Fueling your blog with great content that your customers and prospects will find relevant, valuable or entertaining, is no walk in the park. However, blogging in a Content Marketing program can build awareness for your brand, generate leads, and position you as a expert in your domain.
And consistent creation, distribution and analysis is now the price of entry if you hope to succeed.
Robert Rose, of the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), provides this helpful criteria for defining what the real world requirements of Content Marketing are. As Robert points out, a content marketing program needs to:
To help you organize and speed up your content creation efforts, we offer 7 different ways to construct your posts. Your goal should always be to select a structure that will present your content most effectively with the highest reader impact or response. This handy list can also help you mix up your post types to keep your content fresh and always improving.
1. List Post
List posts provide a structure for an idea that is broken up into simple parts. Unless your objective is to disclose a complicated subject that requires a lot of understanding, it’s best to keep it simple. The best way to do that is to organize the content with your list as a featured item. It will drive readers to the point of the post even if they dismiss or don't read your set up or call to action.
People love to read, watch, or listen to interviews. So why not share what an expert or thought leader has to say about your subject matter? If you’re well prepared with a structured questionnaire before you meet your subject and record the interview, a better outcome is likely. And if you conduct the interview on Google Hangouts, you can then post it to YouTube or Vimeo and embed it into your blog for others to watch on demand. This interview with Content Marketing guru Joe Pulizzi is a great example of a traditional interview.
If your goal is to add value by providing analysis or evaluation of a subject, be as detailed as possible and cite reference sources with links to support your analysis. Avoid any tendencies to rant or whine and always strive to be balanced and not one sided. Whether your review is of a recently published book, a new product or a market trend, it's essential to include credible sources that support your review or conclusions.
Readers love link round-up posts as well, as they expose your readers to new and interesting sites or authors. Twitter and Facebook now enable the opportunity to embed tweets or facebook posts right into your blog. So what better way to connect what you blog about with your social media stream than integrating both right into your post? This post example presents a useful list of links in a fresh and unconventional way: A birds-eye view of Content Marketing success.
Politically correct may not always deliver the best result. By taking an unexpected or alternative position that challenges convention or consensus, you may achieve more by providing a dimension that others may have overlooked. And it may get you more comments or shares as a result. A post example that follows this structure: 10 reasons why your web site redo will fail.
Step by step is always effective for providing your readers with the “how to's" from a subject matter expert. The key to a successful process post is to provide specifics and instructions. Formatting your content with subheads or lists to break up the steps in easy to consume bites will help readers understand and absorb the content more easily. It's also a good idea to include detailed photos or graphics that visualize the "how-to" steps. These supporting components can also improve your SEO and the chances of your post getting found and passed along by others. This example demonstrates a process post structure: Set up Google+ authorship to make your content authoritative.
Providing a reward in your post for taking action is always appealing. Consider what your readers will find valuable and make it the focus if someone submits, responds or shares your content. Contests, surveys and polls are good examples that engage readers and drive action. This example (links) uses a gift incentive to get readers to complete a survey. It's a good idea to make your reward relevant to the content of the post or the brand presenting it. Otherwise you run the risk that a trivial come-on will result in no reader action.
If you've committed to content marketing, you're going to be posting a lot if you want to succeed. So mixing it up and creating posts that are fresh and not repetitive is a more than a good idea. It's a requirement if you don't want to turn off your readers. Have you been practicing a variety of structures to your posts? Which type got the best response? Share!