5 Hacks for Creating Smarter and More Profitable Digital Content

5 Hacks for Creating Smarter and More Profitable Digital Content

It seems that, everywhere you go, content marketing and native advertising have become the hot-button topic du jour, as it becomes increasingly apparent how these strategies have the potential to drive performance while delivering valuable and targeted content to customers at the right time. But despite the potential of content marketing and the number of resources dedicated to the creation of content, we are in the middle of a content marketing crisis. Marketers need to turn to best practices for creating smart content that fuels modern marketing and satisfies the needs of consumers in the post-mobile world. Understand your audience and target intent Many marketers understand the capabilities of social media and ad buys to target narrow slivers of the population, but neglect to apply these sentiments to content development and optimization. Consider developing personas that identify aspects of who your audience is, what type of content they want and how they want to consume it – otherwise known as customer intent. Start smart by pairing SEO with content at the beginning Whether you’re starting up a new content marketing operation or trying to build on top of what you have, one of the most important things you can do is to prioritize search engine optimization (SEO) from the very start. Always account for change and be optimizing While we’re on the subject of mobile, it’s important to take an important lesson from how those portable devices completely changed the game for marketers in the space of just a few years. Take advantage of emerging technology shifts to maintain your edge Everywhere you turn, there are conversations about artificial intelligence and machine learning. Guest author: As the SVP of Marketing for BrightEdge, Kevin leads the company’s go-to-market strategy and a growing marketing team responsible for building the BrightEdge brand, driving demand, and expanding customer relationships. Kevin was also VP, Product & Market Solutions at ExactTarget & Salesforce.com, where his team fueled the company’s growth through a successful IPO in 2012 and acquisition by Salesforce two years later for $2.7 billion.

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5 Hacks for Creating Smarter and More Profitable Digital Content

Content marketing is approaching an inflection point – this inflection point will determine the role of content marketing in the modern marketing technology stack.

It seems that, everywhere you go, content marketing and native advertising have become the hot-button topic du jour, as it becomes increasingly apparent how these strategies have the potential to drive performance while delivering valuable and targeted content to customers at the right time.

But despite the potential of content marketing and the number of resources dedicated to the creation of content, we are in the middle of a content marketing crisis. In a recent survey of more than 250 marketers for Fortune 500 brands, my company found only 30 percent of marketers report more than half of their content is actually engaged with.

In an industry where it is estimated that $145 billion is spent on content each year, that means that marketers are wasting at least $75 billion every year by creating content that is never consumed, never viewed, and drifts onto the back shelf of the infinite internet library. The net result is wasted resources, loss of website traffic, conversions, and revenue.

Problem presented. So the question is how do marketers rev up their content marketing strategies to create “Smart Content”, useful, discoverable content that delivers real ROI? I promise you that cranking out more content won’t be the solution.

Smart content requires targeted, optimized and integrated approaches that can be adaptive to changes in the marketplace or industry. Such smart content turns content creation from an act of informed guessing to precision driven performance. Marketers need to turn to best practices for creating smart content that fuels modern marketing and satisfies the needs of consumers in the post-mobile world. Without it, marketers will fall behind their competition, lose connectivity with their customers, and ultimately fail. Here are my five recommendations for getting smarter with your content.

1. Understand your audience and target intent

Many marketers understand the capabilities of social media and ad buys to target narrow slivers of the population, but neglect to apply these sentiments to content development and optimization.

We assume our general sense of who we’d like to get our message out to – “potential clients”, for example – will be a sufficient guidepost to produce high-performing content that is easily found by consumers. Easy, right?

Wrong.

The first step to creating the right type of content that is both discovered by and engaged with is identifying the needs of your target audience and the moments when they are looking to address those needs. Why do they care about or need this content?

Consider developing personas that identify aspects of who your audience is, what type of content they want and how they want to consume it – otherwise known as customer intent.

For example, if you manage the digital presence of a home improvement store that identifies women are a core target audience with potential for growth, consider tracking what type of content this audience searches for – perhaps “DIY kitchen remodels” is a common search term. Develop smart content that meets that naturally arising need for that information.

These personas, which are essentially personified marketing segmentation tools, help you better understand the priorities and behaviors of your “average” consumer. Meaningfully understanding consumers can set you up for success as you craft content to guide them along the buyer’s journey. In fact, these personas are essential for effective digital content, as they enable marketers to micro-target content towards the right consumers.

2. Start smart by pairing SEO with content at the beginning

Whether you’re starting up a new content marketing operation or trying to build on top of what you have, one of the most important things you can do is to prioritize search engine optimization (SEO) from…

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