4 Сontent Marketing Strategies to Beat the Content Overload and Engage Your Customers
Every minute thousands of pieces of content are produced. Big brands, small companies, people that don’t even know what to achieve with their content marketing efforts are all producing content like never before in the history of humanity.
On the flipside, content consumers are getting more and more content savvy and can tell the difference between good content and bad content. The winners are companies that know how to stand out with their good content. In this article, you’ll read about 4 content marketing strategies that will set you apart from your competitors.
Why Create Content?
A good content marketing strategy could take different meanings depending on your goals:
To increase awareness, you can rely on keyword-optimized blog posts, a video ad series, user-generated content on social media, infographics or any kind of content suitable to your customer acquisition channels.
To increase sales and customer retention, you can have your own newsletter or even a magazine addressing the core issues your customers are facing.
Net-a-Porter publishes a magazine called "Edit" which is about 30 pages and includes their advertising. source
The key to an effective content marketing strategy is to know your customers well and have a clear customer journey map. If you’re offering skincare products, you don’t necessarily need to offer coupons or discounts to increase sales.
A comprehensive guide on having the perfect skin (your customers’ ideal state) would do the trick. Convince people that being in your list gets them one step closer to having great skin.
There’s a Big Gap Between Crappy Content and Good Content
People are frequently exposed to bad content. In fact, they see so much bad content that they can immediately detect good content.
Here’s how: people consume so much bad content that does not address the core issues as it should. They are left high and dry in their quest to find answers for their issues and get frustrated. Once you address those issues accordingly, they’re going to love your content.
What seems to be a frustrating issue for many business owners and content marketers (i.e. content overload) will in fact be an advantage.
So you don’t need to be set back because of content overload if you know how to produce content that addresses core issues. But first, before you get down to work and produce another piece of content, you need to keep the following tips in mind.
The Art of Making a Difference
Any genius technique could be ineffective once it’s crudely overused by imitators. Blogging used to be much easier and more fun some years ago. You published a short piece, distributed the link in social media and some blogging entries, and you would have good traffic just from that. But today, with the huge number of enthusiastic bloggers, getting the same results is much more difficult.
These days, everybody is blogging — it’s rather a cliché now.
This is why you always need diversity in your strategy even if you invented that strategy. For your content strategy, there are many ways to differentiate yourself from imitators. Here are a few of them:
1. Use different content formats
Like any other investment in your life, you shouldn’t focus all your might on one content format.
Video, for instance, is not well explored by companies. Over the past years people have grown more interested in video content. Results of a survey show that people pay full attention to video content and want to see more videos in the future. Plus, YouTube as the second biggest search engine deserves special attention from businesses.
Damian Grabarczyk, the growth marketer and co-founder of PetLab, reflects,
"After recognizing the sheer volume of content bombarding our audience daily, we at PetLab took decisive action. To stand out, we had to innovate, not just improve. We began crafting concise, educational videos that did more than display our products—they offered genuine insight into pet care.
These segments transformed into mini-masterclasses on platforms like YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram, where our audience was already active. The outcome was remarkable: a spike in engagement and a community of informed customers who view us not merely as a brand but as a trusted partner in their pets' health.
This strategy didn't just grow our follower count to over a million—it cultivated loyal customers and passionate advocates for our brand."
It’s also a great idea to consider using video ads in your content strategy. Various forms of video ads such as in-article ads or native video ads could have great results.
Podcasts are also an effective means of building an engaged audience that will restlessly wait for your next episodes if you’re interesting enough. Podcast subscriptions on iTunes alone have surpassed 1 billion.
A good example of the use of podcasts in e-commerce is well shown by The Spoon. They have two amazing podcasts to educate and engage their audience with: Smart Kitchen Show and the Weekly Spoon. Here’s an interesting episode from their Smart Kitchen Show.
When you consider the fact that %60 of the global internet population uses a mobile device to go online, it is crucial to try and make content that is easily consumed on mobile.
Social messaging is one of these content types. Buffer’s State of Social Report shows that "there are now more people using the top four social messaging apps (WhatsApp, Messenger, WeChat, and Viber) than the top four social media apps (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn)". Yet only 20% of marketers have used social messaging for marketing.
Only 20% of marketers use social messaging for marketing.
Videos, podcasts or video podcasts, and social messaging seem to be great choices for diversifying your content formats.
2. Have a tailored voice
When one of his followers asked Ben Settle, a renowned email copywriter, how to have a voice in writing in a Q&A session, he answered that you should write the way you speak, with all the tonal nuances, expressions, pauses, etc. When people read your stuff, it should be like they hear your voice in their heads too.
Yet this is what most people neglect and as a result their content turns bland and uninteresting.
I’m not saying that you should always sound the same, use the same adjectives, and have a static writing style anywhere (after all, each platform and publication has some instructions) — people would find that boring — but depending on your audience and platform, you can try to sound excited, lively, bored, etc., just like when you talk.
The fact with commercial writing is that you do everything to be read and liked by the right people. So if your audience is into a sassy style of writing, you need to adopt it. Speak/write in a language that’s interesting for your audience.
You can learn more about your audience preferences using customer experience management software. These tools provide means to connect with your audience and collect feedback from them.
