How To Create A Content Strategy Framework via @sejournal, @JuliaEMcCoy

Do you have a framework in place for your content strategy?

In other words, do you have your plan mapped out from A to Z?

Have you answered all the most important questions necessary to building your content strategy – and have you documented them?

For these reasons and more, it’s time to learn how to create your content strategy framework.

What Is A Content Strategy?

A content strategy is a plan that tells you exactly how to execute content marketing.

Your strategy is also a guide to success with content for your business.

It’s a research-backed, thought-out plan that tells you what kind of content to create, who you should create it for, what channels to post it to, when to post it, how to promote it, who should carry out each task, and what tools to use.

Brands and marketers that write down their strategies report more success than those that don’t. Specifically, planners are three times more likely to report success than their peers who don’t plan.

If a stranger signed on to your content marketing team, ideally, you could place your content strategy in their hands and they would understand exactly what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and how to help make it happen.

7 Questions To Create A Content Strategy Framework

To build your framework, answer these essential questions.

1. Why Are You Creating Content?

Building your content strategy framework must begin with uncovering the “why” behind it all.

Why are you creating content, and what do you hope to get out of it? What are your goals?

And don’t just say “We want more subscribers” or “We want more traffic” – that’s too general. Get specific, here.

How many more subscribers? How much more traffic? By what time?

Instead of setting vague goals, set SMART goals.

The beauty of goal-setting is that you can always tweak your goals along the way. As long as you’re tracking your progress, you’ll learn pretty quickly if you set your sights way too high, or if you’re underestimating what your content can do.

For example, say you set a goal of earning 50% more traffic in two months.

You’ll quickly find out whether that goal is way beyond your reach just by tracking your progress week by week.

So, tweak it: Maybe it won’t take two months, but rather 6-8 months. Flexibility within your goals and your plan is key.

2. Who Is Your Audience?

Who do you hope will read the content you produce? Who will need the content you will produce?

Often, your target audience may surprise you and defy your assumptions about who they are. That means you should never define your audience based on guesses or unrealistic expectations.

Figure out who these people are on a basic level (job title, income, education, habits, preferences) through dedicated research, interactions, surveys, and social listening. Discover the channels they use to consume content.

And, if you find you have more than one type of audience you can target? Define each of your audience segments with separate personas.

These are basically fact sheets full of the traits, preferences, and challenges that most of your audience members have in common.

3. What Will You Create Content About? In What Formats?

Next, decide on the content topics you will focus on and the formats you’ll use to get that information out there.

Choosing one or two overarching content topic areas of focus will give your content cohesion and relevance to two things:

  • What your brand sells (your expertise).
  • What your audience wants to see.

The intersection of these two areas is your content sweet spot.

For example, if you sell photography services, you might publish content about photography tips and tricks, inspiration for sessions, and guides to getting the best family photos.

When deciding on the formats you’ll create, consider your resources and how your audience prefers to consume content.

Some types of content you might consider:

  • Videos.
  • Blog articles.
  • Social media content (e.g. LinkedIn polls, Instagram carousels, TikTok videos).
  • Email newsletters.
  • Podcasts.

Even if you just choose to create a blog, there are limitless options for the content formats you can post there, like guides, checklists, infographics, stories, listicles, and more.

4. Where Will You Publish Content?

Where/when you publish content matters just as much as what you’re publishing.

Don’t choose your channels based on preference or whims. Instead, base this decision on where your audience is hanging out.

Do they eat up video content on YouTube? Do they love to listen to podcasts during their commute or while they make dinner? Or maybe they’re devoted to reading blog posts each morning with their coffee?

Similarly, when figuring out when to publish content and how often, look at your audience’s habits and preferences. When are they online? When are they on social media? When are they most likely to see your posts?

Whatever you do, always ensure your website is your home base. Every content channel can be linked up with your website and send readers and visitors there strategically.

Ultimately, your website is internet real estate you own and have the most control over. Make it the hub of your content to build longevity and authority online.

5. How Will You Promote Your Content?

Content promotion is equal in importance to content publishing.

Often, promoting your content is the only way people will see it until you build up your brand presence.

So, make a promotion plan.

Choose a key promotion channel (again, based on your audience) and keep it simple.

Share a link to your new blog post when it goes live, whether you post on Facebook or send out an email to your subscribers.

6. How Will You Track And Measure Your Results?

In the process of executing content marketing, you need to be able to understand how your content is performing so you can adjust your strategy as necessary.

If what you’re doing is working, you can ramp it up.

If it’s not working, you’ll need to pivot and tweak your approach.

That’s why, to understand your content performance, you need to set specific key performance indicators (KPIs) and decide how you’ll track them.

For example, if you set of goal of earning more traffic by a specific time, you’ll need to track a KPI for that goal like unique website visitors.

You’ll also need a tool with the right data reporting to track the KPIs you choose. For the example above, we’d need the ability to track our website traffic numbers with a tool like Google Analytics.

See how that works? To sum up this process:

  • Look at your goals.
  • Set a KPI for each goal.
  • Determine how you’ll track each KPI (what tool will you need? How often will you need to look at the data?).

7. How Will You Maintain Your Content Marketing Strategy?

Finally, the last piece of your content strategy involves what I call “maintenance mode.”

How will you sustain the strategy in the future? How will you keep it running?

There are three questions to consider when we talk about maintenance:

  • What’s your budget for content marketing?
  • What does your content team look like, and what are their roles?
  • What tools will you use for content marketing?

Answer each of these questions with an outline of your set-up and structure.

  • Make a list of your team members and the specific tasks they’re each responsible for.
  • Record the tools you plan to invest in, their subscription costs, and what purpose they’ll serve in your plan.
  • Then, using all the information you’ve recorded in your strategy, determine the budget you’ll need to put it in motion.

Your Content Strategy Needs A Framework

Every successful content marketing campaign needs a strategy.

And every content strategy needs the right framework supporting it.

The key differentiator between results and crickets? Writing down your content strategy framework.

So don’t just ideate it – document it. Share it with your team. Follow your plan, measure and track results, and pivot as needed.

Map everything out, but keep it flexible. You’ve got this.

More resources: 


Featured Image: dindumphoto/Shutterstock

7 Content Marketing Best Practices In 2023 via @sejournal, @zackkadish

Does a new year mean new content marketing best practices? Well, yes and no.

Looking into the new year, there are new things to consider for your content marketing strategy, but many things haven’t changed.

Content marketing is still one of the best ways to ensure your brand remains relevant and continues to drive your site’s organic traffic.

Creating content has taken on many different forms, but there are still a lot of best practices you need to make sure you are implementing if you want it to be found.

This article will review some best practices that content marketers should continue doing and some hot topics emerging in the world of content.

Here are the seven best practices for content marketing in 2023:

  • Use the customer’s voice.
  • Create content using the hub & spoke content marketing model.
  • Optimize your content for result types.
  • Always measure your content for ROI.
  • AI-generated content is here, but don’t fall for the hype.
  • Re-optimize and repurpose your outdated/underperforming content.
  • Break down the silos between your internal departments to move faster.

1. Using The Customer’s Voice In Your Content

Using the customer’s voice in your content will always be a best practice in content marketing, and it’s also the most important one.

You need to make sure you are matching your content to what the customer is actually searching for.

Without doing this, you might never be able to reach your target audience, even if they are looking for something you provide.

Keyword research is the bread and butter for creating any content, and a big part of creating relevant content is by making sure you are using the phrases that people actually search for.

2. Create Content Using The Hub & Spoke Content Marketing Model

Google has always cared about ranking websites that show they are authoritative around a particular topic.

What better way to show Google and customers you know what you’re talking about than creating a lot of content around the topic?

One of the best ways to do this is the hub and spoke content marketing model. This content marketing model is related to using the customer’s voice because you need to ensure the content you are writing has demand first.

This isn’t a new model to the world of content marketing, but it’s essential and isn’t going anywhere.

Using the hub and spoke model, you can build authority around a hub, which is typically one of your main business lines or services.

The spoke content is usually composed of questions related to the hub or different parts of the buyer’s journey that connect to the hub.

This way, you can target users in their different stages of searching and make sure Google understands you know what you’re talking about when they come to your site.

By creating hub and spoke content for a specific topic, you become much more authoritative around a topic in Google’s eyes, which can help increase the amount of organic traffic, keyword rankings, and conversions for your company.

3. Create Content Based On Result Types

We’ve known for a while that Google is no longer ten blue links.

However, new types of results appear on Google all the time. As a result, the search engine result pages have become very crowded with a variety of different result types.

Similar to making sure the keywords we are targeting have search volume, we also need to make sure we are structuring our content in a relevant way where Google will want to surface and show our content.

A few result types have become extremely popular this year, the biggest being short-form videos.

Short-form videos typically range from 10 to 30 seconds or up to 5 minutes.

With the rise of TikTok and Instagram Reels, short-form video content is all the rage and has even started appearing on Google as a result type.

When creating any content for your site, make sure to take a look to see what’s already showing up on Google and what competitors are doing.

Visual content or imagery can makes content more digestible and enticing to share on social media. This is also a great way to show up on Google Images, the second biggest search engine behind Google’s main search page.

Audio content, such as podcasts, has also become a big way for people to consume content nowadays.

When you create content, you need to understand how Google feels users are consuming this content based on what is showing up on Page 1 of Google. Then evaluate whether you can create content for these mediums.

4. Measure Your Content For ROI

This isn’t necessarily a new trend, but it’s another one that will always be a best practice for content marketing.

It’s challenging to tie ROI to anything in SEO or the organic channel, unlike paid media or email marketing which is usually more clear-cut with accessible CPC, conversion rates, and other key metrics.

This is why it’s essential to clearly define how you will measure your content for ROI and prove that it drives the organization’s results.

The best way to get more buy-in around SEO or why content is beneficial is to report on how the content is bringing more users to the site or helping them convert.

It’s recommended that you set up reporting, either using an enterprise SEO platform or smaller tools, prior to creating the content so you can measure how your content is doing, such as target keywords now ranking on Page 1, which will lead to an increase in organic traffic and organic conversions.

