By Debra D. Bass
There are currently nearly 60,000 job openings for candidates with some level of "content marketing" expertise on Indeed.com, a leading site for job seekers. Of those openings, 20 percent are for positions with a starting salary of $80,000.
"Content marketing is an emerging digital marketing practice, yet most businesses do not have a formal plan," explains Ron Weber, a social media marketing specialist who teaches the Content Marketing course under Extension's Digital Marketing certificate.
The magic of content marketing, he said, is that great content can attract customers to a website for years. Unlike traditional advertising, content marketing strives to give visitors something for free without a sales pitch.
"The idea is to be of service," he said.
And that includes providing people with different types of content, including videos, infographics, listicles, photo galleries, podcasts and blog posts. A content offering can range from a 3-ingredient lunch recipe to comprehensive white paper.
"The reason why experts are needed is because online content is exploding, but that doesn't mean any one segment of the population is reading 10 to 100 times more than they did in the past," Weber said. "However, people are reading and interacting with content differently."
Quality content is key.
Assuming that people don't read shortchanges your business and your audience, Weber said.
Social media is full of imagery, yes, but almost everything is accompanied by written content. Words are a crucial factor because an image alone rarely generates more than casual interest.
Now that you have their attention, what do you want your audience to do?
For instance, few thing are more engaging than a handful of puppies, but now what?
Telling a story, even a very concise one can perform wonders with customer engagement.
10 tips for content marketers
- People who share your content might not read it thoroughly. That means your headlines and social media posts have to not only entice but inform fairly. A murky or salacious topic suggestion can easily become the unintended focus.
- Content may be everywhere, but original and helpful content is required to attract new viewers. Search engines aren't fooled by recycled material and they will lower the visibility of your work accordingly.
- Spend time developing a persona for your intended audience. If you know who you're trying to attract, you can generate content with them in mind. Writing for everyone doesn't work.
- Quality content still needs help in the digital age. Search engine optimization (SEO techniques) and digital marketing strategies are essential. If you write it, they may not come.
- Don't be afraid to produce long articles of written content. Yes, tl;dr is trending, but when people do read your content, you want them to come away fulfilled and happy. Don't waste their time.
- Just because it's been done before doesn't mean that you can't do it better. Topics are constantly evolving and your take on a topic may resonate with readers better than others.
- There's more than one way to tell a story. Think about engaging audiences with quizzes, games, polls, photo galleries and inspirational quotes.
- You don't have to be a master writer to generate great content. If you know your audience and can generate ideas, you can outsource the writing and devote more time to mastering strategy and analytics.
- Measuring content effectiveness is essential. The days of wait-and-see and gut-instincts can't compete with data, A/B testing and content personalization.
- A sales pitch is not content. If you are a business, no one is fooled into thinking that you have no interest in their dollars. However, they will be more likely to buy what you're selling if they like you.