The same is true about the kind of content you produce. As Jimmy Daly explains, actionable (how-to) content could be a great choice, but in many cases, publishing only tactical how-to guides will result in missing strategic-minded people (decision-makers).
What you need to do is produce strategic content (models, frameworks, principles, opinions) that appeal to your strategic readers so that you can attract them too. A CEO, for example, is more interested in an article on why having a customer journey plan is the answer to almost all their company’s problems, rather than a step-by-step guide on developing a customer persona.
A content type spectrum: on one side is tactical content (how-tos) and on the other there is strategic content (opinions, frameworks, etc.).
3. Publish original research
BuzzSumo analyzed 1 million blog posts on the web and found out that 75% of them had no external backlinks, and 50% of them had two or fewer Facebook interactions (likes, comments, shares). Yet one type of content that got a lot of links and shares was "well-researched and evidence-based" blog posts.
Everybody knows the value of original research. Google’s Matt Cutts has always preached the importance of original research for link building and SEO in general. Any link to your research content will have a positive effect on your overall domain authority.
But apart from SEO benefits (especially in fintech SEO), original research establishes you as an authority on the topic and cuts through the rehashed content that is being produced restlessly by imitators.
According to Andy Crestodina, there are 5 types of research in content marketing:
- Aggregate existing research
- Online surveys
- Phone survey
One of the easiest ways to produce original research is gathering the existing data from different sources. Maybe there is already a body of work that you can use and produce new data from and then do original research.
For example, I did an analysis on the top 50 business websites of SimilarWeb, a web analytics company, and tried to find answers to 7 questions about their conversion-focused homepage elements:
- How many of the top websites have calls to action (CTAs) above the fold?
- What CTA types are used above the fold?
- How many of the top websites have multiple CTAs?
- Do the websites use any social proof (trust icons, testimonials, case studies, etc.) on their homepages?
- What social proof types are most prevalent among top websites?
- Do they use any videos on their homepages?
- Do they offer any content in exchange for visitors’ email addresses?
The most common CTA types among top business websites are "More info" and "Sample" types
4. Invigorate your content with various topics
A little creative vigor goes a long way in your content. Just like content type, tone, and language, people are used to reading the same content topics everywhere. But if you can incorporate interesting topics and news in your content, people will be more excited to read.
The idea of entertaining people while giving them information and advertising to them is called "infotainment" in copywriting. One of the staunch advocates of such a content type is Ben Settle.
As he explains in a blog post for Copyblogger, infotainment gives your audience a "great-tasting hot dog" but "nourishes them like broccoli." In other words, your content can be both entertaining and informative (about your product).
So instead of listing the features of your product in a sales letter to your email list, why not give them something exciting and connect it with your product?
Here’s an example from Ben’s own emails:
Subject Line: The love child that can save your business
Behold one of my favorite movies:
Not just because I’m a huge "Rocky" movie fan… but also because of all the success principles
embedded inside the movie. They are classic Rocky movie themes. But, this character (Apollo Creed’s love child wanting to prove he wasn't a mistake) is plagued by a whole different set of demons than Rocky was. I won’t give any (more) spoilers. But, there’s one line of advice from Rocky in the movie that can make you successful at *anything* you want in life — yes, especially email copywriting:
'One Step, One Punch, One Round at a Time’
So non-sexy, non-ninja, non-epic.
Yet, Rocky keeps Adonis on track and competing with far better, more experienced, and more naturally gifted fighters with those words. And now, Champ, elBenbo is in your corner giving you the same advice when you’re writing emails:
"One Step, One Punch, One Round at a Time"
Don’t get overwhelmed with panic over a blank page.
Don’t get bogged down with pointless metrics unrelated to ROI.
Don’t worry about what anyone outside your market thinks of your opinions or ideas.
Just one step, one punch, one round at a time.
Open your computer and start writing (one step), soon a story or theme will emerge (one punch), send it to your list (one round). Do that day after day and you will be successful — even if you’re not the most talented copywriter or salesman in the room.
For help with the "how tos" of writing, check out my "Email Players" newsletter.
It ain't cheap.
And, it ain't for people who give up easy.
But, if you want in, put your sweat suit and hoodie on, and run over here:
Ben frequently refers to pop culture (which is exciting) and is a master of connecting his stories with the information about his products. Needless to say, if you don’t know what topics are interesting for your audience, consider doing market research or hiring a consultant to do it for you.
Finally: Nothing Beats Trust
One of the factors that people consider before they decide to get engaged with your content is whether you’re trustworthy or not. As the founding father of internet marketing, Ken McCarthy, says:
"Trust may be the single most important word in business. I’m not talking about blind trust. Healthy skepticism is one of the most important tools in the entrepreneur’s tool kit. I’m talking about being trustworthy. Literally: worthy of trust. And no, I don’t mean a new sales technique or copywriting tactic. I mean being worthy of trust."
One of the most effective ways to gain people’s trust is helping them transform to their desired states, and the more valuable that desired state is to someone, the more they’ll be willing to pay for help getting there.
So do everything you can to help your readers get one step closer to their desired states, whether it’s a more profitable business, a healthier body, a more organized house, more confident social interactions, etc.
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