By consistently doing this, you can tell a story about how being proactive with SEO is worthwhile because you are bringing users to the site today and continuing to drive traffic to this same piece of content indefinitely.

5. AI-generated Content Is Here, But Don’t Fall For The Hype

It’s all happening! AI-generated content has finally arrived to the masses, but don’t fall for the hype.

There have been so many acronyms recently, whether it’s VR (virtual reality), AR (augmented reality), or NFTs (non-fungible tokens), that people believe are going to break through and become the future.

However, none have become the mainstream disruptors they were pitched as. At least, not yet.

AI will be around for the long haul as it can make life so much easier in many different ways.

There are use cases for using AI services such as ChatGPT for research, creating schema, or content ideation, but it’s not recommended to have these services write your content entirely.

Google recently updated its E-A-T guidelines to include an extra “E” for experience. This shows that Google is continuing to focus on authoritative content, and it’s vital that you show the user you know what you’re talking about.

The new “E” around experience seems to be a shot at AI-generated content because Google wants to ensure users are getting the correct information from credible sources – similar to the YMYL algorithm update back in the day.

Google’s helpful content update has also finally finished being rolled out and is impacting websites with unsatisfying or unhelpful content. This is because many websites have started creating content primarily for search engines and not humans.

Humans need to write content meant for other humans.

Use AI to assist with content creation but be careful not to do this in mass like CNET, as they’ve already backtracked on this effort after people noticed many different errors in the content itself.

6. Re-Optimize And Repurpose Your Outdated/Underperforming Content

New year, new content? Well, not always.

By monitoring how the current content on your site is performing, you can identify if there is the ability to re-optimize or repurpose content that might be outdated or underperforming.

One of the best ways to do this is through a content audit to better understand which content is performing well and which content might need a little refresh or some love this year.

There is no point in reinventing the wheel, especially if the content is already good quality but could benefit from other target keywords.

By evaluating your current content, you can identify content gaps where you might need to create new content or find content that could be consolidated so it will perform better together.

When working with clients in the past, there have been countless times when we uncovered three different blog articles focused on the same topic, and none were performing well. Instead of wasting time and energy creating new content, try repurposing some of your site’s existing content to improve it.

Auditing the content on our site will always be a best practice, and it’s a great process to go through as you can uncover a lot of hidden gems while also identifying what other content updates, optimizations, or net new creations the site could benefit from.

7. Break Down The Silos Between Teams Internally (If You Haven’t Already)

This isn’t as much of a best practice for content strategy, but it is a best practice for any company creating content.

Creating content on your site involves a lot of moving pieces. Most people think it’s only the content team’s job, but there are also design/product teams, development teams, legal teams, and even the SEO team.

In any company, specifically enterprises, you need to ensure that all of these departments work together to achieve the same goal – bringing more people to your website and getting them to convert. There are many ways to improve your organic marketing processes to be more efficient.

Meet regularly with other departments and establish processes for creating new content and optimizing existing content. You can boost efficiency and ensure everyone understands their responsibilities throughout the process.

If you do not define the responsibilities of each team beforehand and explain why they are necessary, that department might not prioritize the right things, which will likely result in delays in the content creation process.

The best content marketers work to break down these silos to ensure that content is published effectively. Communication, education, and organization are a big part of this.

In Conclusion

By following these seven best practices, you can ensure your content will be in good hands in 2023 and moving forward.

Overall, you need to be proactive with the insights you find when creating content and communicate with the internal teams about how we might need their help in this process.

Content marketing is one of the best ways for any organization to bring in traffic to their site as it helps continue to educate consumers about the benefits of certain service lines and make them trust that your brand is the right one for their needs.

AI will be a hot topic this year, but don’t do anything too drastic with this development just yet when it comes to content creation. At the end of the day, it’s more important to ensure content is accurate and written for humans by humans.

These best practices are likely things you might have already heard about, but that doesn’t make them any less important.

Instead of focusing on the hot new thing each year, focus on getting these basics down first.

More resources: 


Featured Image: Jirsak/Shutterstock

8 Content Writing Tips From Experts In 2023 via @sejournal, @beacarlota17

The digital market is volatile and ever-changing.

Everyone is competing for popular keywords, and artificial intelligence is changing content creation.

It can be a bit daunting, especially if you’re new to content writing.

So, how can you cut through the noise and write more effective content in 2023?

We’ve asked 17 industry professionals to share the wisdom they’ve learned over the years, their advice to those trying to find their way into content marketing, and their favorite tools for writing and optimization.

Julia McCoy, VP of Marketing at Content at Scale, would have told her younger self to realize the opportunity.

“It was hard to see it back then since I was at ground zero,” recalls McCoy.

“But the industry of content marketing itself had ballooned by billions of dollars since when I started. This would have given me more hope and excitement that what I did truly mattered to building not just income, but a legacy.”

Without further ado, here are their top tips:

1. Focus On Your Audience

Jamie Press, Digital Marketing Specialist At Eurisko

Jamie Press, Digital Marketing Specialist At Eurisko

The best tip I can give a copywriter is to think “audience first.” This advice is straight from Brian Clark, founder of Copyblogger.

Sometimes, we go straight for the keyword tools when we’re brainstorming a piece of content; however, if we don’t know who we’re writing for, our copy won’t resonate with the reader.

Dialing into our target audience and their pain points (specific problems our audience needs solving) is the first step.


Carlijn Postma, Brand Strategist, Speaker, and Author of “Binge Marketing”

Carlijn Postma, Brand Strategist, Speaker, and Author of

One: Start bingeing.

Really? Yes. The first educational go-to database is your streaming service.

The best writers and content creators are the creators of films and series. They know how to attract and retain an audience by creating a compelling story.

And bring your notebook.

Two: Know the difference between a target group and an audience.

In content marketing, your goal is to communicate through text, video, or audio. Therefore, you need readers, viewers, and listeners. That is an audience.

There is a huge difference between a target group and an audience.

A target group is pointed out by you as the sender of the content (whether this target group likes it or not).

An audience decides for itself if it wants to be your audience. I prefer to reach and engage an audience over a target group.

Focusing on an audience will make you a better writer.

infographic about target group vs. audienceImage credit: Carlijn Postma, January 2023

Three: Always create content in series.

Now, if your goal is to attract and retain a loyal audience, you have to start creating content in series.

With only one episode, one piece of content, you just won’t be able to build an audience.

And if you are creating a series, learn from the masters: use cliffhangers at the end, and recaps at the start of an episode.

Ask yourself: “What does my audience need to know about what I wrote in previous episodes to understand this one?” This signals your audience to consume the other episodes, too.


Linda Pophal, Founder At Strategic Communications, LLC

Linda Pophal, Founder At Strategic Communications, LLC

Focus on your audience and their needs and interests – that’s all that really matters.

If you write for your audience and work to address the questions they might have, you will automatically create SEO-friendly content, because that’s what SEO is all about.

Even when my clients have specific SEO requirements, I first write the copy as I had always written it, long before SEO existed – to meet my audiences’ needs.

Then I’ll go back and “retrofit” the keywords that clients have requested; often, they’re already there and may just need to be tweaked or added to a bit.


2. Choose Quality Over Optimization

Steph Andrusjak, SEO Consultant

Steph Andrusjak, SEO Consultant

Always write with the user in mind, even when optimizing for search engines.

You can optimize an article by using keyword tools, like KeywordTool.io or AlsoAsked, to find what queries people are searching to help you mold your article – but don’t let the quest for optimization undo the quality of your writing.

If you’re writing content to sell something, then embrace copywriting formulas to create compelling statements.

If you’re writing articles of interest, then write in a way that the end user can relate to and explain the subject as fully as possible.

Most of all, write for your audience.

If your end users are teenagers, write in a style that will appeal to them without sacrificing the image you want to present.

If the website’s main customers are business owners, then opt for a more professional, formal tone.

Making sure your content is search engine optimized doesn’t necessarily mean you have to write thousands of words.

The key is that it needs to be as long as required for you to explain your point clearly and comprehensively. This means that content can be just as effective by writing concisely.


3. Build Out Your Content With Search Intent In Mind

Rudy Mawer, CEO At Mawer Capital

Rudy Mawer, CEO At Mawer Capital

When you are just beginning your career in SEO writing, don’t forget that you write for both Google and the people who use it.

Keep these two equally important audiences in mind to maximize visibility and reach.

Quality content is essential, and Google knows this. It is pushing your content out to the world through its platform.

The better content that Google provides its users, the more likely people will use Google when they have a question.

It is essential to understand the keywords you are writing for and be able to talk about them dynamically.

You want your writing to be engaging, informative, and relevant for the reader.


Adam Berry, SEO Consultant At Adam Berry SEO Adam Berry, SEO Consultant At Adam Berry SEO

I would definitely urge my former self to write for humans, not robots!

I’ve learned that it’s important to take the time to craft meaningful sentences that are interesting and engaging to readers.

This means writing with more details and facts to provide context, as well as aiming for greater semantic richness.

For example, instead of simply stating a fact or opinion, try elaborating on why it’s true, or how others may feel about it, to draw readers in.

By taking this approach, I found that readers were more likely to connect with my content and leave feeling enriched by the experience.


Joe Karasin, CMO At CircleIt And Head Of Growth Marketing At DigitalWill.com

Joe Karasin, CMO At CircleIt And Head Of Growth Marketing At DigitalWill.com

One: Don’t let the new focus on AI-driven content deter you.

AI content may get technical points and be produced more quickly, but creating compelling content is something that is still a human endeavor.

At the end of the day, the search intent of most users will favor the content that holds interest, which as of right now, AI hasn’t shown it can do.

Two: Balance is key.

You might be able to craft a beautiful story with your content, but if it isn’t written with SEO in mind, it won’t rank.

However, if you write a bunch of SEO-friendly content that is boring, no one will want to read it, and it won’t rank.

Being focused on the balance is the way you will gain readers and traction in your career.

Three: Write about what people want to read.

If you are writing content for a company, you want to look at the real-life applications of the company’s products and services.

