Content marketing is considered the most commercially important digital marketing trend for 2015, according to Smart Insights. That’s fitting, considering roughly half of consumers say content marketing has a positive impact on their purchase
That being said, a solid content marketing strategy can be especially effective for small business owners looking for simple ways to promote and distribute their content during the holidays.
So, here’s a look at four tips you can use during the holidays to improve content effectiveness and boost sales.
1. Start with a mobile experience.
More consumers access digital media via their mobile device than they do from their desktop or laptop. In fact, over the last five years, time spent accessing digital media via mobile increased roughly 85 percent, while desktop and laptop access remained about the same.
To keep up with this trend, many small businesses optimize their websites for mobile devices and create mobile apps, but they haven’t modified their content for mobile users — which means they could be losing out on sales.
Takeaway: Effective mobile optimization requires more than creating a responsive website. Create content that is designed for an easier and richer mobile c
Create a content marketing strategy. Before the holiday season hits, create a mobile-optimized content marketing strategy based on your target audience’s mobile habits.
Embrace mobile-first habits. Consider mobile-first when creating content, then expand on those ideas for larger screens — not the other way around. While long-form content can improve search engine optimization (SEO), it can be unwieldy on a small mobile device or tablet screen if formatted incorrectly. Vary the length of your content. Create short and easy-to-digest sentences. Use video or infographics in addition to long-form content and resource pages.
Leverage content curation tools. Content curation tools like Kapost and Curata can help you create micro visual content that mobile users are more likely to interact with.
2. Invest in content distribution.
Many small businesses spend time and money creating and publishing content, but an Altimeter Group Marketing survey found only about a quarter of them invest in distributing their content. Often, this means the content — no matter how great it is — doesn’t achieve expected penetration or results.
Takeaway: Strategic content distribution can help set our business apart from competitors.
Create a content distribution plan. An effective content distribution plan should optimize owned, earned, and paid media distribution channels to promote brand awareness and engage clients.
Own your distribution. Use your company website, blog, newsletter, and social media accounts to distribute and promote your content. Consider the audience of each outlet and tailor the content, rather than publishing every piece of content on every site.
Earn coverage. Earned coverage is the most difficult type of content distribution to secure, as you have little direct control over it. Create content that you think will get others talking, and then use your owned and paid distribution outlets to make them aware of it.
Use paid distribution. Paid distribution through sites such as Outbrain, Hootsuite, or Oktopost allows you to target new users with customized content.
3. Leverage social media.
A Social Media Examiner report states 97 percent of survey participants use social media to market their business. Of those who commit at least six hours per week to social media, 95 percent say their efforts increased exposure for their business and often led to increased traffic.
Takeaway: Use social media to amplify and distribute your content.
Know your audience. Develop a buyer persona and use it to create content that engages and resonates with your audience, which improves the chance it will be shared on social media.
Use LinkedIn to boost website traffic. LinkedIn sends nearly four times more users to website home pages than Twitter and Facebook. If you’re not already doing so, start publishing your content on LinkedIn.
Create reactive content. An Ipsos poll found roughly 60 percent of online sharers share “interesting things.” Publish social media content that makes people aware of trending issues in your industry or content that’s likely to spark a discussion among readers.
4. Improve your content.
Mobile-optimized content distributed on social media won’t do the trick unless your content itself is worthwhile. Creating “how-to” type content that addresses questions your target audience is likely to ask or helps them solve a problem is a good first step toward improving your content.
Takeaway: Keep your audience in mind as you create and market valuable content.
Write strong headlines. According to Copyblogger, 80 percent of people will read a headline, but only 20 will read the rest of the piece. Create a strong headline that captures and engages your readers.
Create original content. Copying content from other sites is not only illegal and a turn-off to consumers, it can also result in punishment from Google. Ensure your content is original and provides substantial value to your target audience.
Add images or video. Whatever you’re writing about, add images or video to enhance the reader’s experience. When you do, you’ll also increase the chance your content is shared. Hubspot reports that tweets with images receive nearly 20 percent more clicks and 150 percent more retweets.
Boost sales this holiday season by creating a content marketing strategy that includes these tips. Track which marketing efforts rewarded you with the best return on investment and expand on them in your strategy for the year to come. Before long you will have developed a content marketing strategy that separates your business from the competition.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Cosette Jarrett is a freelance writer working in the tech industry. Her background includes 6 years as a content strategist and copywriter in agency and in-house roles. She is currently freelancing as a regular contributor on several tech blogs including Tech.co, HighSpeedInternet.com, and Business.com.
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