If you want to reach an audience, ads are out and content marketing is in. Consumers crave useful, shareable content and will click away from straight ads.
So how can you best capitalize on this content marketing trend? A panel of founders from YEC share their best, unexpected content marketing strategies below.
Show Your Vulnerability
Instead of focusing on the message that the company wants to share, focus on what the company is scared to share. Focus on the content that makes you nervous. Invite your customers into the humanity of your business. Share your “hero’s journey” in all its glory. Share the challenges, the mistakes and the sorrows as well as the successes and the joys. Create intimacy in your marketing.
Highlight Negatives and Offer Solutions
We find that using negative superlatives in the title gets a much better click-through rate. Combine that with a lead magnet that offers the fix or solution to the problem, and you‘ve got a content marketing engine that produces high-quality leads.
Showcase Dynamic Visuals
Use dynamic visuals that blend in with the user experience. Make sure your visuals don’t look like an ad — at all. Obvious ads are the biggest eyesore when it comes to customers using Facebook, and the last way you to appear is as inhuman and as impersonal as a Facebook-sponsored ad. I would use questions to spark a dialogue with your customers. Use phrases like: “Have you ever…?” They beg an answer.
– Rob Fulton, Exponential Black
Leverage Instagram for Promoting Written Content
What started as an experiment a few months ago turned into a key part of our content marketing strategy. I write articles for various trades about data security and my entrepreneurial journey, and when the article publishes, I put up a screenshot on my Instagram account. The post ends up getting likes and comments from other entrepreneurs and new customers. It’s a cheap way to get more exposure.
Offer Real World Experiences
So many people out there just pull from other people and things they’ve heard. Use your real world experiences to make the most of your marketing. These are the types of blog posts that do 10 times better anyway. People enjoy reading and can relate to these posts.
Write Where Your Customers Are
Your first instinct will be to start writing tons of articles on your blog. This is wrong. “If you build it, they will come” rarely works for startups. Instead, publish posts on sites that your customers actually read. For example, Reddit is a great venue for B2C startups. Build your brand there and then slowly share content on your own site. If your content is great, early readers will follow you.
Focus on Emotional Content
Just as lyrical geniuses in music today continue to attract fans with their expressive and emotional display of their stories (which are often unknown until they explain later in a backup article), marketing content should also be descriptive yet have that “leave enough to the imagination discreteness” that warrants anticipation of your next article or blog post.
– Sheldon Michael, Netjumps International
Use Overt Asks
Want folks to share your video? Ask your Facebook following to do just that. Want your infographic to be retweeted? Say so in your post copy. Want to get more likes on an Instagram image? There’s a reason over 34 million posts on the platform use the #doubletap hash tag. It will feel strange to be so frank, but your audience will respond and your content will reach more people because of it.
Schedule Your Content Calendar
Many people don’t plan a content calendar. You would be surprised how simply writing down when and what you will publish — and sticking to the calendar — actually works. You can see what you are publishing by season and then interlink those articles in a way that makes sense.
– Kevin Henrikson, Acompli (now Outlook iOS/Android @ Microsoft)
Put Slides on Slideshare
Slideshare slide decks regularly get thousands to hundreds of thousands of views, and you can link out to your website from the slides. In general, it’s always a good idea with content marketing to turn your content into something that other content platforms would share on your behalf, whether it’s Meetup.com, Wikipedia, Reddit, or any other site.
Infographics can be used in so many different ways to promote your brand. They are a visually appealing way to portray information to viewers. This is an easy way to distribute amongst your peers and obtain recognition for your brand name.
Utilize Guest Writers
You don’t have to create all of your content yourself. By building partnerships with established or up-and-coming bloggers in similar or compatible industries, you can leverage their expertise and expose a new audience (the bloggers’ followers) to your brand. Plus, you can generate valuable backlinks when the writers link to the posts they’ve authored on your blog.
Leverage Happy Customers
Nothing trumps the power of word-of-mouth marketing. If you can find ways to encourage your customers and users to invite their network to try your product, you have hit a home run. Our team’s strategy involves incentivizing users to create and share branded content on our behalf in exchange for small rewards. It works really well.
– Nicholas Haase, Loot!
Featured Image: Melpomene via Shutterstock