By putting the customer or reader in the central piece of your narrative, you will get others to read it and identify with the “hero” of your story.

For example, if you have created a new technology, don’t just write a post about the features. Talk about the users and how the features you want to write about are improving their lives.


Sherry Bonelli, Owner Of Early Bird Digital Marketing

8 Content Writing Tips From Experts In 2023

If you are just starting in the writing industry, I first recommend following Ann Handley and getting a copy of her “Everybody Writes” book.

Ann is an amazing writer that gives you writing tips that you can use whether you’re tasked with writing blog posts, website content, email newsletters, social media posts, ads – or anything in between. Plus, she has a great sense of humor – so she’ll make you laugh as you learn to be a better writer!

Now, when I began my writing career, I was very lucky to have a solid SEO foundation under my belt.

But looking back, I focused too much on writing for individual keywords when I should’ve spent more time writing about the topics people were searching for.

As a writer, create content about the topics people are searching for and then do more extensive keyword research about the questions people ask about the topic (and subtopics) you’re writing about.

Make sure you answer those questions thoroughly in your content. That’s the way to make your readers – and Google – happy!


4. Consider Using AI Writing Tools, But Use Them Wisely

Julia McCoy, VP Of Marketing At Content At Scale

Julia McCoy, VP Of Marketing At Content At Scale

We live in a completely new era versus the one I started in.

Today, the baseline of human content production can be assisted, if not nearly replaced, by AI tools built on top of OpenAI’s game-changing GPT language releases to write and create content.

With GPT4 on the horizon and about to launch, human content production will shift forever into an AI-assisted one.

That said, if you’re considering a writing career, don’t think there’s no need for the human. There’s a huge need for your writing skills.

It will just look different than when I started – when it was solely human-based.

My tips for you: Learn how to incorporate AI writing tools into your process. Learn how to edit, cut the fluff, and make the content that AI produces better. Learn strategy.

These skills will put you in a place where you cannot be replaced by AI.


Cai Ellis, SEO Manager At ToolTester

Cai Ellis, SEO Manager At ToolTester 

Now is not the time to completely move over to AI writing tools.

Although Google hasn’t come out and said that AI content is bad, we know that it prefers content that’s written by people for people.

With that said, it wouldn’t hurt to learn how to optimize AI content so that it’s a skill you can call on as and when needed.

We will likely see this as something that’s specifically needed from marketers in no time.

You could have a trial run of ChatGPT at home, focusing on the creation of content that’s helpful and user-first using the tool’s text as a starting point.

Other than that, the number one lesson for any new writer would have to be not to put themselves under too much pressure.

It takes time to learn how to craft the types of content that will engage and persuade.

It’s advisable to keep writing as a side hustle until you’re confident of meeting and exceeding client expectations.


Shubham Bajaj, Founder And SEO Scientist At Netsurge Technologies

Shubham Bajaj, Founder And SEO Scientist At Netsurge Technologies

With the onset of various AI writing tools and ChatGPT, it’s important for content writers who are just getting started to be able to write in a way that differentiates them from machines.

Adding your personality and character to your write-up and telling engaging stories that can keep the reader hooked are important aspects.

It is also important to note that, while it’s good to be quirky and conversational, make sure you have an NLP-friendly section that defines or provides an exact answer for the query in a format that Google or other search engines can directly use to display as a snippet.

5. Practice Writing Regularly

Jason Hennessey, Founder And CEO At Hennessey Digital

8 Content Writing Tips From Experts In 2023

Read widely and often to develop your writing skills and understand the various styles and forms of writing.

Then write every day, even if it’s just for a few minutes, to improve your writing discipline and practice your craft.

Lastly, seek feedback on your writing from others, and be open to constructive criticism.


Alex Valencia, President At We Do Web Content

Alex Valencia

If I could give my past self a piece of advice, it’d be to brush up on grammar and style rules.

For style, there’s nothing better than reading works by your favorite authors. How do they describe everyday things and situations? How do they craft sentences? What about their storytelling that hooks you in?

Then, practice, practice, practice.


Sam Hollingsworth, SEO Director At Moving Traffic Media

8 Content Writing Tips From Experts In 2023

Write more often and be less scared.

Like so many other things, we get better at writing the more that we do it (and reading).

It allows us to learn new things, experiment with new processes, and expand our skills for everything from creativity to accuracy and even speed and efficiency.


Dvir Ben-Aroya, Co-Founder And CEO At Spike

8 Content Writing Tips From Experts In 2023

For those just getting started in their writing careers, reading widely can help you develop a strong writing style.

By reading various authors and genres, you can learn about different writing techniques and styles and find inspiration for your own writing.

Practicing regularly is also important, as it allows you to improve your skills and become more proficient in your craft.

Networking with other writers can also be beneficial, as it can help you learn about the industry, find potential collaborators or mentors, and stay informed about new opportunities.

And it’s also important to be open to constructive criticism because it helps improve your writing.


Rudy Mawer, CEO At Mawer Capital

Rudy Mawer, CEO At Mawer Capital

If I could go back to the beginning of my writing career, I would tell myself that I need to spend more time reading and practicing different types of writing.

Even if you only write one specific style of writing, practicing different styles and formats of writing will strengthen your primary style by association.

It is a great mental exercise to sharpen and use the other “tools” in your writing toolbox.

For example, if you only write B2B long-form keyword-rich blog content, practicing creative writing every so often might be useful.

By doing so, you can combat writer’s block, gain additional perspectives, and have more engaging and dynamic content.


6. Find Your Rhythm And Style That Sparks Joy

Alex Valencia, President At We Do Web Content

Alex Valencia

When starting a career as a writer, it’s critical to uncover the type of writing that brings you joy.

The topics you cover should excite you, and crafting pieces should feel like a privilege.

It shows in your work when you have passion for the things you’re writing about. The energy is relaxed and confident.


Jason Hennessey, Founder And CEO At Hennessey Digital

Jason Hennessey

Focus on developing your own unique voice and style.

Writing is a highly personal and subjective endeavor, and it’s important to find your own way of expressing yourself and telling stories.

This will set your work apart and make it more likely to resonate with readers.


Sam Hollingsworth, SEO Director At Moving Traffic Media

Sam Hollingsworth

Never forget that writing is (seemingly) one of the most basic ways for humans to communicate.

Of course, like most everything in life, there are good and bad examples of it.

Be mindful of the foundational guidelines we’ve been told most of our lives but also do not lose out on creativity to do so.

I often think back to something one of my favorite journalism professors taught me (and of which he claimed one of his favorite professors taught him as a budding journalist): “Write like jazz.”

It should have rhythm, but also irregularities and improvisation that allow it to stand out. It should be enjoyable and digested with ease.


7. Learn To Overcome Setbacks And Imposter Syndrome

Kaitie Frank, Digital Marketing Copywriter At Page One Power

Kaitie Frank

Imposter syndrome is real. Kick it out the door and have confidence in your writing!

Read examples of great work, then put your spin on it.

Also, triple edit:

  • Edit on-screen.
  • Print it out and edit.
  • Have another set of eyes look at it.

Don’t let people bully you into submission. I spent too much time at a job where I was told I wasn’t good enough, and that made me lose confidence in my writing.

Instead, find a place where mentors help you grow and develop your skills, not knock you down because you don’t write exactly like them.


Dvir Ben-Aroya, Co-Founder And CEO At Spike

Dvir Ben-Aroya

If I could go back to the beginning of my writing career, I would advise myself to be more persistent.

Writing is a challenging and competitive field, and it can take a lot of time and effort to succeed.

It’s important not to give up too easily and to keep working towards your goals, even when faced with rejection or setbacks.


8. Grow Your Network And Portfolio

Monika Nozinic, Copywriter at Async Labs

8 Content Writing Tips From Experts In 2023

My advice to those who are just getting started in their writing careers would be:

  • Read and study as much as you can. Look at the work of famous copywriters and see what you can learn from them.
  • Write every day to develop your skills and build a writing routine. The more you write, the better you’ll get at it.
  • Get feedback. Show your work to other people and see what they think.
  • Learn SEO. Understanding SEO will help you to write copy that ranks well in search engines.
  • Network with other writers and industry professionals.
  • Know your audience. Understand who you’re writing for and what they need.
  • Be adaptable. Copywriting constantly evolves, so be prepared to learn new things and adapt to new trends.
  • Practice makes perfect. Keep practicing and experimenting until you find your voice and style.
  • Learn about the industry you’re writing for. This way, you’ll be able to understand their language and speak to their pain points and goals.
  • Be passionate. Copywriting is a creative field, so bring your passion for working, and it will shine through in your writing.

The advice I would now give myself at the start of my career would be to connect with other copywriters and content creators. Ask them to be my mentor for a week or two.

Also, I would tell myself to develop thicker skin and persistence, as rejection and criticism are a normal part of the writing process, which I learned, sometimes the hard way, along the way.


Adam Berry, SEO Consultant At Adam Berry SEO

Adam Berry, SEO Consultant At Adam Berry SEO

Take time to build your portfolio.

You’ll want to start collecting samples of your work as soon as possible; these will be invaluable when applying for jobs or searching for opportunities.

Make sure each piece is polished and showcases your best writing ability.


Experts’ Favorite Tools For Content Writing And Optimization

Grammarly And Hemmingway

Alex Valencia’s top writing tool is Grammarly, and he says that “every professional should use it (#notanad).”

“It’s taught me a lot about my writing style and how to improve it. For keyword research, I use Semrush,” Valencia shares.

Shubham Bajaj suggests Grammarly and Hemingway “for avoiding grammatical errors and ensuring that your content is structured properly, especially when starting and you have a low to zero budget to spend on tools.”

“Once you have some budget to spend, consider subscribing to advanced tools like ProWritingAid,” Bajaj recommends.

Surfer SEO

“When it comes to writing tools, there are oodles of SEO tools out there that have content tools built in. (Some are definitely better than others.) One of my favorite tools for optimizing content is Surfer SEO,” says Sherry Bonelli.

“Surfer SEO takes the keyword you’re trying to optimize your content for and analyzes your content against the top-ranking webpages.

