14 Content Marketing Tips From The Pros

Are you feeding your audience a steady diet of quality content?

Content Marketing

Content marketing allows brands to not only tell their own stories, but to actually own the conversation. And provided the content they create is relevant, it can easily be repurposed much like a Thanksgiving turkey. That’s according to a slew of experts who spoke at Digital Summit Phoenix last week. In addition, they say brands should not be afraid to show a little personality in their social and digital content and to look to search queries for guidance about what consumers want. These tips and more follow.

Tip 1: Become The Media

Jason Miller, senior manager of content marketing at LinkedIn, took a page from music history and pointed to punk rockers from New York and England that couldn’t get the press to pay attention to them in the Disco era.

“They became so outlandish and made people pay attention,” he said, quoting another musician, Jello Biafra, who said, “Don’t hate the media, become the media.”

“This is what we can do right now,” Miller added. “You don’t have to hate the media or have a huge PR push. You can tell your own story and own your own intention. You have time to tell your own story. You can start this morning and make an impact this afternoon.”

Tip 2: Get Relevant Content Out There

If 90 percent of the buying cycle is done before a consumer is ready to talk to a sales person, branded content should be out there – and optimized – for said consumer to find.

“We don’t need more content, we need more relevant content,” Miller said, noting search engines have killed content farms, but they weren’t helping anyone anyway.

“A search engine’s job is to serve relevant content and a content marketer’s job is to [create] relevant content,” Miller added.

Tip 3: Create A Big Rock Piece Of Content

According to Miller, a Big Rock Piece of Content is “a substantial piece of content, like a video, ebook or whatever. But if you want to own the conversation, you have to have a stake in the ground.”

In LinkedIn’s case, the Big Rock Piece of Content that put its stake in the ground is the 65-page Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to LinkedIn. It includes third-party interviews and the like to add validation because “we want [readers] to consume this and [if they are reading] on a mobile device, [we want them to] come back when they’re ready.”

Tip 4: Repurpose Content Like Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey

That means once the stake is in the ground with the Big Rock Piece of Content, it can be sliced up just like a turkey into other types of content such as slide presentations, blogs, infographics, webinars, and videos.

“Use turkey slices to fuel your content hubs,” Miller said. “One big raw piece of content can be sliced and diced. Repurpose, repurpose, and repurpose some more.”

Tip 5: The Blog Is The Social Media Rug That Ties The Room Together

Acknowledging “the blog is not the sexiest piece of social media,” Miller said it allows brands to divvy up content into “blogging food groups” and serve consumers “a steady diet of quality content.”

Much like the same food diet every day bores the taste buds, so, too, does the same content diet bore consumers. That’s why Miller divides content into the following food groups:

  • Raisin Bran Content, which is easy to dish out and helps ease consumers into your content, is good for Mondays.
  • Spinach Content, which provides a bit more to chew on and includes more thought leadership pieces, is best served Tuesdays.
  • Roast Content follows on Wednesdays. “That’s a substantial piece of content,” Miller said. “You want to own the conversation with the Roast.”
  • Tabasco Content comes on Thursdays. That’s the kind of content that lights a fire, takes an opinion and gets people talking, Miller said.
  • Chocolate Cake Content is for Fridays. That’s fun content that “sends [consumers] into the weekend with a smile to start the process all over again [on Monday].”

Tip 6: Inject Your Personality Into Your Content

Citing his own blog posts like, 10 Hysterically Funny Reviews of Led Zeppelin IV By 10 People Who Hate It and 5 Content Marketing Lessons from Guns ‘N’ Roses, Miller said, “We injected personality into the content and [consumers] wanted to come back.”

The latter even inspired a tweet from the band itself.

Tip 7: Emulate Kiss

The four members of the band Kiss work together to deliver an amazing product, as should any brand, Miller said.

“[Kiss] consistently [delivers] content that their fans want to consume and share,” Miller noted.

In addition, they built a thriving community in the Kiss Army, Miller said.

“[The Kiss Army] could be called the best community in the world,” Miller said. “They consume content and feel like they won’t be let down by the content…if you don’t have community, you don’t really have anything.”

Tip 8: Use LinkedIn

One out of three professionals on the planet is on LinkedIn and with 332 million members worldwide, Miller said, “This is this place to be if you’re a content marketer.”

What’s more, LinkedIn content pages receive seven times the page views its job pages do, which, he noted, makes for “a prime opportunity to create content and do it well.”

Tip 9: Optimize Your Content

“You might be producing content, but you’re still shooting yourself in the foot if you’re not optimizing properly,” says Arnie Kuenn, CEO of content marketing agency Vertical Measures. “If you confuse Google, you will lose.”

Tip 10: Add Fresh Content

According to Kuenn, Google knows that most blogs and websites “start off with a bang” and fail a few months later.

“It is smart enough to watch and make sure [the site is] adding fresh content,” he added.

Tip 11: Use Google Autocomplete And Suggested Related Queries For New Content Ideas

Social is great sharing tool, but when consumers want to buy something, they go online and do research. And 86 percent of consumers conduct non-branded queries, Kuenn said.

What’s more, every year, the search query gets a little longer. Plus, consumers are now speaking into their phones to ask questions. This means brands need to provide content that customers are searching for. And brands are getting additional clues in these increasingly longer queries.

So, Kuenn suggested, go to Google and start a search and see what comes up in Autocomplete for what consumers are already looking for and create content that answers those questions. Plus, there are even more suggestions at the bottom of page, which, again, gives even more opportunities for brands to create content consumers are actually searching for.

Tip 12: Know Your Audience

Using the example of Malaysia Airlines, which had recently had multiple accidents, Andy Beal, CEO of social media monitoring tool Trackur, pointed to the brand’s My Ultimate Bucket List promotion as a good example of a brand that created content without thinking about its audience.

“You have to understand: Will this resonate with our audience? Will they rebel against it? What will they think?” Beal asked. “And the audience is beyond just your customer base. What will others think?”

He also pointed to GoDaddy’s Super Bowl ad, which inadvertently promoted puppy mills, saying, “They didn’t consider the wider audience.”

Tip 13: The Consumer Is The Center Of The Universe

“As marketers, we have to make sure we’re talking to [consumers] where and when they are and in the right, relevant way that offers a value exchange,” said Kate Watts, managing director of digital agency Huge.

That means constantly thinking about how consumers engage online and how a brand can engage with its audience in ways that make sense, she added.

Tip 14: Show, Don’t Tell

Devices like iPhones and GoPros make is easy for brands to shoot high-quality video that shows consumers whatever a brand wants to get across, said Rob Humphrey, global senior marketing manager at LinkedIn. That means brands need simply to find the right stories and tell them.

What are your best content marketing tips?