It's NFL time again. The sounds of pads crunching. The thrill of the pick-six. The Hail Mary desperation heave.
Ah. Bring it on. Gimme' a heaping bowl of chili. Pour me a tall one. And let's draw up some X's and O's on the content marketing whiteboard.
Say what? Why not?
Welcome to The Google Dome
It's game time. Let's look at how you score in the content marketing game.
Point #1: You need a great site to compete
You're not going to be a content marketing winner until you sharpen your website. The 1990s variety won't do. Here's the new game plan:
- You have to constantly update your site with valuable content.
- Your content plan must trace to your SEO plan in every way, so create and refine a short list of keywords and build your content with strict adherence to the game plan.
- A blog is going to be your star player, your authority builder, your captain, so make sure to feature one prominently on your site.
- The head coach will rely on a killer playbook. Here's the plan.
Point #2: Go for the goal
In football, to punt is to surrender. You had the ball, but failed to make the necessary progress. But as a content marketer with a well-planned strategy, you won't find surrender on any page of your playbook.
Content marketing champs don't play it safe; they take chances. They persevere. The team you play for will aim to put some points on the board. Go for it by putting a variety of plays together that use video, podcasts, infographics, presentations, or other formats that score points with different types of audiences consuming different types of media.
Distributing your content online opens all kinds of new possibilities. Tune into the conversations surrounding online marketing and you'll find an ever-expanding number of them.
Point #3: Score points
Sometimes you have to kick to get some points on the board. Field goals aren't touchdowns, but they add up.
These content marketing tactics will keep you in the game:
- Promote your blog relentlessly by using the social media tools available to you, creating links where you can, and joining relevant conversations on other blogs.
- Write guest posts for other blogs, and syndicate your content by finding relevant outlets for publication.
- Forge relationships with strategic allies.
- Offer curated content in the form of ezine-type services. I'm a fan of Scoop.it, but I encourage you to explore relentlessly because new options keep joining the league.
- Monitor your competition's activities and what's trending in the media.
- Plug social media into your marketing strategy. Be active on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, and the social networks that are relevant to your fans.
- Create a variety of free resources your customers will find valuable, such as how-to articles, case studies, checklists, expert interviews, and reviews.
Point #4: Reach the end zone
When you score a touchdown in football, the crowd goes crazy. It's magic; a player might even jump into the seats to party with elated fans. And the celebration is well deserved because you accomplished what you came to do-score against the competition.
In content marketing, you score big by creating something of real value-content that educates or entertains, or both. The crowd responds by saving it, sharing it, praising it, or paraphrasing it in their own work. Your ideas go viral, You've inspired people to take action and it's possible you've even done something remarkable people will remember for years to come.
You might accomplish this with a blog or some tactic we qualified as a field goal, but your touchdowns, your top plays, are likely to require some extra effort. Here are some content marketing plays that could possibly get you dancing in the end zone:
- White papers, which switch on light bulbs of inspiration and education.
- Industry reports, which demonstrate that an investment was made in the interest of uncovering answers.
- Events such as shows, broadcasts, and webinars.
- Videos crammed full of valuable insight and perspective.
- Books and eBooks, which inspire readers to invest their time and money to discover the secrets to success.
Point #5: Conversion is key
Admittedly, in football, the extra point is a chip shot. The majority of the time, the team succeeds in getting the extra point and the touchdown drive ultimately becomes a 7-point score.
But extra points are far from insignificant. They could be game winners. And you know what they call it when you make it? A conversion. (Sometimes metaphors can be so sweet.)
In online marketing, conversion isn't strictly defined as invoking a purchase. However, your audience does need to "buy" something, even if it means buying into the point of view you've presented. Think of content marketing conversion as getting the visitor to do something, to take action, such as:
- Tweet your content or pass it along one way or another.
- Submit lead information such as an email address or phone number.
- Bookmark the page where your content resides, either locally or with a web-based bookmarking service such as StumbleUpon and Reddit.
- "Like" it on Facebook, share it on LinkedIn, or +1 it on Google+.
- Dig further into your website or resource library for more valuable information.
- Follow up with a compliment, comment, or question for you.
- Try your product or service.
Point #6: Play solid defense
Now and then in football, a "safety," a two-point play, is scored. It generally occurs when the defense stuffs the opposing team behind their goal line. And then, to pour a little salt in the wound, the rules dictate that the humiliated team must immediately give up the ball by punting it to the team that scored.
Keep this defensive strategy in mind by protecting your "turf" when it comes to your content. There's no coasting in content marketing. To win is not only to keep gaining, but you must also refuse to give up ground to the competition. The best teams tend to have the most fearsome defense. So establish trust, build authority, and consistently work at reaching your goals by hosting webinars, publishing guides and curating content like the industry leader you are.
Point #7: Go to Disneyland
Go all the way. Win the big one, the Super Bowl. When the day comes, an astounding number of TVs are turned on. Advertisers invest gazillions in showcasing some of the silliest commercials ever. A few hours later, one team gloriously hoists the coveted Lombardi trophy. Invariably, the MVP announces he's going to Disneyland.
You've got to get on that team. Be valuable. Exult. Celebrate your success by sharing it across the new media services your audience tunes into daily.
Are you forging a plan to lead the league in content marketing? Please tell our audience a bit about it right here and now.