Ashley Zeckman

The Mortified Marketer: 8 Lessons To Help Evolve Your Content Marketing Strategy

The Mortified Content Marketer

Blogging, Day 1
Dear Diary,
Today I wrote my first blog post. Everyone is going to love it! I am going to blog every day.

Blogging, Day 10
Dear Diary,
I can’t think of anything to write. I’ve published one post, and the only person that read it was my mom.

The format above may sound familiar if you’ve ever heard the Mortified podcast (if you haven’t tuned in, you’re really missing out). In this podcast, adults get on stage and read passages from their journals, plays or fan fiction, all penned when they were children or teenagers.

Their understanding of how the world works (and their place in it) has vastly evolved from the time they wrote these entries, to the time they read them on stage.

As content marketers, we’ve all likely gone through our own evolution. What we thought was a thought-provoking, awe inspiring blog post 10 years ago, looks much different now to our well-trained eye.

Unfortunately, we are all sometimes guilty of falling back into our old ways. But not to worry, here are 8 content marketing lessons to remember in order to keep yourself from being mortified.

#1 – Create Content That Resonates & Inspires Action

Take a moment to think about what drives your current content marketing strategy…

Is it brand message, new products and services or maybe your keyword strategy? It can be easy to fall into the trap of using content to push a business agenda or share information about new offerings. Don’t be ashamed, we’ve all done it.

A past report from MarketingProfs and Content Marketing Institute found that 70% of B2B content created is never used. And the most cited reason why B2B content goes unused is that the topic was irrelevant to the buyer audience.

What a content strategy SHOULD be focused on is the needs of customers. Instead of focusing on the benefits and features of your products, focus instead on customer needs and issues.

Believe it or not, sometimes the content you produce will not be directly related to your services, but focused entirely on helping potential and current customers solve a business problem.

Each piece of content should inspire some sort of action from the reader. This could be commenting on a blog post, downloading a white paper or eBook and maybe even reaching out to contact your company.

#2 – Simplify Your Approach

Complexity doesn’t always improve the quality of a content marketing object. It’s very easy to get swept up in creating complex marketing programs with too many variables. Especially if you’re like many marketers and working with a small team, and a tight budget. Personally I’ve found myself becoming overzealous in trying to create as many things as possible to satisfy clients (internal and external) then realized that it was impossible to do any of them well, because it was just too much.

Make things easier on yourself and better for your customers by focusing on creating content that is impactful and inspires action.

A great way to scale the value that your content provides is to repurpose content that has performed well. This will help you get additional value, over content that has already been created, but has been repurposed intelligently.

#3 – Choose Automation Over Manual Process

It can be a struggle to adopt an automated solution after spending years building a manual process. You may have spent months or even years finding a way to make a process hum (even if it does take 10 hours to execute).

Part of simplifying your process is understanding when to bring in tools to create efficiency. True, tools won’t always replicate or replace some elements of your manual process, but they will speed up delivery and free up your time to focus on more impactful content marketing efforts.

#4 – Don’t Forget to Amplify Your Content

Promotion of great content marketing can often be an afterthought. You’ve spent so much effort putting together your content masterpiece that by the time it’s done, you’re ready to move on to the next opportunity.

It doesn’t matter if you’re creating a blog post or an eBook, you need to have a plan for promoting the content asset. For each piece of content, always consider the following:

  • What websites/platforms will be used for promotion?
  • What message will resonate best with the audience on each website/platform?
  • Is there budget available to incorporate paid search and social advertising?

#5 – Spend Time Building Relationships

Everyone is busy, and taking the time to build relationships (both online and offline) can seem like a daunting task. At some point or another it’s likely that the majority of us have reached out to someone because we thought they could help promote our cause. And they didn’t respond. Why?

Each relationship takes time  and must be mutually beneficial. If you’re trying to connect with influencers, keep it simple (they’re busy) and create value for them. It’s likely that they get a great deal of requests like yours on a daily or weekly basis, so do what you can to differentiate your request.

Part of your content amplification strategy can include reaching out to people that you have relationships with and asking them to participate in sharing. Remember, if you are going to take this step, there must be value in it for the other person to share your content.

#6 – Follow a Content Creation Schedule

On TopRankBlog, we have set a precedent that a blog post will be published each day, Monday through Friday. Our readers have come to expect that they will be able to find at least one post every week day.

That’s not to say that you need to publish blog content every day of the week, but there does need to be a consistent schedule for readers to anticipate. Commit to a schedule and follow through.

Other content assets can follow a consistent schedule as well. Try to determine what content can be published daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly. Then, alert your audience so they know what to expect.

#7 – Always Be Learning

The daily grind will often have you dragging into the office in the morning, and falling into bed at night. Sometimes you may realize that it’s been days or weeks since you spent time researching other content or processes outside of your organization.

However, if you want to compete in today’s digital marketing landscape, you have to make the time for continuing your education.

A simple way to work learning into your routine is to create bookmarks for the websites or blogs that you know provide educational content. Then, commit to spending time either daily or weekly to consume new information.

Digital marketers also have a plethora of local, national and international conferences and events available. Create an event list for the year and prioritize which ones make the most sense for different team members to attend.

#8 – Use Data to Drive Your Content Strategy

Don’t rely on guesswork to determine what sort of content will resonate best with your target audience. If you don’t know how to interpret the data you have or are unsure where to start, consider reaching out to a company like TopRank Marketing to complete a content marketing audit.

Use free tools like Google Analytics to create custom dashboards that let you see which content is resonating on your website and social media platforms with your audience. If you watch the data closely and create content consistently, you may be able to identify what topics and content types work best for your audience.

Share Your Content Marketing Lesson

It doesn’t matter if you’re a content marketing noob or veteran, you know more today than when you started. What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned related to content marketing and how has it impacted your approach?

Image via Shutterstock


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Ashley Zeckman About Ashley Zeckman

Ashley Zeckman is the Director of Agency Marketing for TopRank Marketing. In addition to finding innovative ways to showcase the exceptional work of her team, she is also responsible for creating digital marketing programs that drive customer acquisition and growth for the agency. Her background includes expertise in everything from content marketing strategy to branding, account management and social media.

Outside of her role at TopRank Online Marketing, Ashley prides herself on being a great home chef, painter, prankster and dog mom.