Content marketing is hot.
According to one survey, 91 percent of B2B marketers are using content marketing, and B2B organizations are allocating 33 percent of their marketing budgets on it, up from 26 percent last year.
Content marketing is hot because it has become an imperative. Google’s Penguin and Panda updates rocked the SEO world, making quality content more than ever the factor that drives webpage rankings.
So far, many B2B organizations are struggling with content marketing. Less than 40 percent of those surveyed rated their content marketing “effective” or “very effective.”
So, if you’re one of those not fully satisfied with the results of your content marketing, what can you do to improve it? A great way is to give your content some PED’s.
To explain how, we’ll use some principles from cycling, a sport that isn’t so hot in the wake of the drug scandal that peaked in October with Lance Armstrong being stripped of all seven of his Tour de France titles. The good news: You will be rewarded — not punished — for using the performance-enhancers we suggest.
To have a chance to succeed, a great cyclist needs a bicycle that is tuned for the race that he is riding. Even with the aid of PEDs, Armstrong almost surely would have finished last or near last in the Tour de France if he were riding a mountain bike.
As a content marketer, what you’re riding on is your content. To succeed, you need to create content that is not only of high quality, but that also is tuned to reach your desired audience, not unlike how Armstrong’s team tuned his bikes to suit a given stage.
One way to tune your content is to use our first performance-enhancer: TopicJacking. This practice involves finding a topic (or content) that is related to the one that you are writing about that is already popular, shared and authored by someone with established credibility or digital influence on the particular topic. Then, link to that related topic from your content. By using TopicJacking, your own content’s reach is greatly amplified by association with the successful topic. (more information on Topicjacking here).
Our second performance-enhancer is to turn your major piece of content into other pieces of content. For example, a white paper could be turned into five or six blog posts, 50 or 60 tweets, a webinar, a video, etc. People differ in the ways they prefer to consume content; by creating a variety of content types, you will further increase your reach. For more on this, see our content marketing infographic.
2. Ride the slipstream
Armstrong actually spent a very small percentage of the Tour de France at the front of the pack. As a result of aerodynamics, cyclists following closely behind other cyclists (a practice known as drafting) don’t have to pedal nearly as hard to travel the same speed — it’s almost as if they get pulled along. On flat ground, a group of elite cyclists can travel much faster than any individual.
Content marketers also can use the concept of drafting to their advantage. TopicJacking is one effective drafting technique. Others include two more of our performance-enhancers: socially sharing your content with both the authors of the articles you link to and other related social influencers, and leaving comments on relevant highly shared blogs. The authors and influencers may acknowledge you, putting your content in front of their followers. By putting your content in the slipstream of successful content, your content will be pulled along into their readership.
3. Know when to attack
While Armstrong spent most of his time in the middle of the peleton, eventually he had to attack to put away the competition. He didn’t do so at random times. He did so strategically, typically toward the end of a mountain stage when he felt strong, and his top rivals appeared to be struggling.
Now, content marketing differs from cycling here somewhat. You aren’t trying to defeat everyone else, but rather are trying to rise above the fray — that is, get the most people from within your target audience to notice you. Still, like Armstrong, you need to be able to make your moves strategically. You need to know the hot topics and content that relate to your business and the social influencers who are engaged on those topics and content, so that you know what to write about and who to connect with at the right time.
Without this information, you can’t take advantage of the performance-enhancers — TopicJacking, content diversification, social media communication with authors and influencers, blog commenting, and you’ll be out on your own. And, just like cycling, being out on your own and without performance-enhancers, is a difficult way to win at content marketing.