The coming of the New Year is an occasion of making plans and resolutions, and hoping for a better life, both on a personal and a professional level. It is like a new writing book with blank pages which you can fill with whatever you decide to do. I make the reference to writing because today we will focus on content marketing – more precisely on the best practices which will make 2016 a bountiful year in terms of more leads and more sales.
So, what is going to change for your content marketing strategy in the coming year? The changes are not dramatic, but subtle. However, this subtlety is the fine-tuning which makes the difference between the big winners and the hanging-in-there online businesses. And these changes have to do mostly with how people prefer to consume content and engage with each other and with businesses.
That being said, let us get down to business:
1. Focus More on the Millennials
The Millennials, or the C Generation (the connected generation) are people born between 1985 and 1995. They are young, dynamic, and extremely well connected to whatever happens in the world and in relation to their hobbies and interests through the internet.
They own smartphones and they are very smart at making choices, finding information and validating it with their friends and with top influencers. They are your new wave of customers and you should take them into account when you are planning your content strategy for 2016.
Learn more about their habits, their interests, needs and problems, and understand their basic traits of character: they value their online reputation, so they put a lot of thought in liking and sharing content; they do not respond to traditional marketing strategies; they do not like being pushed to engage with a business and they trust their friends’ opinions above anything else when it comes to companies, products and services.
2. Offer Valuable Content for Free
People are becoming more and more selective, even when it comes to free stuff. Years ago, a simple booklet with very little actionable information was enough to persuade people to sign up for a company newsletter. At the present, people will scrutinise your free content, value it against their needs and interests, and discard whatever they find irrelevant or low in value.
One of your best bets is to be generous enough to share genuinely valuable information, without asking for anything in exchange. After a while, people will sign up for your newsletter of their own will and become more and more willing to buy your products and services.
3. Synchronise Your Content Plan with Buying Cycles
One thing is certain: you cannot change people. If you have already noted patterns in your customers’ purchasing behaviour, there is no need to try to change that, because you will only get a limited result, far below your efforts. It is far more effective to synchronise your content marketing plan with your clients’ buying behaviour. Once they are in the “buying mood” they are also far more likely to share your content with their friends and create the second wave of purchases for your products and services.
This is also a very helpful way to plan your content strategy: just imagine the time you’d save if you have a clear timetable of peak moments and low moments for the coming year and you could simply distribute your content around these times.
4. Blogging and Beyond
Your blog is still the royal palace where content rules as king. But your content kingdom must expand beyond it. You have to identify every form in which people prefer to consume content: video, live podcasts, infographics, and so on. The more varied your content mix is, the higher your chances at reaching more people with different preferences in terms of consuming content.
5. Make It Longer
People are no longer satisfied with snippets of information. They want more in-depth content, more detail, more meaning. They are spending a lot of time commuting in a subway or a train, they have less and less time for reading traditional books. So, take your time to elaborate longer and more complex blog posts, articles and newsletters. Statistics also speak in favour of longer posts: content of 1,500 words and beyond gets shared more often on the social media than shorter articles and blog posts.
There you have it: these five content marketing tips will help you start a successful 2016, with lots of new leads and more sales.