Then it shows All words and Natural Language Process (NLP) words so you can see if you’re overusing some words – or not using words that you perhaps should use. (Like maybe you didn’t even think about including a word or topic in what you were writing!)

Surfer SEO can really take your writing optimization to the next level. I’d highly recommend you play around with it.”

8 Content Writing Tips From Experts In 2023Screenshot from Surfer SEO, modified by author, January 2023

“Don’t be afraid to use tools to your advantage,” advises Rudy Mawer.

“You are writing search engine-centric content; the internet has many resources and tools to help make your job easier and your writing more effective.”

Mawer loves using Surfer SEO as well. “Its content editor gives you a real-time score of your content’s strength for the keyword you are trying to rank for, NLP keyword suggestions, and a competitor analysis.”

Yoast SEO

Dvir Ben-Aroya’s favorite tools for content writing and optimization include Grammarly, Hemingway, Yoast SEO, and Google Analytics.

“Grammarly and Hemingway are writing tools that can help you improve your grammar, style, and readability.

Yoast SEO is a plugin that can help you optimize your content for search engines, and Google Analytics is a tool that allows you to track the performance of your content, including pageviews, bounce rate, and conversion rate.

These tools are very helpful in making your content more effective and engaging for your target audience,” explains Ben-Aroya.

Content At Scale

Julia McCoy saves up to seven hours per piece by using Content at Scale, “a long-form AI content writer that does everything for you – even SEO research and optimization.”

“It’s utterly insane to realize we’re here in an era where AI can replace hours and hours of grunt work at a fraction of the cost,” McCoy notes.

She also loves KWFinder for easy, simple, enjoyable keyword research and enjoys having ChatGPT for writing email outlines, topic ideas, and lists.

Otter.ai

Linda Pophal does a lot of interviews with subject matter experts and sources, and Otter.ai helps her accomplish the task.

“Otter.ai is great for recording and transcribing these interviews automatically so I can focus on what the sources are saying without worrying about missing anything,” says Pophal.

“I also like Grammarly, Hemingway App, and AP Styleguide online, and have begun experimenting a bit with ChatGPT, not to actually write my content but to help with outlining and getting a head start in fleshing out ideas,” she adds.

Reddit

Cai Ellis finds Answerthepublic and Reddit great for content inspiration.

“If you’re writing on a niche topic, diving into that Subreddit is the best way to get authentic and unique insight quickly,” Ellis recommends.

Joe Karasin also uses Reddit and Quora for topic research and to learn what people are talking about surrounding your topics.

“There are probably questions your audience has that you haven’t even considered. Write about those topics, and you’ll experience success,” Karasin advises.

Google Search And Suite

Jamie Press goes for a simple Google Doc for writing and collaborating with colleagues and clients.

Kaitie Frank uses good ol’ Google for research and optimization.

She believes that the “SERPs (search engine results pages) will tell you all you need to know about which headers to use and which information to include.”

Sam Hollingsworth shares a similar outlook.

“Like many old-school journalists, I don’t rely too heavily on many tools to help me optimize content or even come up with ideas to write about, but it’s nice to have them when needed.

It’s amazing how much direction and ideas we can get from free resources like Google Keyword Planner, as well as traditional Google Search.”

“For help optimizing content, MarketMuse and Frase are great tools to have available in your efforts,” Hollingsworth adds.

Editor’s note: All interviews have been lightly edited for clarity, brevity, and adherence to our Editorial Guidelines. The views expressed by the interviewees in this column are theirs alone and do not necessarily represent the view of Search Engine Journal.

More Resources:


Featured Image: Roman Samborskyi/Shutterstock

Video Marketing: An In-Depth Guide For Every Business Owner Today

Marketers have used videos since the 1940s, but the term “video marketing” has gained momentum in the last decade.

Google’s purchase of YouTube in 2006 can be considered a critical turning point in the growth of video marketing.

Video marketing is a hot discussion topic and a focus area for every marketing team, irrespective of the industry or size of the organization.

So, for readers still confused about the term video marketing, here is a standard definition that explains it: Video marketing is leveraging videos to educate, entertain, and engage the audience to achieve your business or personal goals.

These can be short how-to videos, Instagram Reels, YouTube Shorts, YouTube videos, and more.

Why Video Marketing?

Video marketing has gained so much traction over the last decade that almost every business is exploring it now.

There are several reasons behind the increased adoption of video as a content format for marketing. Here are some of them:

  • Humans love visuals more than words: Our brain process visuals much faster than words, and an MIT study found that we can identify images we’ve seen for as little as 13 milliseconds. With the dwindling attention span of your audience, videos are the best bet to grab their attention.
  • Videos evoke emotions: Via impactful storytelling, videos can evoke the right emotions in viewers. Creators can plan their storytelling based on the goals they are trying to achieve with their content.
  • Videos engage multiple senses of viewers: A video can engage a viewer’s senses, like sight and hearing. This helps evoke emotions and persuade.

Key Business Goals Videos Can Help You Achieve

Video content can help businesses achieve several of their goals and objectives. Some of these goals include:

  • Boosting website traffic & engagement: Video is an effective medium for driving quality traffic to your website and increasing engagement with your brand.
  • Building a social media community: Video can act as both an entertaining and an educational resource for audiences. By providing this type of value to people, video content can help you engage with social media users and grow your social community.
  • Customer acquisition and retention: Video can be used to educate potential prospects on your brand, your product, and your value proposition. In this sense, it is often helpful in converting people into customers and, ultimately, boosting your bottom line.
  • Raising content consumption: There’s no doubt that video is one of the most popular and highly-consumed content formats today – so leveraging it on the right platforms to tell the right stories can help you reach more people.
  • Gaining thought leadership: Provided you follow best practices and focus on unique storytelling, video can help you stand out in a crowded marketplace and tell your story.
  • Improving customer experience: Video content can augment your efforts to deliver the best experience for your customers, whether that’s through product explainers, how-tos, and tutorials, or customer case studies.

Statistics Proving The Rise Of Video Marketing

To understand the power and dominance of video in the world of marketing, we need to look at some latest statistics from Wyzowl’s 2022 State of Video Marketing report:

  • 86% of businesses used video as part of their marketing strategy in 2022.
  • 81% of marketers said video has helped them increase sales in 2022.
  • 94% of viewers have watched explainer videos to learn more about products or services in 2022.
  • 87% of marketers say videos have helped them increase traffic in 2022.

It’s clear from these statistics alone that video has become an integral part of the average company’s marketing strategy, irrespective of size and industry.

And while, in the past, marketers faced challenging barriers to entry with video content, such as high costs, inadequate tools, and lack of access to talent, the advent of affordable plug-and-play tools has made video content doable for any business today.

Video Formats Dominating Marketing Now

If you are exploring videos as part of your content strategy, this is the best time to research and think about how you’ll approach video content.

There is a wide range of platforms and formats available for marketers and business owners to experiment with when it comes to telling your brand story.

Questions To Ask Before Building Your Video Marketing Strategy

With the various formats available for your video marketing, you’ll need to ask yourself a few critical questions before kicking off your video marketing efforts.

Please answer the following questions honestly, so they can help you build an authentic and powerful video content strategy for your business.

  • Do you know your audience well? Knowing your audience well is the cornerstone of your video marketing success.
  • Does your audience consume video content? If you answer “no” here, there is no point wasting your energy or resources on video marketing.
  • Do you have a compelling story (or stories) to tell your audience? Every business must have an interesting story to tell its audience. If you don’t know yours, it’s time to go find it!
  • Do you have the time and resources to run a video marketing strategy? This critical question will help you decide what gaps you might need to fill to make your program successful.
  • How committed are you to successfully running a video marketing program? Video marketing, like any other marketing tactic, will demand your long-term commitment for it to bring results for your business.

All these questions will deliver the right answers to build a successful video marketing program.

Building A Powerful Video Marketing Strategy

A well-designed video marketing strategy can do wonders for your business or personal brand.

Video content can be leveraged for various goals for your business, like improving brand awareness, increasing website traffic, generating leads, booking demos, and much more.

Since videos can often pique an audience’s attention quickly, they can help you achieve your goals if executed correctly.

Here are the basic steps you can follow to build an effective video marketing strategy for your business:

Audience Research (Including A Buyer Persona Exercise)

The first step in building an effective video strategy is researching your audience.

Your goal during this step is to understand your audience’s demographics, challenges, and content preferences.

This exercise will help you determine whether video content will be useful in solving your target audience’s challenges.

Determining The Themes For Video Storytelling

Once you are clear on your audience’s preferences, you can move on to identifying some key themes you can use in your content strategy.

These themes will help you decide on content types and stories you can tell using videos.

These themes can be educational, holidays, events, regular updates, and more.

Identifying The Right Tools For The Program

Once the themes are clear, you can move on to identify the right tools needed for your video marketing strategy.

These can be tools for the creation, topic research, SEO, content distribution, and performance tracking of videos.

Choosing The Right People For The Program 

The most critical element for the program’s success is the people running it.

If you are a small business owner, this could be you! Or, if you are strapped for time, you may have to hire or identify the right people for the job.

Putting The Right Measurement Mechanism In Place

The success of your video content strategy depends on how to monitor and measure the performance.

Identify the crucial metrics for your goals, and put mechanisms in place for measuring them consistently.

Improving The Video Strategy Consistently

Constant monitoring will help you determine the changes needed to boost the effectiveness of your video marketing.

Keep improving the program by incorporating timely modifications to enhance the performance of your content.

Storytelling Tips For Effective Video Marketing 

As a business owner, you might be faced with some questions, such as:

  • What stories can I tell using videos?
  • Will my stories even appeal to my audience?
  • How will I consistently tell stories using video content?
  • Can I sustain this journey of video marketing?

Let’s get real for a moment.

Video storytelling is not a simple task. It requires dedication, commitment, and relentless focus from the creator.

