Cision Tip Sheet - 10 Tips For Creating Great Content

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  • 1.  866.639.5087  Copyright © 5.15.2013 Cision, Inc. All Rights  877.269.3367 332 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago IL 60604 1100-150 Ferrand Drive Toronto, ON M3C 3E5 “Brands are publishers,” Josh Hallett of Portner Novelli announced. With content at the center of the marketing industry, Hallett is on to something— and your brand can’t afford to ignore this analogy. But with 64% of content marketers in B2B citing the creation of enough content as their biggest challenge, how does a brand go about creating frequent, quality articles, visuals, multimedia and social media posts for its audience? Culled from Cision’s Content Marketing eBook, here are 10 Tips for Creating Great Content. 1 Know your audience Before you start publishing content, you need to have an idea of who will be reading or viewing it. What are demographics and behaviors of your audience? What industries do they represent? Importantly, what content types and topics do they consume? Research-based projects such as The Pew Internet & American Life Project, and analytics tools such as Google Analytics, Facebook Insights and Crowdbooster, provide insight into who’s using the Internet and who’s visiting and engaging with your website or social media channels. You can also take actions to get a sense of who’s engaging with your brand. Read the comments on your blog to see who’s interacting with your content, or require individuals to fill out a form whenever they want to download your content. Once you have a handle on who your audience is, make sure the content you’re creating will be seen as relevant and timely by them. 2 Deliver value If you don’t deliver a unique value to your readers or viewers, you won’t keep their attention. Don’t use content as an opportunity to sell something or talk about yourself. Use content as an opportunity to inform, help or have a conversation with your prospects and customers. If you establish your brand as a reliable source of information, a resource for solving problems or a community participant, you will build trust and naturally attract an audience. “If you deliver to your audience a value they can’t get anywhere else, they will keep coming back,” says Cision’s Heidi Sullivan. 3 Stick to a strategy If you’re not creating content that complements your business plan, you won’t be successful. Your branded message could be well-written and do all of the informing, helping and conversing that you hoped it would, but each content item needs a clear call-to-action that operates in tandem with your company’s goals. In short: What’s your content strategy? How will you measure success? Do you want the person reading your blog to download your e-book? Do you want 10 Tips for Creating Great Content Tip Sheet
  • 2.  866.639.5087  Copyright © 5.15.2013 Cision, Inc. All Rights  877.269.3367 332 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago IL 60604 1100-150 Ferrand Drive Toronto, ON M3C 3E5 your e-mail newsletter subscriber to sign up for a webinar? Do you want to hit near the top or bottom of the sales funnel? Figure out what you’d like each piece of content to do and what benchmarks will determine if your content is living up to its purpose. Creating an editorial calendar for your company’s scheduled content is an effective way to help you stick to your strategy, establish frequency and accountability and keep your organization’s decision-makers in the know. 4 Rely on your expertise Whether you realize it or not, most companies have a slew of internal experts waiting to be tapped for their thought leadership. Your employees can help you create content for an area or position at which they excel. For example, your in-house designer might write a tip sheet for an audience interested in designing their own infographics. Your employees, with intimate knowledge of your brand’s offerings, can also produce “how-to” content that seeks to enhance the customers’ experience with your products and services. Leverage the knowledge, abilities and personalities of the people within your organization and you’ll have unique content to fill articles, webinars, white papers and more. 5 Try different types One of the best parts about content marketing is that there are so many effective content types: e-mail newsletters, white papers, apps, webinars, videos, case studies, events , blog posts, tip sheets, social media posts, infographics, e-books, the list goes on! Experts like to differentiate between “feather” and “brick” content because they accomplish different goals. “‘[Bricks]’ are the content contributions that take more time and money to produce, but could see a large payoff. ‘Feathers’ are the smaller, low- stakes pieces of content… usually shared on blogs and social media,” Chris Sietsema distinguishes on Convince & Convert. If you’ve only been producing feathers, be sure to strategize on some bricks that can bring your audience past mere awareness. If you’re getting bogged down with bricks, try some social media missives to catch your audience’s attention. For all of your strategic undertaking, it’s important to dabble, get comfortable with new technologies and test out new content types. But ultimately, go where you think your audience will be. 6 Devote the time The ability to build a cache of quality content doesn’t happen overnight, or even easily. Content creation requires, yes, a content strategy, but it also requires labor and time to write or design your content, to promote or distribute your content and to keep producing content at a regular frequency. Consider forming a content team within your organization. The team doesn’t necessarily have to be the same people who handle your marketing, but there may be overlap. Identify the writers, designers, videographers and social media savvy within your company and get them involved. With these hands on deck, your brand and brand offerings can be translated into stories people will want to read. Be sure to give clear project guidelines and reasonable deadlines for every content piece you assign, so time and labor are on your side. 7 Outsource The word “outsource” may conjure a different connotation in everyone, but without some type of content outsourcing, you’ll easily burn out on creating content. Outsourcing could mean a one-time guest blog post from a reader, a white paper submitted by a Tip Sheet
  • 3.  866.639.5087  Copyright © 5.15.2013 Cision, Inc. All Rights  877.269.3367 332 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago IL 60604 1100-150 Ferrand Drive Toronto, ON M3C 3E5 Tip Sheet client, getting industry experts to speak at your events or even hiring an integrated marketing agency that can create the content for your message. However you decide to recruit external content, it’s important to realize that getting help is becoming essential to content strategy—and with good reason. Using others’ content (with permission, of course!) is a smart way to develop connections in your field, show readers that you’re part of a larger conversation and get respected for your ability to recruit talent. 8 Repurpose Another way to stave off content creation fatigue is by repurposing content. Don’t be afraid to recycle the content you already have— and the content you might not know you already have. Did you publish a conference wrap-up last year? Use that wrap-up to write a tip sheet for this year’s conference. Did somebody present an internal PowerPoint that your clients would find useful? Turn those slides into blog posts. As you continue to produce content, you’ll amass an archive of topics and threads that you can modify for variety, update with current information and essentially republish. Repurposing is resourceful, and by reinforcing certain themes or allowing your audience to relive your “greatest hits”, you can help grow your reputation as an expert in your space. 9 Use your analytics Simply put, analytics are the most effective way to see what content is working and what is not. Want to know how a blog post is performing? Consult your blog analytics. Want to know what links email newsletter subscribers are clicking on? Check your e-mail campaign reports for clickthrough rates. Your audience may evolve as your content does, so remember to consult your analytics often to detect any trends or sea change in how your content is consumed. Additionally, analytics can be used as a tactic to beat writer’s block. Not sure what to write about? Find a topic that has performed well with your audience as a launch point to explore a new angle or write a follow-up piece. 10 Repeat and adapt Only you will know if your content is achieving its intended business goals. It’s up to you to repeat your successes and keep producing the content types and topics that your audience loves. It’s also up to you to identify the weaker content that is not resonating with your audience, and change your content strategy as needed. It might take some experimentation to figure out what sticks, but bringing content into the fold of your marketing plan is an essential practice worth the fuss. Ready to take the next step? Your content is only as valuable as the audience that engages with it. So how do you get your content in front of the largest audience possible? Promote your content with the Cision Content Marketing Suite and reach a potential audience of over 200 million visitors on top publisher sites like CNN, Time, BusinessWeek and The Food Network.