you dominate content marketing.

2015 is a year that has some new challenges, but it’s also a year of incredible opportunity. If you know these challenges, then you’ll be able to successfully overcome them.

Focus on guest blogging.

At the beginning of 2014, Google’s Matt Cutts dropped a bomb on the content marketing community when he announced “the decay and fall of guest blogging for SEO.”

Now, at the beginning of 2015, I hope that marketers will realize a more optimistic truth: Guest blogging is alive and well. Intelligent marketers understood Cutts’s pronouncement, and the subsequent fall of several guest blogging networks, as an attack on spam, not on guest blogging per se.

Guest blogging endures, and it continues to provide high value for the ongoing success of content marketing efforts.

If you can score a single guest post this year, you’ll begin to see the incredible value that I’m referring to.

Create content with users in mind.

Content is for users. It’s not for search engines or crawlers. It’s all about the users.

Before you make a single keystroke of content, make sure that you really know your potential customers — their identity, preferences, interests, and journey. Once you know who you’re marketing at, then you can create content for them. The content that emerges from this knowledge will be far more relevant.

Relevant content makes connections with customers. It achieves its purposes.

When you create content for users, at least two revolutionary results will follow. First, your site will automatically develop high SEO value. Google’s search algorithm has evolved to the point where it favors sites with optimal user experience, not just a site that complies with SEO protocols. Second, your site will also improve its conversion value. What I’ve discovered over a decade of blogging is that content marketing is conversion optimization. For both CRO and content marketing, the goal is to deliver an optimal user experience — giving customers what they need and want.

The bottom line is this: Focus on content, and CRO and SEO will follow.

Diversify your forms of content.

This truth bears repeating: Content marketing is not just a blog.

The entire web is full of content, all kinds of it. There are blogs, of course, but there are also slideshow sites, news sharing sites, meme creation sites, video publishing sites, and even “a place to express you.”

Content is everywhere, and you need to be everywhere that matters. Don’t confine yourself to blogging alone. Find a form of content that accomplishes your purpose and a platform for publishing that content that meets your users. Once you find the perfect combination, then you will experience more success than you thought possible.

Don’t be afraid to establish a higher budget than normal for content marketing.

Ever since content marketing has been a thing, marketers have spent more and more money on it. Why? Because marketers have seen that content marketing is successful, and are willing to invest even more.

Content Marketing Institute reports that a majority of B2B marketers plan to boost their content marketing budget over the next year. A full 10% of these marketers want to “significantly increase” their spending.

Content marketing gets results, otherwise it would not warrant budget increases. If you’ve been shy about content marketing, maybe it’s because you haven’t allocated enough of your marketing budget to it. Give it a boost this year by hiring a writer, creating a blog, publishing video, or doing something that improves the overall amount of content that you publish and promote.

Work on building your personal brand as well as developing content for your business.

Over the past few years, insightful marketers sensed a shift in the nature of content marketing. Content marketing become intermixed with personal brand building. Now, it has become hard to distinguish one from each other. Content marketing can and does build one’s personal brand.

My efforts in content marketing have led me to the same conclusion. Building your personal brand is about content marketing. The reverse is true. Content marketing is about building your personal brand. No matter how overtly you promote your company, you are by the very nature of publishing promoting your own personal brand.

Many companies still insist on using “admin” or “contributor” for their guest posts, and eviscerating their social media profiles from all personality. Successful and forward-thinking businesses, however, understand that individual personality is what shapes an appealing brand personality.

There is no conflict of interest between building a personal brand and content marketing. You can do both at the same time.

Integrate your content with your email marketing and social media marketing.

One simple way to improve your content marketing is to integrate it with your social media and email efforts.

Some big companies have whole departments that are committed to “email marketing” or “social media marketing.” The problem is that these departments don’t connect with each other. The result is a disjoined and clunky marketing effort.

Think about it from your user’s perspective. The same people who subscribe to your newsletter are the same people that follow you on Twitter, which are the same people who read your blog. If you can create a streamlined coherence between all your content platforms, you will be that much more successful at your marketing.

Place an equal effort on promoting your content once you publish it.

One of the big mistakes that marketers make is simply publishing content without promoting it.

Publishing is only the first step. It’s an important step, but it’s not an end in itself. Once the content is published, it’s time to promote that content through all the means that you have at your disposal — social media, email, newsletter, guest blogging, influencer promotion, etc.

One of the reasons why marketers aren’t more successful at content marketing is because they don’t realize that they are supposed to promote it. All they do is publish, and wonder why they don’t have traffic.

The solution lies in content promotion, not just creation.

Conclusion

If you want to improve your content marketing in 2015, you’re going to need to do things differently from the way you did them in 2014. The beginning of a new content era is here, and it requires that we pivot and readjust.

Dominating content marketing in 2015 isn’t going to be easy. There are more companies with more people spending more money and doing more publishing than ever before. The secret lies in keeping on the cutting edge of developments, trends, and changes in the industry. Stay sharp.