Here are some storytelling tips for every business owner who is building their video strategy:

  • Be authentic: Authentic stories are more likely to strike a chord with your audience – so try to keep your content original and depict a true-t0-life representation of your brand.
  • Be consistent: Video marketing, like any other marketing tactic, will demand consistency more than anything else. Be consistent with your video content and stay on course.
  • Experiment: Always be experimenting with your video content. As new formats appear regularly, you should be agile to test them and find what resonates with your target audience.
  • Be customer-centric: Customer-centricity will be a critical element for the success of your video marketing strategy. Align your content to your customer, their challenges, and how you will solve them for the best results.
  • Be thick-skinned: With highly visual content like video, you will always run into feedback and criticism. Make sure to take constructive notes on board, but also develop the resilience to ignore the rest and keep at it.

Tools To Support Your Video Marketing

Many tools are available to help you execute an effective video marketing program.

Here are some cost-effective and user-friendly options for every business owner:

  • Animoto: A video creation software that provides readymade templates to help you create various videos for social media and other marketing purposes.
  • Canva: A graphic design and video platform with the largest collection of templates to support your video marketing.
  • TubeBuddy: Your go-to tool for managing and growing your YouTube video marketing.
  • StreamYard: A tool that helps you schedule and run live streams and webinars for your business.
  • Lumen5: Enables faster video creation for business owners from blogs and written content.
  • LoomPowerful screen recording software for creating educational and promotional videos on the go.
  • InVideo: A video creation platform with handy templates to suit your video content needs.
  • YouTube: The perfect platform to upload your video content for your target audience.
  • Speechelo: An easy-to-use tool for creating professional voice-overs for your videos.
  • Vyond: A video platform for creating impactful animated and whiteboard explainer videos.

Some Content Ideas For Kickstarting Your Video Marketing 

To help you kickstart your video marketing, here are some content ideas for you to test, depending on your appetite and resources:

  • An intro video for your business: Create a video explaining your business, the unique value it provides, and who it serves.
  • An animated video for your product/service: Develop an animated video explaining your product and highlighting its top features.
  • A live streaming show with stakeholders: If you’re feeling brave, try launching a live streaming show for social media with guests like influencers and your customers.
  • Behind-the-scenes live content: Similarly, you could use tools like Instagram Stories to broadcast ad-hoc live sessions that showcase the behind-the-scenes of your business and team.
  • Demo videos for your product: Prepare screen recording videos of your product and its features for your customers.

In Conclusion

To conclude, video marketing can be a game-changer for your business in 2023.

All you need to do is understand your customers and their challenges and plan video content that focuses on the solutions to those challenges.

Dedicate time and resources to create video content per your strategy – and keep it consistent.

And as James Wedmore says,

“Stop thinking of video marketing as this separate entity that is optional for your business.

Videos are an effective form of communication that needs to be integrated into each and every aspect of your existing marketing efforts.”

Happy video marketing!

More resources: 


Featured Image: vichie81/Shutterstock

What Is Newsjacking: 5 Examples That Get It Right

It’s estimated that the average social media user spends roughly two and a half hours per day on social media.

So thanks to tactics like newsjacking, becoming top of mind for users has never been easier for brands.

In many instances, brands have used newsjacking to put themselves in the middle of the conversation and demonstrate their media prowess.

However, attaching your brand to a viral story and being tone-deaf on certain issues can land you straight in the middle of a tweetstorm of criticism.

So how should brands approach viral news stories, and is it worth it to newsjack?

Creating a successful newsjacking strategy can yield significant benefits for any brand. But it all comes down to execution.

What Is Newsjacking?

Newsjacking is a common media strategy wherein a brand markets itself using a viral news story.

For example, influencers on social media frequently use newsjacking to offer their own unique takes and build their audience.

However, this strategy is frequently adopted by major brands to help them trend and expand their brand reach. In rare cases, the brand can become the center of the news story for better or for worse.

Nevertheless, newsjacking is primarily about attaching your brand to an existing story, not making yourself the story.

The benefit of newsjacking is that it requires very little effort and just a bit of creativity to get your brand trending in no time.

There are several ways to newsjack a story using traditional marketing strategies, including:

  • Advertising.
  • Social media campaigns.
  • Writing blog articles.
  • Partnering with other brands.
  • Sponsorships.
  • Hosting events.
  • Fundraising.

Most importantly, newsjacking is a tactic available to anyone with a personal or professional brand, so anyone can try it.

While newsjacking offers great benefits with very little effort, there are pros and cons to this tactic that every brand needs to consider.

Pros And Cons Of Newsjacking

As the proverbial quote states, “All publicity is good publicity.”

This is largely true in the social media age, although brands walk a tighter rope than political pundits and your average Twitter user when it comes to being edgy or relevant.

For this reason, there are many advantages and disadvantages to newsjacking.

Pros

  • Capitalize on a news story with little effort.
  • Massively expand your brand reach and take it to the mainstream.
  • Cultivate massive social media engagement.
  • Boost brand loyalty (if done properly).
  • Illustrate your brand’s values in real time.

Cons

  • Potentially harm your brand’s reputation.
  • Mistime a story and fail to leverage its benefits.
  • Appeal to the wrong audience.

So, to reap the full benefits of newsjacking, you need to know how to approach a story and what story to choose.

How To Leverage Breaking News

Find Trending Stories Relevant To You

First and foremost, you need to find the right breaking news story to news jack.

Smaller brands can benefit from researching trending topics in their niche using tools like Google Trends to find relevant trending topics.

find the right breaking news storyScreenshot from Google Trends, January 2023

As you can see, interest in crypto, in general, is dropping, but there are plenty of subtopics that are trending, which any brand can capitalize on.

SE ranking provides a mind mapScreenshot from Google Trends, January 2023

Platforms like Semrush and SE Ranking also provide tools that allow us to explore trending subtopics in any given niche. For example, SE ranking provides a mind map and clusters for each trending topic.

find trending topics by searching for trending hashtags Screenshot from Semrush, January 2023

For smaller industries, I recommend even writing about stories that will trend in the future that you can get ahead of.

For example, new technologies, such as ChatGPT and AI, offer opportunities for SEO brands to rank highly for those keyword searches as they eventually rise over time.

Additionally, you can find trending topics by searching for trending hashtags on Twitter, Hot Posts in Reddit communities, and by monitoring what people post on Facebook and Instagram.

Provide A Unique Brand Spin

Next, you need to offer a unique perspective that helps separate your brand from the competition.

For example, many brands during the pandemic, such as Uber and Busch, successfully created branded ad campaigns that were unique and tasteful, and consolidated greater loyalty with their customers.

Make your campaigns relevant to your brand and its customers.

For example, if you’re a car company, creating ad campaigns around the need for more electric cars or even poking fun at Elon Musk may be relevant.

However, commenting on other news stories that don’t relate to cars or transportation will appear inauthentic.

Appeal To Your Audience

We also need to consider what type of audience we want our brand to market to. Leveraging trending keywords can help you craft ad creative that speaks to your audience’s needs.

Additionally, cultivating your message for your audience makes you appear more authentic.

Finally, marketing to your audience will help your campaign over the right channels.

For example, professional brands in the academic space will benefit from writing about trending stories on platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter, as opposed to Facebook or Instagram.

Master Timing

Another key consideration of newsjacking is timing. If your brand is not capable of creating something quick, you could become irrelevant.

Of course, I recommend properly researching a news story before trying to make a marketing campaign out of it to be safe.

In many cases, it will require a lot of resources to act on a news story quickly and effectively, which may not be realistic for many brands.

Build Traction With Promotion

Once you model your ad campaign, you must promote your brand to reach as many eyeballs as possible.

Adding hashtags to viral stories will help your brand reach a wider audience.

Additionally, sharing ad creatives across all social media platforms and via email to newsletter lists will help you reach more customers.

Again, the key is to be quick, especially if you want to promote advertisements over standard or digital channels.

Use it Sparingly

Finally, I think it’s important to remember that newsjacking is not an everyday strategy, nor should it be used more than a few times a year.

Brands can take on a serious risk by engaging in newsjacking, and they could betray any authenticity they are trying to manufacture by engaging in this tactic too much.

For this reason, I recommend keeping a close eye on your industry for any trending stories and selecting only one that feels right for your brand.

Going out and seeking stories may be more costly in the long run and provide very little benefit.

5 Examples Of Successful Newsjacking

To help you strategize better, let’s examine some examples of successful and unsuccessful newsjacking.

1. Busch Beer Sponsors Dog Adoptions

One of the more heartwarming stories of the early pandemic was an effort by Anheuser-Busch to encourage more people to adopt dogs.

The company offered a free three-month supply of beer for anyone who adopted a dog from a shelter sponsored by the Midwest Animal Rescue & Services (MARS).

The story helped shine a light on an underreported phenomenon and helped the company gain wide acclaim across social media and its customer base.

2. Uber’s Ad Campaign: “Thank You For Not Riding”

Of all of the industries hit hardest by the pandemic, ride-sharing had to be one of the hardest.

However, Uber was not only able to salvage its brand but also capitalize on the pandemic with its “Thank You For Not Riding” campaign, where it encouraged drivers to stay home.

While the company certainly lost a lot of money because of the global event, this ad campaign helped forge greater trust and loyalty with its customers, which has been rewarded even more greatly in the long run.

3. Oreo’s Famous “Blackout Ad”

Perhaps the most infamous example of newsjacking occurred almost a decade ago at Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans. After a faulty relay caused a power outage for a few minutes, Oreo responded with a real-time Twitter post that lit the internet on fire.

very simple but expertly timed tweet Screenshot from Twitter, January 2023

This very simple but expertly timed tweet remains one of the best examples of newsjacking done properly in the split second of a moment.

4. Budweiser Saves Its World Cup

During the 2022 World Cup, Budweiser – one of the world cup’s main sponsors for over three decades – received a rude awakening when it discovered that Doha had banned all alcohol from its sporting events.

While the company deleted a tweet, stating, “Well, this is awkward,” it responded brilliantly by awarding the beer it had promised for the cup to the winning country.

brands can pivot and manipulate a breaking news Screenshot from Twitter, January 2023

This story is a great example of how brands can pivot and manipulate a breaking news story for their own advantage.

