Sixteen ways to improve your marketing with a content review.
It's a new year, and there are countless ways to bump up your content marketing game. Implement just a few of these ideas in your annual content review for a more cohesive and consistent content marketing strategy in 2016.
More about your content review: If You Make One Content Resolution This Year, It Should Be...
1. Focus on Action
We all have limited time to read blog posts and scroll through social media pages each day, and most readers want to access crucial information in as little time as possible. Thus, your content should provide actionable information readers can digest and use quickly. When publishing content, ask yourself, "What can the reader take away from this?"
2. Don't Make Assumptions
Oftentimes content marketers make the mistake of jumping to conclusions and giving too little information. No matter how many times you've posted about a topic, there is always a new reader discovering your content for the first time. Don't assume everyone knows industry jargon; instead, provide additional details to make complex topics more understandable. Similarly, don't gloss over references your audience may not be familiar with, since this may only cause confusion.
3. Develop Empathy
Empathy is an essential component to creating a quality user experience, and content marketers must be able to put themselves in their readers' shoes to appeal to and relate to them. Browse through your content to remove any repetitive, confusing or boring content that wouldn't appeal to you as a reader.
More about content review: How Great Writing Can Make a Small Space Sing
4. Avoid Overused Phrases
You can't be generic if you want the undivided attention of your target audience. Make a habit of reviewing your content to edit out overused phrases and non-descriptive adjectives like "good" and "great." By simply dressing up your language, you separate yourself from competitors and allow your brand to shine through.
5. Reward Your Audience
In today's fast-paced marketing environment, you not only need to grab your readers' attention quickly, but you also need to present a reward. In other words, your audience should be able to distinguish immediately what they'll gain from reading your content.
6. Get Educated on UX
Any schooled content marketer has some understanding of user experience principles. Observe your audience's behavior before and after publishing content, and check consistently to ensure your content caters to their specific interests and needs.
7. Test for SEO
With Google's algorithm changing frequently, it's important to get into an SEO routine. Develop a checklist for each blog post to ensure you're getting the most out of your content and giving it the best chance for exposure. Use one of the many free SEO tools available online, and research keywords carefully.
See also: True or False? 7 SEO Content Myths Explained
8. Double Check Sources
Nothing will ruin your reputation faster than publishing false or questionable information. If referencing a statistic, make sure you link to the source after investigating its credibility, and get into the habit of checking multiple sources and linking when appropriate.
9. Provoke Thought
It's helpful to inject your content with thought-provoking questions and concepts. Most importantly, this practice encourages your audience to do additional research and learn more about your business. It also helps create salience for your business, since first-time readers now have something memorable to tie to your brand.
10. Analyze All Headlines in your Content Review
You may wonder, "Who has the time to perform an in-depth analysis of every single headline before it is published?" However, the free and easy-to-use Headline Analyzer does the heavy lifting for you; the site rates your headlines in four primary categories and provides suggestions based on length, sentiment and keywords.
11. Use Data
If your content aims to persuade or influence readers toward a particular decision, you need to make a legitimate case for your argument. Citing reputable,outside sources is the key to legitimizing your content in the eyes of skeptical readers; consider inserting more references to show your audience you've done your research.
12. Set Goals
It may sound incredibly obvious, but without a plan your content marketing efforts are just a shot in the dark. Always be moving toward a goal -- even if it's a small scale goal, like gathering more followers on one social media platform. The more specific the goal, the easier it is to determine whether you are achieving it.
See also: The Ultimate Guide to Building a Content Marketing Team
13. Build Relationships
If you're not making a conscious effort to build and maintain relationships, you're missing out on a major component of successful content marketing. People who know you are more likely to share and read your content, so keep in touch and reach out to new folks.
14. Be Free
Content marketing has become one of the most significant forms of marketing for a reason -- it's not salesy. A good portion of your content should be free and non-pushy, so make sure the majority does not equate to advertisements and attempts to sell products.
15. Lower Bounce Rates
High bounce rates need to be nipped in the bud. As a clear indicator your content is not engaging enough, high bounce rates are a sign that something needs to change. Experiment with longer posts, better headlines and different topics to find what keeps visitors around longer.
If your content marketing plan is going well in several areas, the next step is to incorporate new components and branch out. This could mean launching an email marketing plan, expanding to new social media platforms or experimenting with pay-per-click ads.
Are you ready to rock content marketing this year?
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