Content marketing is a tricky field to master. What worked for your business six months ago may not work as well today, and the strategies you use today could be obsolete six months from now.
And with 86 percent of B2C marketers and 91 percent of B2B marketers using content marketing, you’re up against some fierce competition. How do you get a competitive edge in such a crowded, fast-paced industry?
By keeping your content marketing skills razor sharp, that’s how. If you aren’t continuously working to improve you content marketing, you’re bound to be left in the dust by your more knowledgeable peers.
Ready to start improving your content marketing? Here are seven ways in which you can put yourself on the path to becoming a better content marketer.
- Identify Your Strengths and Weaknesses
Which areas of content marketing do you excel at? Which areas need work? To leverage your strengths and overcome your weaknesses, you first need to acknowledge them.
There are a few ways you can do this. A good way to start is by digging into your data and making note of what you’re doing right and wrong with your content marketing.
You can also gather your content marketing team and come up with questions that will help assess your content marketing. For example, ask yourself the following questions for a deeper analysis:
- How consistent is your content marketing?
- Does your content engage your target audience?
- Is your content targeted and relevant? Does it solve your audience’s problems?
- Do you have a documented strategy? How efficient is your process?
- Do you have a system to track your ROI along with key metrics?
- How does your content marketing compare to that of your competitors?
- Does your content marketing support your organizations long-term goals?
The deeper your analysis, the better. This will help you pinpoint the exact areas of your content marketing that need improvement so that you can come up with a strategy to fix them.
- Set Realistic Goals
There is no shortage of articles about how to become a master of content marketing. In reality, there is simply no way anyone can be an expert in content marketing after reading a single guide.
How would you even know when you’ve reached master-level status? Rather than set a vague goal about becoming a master content marketer this year, aim for something more realistic and measurable.
For example, maybe your analysis revealed that you struggle with getting your audience to trust your brand. Set a goal to acquire more social proof and incorporate it into your content.
If your organization excels at visual content, consider making it a goal to advance your video marketing strategies or start learning how to use animation in your marketing.
By setting realistic and measurable goals for yourself, you’re much more likely to achieve them and get the results you want from your content marketing.
Dedicate Time to Learning
We know how difficult it can be to carve out the time to improve your skillset—especially if you’re wearing multiple hats at your organization. But dedicating an hour of your time each day is necessary if you want to improve your content marketing.
Choose a time where you are least likely to be interrupted and use it to focus on becoming a more effective content marketer. Whether this involves reading the latest news in your industry, testing out a new tool, or doing a set of writing practices, dedicate this time for a single purpose.
Set a timer for 60 minutes (or 30 if you’re crunched for time) and treat this time as though you were meeting with a special client. Unless it’s an emergency, allow the regular phone calls and emails to wait until your timer is up!
- Follow Content Marketing Blogs
If you want to get better at content marketing, a great way to learn is by following the blogs of industry experts. This will also help you stay in-the-know about any significant changes in the industry.
But who should you follow? The answer to this question depends on which areas of content marketing you wish to improve.
For example, the CopyBlogger blog is an excellent resource for those who want to improve their writing skills.
For social media content and strategy, Convince and Convert always has valuable information for business owners.
And of course, there’s also our Storylift blog, which regularly features articles aimed at helping small and medium-sized organizations with their content marketing.
Subscribe to multiple blogs to get a well-rounded view. In addition to blogs that cover all things content marketing, find a blog that focuses on one of your weak areas as well.
- Take Tips from the Pros
There are some amazing examples on the web of brands who have conquered content marketing. Why not steal some ideas from their playbook?
In fact, many of the content marketing strategies used by big brands can be adapted for small and medium-sized businesses. Here are just a few examples to give you an idea:
- Let your audience do the talking: Sephora created a Beauty Insider Community, where users can post content and share beauty ideas. Ramp up your audience’s engagement by sharing their user-generated content on social media.
- Use long-form content to generate leads: Ellevest, an investment management platform for women, offers free financial guides to their readers in exchange for their email address. You can do the same by creating a 2,000+ guide and use it as an enticing content upgrade.
- Take a stand on social issues: This one makes some business owners nervous, but studies have shown that the majority of consumers want brands to take a stand on social issues. Even Ben & Jerry’s ice cream is using their content to promote social causes. Find a cause that aligns with your organization’s mission statement and be authentic about your support.
- Hone Your Writing Skills
The written word is the basis for everything: emails, pay-per-click ads, social media content—you name it. It just makes sense to focus some of your time on beefing up your writing skills.
Better writing skills benefit everyone. Not only will it improve communication between you and your team, but it also makes content more engaging for your end users and allows you to tell a powerful brand story that connects with your audience.
To boost your writing skills, start exposing yourself to great writing. Listen to interviews from your favorite writers and learn their processes. Read blogs that you admire and make note of what you enjoy about their style of writing.
Additionally, set aside time to write each day. Even if nothing you write sounds worthy of being published, it will help you become better at your craft.
- Adopt the Right Tools for the Job
To be successful in 2018, content marketers need three things: skill, strategy, and execution.
While many content marketers have the necessary skills and strategies, they often fail at execution. That’s because many lack the right tools for the job.
Sure, some of them may be an investment. But even small business owners are starting to realize that it’s a necessary investment to make.
Experiment with a few free content marketing tools or take advantage of the free trial offers that some platforms offer. Once you know what you’re looking for in a tool, investing in the right one will be a no-brainer.
It doesn’t matter whether you’ve been a content marketer for 10 months or 10 years; there is always something new to learn in today’s ever-changing digital landscape. Continuously working to improve your content marketing skills will benefit your organization and more importantly, your audience.
Have you tried any of these tips to improve your content marketing? Find us on Facebook and let us know how they worked!