The ultimate list of the best content marketing tools & tips in 2020
Ever heard the phrase “Content is King”? In any war, having a strong king on your side can be the difference between victory and failure and in the war between brands, it is no different. Having a strong content marketing campaign enables you to fulfill marketing and branding objectives and attract more qualified leads. But the most successful marketers use content marketing to go one step further: they build a community and create evangelists. In today’s day and age brands have no stronger weapon than a hardcore evangelist; try convincing an Apple user that Android is better and you’ll get your answer. If you are still new to content marketing, then read this blog on the basics of content marketing:
Now that we know how important it is to have a successful content marketing campaign, shall we go to war? Here are some content marketing tips that you can use for delivering an effective content marketing campaign.
Variety is the spice of life. Content is available in various formats and types and there is an audience for every content. Despite this, many marketers just stick to the traditional formats of content distribution. One of the most useful content creation tips is to explore new formats of content; whether it's textual or visual. Let’s look at various new forms of content dissemination which you can explore for your brand:
- Pillar Content: A pillar content is basically a detailed piece of content around a set of related topic clusters. A pillar page - also called cornerstone content - is a consolidated page on your website where all the topics are hyperlinked and covered in a detailed fashion. The pillar page helps to boost your SEO score because of its in-depth nature and ability to rank for a variety of keywords. It also serves as a full-funnel piece of marketing because it combines broad information with a targeted lead form. Pillar content need not be only text, it can be a combination of text, pictures as well as videos.
- Podcasts: India, although late on the product adoption curve, has come of age in terms of openness to podcast content. As per a June’ 19 PWC report, the podcast audience in India grew by 58% to 40 million in 2018 as compared to 2017. Not just this but a lot of music OTT as well as video OTT platforms are warming up to the fact of hosting podcasts and are investing for the same. With an explosion of listeners as well as platforms predicted in 2020 the user base of podcast listeners is definitely going through the roof. One of the best content marketing tips is to capitalize on this platform while it's still in its early stages so that you gain an advantage. Quick Fact: If we consider PM Narendra Modi’s Mann Ki Baat as a podcast, the target user base goes to 600 million listeners. Also, Mann Ki Baat has earned a revenue of Rs 5 crore for AIR every year for the last four years. Ache Din for marketers eyeing podcast content?
- Videos: Videos have revolutionized social media and there are two main factors playing a major role in this: first, the ever-reducing attention span of users and second, video-sharing platforms like TikTok, Helo, Sharechat, etc growing in popularity. YouTube definitely dominates the video sphere and has become the second biggest search engine in the world. There is a study that says 72% of the consumers would prefer to learn more about the brand via a video rather than text. This statistic shows that you need videos just as much as you need textual content.
- Infographics: Infographics are a great way to communicate important statistics and processes in a visually appealing way. This is one of the best content marketing tips to help your content reach users who might not otherwise engage with long-form content.
- Memes: In millennial language, a meme is a piece of an image/video which is humorous in nature and spreads rapidly like wildfire among the internet users. In 2020 if you want to connect with millennials, there wouldn’t be a better way than connecting via a meme. Many brands have also adopted this culture and have seen similar or better engagement than their normal posts. Here’s an example of Mumbai Police riding the ‘Mature Bag’ wave earlier in 2019.
There are many other brands that have also used meme marketing in their repertoire of content strategies. One of the most notable examples of this is Netflix. Netflix uses meme marketing to almost perfection, it uses and reuses its own content for a light-hearted laugh and subtle content promotion. The recent one being one of their sustenance posts on Instagram for the show Money Heist.
Netflix India listened closely to the chatter around the show Money Heist and the death of one of their main characters (spoiler alert!) Nairobi. They stared at Nairobi’s face for long enough to realize that there’s also one more actor who looks similar to her and quickly made a meme around it. Do notice the subtle promotion of both Money Heist and 3 Idiots in that meme. Also, try getting that image out of your head now!
- Topical content: Topical content, as the name suggests, is a form of content whose lifespan is very short and is done just for that one instance. The benefits of doing a topical content is that you are staying relevant to current issues and yet get your product messaging across. Here is an example of Durex delivering the message of staying home during the lockdown times of COVID-19, riding the topical wave of social distancing.
There is no one-size-fits-all content plan when it comes to choosing the different content formats to leverage. The best strategy would be to integrate each of these techniques into a holistic plan that can target every section of your target audience.
