Why you need to ensure your content works as hard as it can

A former journalist and features writer, Carrie made the move into digital marketing six years ago and has since gone on to create compelling content for some of the UK’s leading brands. Head of content at The Bigger Boat, Carrie manages the company’s content marketing offering, using her lifelong passion for the written word to pen brands’ stories and build out effective content strategies to help meet clients’ business objectives.

Content now needs to work harder than ever to cut through the noise, resonate with the right people and impact on the bottom line.

Quality content that empathises with and engages audiences is a must to drive conversations, deliver unrivalled experiences and increase conversions. With so many brands leveraging content in one form or another, playing the long game is crucial if marketers are to make meaningful connections and create powerful content that converts in a space where so many others are vying for an audience’s attention.

Clear content planning and strategy

Every piece of high-performing content has a sound strategy behind it, which is linked to marketing goals and furthermore, overall business goals. A clearly defined strategy provides the why behind content output and, in the long run, will help create deeper, meaningful connections.

Content strategy is based on reams of information, including buyer personas – where they’re digitally active, how they like to consume content, their problems and pain points – alongside competitor and industry research, content audits, brand story and messaging and, ultimately, content purpose. Creating content for the sake of it without a clear objective is fruitless and, in the end, only adds up to a lot of wasted time.

Quality will always win out

The most successful brands have long been crafting comms that are genuinely useful to, and resonate with, the people they’re written for. That’s the whole point of what marketing departments are doing, after all. For digital content, quality has never been more important, as Google becomes even more sophisticated, learns to replicate human behaviour and judges a page the same way an individual does.

Every single piece of content that’s created must be original, have purpose, answer user intent and add real value to their life or, at the very least, their search query. Google solidified its requirement for in-depth, consistently high-quality content with its 2018 E-A-T update.

Content creators must demonstrate expertise, authority and trustworthiness to rank well, as the search engine attempts to weed out low-quality content and disinformation. Prioritising thoroughly researched and insightful content – preferably containing an organisation’s own data – can substantiate claims and put users and their needs at the heart of it all.

Actionable takeaways and clear CTAs

A user lands on a piece of content with a goal in mind, often to find out more about the topic in which the content claims to be an expert in. This content will have ideally been created with user intent in mind but once it’s found, it should engage the reader and entice them into action.

Impactful content provides information that can be implemented easily by the reader – they go away having taken real value from what they’ve consumed and are clear on how they can put its insights into practice. Provide content that informs and inspires in this way and brand loyalty and improved engagement metrics should follow.

Content, whatever its type, should also feature strategically placed calls to action if a user is expected to take further action – download a PDF or continue their journey within the website, for example. Use clear and compelling text in the CTA that leaves the user in no doubt as to why they’re being asked to click and what’s in it for them.

Maximising the reach

The lifespan of a piece of content can be almost endless. Repurposing enables marketers to reuse pieces of longer-form content to serve multiple purposes and goals. The main benefit of stretching comms in this way is a much-improved online presence that’s likely to expand reach and attract new audiences.

What’s more, repurposed and revitalised content boosts SEO efforts too. But a scattergun approach won’t work – hence the need to align activity with a brand’s overall strategy and goals.

Evergreen content is often a good place to start, alongside high-performing comms. Think about how a lengthy blog that’s heavy on detail can be utilised in another way. For example, could it be turned into a downloadable infographic that’s more digestible for the user? Alternatively, repurposed as a series of social media posts or video content for newsletters to provide further insight? Evolving the material this way means it’ll go further and drive more traffic to a website.

The landscape of content marketing is ever-changing, as Google requirements and audience needs naturally change. Generating results takes time, effort and consistency in its approach – a constant cycle of reviewing, testing and learning means a content creator’s work is never done. Publishing great-quality content is simply the start.

Interested in hearing leading global brands discuss subjects like this in person?

Find out more about Digital Marketing World Forum (#DMWF) Europe, London, North America, and Singapore.  

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