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It’s all about the content

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BY STACEY COHEN

Content development has become a top priority for Fortune 500 firms and small businesses alike. According to a 2011 study by the Content Marketing Institute, B2B marketers invest approximately 26 percent of their marketing budget on content marketing. Further, the main objectives of content marketing include brand awareness, customer acquisition, lead generation and customer retention/loyalty.

In the content management sphere, Return on Engagement (ROE) is the new Return on Investment (ROI). ROE goes beyond hard data to gauge relationships with clients and prospects through brand interaction.While ROI emphasizes how many Twitter followers you have, ROE tracks if these followers are likely brand advocates to recommend your product or service. “Returns” received from community engagement generate broader reach and conversions.

A solid content marketing strategy drives web traffic, builds credibility, engages key audiences and translates into increased sales. Consider the following to outline a solid content strategy:

Understand your audience

First and foremost, conduct an audit of your audience. Who is your existing/desired audience? What are their objectives? What type of content can alleviate their problems? What is their preferred channel of communication? Which types of brand content (photos, blog posts, news links, video, surveys) are enjoying the most engagement? What is the efficacy of select promotions?

There are many methods (surveys, ratings, social media) and tools (Survey Monkey, Radian6) to monitor the voice of existing and prospective clients. This will allow the creation of purposeful content to reach your intended audience.

Develop clear, relevant and platform-appropriate content

Good is simply not good enough. You need to create remarkable content to capture your audience! Content is more than words – make use of striking visuals to further engage your audience.

Before hitting the post button on your blog, take a step back and make sure that your post is relevant and relatable. Take into account the recipient’s mindset: “What’s in it for me?”

Whether you develop articles, blog posts, videos, make certain that the content is sharable, engaging and actionable. Humor drives further interaction when used appropriately. And don’t forget the “wow” headline.

Develop a content schedule

A content marketing strategy’s success depends largely on consistent sharing of information. Be proactive and develop a three-to six-month content schedule. Google Insights for Search is a useful tool to organize your calendar. You can determine when certain topics are trending throughout the year and assess the popularity of a particular subject.

Content delivery

Content is delivered through a dizzying array of vehicles, including social media, websites, ebooks, slide shows, blogs, video, infographics and email. The CMI report indicates that article posting (79 percent), social media (74 percent) and blogs (65 percent/ are the most popular tactics for B2B marketers. Videos, blogs and white papers experienced a significant increase in usage from the previous year. Data visualization techniques – infographics –also represent a popular trend.

According to Hubspot, companies that blog at least 20 times per month generate five times more site traffic than those that blog only a few times per month and B2B companies that blog generate 67 percent more leads per month than non bloggers. Fifty-one percent of all time spent on the web is content consumption, according to AOL Neilson.

Twitter is the most popular social media channel with content marketers. In June, Twitter hit 400 million tweets per day and is anticipated to have 250 million active users by the end of this year.

Send out regular email updates every four to six weeks to retain clients and remind them of your expertise. Be sure to include a call to action in the form of a downloadable white paper).

Content optimization

Master SEO basics such as incorporating key words or phrases into all content including tweets, posts, blogs, landing pages and building links to important pages. Pay close attention to the metrics, Google Analytics) that measure page traffic, bounces and conversion.

Google rewards high-quality, informative and original content in organic search results. To be found in Google and other search engines, there is no shortcut to content creation. In fact, duplicating content is penalized.

Although content distribution continues to change at a frenzied pace, creating great content is and will always be a worthwhile investment.

Stacey Cohen is president of Co-Communications Inc. in Mount Kisco. She can be reached by email at stacey@cocommunications.com or by phone at 914-666-0066.

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