In the same way that Oreo manipulated the Super Bowl blackout to its advantage, so too did Budweiser to newsjack the story and capitalize on it long-term, even if it lost out on tens of thousands of dollars in sales.

5. Google’s Year In Search

Finally, Google’s Year in Search is another creative example of a brand that is capable of capitalizing on trending news stories to tell its own unique brand story.

By putting its brand at the center of these news stories, Google helps form a stronger connection with its customers and reinforce its brand’s pre-eminence in the tech space.

Newsjacking Done Wrong

Of course, for every success story of newsjacking, there is one equally as dissatisfying.

Perhaps the most infamous failure at newsjacking came from Pepsi with its infamous Kendall Jenner ad.

While growing political unrest and hot-button social issues, Pepsi’s ad completely missed the point and embarrassed its reputation.

Let this be a lesson that political messages can serve as powerful themes, but they must be handled with grace and geared specifically for your audience.

Overall, newsjacking is a very effective strategy for increasing your brand’s reach and acquiring publicity.

However, newsjacking requires tact and focus for proper execution, as well as good timing.

Follow these examples above to successfully newsjack a story and help your brand reach new eyeballs.

More resources: 


Featured Image: Yurii_Yarema/Shutterstock

Downloadable Content Strategy Template And How To Use It via @sejournal, @BrianFr07823616

Content is the backbone of marketing.

Whether it’s a blog post filled with keywords designed to help you climb search engine rankings, or a radio commercial intended to attract new leads, content is the touchpoint between your audience and your business.

To build your brand, establish trust, and ultimately generate conversions, you need high-quality collateral that accomplishes a specific goal.

But this is easier said than done, especially when you consider your overall branding and the need to keep consistency throughout all your marketing materials.

Maximizing your impact calls for a detailed blueprint of content that works toward achieving your short- and long-term goals.

In other words, you need a content strategy.

What Is A Content Strategy?

A content strategy is a tangible plan outlining how you will use content to achieve your business goals. It should include tactics to target your audience at every stage of the marketing funnel, from awareness to loyalty.

By ensuring you’re not just aimlessly creating content for its own sake, it lets you create more effective work that drives action.

For more information on how to analyze your existing content and build a strong content strategy, be sure to check out this content strategy webinar from Copypress.

After you’ve familiarized yourself with the elements of a successful content strategy, it’s time to get to work creating your own.

You could create one from scratch, but there’s no need to.

To save you time, we’ve created a downloadable template you can use. Available as both a spreadsheet and Word doc, it has everything you need to make your own unique content plan.

Download it now in your choice of format and let’s get to work filling it out.

How To Customize This Content Strategy

1. Define Your Core Strategy

Your marketing should tell a story about your brand.

Your content strategy is a roadmap of the plot. Before you dive into creating new marketing pieces, it’s important to define a few key features to ensure everyone, both internally and externally, has the same understanding of your brand.

Begin by listing your brand’s reputation and unique value propositions.

You should also research your competition and examine the type of content they’re using. If they’re having success with whitepapers, there’s a good chance that should be part of your strategy, too.

Once you have done all of this, you should describe the central themes your content will address. These could include:

  • Inspiration.
  • Tips, tricks, and how-tos.
  • Thought leadership.
  • Technology.

You’ll use this information to build the skeleton around which your strategy will take shape.

2. Identify Your Target Audience

Your content shouldn’t just promote your products and services – it should address a need in your audience. It should take their problems into account and explain why you offer the right solution.

But before you can do that, you need to know who you’re targeting. Customize your content strategy by adding information about your primary and secondary audiences.

You should include:

  • Demographics – Age range, job title, preferred platforms, etc.
  • Psychographics – Interests, hobbies, values, etc.
  • Challenges – Pain points, fears, and anything else you can help them with.

You may find it helpful to develop customer personas that describe archetypes for various segments of your target audience.

3. Outline Specific Objectives

The next step in customizing this content strategy template is defining explicit goals and how your content will help you realize them.

These can include both SMART goals and stretch goals – both of which should be as detailed as possible.

SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.

These could include getting specific content featured in other publications, generating a certain number of leads within a set time, or producing a set number of new pieces of flagship content.

Stretch goals, on the other hand, are more ambitious. They are often quarterly or annual targets intended to push your team to achieve loftier goals.

In general, your SMART goals will contribute to your stretch goals.

For example, if your stretch goal is to increase web visitors by 150% in the next year, you would want to create a series of SMART goals to break it up into manageable tasks. You might create specific goals for identifying new keyword opportunities, updating existing pages, creating a certain amount of new content, and A/B testing social and ad copy, all using the SMART format.

Make sure to keep your marketing funnel in mind and set goals for each stage.

4. Identify Topics To Cover

Every piece of content you create and share should have value for your target audience. In this step, you should list everything you intend to cover.

Each piece should align with one of the themes you identified in step one.

This list of topics can be as high-level or as detailed as you like, just be aware that doing the work upfront can often save you on the back end.

5. Outline Your Content Mix

And just like no two businesses are alike, no two organizations will use the same content mix. Depending on your unique needs, you may employ formats like:

  • Blog posts.
  • Case studies.
  • Videos.
  • Podcasts.
  • Infographics.
  • Social media.
  • User-generated content (UGC).
  • Traditional media.
  • Direct mailers.

This is far from an exhaustive list of various types of content you can use to help you reach your marketing goals.

You may choose to use many different formats, or just a few. It’s up to you to determine what will work best for you and your needs.

6. Identify Distribution Channels

After you have decided which types of content you’ll be employing, it’s time to figure out where it will go.

Because the best content in the world won’t do you a bit of good if no one sees it, your content strategy will help you avoid this problem by defining which marketing channels you’ll be using – and which type of content goes where.

This helps target the right audience, and by finding the most important places in which your audience engages with your brand, you’ll be able to find new opportunities.

The content you release on each channel should align with one of the goals you listed in the previous section.

7. Determine Posting Cadence

To keep your brand top of mind and maximize your position in search engine results, you’ll want to regularly release new content.

Again, there’s no right answer to this.

Depending on your industry and the competition therein, you may find publishing one blog post per week is enough. On the other hand, you may find you get the best results by posting to social media three times per day.

Depending on your audience’s needs and desires, you may have one channel on which you post regularly, with another that is less frequent.

It’s important to walk the line between reminding customers you exist and annoying them by over-posting.

If you post too little your audience will forget about you. If you release content too frequently, you risk becoming an irritant, which will lead to unfollows on social media and unsubscribes on email lists.

8. Gather Feedback And Adjust As Needed

Everyone has blind spots and biases, which makes it incredibly important to get the opinions of others on your strategy.

Once you have completed filling out this template, send it to key stakeholders for feedback. If you work with a sales team, be sure to get their input.

Ask them if there are any key areas you missed or initiatives from other departments you can latch on to.

Even if you’re a one-person business, your content doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Ask the opinion of a trusted friend who knows your industry.

Obviously, you don’t want to share this too widely – this would allow your competition to undercut you – but it never hurts to have a second opinion.

9. Distribute And Measure Your Content

Okay, this step isn’t actually part of customizing your content strategy, but it’s the most important part of content marketing.

Once you have released your content across various channels, you can start looking into key performance indicators (KPIs) and different metrics to see how it’s performing.

There are four main types of content marketing metrics: consumption, sharing, leads, and sales.

Which metrics you use will depend on which channel a specific piece of content uses and what the call to action (CTA) was.

For example, the success of an outdoor display with a prominent phone number can be tracked using call tracking, whereas a display ad can be analyzed with clickthroughs.

Some of the most common KPIs used in content marketing include:

  • Organic traffic.
  • Return on ad spend (ROAS).
  • Qualified leads (QLs).
  • Cost per lead (CPL).
  • Cost per acquisition (CPA).
  • Social media return on investment (ROI).

Use the information you gather from these metrics to help you determine where your content strategy has been successful and where it has fallen short.

Wrapping Up

By now, you should have a good and coherent content strategy developed.

But there are a few more things to remember before you go on your way, namely:

Don’t Forget About Search Engine Optimization

Digital will most likely be a key part of most of your marketing initiatives, which means it’s important to keep SEO at the heart of your content plan.

Obviously, this will not apply to strictly offline content, but if any piece of content is going to appear on the internet, it should work with your SEO strategy.

Find content and keyword gaps and plan content based on them. Follow best practices in regard to linking, tags, and site structure.

Reuse Your Winners

If you have a piece of content that performed particularly well, you should get as much mileage out of it as possible.

Look for opportunities to change the format of a piece and republish it on another channel.

For example, you could add some graphics and release your most popular podcast on YouTube, or share your most-viewed blog post across your social platforms. This will help you amplify its reach.

Remember Your Content Strategy Is A Work In Progress

A content marketer’s work is never done, but that’s okay.

What you learn today will benefit you tomorrow.

Don’t be afraid to go off-script if the situation demands it.

With that said, you should stick to your content strategy as much as possible.

Using what you’ve created here will benefit you in the long run.

More resources:


Featured Image: olesia_g/Shutterstock

Free Content Plan Template To Adapt To Your Needs via @sejournal, @BrianFr07823616

Keeping your business top of mind for your targets calls for you to post content regularly. You must post the right things at the right time to make the biggest impact.

Your posting schedule must be consistent with your marketing efforts, with a focus on your strategic needs and projected outcomes.

In other words, you need a content plan.

But what is that? Is it the same thing as a content strategy? What type of information needs to be included? And what separates a good content plan from a bad one?

For the answers to all these questions and more – plus a free template you can download and customize to your own needs, read on.

What Is A Content Plan?

A content plan is a document that defines all the marketing content and assets you need to implement your content marketing strategy.

This includes everything from blogs and social media posts to search engine optimization research and white papers.

It will directly align with your marketing funnel, with each included asset corresponding with one of its stages: awareness, consideration, conversion, and loyalty.

Why Do You Need A Content Plan?

Content is an essential part of marketing.

By creating a content plan, you make it easier for your team to create, collaborate and implement this content.

A good plan will help you project future resource allocation, avoiding unnecessary delays and expenses.

Content Strategy Vs. Content Plan: What’s The Difference?

