Like any marketing discipline, success from content comes from precisely crafted, repeatable processes. But sometimes, the “magic” of a campaign remains hidden behind the scenes. Why is that some content marketing strategies are more effective than others? The answer comes down to simple mechanics. Here are three tactics to make your content marketing strategy more cost-effective, impactful, and valuable to your readers.
Create “MVP” Content to Test Ideas Before Deploying Them in Full
You might have heard of the term “minimum viable product” to describe a technique that product managers and engineers use to launch early versions of products or features. The term “MVP” comes from The Lean Startup, a book that helps startup entrepreneurs and corporate innovation teams create structure around their ideas.
Feedback, according to the book’s author Eric Ries, provides the building blocks of an exceptional product. So why should content, also a product, be any different? An MVP, as a tool, can help you collect the maximum amount of validated learning with the least effort.
As an example, a software that provides employee enablement solutions created a series of blog posts around the topic of personal brand-building and found that the concept resonated with the company’s target audiences. These blog posts allowed EveryoneSocial to collect data about its readers’ pain points and develop an in-depth ebook in response. The ebook became a blueprint for an in-person workshop and online webinar. Because this planning process was additive, EveryoneSocial was able to create its blog posts, ebooks, and workshops with a clear long-term goal in mind—minimizing potential risks for creating content that flops.
Turn Your Case Studies into Blog-Worthy Narratives
In sales, it’s common for case studies to follow a common problem/solution/outcome story. But your case studies have the potential to be much richer than a sales pitch about your product. Instead, show how your customers are solving tough-to-tackle challenges—likely ones that other leaders in your target customer base are experiencing as well.
For inspiration, take a look at the First Round Capital Blog—what you’ll notice is that each of these blog posts is a case studies in disguise. Look closely, and you’ll see that each piece features the story of an entrepreneur or company tackling a challenge. For additional inspiration, take a look at the following piece from Lob, a company that specializes in direct mail automation.
The blog post tells the tale of eShares, a technology company that helps startups automate their equity management stories. What you’ll see from this example is that Lob is a central part of the narrative. Even still, the piece doesn’t feel like a sales pitch.
Make Your Content a Dialogue
Many companies experiment with influencer marketing as a means to gain distribution in a systematic way. But many of these strategies fall flat because of an oversight over a simple question—what’s “in it” for the influencer to share your content?
Instead of blogging for the sake of putting your ideas out there, aim to create a dialogue. As an example, take a look at this blog post from Clarity.fm, which showcases lessons learned from 23 entrepreneurs. The write-up provided a casual and fun way for interviewees to share their ideas—and they did, on Twitter.
The blog post followed a simple process:
- Step 1: Interview collection
- Step 2: Quote development
- Step 3: Writing up the post
- Step 4: Embedding click-to-tweet widgets
- Step 5: Giving interviewees a heads up
Hit a nerve. Strike a chord. Make your respondents want to strike up a conversation with your content.
The beauty of the strategies above is that they’re not just tactics or “quick wins.” They’re simple approaches to building and maintaining relationships at scale. Micro-improvements are possible with any budget. Take fewer risks to ensure that your content makes the biggest possible impact.