How to Master the “Low Hanging Fruit” in Content Marketing
I recently surveyed a group of C-level executives on their reading habits and one thing was clear – none of them were interested in wasting time with email newsletters or blog content that contained irrelevant or sales pitchy articles. So as a content marketer or marketing director you might ask: What on earth are we supposed to put in our newsletters or blogs then to grab and keep the attention of our target audience when we’re not exactly Bloomberg, Forbes or WSJ?
The answer to that question is remarkably easy. Though I’m not a huge fan of corporate jargon, I do find myself using the term “low hanging fruit” quite a bit when I am training content marketers. How does this term relate to content marketing strategies? Your average B2B content marketing team is probably never going to be capable of producing content like a major news outlet (even an industry specific one), but by starting small and being focused on the “low hanging fruit” you can succeed and steal traffic away from your competitors. This “low hanging fruit” involves developing content of which your team is uniquely capable of and at which they can excel. Here are three steps your content marketing teams can make to begin that process.
If It’s Broken, Please Fix It!
So month after month, year after year, you try to recycle the same content ideas in your marketing plan hoping that they will stick. If a piece is only getting a small handful of hits, even after giving it your all with social media promotion – it means they’re just not into your content. And that’s ok. You wouldn’t have known it would fail if you hadn’t tried it out on a digital audience. But there’s no excuse now to not start focusing on topics that your audience will have a positive reaction to. They are reading something after all if not your blog or newsletter.
Not sure what your audience is interested in? Reading your competitor’s content as well as industry journals, following thought leaders and industry hashtags on social media are all ways to see what topics the folks in your industry find important. Google Adwords (sign up for a free account) has a tool called Keyword Planner that will give you a helpful estimate of what people are searching for globally.
Utilize Your Team Members’ Passions
Your team may be hiding a biology or a psychology major, or someone who is really obsessed about the environment. Make sure that excitement and background knowledge is channeled into your content – it will show and improve the articles. I will give you an example: one industry I was creating content for had a great deal of what I call “competitors for eyeballs” – meaning lots and lots of industry news outlets their audience could go to for information on the latest happenings.
I happen to have a good deal of knowledge about startups – I’ve worked for five of them. I noticed that traditional journals were not covering startups in that particular industry, and I discovered that not only were startups numerous – these startups were dealing with and solving some key problems facing that industry. I reached out to several entrepreneurs that I discovered on social media and created a very well received article. Added bonus – all or most of the startup executives I interviewed were quite happy to promote the piece on their social media outlets – some quite influential - giving it that much more reach. There are tens, maybe hundreds of ideas and topics that industry journals in your market may not be addressing. So closely watch the content your competitors are putting out, keep your ear to the ground on social media, and track those under-reported topics down to fill that gap and find your niche. Your audience will find your resulting articles relevant, unique, and valuable to their jobs.
SEO stands for: Seriously? Every Option?
Of course SEO doesn’t stand for that, it stands for “search engine optimization” but I wanted to get your attention. I want to emphasize the fact that just using lots of keywords à la 2000s old school black hat SEO won’t help drive traffic to your article and in fact will hurt your organic traffic. Of course, you want to make sure you’re optimizing your post’s SEO, to not do so is a mistake. But keyword optimization alone will not make an article that will hit the right chord with your audience. To have truly search engine optimized articles, you need – as the 1980s hairband Extreme so eloquently said “more than words”.
Creating an optimized post is like making a cake – it’s all well and good to have some sort of special, high quality organic flour but if you don’t have eggs, sugar and all the other necessary ingredients you don’t have a cake. Use keywords that are popular when you can and when they’re relevant to the article. But it’s just as important to have a unique article, utilizing a topic and individuals that your audience is interested in. And promotion of an article - social media marketing, email marketing, etc. - is just as crucial to an article’s success as the research and writing that went into creating it. In my experience, the quality of an article is more important for branding and reputation than simply using popular keywords. Good quality, relevant articles will help you get an audience to find your site, get that audience to evangelize your site and ultimately return to your site.