Though they have similar names, are often mistaken for one another, and are sometimes incorrectly used as interchangeable terms, a content plan is not the same as a content strategy.

And yes, you need both.

So, what’s the difference?

The main thing you need to know is this: your content strategy defines how and why content will be used in your marketing strategy.

Your content plan determines what, when, and where you’ll use various assets as part of this strategy in order to reach your goals.

Essentially, your content plan is the building blocks (blogs, outreach, reports, etc.) you use to reach the goals you outlined in your content strategy (more leads, increased sales, etc.)

You should lay out your content strategy before starting on your content plan, as your content plan will define how you achieve the strategy’s goals.

What Information Is Included In A Content Plan?

An effective content plan should provide your content creators with useful information they can use when developing assets. Namely, it should tell them:

  • Who the content is for – Your content needs to have an audience; that’s rudimentary marketing. Your content plan should clearly define who your assets are intended for and be constructed in a way to appeal to these targets.
  • How it will be delivered – Is this a blog post or an advertorial? A podcast or paid ad? Depending on the delivery vehicle, your content will take on different forms.
  • What problem it will solve – Your target audience has a need. Your content plan should present a solution to this need, as well as inspire the targets to take action.
  • How it will be created – Do you have an on-staff content writer who will create this piece, or will you outsource it to a freelancer? Who is responsible for publishing it? Answering these questions will make it easier to manage budgets and workflows.
  • Any associated costs – Whether it’s a payment to a web developer, a placement fee, or a subscription required for research, your content plan should ballpark any expected fees or payments necessary to create each item.

Depending on your needs, you may also want to include information about tone, notes about structure and layout, word counts, categories, and URLs.

Different Types Of Content To Include

It has already been mentioned how every piece of content should align with a specific stage of your marketing funnel.

Now, let’s look at each stage and discuss the types of content that work best for each.

Awareness

This type of content is going after the top of the marketing funnel.

It’s about showing potential customers that you exist and informing them about the qualities that differentiate you. Content should be easily consumable and easy to share.

Common types of awareness content are:

  • Social media posts.
  • Keyword-rich content for SEO.
  • Paid search ads.
  • Blog posts that are not sales-heavy.

Consideration

At the second stage of the funnel, you’re nurturing leads, building a relationship, and establishing trust. At this point, your content should be more in-depth and provide evidence of solutions.

Content that works well for the consideration stage includes:

  • Blogs establishing your authority.
  • Comparison content.
  • Webinars.

Conversion

The lead is on the hook, now it’s time to reel them in and complete the sale. Content in this stage should provide information on why customers should choose your brand.

Types that can help in this stage include:

  • Sales, promos, and coupons.
  • Consultation offers.
  • Case studies, articles, and whitepapers.

Creating Your Own Content Plan

As promised, here is a template of a content plan you can download and put to work for your business.

But here’s the thing – your company’s needs are unique. Just downloading this plan isn’t going to be effective.

You need to adapt it to your specific situation.

Not sure how to do that?

You’re in luck. We’ve also provided a handy step-by-step guide.

Customizing Your Content Plan

1. Determine Which Goal Each Piece Is Trying To Achieve

Trying to be everything to everyone is a terrible strategy. Remember the old adage, “a jack of all trades is a master of none.”

This is especially true for marketing content.

Every piece of content you plan, and eventually create, should have a specific purpose.

As you’re filling out your own content plan, keep in mind what you’re trying to accomplish with that piece. Make sure each piece of content clearly aligns with a specific stage of your marketing funnel.

2. Identify Where The Target Audience Is

Decide who you’re targeting and then figure out the best way to reach them. Then, determine where each piece of content can be placed for maximum impact.

Bear in mind that certain types of content will perform better on specific platforms.

For example, that professional eBook you’re planning to create is more likely to receive more attention and interaction on LinkedIn than it is on Facebook.

3. Take Your Budget Into Account

When determining when to create and release certain pieces of content, be mindful of your budget.

For example, if you have a tradeshow in August that will require a lot of investment, in both time and money, then June and July may not be the best times to undertake resource-intensive content projects.

One of the benefits of a content plan is that it gives you information about ongoing and upcoming projects at a glance.

Use this to your advantage.

4. Determine A Cadence

Gaining credibility and growing your audience requires the regular release of fresh content.

Unfortunately, there’s no magic number for what that is. Only you can determine what works best for you and your audience’s desires.

You should look at your schedule to determine how much time it allows you to dedicate to content creation and curation.

Then, put yourself in your targets’ shoes and decide how frequently they would like content from you.

Finally, consider how your release frequency will help you achieve your goals.

For example, if you’re trying to grow your audience, you should probably post more frequently than if you’re seeking to maintain customer loyalty.

5. Create A Flow

You need a clearly defined content creation process.

It should outline what each person is responsible for, who is involved in each step, and establish a process for passing things off from one person or department to the next.

Many organizations find using a color-coded system most effective for this stage.

Some Other Content Planning Tips

Now that you have your content plan template downloaded and you’ve customized it to your unique situation, it’s time to get started planning and creating that content – well, almost.

Before you take the leap and start outlining every asset and piece of collateral you’ll use in the coming year, here as some final things to bear in mind:

Color Code

Use the color fill functionality spreadsheets offer to give you at-a-glance information about each piece of content.

You should be easily able to identify where a piece is in the creation process, which platform(s) it will be used on, and how it fits into your overall marketing strategy.

Don’t Forget About SEO

A lot of your leads are going to come to you via the internet, which means it’s of utmost importance that you help them find you. Any digital content you create should always keep search engine optimization in mind.

Make sure you’ve researched your keywords and are including them whenever possible. Strive to make content that matches search intent and make sure that everything is providing value.

Don’t be afraid to draw inspiration from pages that are currently ranking highly for your desired keywords.

(Note the word “inspiration.” This does not mean stealing. All your content should be original.)

Consider Each Channel Separately

Each content marketing channel has its own objectives. You should always keep these in mind when determining what will go where.

That said, keep an eye out for opportunities to repurpose things. If you can generate engagement by posting links to the same blog post on four different social media channels, then you absolutely should.

Keep An Idea File

Great content ideas can come to you anywhere, often when they’re least expected. Consider adding another tab to your content plan spreadsheet in which you can list ideas for future content.

Keywords are a great jumping-off point for generating ideas. Look around at what other brands are doing. Can you take a similar approach?

Maybe you have a silly idea that you’re not serious about, but which could inspire someone else.

Your goal with your idea file is to brainstorm as many ideas as possible, which means none are wrong.

Final Thoughts

Creating a successful content plan isn’t difficult, but it does take a bit of work. However, if you’re serious about achieving your marketing goals, it’s something you need to do.

And be aware: Your positions, goals, and criteria will evolve over time, and your content should evolve alongside it.

Now get out there and make something great.

More resources:


Featured Image: maybealice/Shutterstock

What Is The Content Marketing Funnel? via @sejournal, @rio_seo

You’ve identified your target prospective customers, are consistent with your content creation, and leverage different content types to promote your product or service. Your content strategy seems solid enough then, right?

The truth is, your content marketing efforts can, and should, always be evolving.

Just as marketing strategy best practices shift and adapt to current consumer behavior trends, so too should content marketing.

Your sales team has likely already mapped out a sales funnel to better understand what your target audience is thinking and doing at each stage of the purchasing journey.

You, too, can create a content marketing funnel to guide your ideal customers from the awareness stage to the conversion stage where they become actual customers.

In this post, we’ll explore what exactly a content marketing funnel is, how to create a successful content marketing funnel that converts, and the types of content pieces to include in each stage of the funnel.

What Is A Content Marketing Funnel?

A content marketing funnel enables content marketers to visualize how to leverage existing content to attract potential customers and guide them through their journey until they reach the end goal.

This end goal may include a sale, a demo, a download, or another type of conversion.

Each stage of the funnel provides a purpose, such as attracting attention, generating high-quality leads, and closing conversions.

A marketing funnel can provide brands with greater visibility into where they may have content gaps along the customer journey.

For example, if a brand has a considerable amount of content aimed at buyers in the awareness stage but not enough content in the decision stage, they may want to shift their efforts to creating more bottom-funnel content.

How To Start Mapping Your Content Funnel

You’ll first want to assess your current content inventory, including every type of content you produce, whether that be blog content, long-form content (such as ebooks or white papers), and more.

When reviewing each piece of content, you’ll then want to assign what stage of the buyer journey the content aligns with. These stages will include:

  • Top of the funnel (TOFU): Awareness stage. In this stage, potential customers are searching for information.
  • Middle of the funnel (MOFU): Interest and consideration stage. In these stages, potential customers are looking at your products or services and reading customer reviews. They may also present this information to key stakeholders.
  • Bottom of the funnel (BOFU): Intent, evaluation, and conversion stage. Buyers are ready to move forward with their purchasing decision.

As you can see by examining each stage individually, your target audience needs diverse pieces of content depending on where they are at.

Your funnel content can’t adopt a one-size-fits-all approach, or you won’t effectively reach potential buyers. Relevant content must be presented at each funnel stage.

Let’s explore the most effective types of content for each funnel stage.

Content Marketing Funnel IllustrationImage created by author, January 2023

Top Funnel Content

The top of the funnel is where customers are gathering information to help guide them through the buyer journey.

At this stage, a customer is likely just getting familiar with your business and what you have to offer.

Here, you want to build a positive customer experience to show the buyer you’re worth engaging with further.

You’ll want to answer their questions, educate them on their queries, and turn these potential customers into warm leads.

A study conducted by Semrush found the following types of TOFU content work best when attracting traffic.

  • “How-to” guide (72%).
  • Landing page (35%).
  • Infographic (28%).
  • Checklist (27%).
  • Ebook/white paper (26%).
  • Video tutorial (23%).

As you can see, most of these types of content are educational materials designed to provide more information in the awareness phase.

The primary goal of your content in this stage is to offer help, and it shouldn’t be too sales-oriented.

Middle Funnel Content

Once your ideal customers reach the middle of the funnel, they’re no longer looking for surface-level, introductory content.

