7 Ways to Improve Your Content Marketing

Here’s a riddle: in what world is Content King and Creativity Queen?
A: In Content Marketing World!

Last week was the first annual Content Marketing World, a conference hosted by the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and “the Godfather” of content marketing, CMI’s founder Joe Pulizzi. Joe is a content marketing evangelist. He walks the walk, and if you visit CMI’s blog you’ll see he talks the talk. At this year’s CMWorld, Joe pulled together an incredible array of people to teach and learn about what it means to create great, communicative content.

Who is a content marketer?

Content marketing professionals all have one thing in common: a passion for creating meaningful content in order to reach their audience At CMI this included journalists, professional bloggers, online content strategists, social media writers, copywriters, marketers, and content strategists came together to learn across disciplines. Speakers ranged from specialists in Infographics and Email Marketing to celebrities, including Cleveland Indians’ director of Communications Curtis Danburg and Actor/Director Kevin Smith.

After two days at the conference I came away brimming with ideas to explore and projects to begin. But even if you didn’t make it to CMI this year, you can share in the takeaways.

Improve your Content Marketing in Seven Quick Ways

Here are seven of the best “quick and dirty” takeaways from the conference. Integrate some of these into your content marketing for immediate and longterm results – more site hits, more client interaction, and more conversions.

7. Tell a story with every piece of content you provide.

Whether you’re tweeting in 140 characters or writing a 6-page article, remember to include context. Readers engage when they understand where they are coming in to a story –  is it the beginning, working through the struggles, in the middle, with a new product launch or service, or at the end, with a success story? (Robert Rose, Killer Storytelling Techniques Learned in Hollywood)

6. Reward users who help you.

Your company may host fancy dinners for loyal or you may just make a point of thanking those who tweet. No matter the size, a little free thanks, an extra question or communication, and the occasional discount, will go a long way toward building a relationship without creating a lot of added work. (Curtis Danburg, Tad Carper, and Brett Reynolds, Creating Fans with Social Content Strategies)

5. Track your Klout – and your readers’ Klout too!

Klout.com is a quick and easy way to determine how much effect you’re having on Twitter and Facebook. In addition, by tracking the Klout of some of your audience members, you’ll learn who the influencers in the group are – those are the people to target with rewards! (Lee Odden, A Content Marketer’s Guide to Social Media and Search Strategy)

4. Speaking of tracking, track your relevance.

CMWorld chose relevant sponsors, offering useful products, such as dlvr.it.  Dlvr.it connects your content to your users and tracks the analytics to determine how relevant your content is to your audience. Visit their site for a free evaluation of your relevance. (dlvr.it, Conference sponsor)

3. Check out the Content Checklist. Ahava Leibtag shared her content checklist, a list every company should see. Compare the list to your content – are you findable, readable, understandable, actionable, and shareable?  Personalize the checklist for your company, and keep it close by. (Ahava Leibtag, Develop a Step-by-Step Checklist for Content Creation in Different Formats)

2. Ask and you shall receive (feedback).

Remember to ask your users for feedback. If you want to begin discussion, ask for opinions, send out a poll, or include the actual words “please leave a comment.” Too often we count on subtlety when users appreciate directness. (Susan Blue, Email Content Strategies) 

1. Use real words.

Along with being direct, users like to know what words mean. Forget the gobblety gook marketing words and say what you mean, plainly. This doesn’t mean you need to dumb down your vocabulary, just speak the same language your audience speaks! (David Meerman Scott, “Real-Time Content Marketing”)