6 content marketing hacks for when you’re stuck in a rut

9 Aug 2017 | by Ian Blake

If you’re not seeing the returns on content that you have painstakingly written, complete with strategically inserted keywords, you need to question whether it is your strategy or your content that’s the problem.

Squaredot B2B Agency | Content Marketing Hacks

If you’re doing content marketing in house and aren’t seeing the results you’d like, you might be forgiven for questioning content marketing on the whole as a strategy. But hold on, let’s not throw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater just yet.

If you’re not seeing the returns on content that you have painstakingly written, complete with strategically inserted keywords, you need to question whether it is your strategy or your content that’s the problem.

Just because something worked well once, does not guarantee that it will continue to work well into the future. There’s good news however: content changes don’t have to be monumental. Refreshing things or trying a slightly different approach could reinvigorate your efforts.

We’ve pulled together a list of practical things you can do to improve your content marketing in a matter of minutes.

Page Placement

So your eBook sunk like a lead balloon, with only one download in one week. However, have you considered that lack of interactions might be as simple as the asset’s placement on the webpage?

If your content isn’t getting the download figures you hoped for, do some research about where people are dropping off your page. It you can identify the points where readers lose interest you can then ascertain whether or not they would have had the chance to see your download link.

Also, maybe it is getting lost amid the many call-to-actions and pop-ups. If you’re using a pop-up that appears even before the site visitor has had time to read what they were looking for, their natural reaction could be to exit away from the page.

Try asking a couple of people from outside your company or department to open up your website, and watch over their shoulder to see what they instinctively do next. If their attention doesn’t move naturally towards your download links, it’s time to rethink the placement of important assets on your page.

  • Attention-Grabbing Headlines (for the right reasons)
  • Headline writing is something of a skill. Student journalists have been coached for years about what makes a good headline - and it might surprise you to learn it takes practice to get good at.

There are specialist tools and formulas available which seem to promise success, but ultimately your headline has to offer a compelling enough promise, or create enough curiosity, to entice the reader onto the next line.

On average, 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest. This is the secret to the power of your title, and why it so highly determines the effectiveness of the entire piece.

  • Correct That Lazy Call-to-Action
  • You might have created the most engaging piece of content with the most magnetic headline and accumulated dozens of likes and shares across social media – and still, it might fail to convert any of that noise into leads. Time to look again at that call-to-action.

The most effective calls-to-action are those that lead on naturally from the content, that ask for something very specific, that make it very easy for the person to perform with a simple click. Is your content downloading quickly across all browsers and devices? If it’s not, you could be trying the patience of people interested in your offers but unwilling to give you more than 3 seconds of their time. Simply put, that’s the way of the digital world. Ensure fast downloading speeds if you want a captive audience.

  • Make it Scannable
  • There is evidence to suggest that content might not be widely read, but it will be read by those for whom it resonates and has most meaning. If, for example, dog psychology isn’t your thing, you probably won’t do much more than scan an article on destructive canine behaviour. However, if you’re really interested in why Fido only chews shoes, your specific very expensive leather shoes to be precise, you might stick with it from beginning to end.

Most busy B2B prospects simply want to know if you have the solution to a problem they’re experiencing - and they want to know the answer to that sooner rather than later. For those who are not looking for a totally immersive experience, text should be scannable. Break it up using bold titles, indents, lists and loads of white space. The less laborious the reading process is, the more likely they are to stay engaged. Even giving readers the ‘gist’ is often enough incentive to follow your call-to-action.

  • Test A, Test B
  • Whether it’s headlines, site design, email subject lines or calls-to-action, nothing will give you a better insight into where the problems are cropping up - except creating two versions of one content piece with a single difference. A/B or split testing means that half of your visitors or recipients see one version of your content, site or email and the other half see the second version. But, as one version starts to look like it’s more successful, everyone who views the content from then on is switched over to the better one. What’s to lose?
  • Repurpose Great Content
  • Repurposing great content doesn’t always mean rehashing the same old words in a different way - your most popular content could be reincarnated as a completely new type of content, i.e. an infographic, podcast or video. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel - the key differentiator can be delivery. What about making a blog a tweet story? Or condensing that eBook into a series of blogs? Getting maximum traction for the same content is the name of the game.

Another smart approach is to release “updated” content. If you’ve had a lot of success with a B2B industry report or other publication last year, dedicate an hour or two updating it or sprucing up the design before emailing it to all the interested parties from the first time.

Want more great tips where they came from? Click here to download our eBook, The B2B Content Creation Masterclass.

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