You’ll instead want to look towards creating content that nurtures prospective customers further down the funnel. They might be looking for customer stories, product reviews, or a how-to video.

Looking at the results from the same Semrush study, the following types of MOFU content work best when attracting traffic.

  • “How-to” guide (44%).
  • Product overview (40%).
  • Case study (34%).
  • Landing page (31%).
  • Webinar (31%).
  • Success story (30%)

Consider these potential customers were likely already introduced to your brand during the discovery stage, and therefore should not be presented with discovery stage content. An effective content strategy entails personalizing content for your audience.

In fact, research shows 71% of consumers expect companies to deliver personalized interactions – and 76% get frustrated when this doesn’t happen.

If you’re not tailoring your content plan and content marketing formats to customers at every stage, you risk creating a poor customer experience with your business.

Bottom Funnel Content

Once a potential customer has reached the bottom of the funnel, they’re seeking content that helps them finalize their purchase decision.

They’re looking to learn how your product or service will make their return on investment worthwhile and why you’re the better option than your competitor.

Because these customers are well beyond the awareness stage and looking to potentially convert, the type of content you present to them is crucial to building trust and, ultimately, completing the purchase.

The content you present during the consideration phase can make the difference between a conversion and a lost sale. The top-performing content types in the BOFU stage include:

  • Product overview.
  • Customer review.
  • Success story.

Consider sharing success stories of current customers that are similar to your prospect at this stage of the funnel.

Other examples of content to include at this stage are email campaigns featuring positive customer testimonials and product collateral. Include special offers, free trials, or live demos, too.

What To Do Once You’ve Assessed Your Content

Once you have a comprehensive view of the content that already exists for every stage of the journey, it’s time to identify where you have gaps.

You’ll also want to determine the types of content assets you need to create. For example, maybe you’ve identified you don’t have any how-to content for buyers in the awareness phase. Or, perhaps, you don’t have enough customer success stories.

After you’ve identified content gaps, it’s time to put together an editorial calendar to prioritize what you need to tackle first and when.

Your editorial calendar should be monitored daily to keep track of what you have in the queue, what’s coming up, the intended content audience for the piece, and where the piece falls in the content marketing funnel.

It may also be worthwhile to conduct a competitive analysis of your competitor’s content marketing strategy to identify opportunities for new additional content pieces and how you can make your content better.

You want both relevant and helpful content to meet Google’s Helpful Content System’s standards and create an optimal user experience.

Conclusion

Having a comprehensive and cohesive content strategy is critical for creating a rewarding buying experience. Keep your audience in mind with each piece of content you create.

You’ll also want to have a thorough understanding of your target customer, how they think, what they are looking for, and how you can solve their problem.

An effective content marketing funnel takes time, testing, and patience to perfect, but it’s absolutely necessary to outshine your competitors and come out on top.

More resources: 


Featured Image: Vitalii Vodolazskyi/Shutterstock

Finance Marketing: How To Form A Successful Content Strategy via @sejournal, @sejournal

As a financial service business, you’re facing a unique set of challenges when it comes to creating content.

  1. Finance isn’t a particularly glamorous or entertaining subject to write about, which can make it tough to engage your readers.
  2. There are heavy regulations and strict guidelines in Google results that limit what you can say, as well as how you can say it.

So, how can you overcome these challenges to form an effective content strategy?

How do you create finance content that’s responsible and accurate yet still compelling and convincing?

Our new ebook, Content Marketing For Finance, walks you through how you can develop a content strategy that respects the rigorous demands of the financial space while truly connecting with your target audience.

“Audience is at the heart of every content marketing strategy and should always be kept top of mind,” writes author Chandal Nolasco da Silva.

Download your copy and learn how to meet your customers at each stage of their journey and create the kind of content that consistently converts.

What’s Inside This Finance Content Marketing Ebook?

This pocket guide has all the insights you need to navigate the ins and outs of content marketing within the finance industry.

Topics covered include:

  • Content marketing principles, best practices, and how to apply them specifically to finance.
  • Solutions to the unique challenges of finance marketing: slow adaptation to change, difficulty getting buy-in for digital efforts, and managing complex content and content marketing in an industry with high scrutiny on advertising.
  • Key marketing channels for finance and how to use them effectively.

Key Takeaways:

The contents of this marketing ebook can help you navigate complex issues, such as the:

  • Very long sales cycles in the B2B space, as well as the long delays at the bottom of the funnel. The finance industry has been notoriously slow to digitize, so new products and services are dealing with slow movers that are resistant to change.
  • Stark reality of required due diligence processes with lots of different stakeholders involved. There can be complications with regulators, operational delays, reference checks, or other risk-reduction processes involved. These are increasingly important and lengthy, depending on the institution or firm size involved.
  • Fact that sometimes traditional channels don’t perform as well as they do in other industries; instead, more traditional ways of doing business, like in-person meetings, are sometimes better. Money is involved, after all.

If you’re a financial service professional looking to step up your content strategy for 2023, download the ebook now!

Finance Marketing: How To Form A Successful Content Strategy

Inspiring Content Personalization Examples For B2B

Today’s consumers don’t just enjoy content personalization – they expect it.

Yet, far too often, we think adding to our email headlines is all it takes to personalize well.

In this article, we’ll look at why personalization matters, and how to get started implementing personalization across your customer journey.

Why Personalize?

Personalization is all about cutting down the noise and delivering exactly what your customer or client needs to hear.

It’s a way to make a deeper and more meaningful connection with the people you’re trying to reach.

From a business perspective, personalization has a huge return on investment (ROI).

Epsilon research found that when companies use personalization in their content, 80% of customers are more likely to make a purchase.

And according to Google research, a highly personalized shopping experience makes customers 40% more likely to spend more than they had originally planned.

If you want to create high-performing content that delights and engages your customers, personalization is key.

Metadata Is The Key To Personalization

The backbone of any personalization strategy is data.

Metadata is simply information about your data. Why is this important?

Well, to personalize content, you need to connect your customers to the correct content, which means you need data about both customers and content.

Once you collect customer data, you can use this information to create custom content.

Tagging Content

The more information you have about our content, the easier it will be to direct it to the right audience.

One way to do this is by tagging your content with information like audience, persona, funnel stage, and campaign.

You can tag content in many CMS (content management systems) like HubSpot.

Email Personalization

Email is a terrific area to begin incorporating some content personalization.

Adding first names to email subjects is a common place to start, but there’s so much more you can do.

Let’s look at some examples.

If a tech company sends out a marketing email to its entire email list promoting a sale, that’s pretty good.

But what would be better is sending out a promotional email to different groups based on their persona. This way you can personalize the content based on interest.

Instead of sending a generic “thank you” email after someone downloads a resource, send them an email suggesting more content related to what they downloaded.

We sent this email to prospective customers who may be interested in this white paper based on their persona.

personalization exampleScreenshot from author, November 2022

Website History

With some basic analytics, you can discover which website pages your potential clients are spending the most time on.

And if they submit an email address for a newsletter or download, you can follow along their exact journey on your website.

Using this data you can create personalized emails that specifically target the information they’re interacting with.

Now, this strategy isn’t scalable, and it would take way too much time to track every single prospect.

But for B2B businesses, it’s worth it to analyze your prospect journeys and make note of any potentially large and in-target customers.

A few well-placed emails to an already interested prospect can make a world of difference.

Location

If your business is international, you can create marketing emails that reflect the local seasons and holidays of your customers.

More important than trying to recognize each holiday on the planet is simply to recognize that your customers don’t all live in the same area.

I would suggest that not sending a “Welcome Summer” email to your Australian customers at the beginning of June is actually a form of personalization.

Instead, make sure any references to holidays, sports, and weather are relevant to the location where you’re sending the email.

This is a great way to show that you understand the global nature of your business.

Interest

Instead of offering all of your products or services to customers, help them discover content focused on what they’re already interested in.

This could be as simple as asking which topics they’d like to learn more about on an email sign-up form.

You can also use data about what your customers have already purchased, pages they’ve viewed, and videos they’ve watched to set up an interest-based workflow.

Here’s an example of a marketing email we sent out after a conference. Based on which link the recipient clicked, they were put into a workflow customized to their interests.

email personalization exampleScreenshot from author, November 2022

Persona

Personalizing content based on persona is especially important for B2B organizations.

The messaging we use to communicate with C-suite professionals is different than how we present our message to technical writers.

Your different target audiences will have different challenges and pain points.

Hopefully, you’re already keeping this in mind when creating your content and tagging it accordingly.

Once you do this, you can easily pull together content for each persona and create an email sequence that speaks directly to them.

Website Content Personalization

Buyers Journey

Do you know where your potential customers are on the buyer’s journey?

Someone who’s just hearing about your product for the first time is going to want different information than someone who’s deep in the middle of researching potential options.

You need to make sure that you’re creating a variety of content that reaches the top of the funnel prospects all the way to the bottom of the funnel.

Once you have this content created, you can share it with the appropriate audience. One way to do this is by suggesting more articles to read that are for a similar place in the funnel.

CTA Customization

Calls to action (CTAs) offer your potential customers a clear way to respond to your content and help move them down the funnel.

You should be testing out different CTAs and noting which ones work best.

You can use customized CTAs to deliver a highly-personalized action step.

This first example is a basic CTA. It’s good, but it’s very general.

ad personalization exampleImage created by author via Canva, November 2022

This CTA is personalized. We know that Jim is interested specifically in laptops, so we personalize the message for him.

Alternate ad personalization exampleImage created by author via Canva, November 2022

Personalization Tools

Creating customized content can seem overwhelming at first, so it’s best to pick one area and test it until you learn what works well for your organization.

And there are plenty of tools out there to help you enable personalization in your content, such as Keystone, Recombee, and Algolia.

The editorial staff also recommends Piano Analytics + Activation.

Conclusion

Begin by solidifying buyer personas and creating contact lists based on them. From there, you could easily create a segmented email campaign.

Soon you’ll be on your way to cultivating better customer experiences.

And once you begin to see the power of personalization in your content, you’ll never go back.

More resources: 


Featured Image: Mix and Match Studio/Shutterstock