Marketing automation has driven content to new and exciting places but is your content game as strong as it could be? These nine automation tricks and tips can nudge you that little bit closer to content perfection… take them, implement them, and pass them on.
1. Keep it dynamic
Fields such as content marketing and marketing automation are constantly evolving; in fact, they could be described as dynamic. It makes sense, then, for you to introduce dynamic content to your email marketing and to your website, providing your users with content offerings which are as smooth and pleasing to the reader as that segue.
Content marketers now have the tools at their disposal to upload content which changes based upon the location and preference of the user. Utilize these tools and create a much more personalized effect. This personal touch is something which is too often lost during the automation of your content strategies. It is important to reclaim it whenever you can.
2. Build a long term narrative
This one comes down to planning. Once you have launched a killer bit of content, what comes next? Do you consider that content done and dusted and move onto something else? Or do you carefully consider the next steps in your journey and that of your audience?
Plan your content carefully. Make each piece worthwhile and useful in its own right but look to build an ongoing narrative, with each piece leading into the next. Refer back to your content marketing mission statement to ensure you are heading in the right direction.
3. Segment, and segment again
We are already well aware of buyer profiles, but the idea of the buyer profile is not simply to segment your audience into manageable chunks, but to whittle your categories further and further to provide the most tailored experience possible to customers.
So, if your buyer profiles are not achieving the right result, segment again, narrowing them even further. Be as specific as your resources will allow, and achieve far more bang for your content buck.
4. Understand your channels
Your automation platform has a reporting function, so use it. This function tells you where leads and prospects are accessing your content, which pieces of content are proving the most effective, and which devices are yielding the most conversions.
This represents an astonishingly valuable bit of insight. Knowing which channels are pulling their weight and which ones need further work gives you a strong indication of what you should do next.
5. Be human
Automation can, occasionally, become a little too automatic. If this seems like a ludicrous statement, bare with me a moment. What I mean is that we should take every opportunity to inject a bit of humanity into our marketing.
Unless you have shelled out for a particularly incredible bit of software, the content you deploy via automation is not created automatically. You have to write it or produce it, so have fun with it. Add your own voice and don’t lose sight of your humanity. Your audience will reward you with a positive response.
6. Get inspired
There’s no harm in casting a glance sideways every now and again to check out what the competition are up to. In fact, this is positively encouraged. Plagiarizing content is always wrong, and provides no benefit to marketers anyway, but sealing ourselves off from the outside world is simply pointless.
Look around you, look at what others are doing, think about how you could do it better. Inspiration is the driving force for creativity and, no matter how much you try to bury yourself in facts and figures and conventional wisdom, your content must be creative.
7. Keep it fresh
Your audience are only human, and humans get bored from time to time. It is up to you to combat this boredom and to maintain interest in your content. To do this you need to look inwards.
What do you do when you get bored? You find something else to read, watch or do. What sort of things keep you from being bored? Things that remain fresh, interesting, diverse and useful. Work to introduce this freshness to your content marketing.
Play with different forms of media, invite guest bloggers to work with you, or form content partnerships. The definitions of fresh and exciting change all the time; make sure you are alive to these changes.
8. Focus on value
The bottom line of content must always be meaningful and valuable. You can craft a flashy bit of content, publish it, and then distribute it via your marketing automation platform, but your efforts will be wasted if the content is found to be ultimately of little to no value.
Your audience are smart; they engage with you because they have a specific problem and require your expertise or killer product to resolve this problem. As such, marketers must respect this intelligence and make sure that each piece of content hits this target.
Ask yourself: what is the point of this content? What is it trying to achieve? And is it successful?
9. Consider the support aspect of content
Once we start achieving results from the content we launch, it is tempting to get a little carried away. We spend time creating great content. We carefully select the automation platform which best suits our needs, then we put the two elements together and… hey presto… a rapid upturn in conversions and new customers.
But what about the other end of the scale? What about the customers you have already acquired? Don’t they deserve love and support too? They certainly do, and failing to provide that support can be costly. Statistics released by Superoffice found that 67% of customers who churn cited bad experiences as the reason for their leaving the fold – i.e. they were pushed away, rather than pulled by attractive offers elsewhere.
Content can play a major role in preventing churn. Consider your interactions with displeased customers; what was playing on their mind? what issues needed to be resolved? Could these solutions be supported or provided with content?
Marketing can never be truly automated. And this is especially true for content marketing, which seeks to engage people in an authentic way.
But follow these 9 tips to automate your content marketing, and you’ll save the time and the money you need to focus your attention on what really matters: marketing that delivers business results.