The secret to becoming a successful content marketer comes long before you sit down at your keyboard and start bashing out the blog posts.
The secret is not an overnight, get-rich-quick, pyramid scheme scenario either. Becoming a successful content marketer takes time. It takes brainstorming. It takes strategic planning. But the dividends can be enormous: increased leads, increased sales and increased profits.
There are a few habits that anyone can easily work into their routine to set them on the path to content marketing success. Let’s take a look, shall we?
Writing and curating informative, educational and entertaining topic requires knowledge of your industry. How can you be an expert, and expect other to take note of your content, if you don’t know the latest industry trends, news, break-through developments? The easiest way to become an expert? Read. The most successful content marketers don’t just read. They scour. They analyse. They research. With the veritable landslide of news sources available online, there is no excuse for you not to be up-to-date with the latest news. Follow your industry experts on Twitter, on Facebook, on Google+. Read their updates. Click on the links they share. Subscribe to the leading industry publications and newsletters.
Writing is not like riding a bike. You need to write regularly to hone your craft. Successful content marketers know that, even though they might not be inspired when they first perch at their keyboard, inspiration often strikes while trying to get words onto the page. I often write a free-form first draft; I am often still thinking, still formulating the direction of the blog post. As a result, my first draft isn’t near perfect. But at least I have some words to work with. I can use these words to create a more professional, more polished final piece.
It’s not enough to simply tell a story. All successful content marketers know that you have to tell a compelling story. Make your audience want more. Think of yourself as a journalist. Would a journalist, writing a story for a leading daily newspaper, endorse or promote a product or service? I don’t think so. A journalist would present a well-rounded piece, quoting multiple respected industry experts. They would tell a story, complete with colourful characters, a beginning that sets the scene, a dramatic middle, and an ending that resolves all issues confronting our favourite characters. Successful content marketers implement this framework as well.
Lots of people curate content. You’ve probably curated content yourself, without even knowing that’s what you’re doing. Have you ever retweeted a quote? Shared an article on Facebook? Then you’ve curated content. The trick is not to regurgitate other people’s news all the time. You need to interact with that content. Engage with it. Add an extra insight. Give your opinion. Ask the author a question. Initiate a conversation. Not only will your followers get more value out of your curated content, the original author will appreciate your efforts as well.
I believe that learning never stops. There is always a new development, a new way of looking at thing, a new school of thought. Networking opens you up to all these new opportunities. Take advantage of them. Talk to your colleagues. Talk to our competitors. Talk to leaders within your industry. Then create content about what you’ve learnt. If the thought of striking up a conversation with a stranger scares the bejesus out of you, then network online. That’s what social media is for!
So much of writing is research. Unless you are writing creative pieces (where all you need is your imagination), you are going to need to do some research. What are the latest trends? What are the experts saying? Question them. Do you agree? What is your opinion? In the world of content marketing, as long as you provide well-reasoned arguments, backed by credible statistical analysis or data, you can publish your content.
Make sure you understand how to explain the business case for content marketing to senior leaders and business owners. Understand how content marketing will benefit the bottom line of whatever business you are writing content for. Tie the content marketing strategy to overarching business objectives. For more ideas, check out Benefits of Blogging for Business.
Successful content marketers keep tabs on their content inventory. They know what articles they have published, and what articles are on the horizon. That way, if an industry white paper is published, an existing article on the same topic can be quickly and easily promoted. They gain momentum for their own content off the back of industry developments. Without too much effort. Regularly assessing content enables successful content marketers to reuse, repurpose and redevelop existing content. It highlights what new content needs to be created.
PS. Are you wondering what a photo of a macaroons and coffee has to do with content marketing? After scouring the inter-web for inspiring images somehow related to Twitter, we came up empty-handed. So, rather that fill your social media feeds and inbox with boring stock images featuring wooden models dressed as corporate suits, wordly has decided to opt for images that put a smile on our face instead. Images that inspire. Images that are beautiful. Images that make us smile.
We hope they make you smile too.