Although content is the king, you need messengers to proclaim the king’s legitimacy to faraway lands. Therefore, in order to make your content reach scores of people who are your potential customers, you need to amplify it. In today’s times with so much clutter around, only a few stand out. Here are a few content amplification techniques that one must always follow:
- Social media promotion: With the rate at which the number of users on social media applications is increasing, social media is just years away from becoming one of the levels in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Applications like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram are not just a great way to connect with friends, but also to generate business for brands. With the recent surge in the rise of TikTok adopters in India, marketers can now finally go after Tier 2 and 3 cities of India digitally. All of your blogs, pillars, infographics, videos and more can be promoted to the right audience using social media. Since social signals are an important ranking factor for Google, paid amplification can be one of the best ways to give your content the boost it needs.
- Online and offline PR: Marketers also don’t focus much on PR or rather digital PR in their content marketing strategy. Digital PR not only helps you to publish your content on renowned websites but also helps you to gain quality backlinks. The benefits of having a PR plan in your content amplification strategy are many; the most notable being that it improves the trust and credibility factor about your brand and improves your overall search rankings by getting high-quality backlinks for your website.
- Influencers: There’s no better way of gaining the trust of your users than having the people they follow or admire speak on your behalf. The concept of having an influencer plan in your content amplification strategy cannot be said better than this couplet:
maiñ akelā hī chalā thā jānib-e-manzil
log saath aate gaye aur kārvāñ bantā gayā
LATE MAJROOH SULTANPURI
To translate into a layman’s term, this couplet means, “I had started walking towards my goal all alone but soon people started joining me and we formed a caravan”. Isn’t an influencer amplification similar? Like-minded influencers who correlate with your brand help you in your journey to attain your goal.
There are a number of ways to use influencers as part of your content amplification strategy. They can, for instance, promote your content to their audiences and give you a backlink in the process. This will not only raise awareness of your content, but will also help you build a stronger backlink profile.
- Quora and forums: Question and answer platforms like Quora and forums are a great way to amplify your content while also providing value to users. You can search for questions related to your target market on Quora, respond to the question with useful details and tips and then link to your content to encourage users to learn more about the topic. You can also find forums related to your target market and actively participate on these to help your content reach the right audience.
The 70-20-10 Rule
The 70-20-10 rule is one of the best content marketing tips to help strategize your content better. Many times while putting down a content plan we get tunnel vision and put out content that is monotonous and often appealing to just one section of the audience, which is your core. The audience which you don’t cater to is an opportunity lost and in many cases a permanent loss of business. Here is how this rule can help you:
- 70% of your content should be in and around your core audience and services which are your bread and butter. This content is generally safe to put out and tells the user about your brand’s journey
- 20% of your content should be a slight deviation from your 70% content and cater to new audience segments that you can target as well. These segments are not as profitable as the core audience but have the potential to deliver good returns.
- 10% of your content should be purely experimental and push the boundaries about your brand. These content come under basically the high-risk high reward category. If this content works, it can be a part of your 20% strategy.
The phrase keep your friends close and your enemies closer is especially apt for content marketing. While planning out your content, the first and most important step that you must do is thoroughly research what your competitors have been doing and what are the key takeaways that you can implement. You’ll easily find a couple of content pegs that you might not have implemented but that your competitor has executed and derived results from. Having tough competition for your brand should be seen as a boon rather than bane. It helps to keep you always on your toes and motivated to continuously improve your content.
Content Marketing tools
Along with these techniques, there are also few content marketing tools that you might want to add in your repertoire for a smooth operation of your content.
- Pexels.com: Pexels.com is a website that stores tonnes of high-resolution stock photos and gives it to the user for free. It's one of the best content marketing tools to find great images that can add value to your content.
- Buzz Sumo: Buzzz Sumo is a content marketing platform which helps you to listen to the chatter going on about your brand on the internet and draw inferences from it. It can also tell you the top-performing articles around a certain topic, which will help you ideate for new pieces of content
- Mixkit: Just like how Pexels. com provides the marketers with high-res images, Mixkit allows user to download free stock videos from their website
- Similar Web: Similar web gives you a detailed report on how your website is performing and also gives you sort of insider information like your competitor’s top pages, keywords and traffic sources.
- Keyword Planner: Every content marketer knows that the heart of organic content discovery lies in the use of the right keywords. Keyword Planner will give you a monthly average search volume for a certain keyword and can also give you a list of related keywords. This will help you optimize your content so that it ranks better.
- LSI Keywords: LSI keywords are those that add context to your focus topic. It tells Google that your content is in-depth and appropriate for a user's search query. LSIGraph and LSIKeywords are two great content marketing tools that can give you a comprehensive list of LSI keywords for a specific topic.
- Google Analytics: Taking your content live is only half the work done. After it is live, you need to continuously monitor its performance to see if anything needs to be changed. Google Analytics is a must-have tool for every content marketer because it shows you how well your content is performing. It also gives you important demographic details of your website's visitors so that you can tailor your content accordingly.
With these proven content creation tips and strategies, you will be able to create a fool-proof content marketing plan that can help your brand stand out from your competitors.