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10 Books That Will Make You a Better Content Marketer

Do a basic search for books about content marketing, and you will find dozens upon dozens of titles on the topic. It’s hard to find a bad title in this genre, and there are several books that can help, regardless of where you fall on the Internet marketing spectrum.

Content Rich

This title is excellent for those starting out in the Internet marketing game, or for small business owners wanting to go it alone. It gives a pretty comprehensive overview of copywriting and how it relates to search engine optimization. A helpful feature of the book is the presence of case studies, which are sprinkled throughout its pages. These case studies give writers a clear picture on how search and content marketing can convert to sales in their everyday business.

Who is this book good for? Students of Internet marketing and/or small business owners with a strong interest in learning the basics of content marketing and SEO. This title would not be ideal for experienced content marketers or those already heavily immersed in SEO.

World Wide Rave

This book offers a unique view (and name) for the viral phenomenon that happens to online content when it strikes a chord with users. It focuses on creating content that is sharable and ideas on how to get it to spread organically over the Internet using one’s own network. Even if you have already been able to do this consistently, you may still find the ideas in the book to be useful. Readers get step-by-step instructions on how to create content that is highly sharable. One notable element is a discussion of triggers, or the things that make people want to share content online.

Who is the book good for? Those interested in learning more about creating viral content. The book is ok for intermediate marketers or for those not experienced with sharing organic content as a means of generating exposure.

Content Strategy at Work

This book is one of my personal favorites because it speaks to a strategy that all businesses should adopt in part or as a whole if they are interested in marketing online. One of the reasons the Internet has become so popular is because of easy access to free information in abundance. “Content Strategy at Work” taps into this idea, and it goes much further. It hammers home the idea that companies, individuals and anyone putting any kind of content online is really a publisher and, as such, needs to do it well in order to succeed. The book goes in depth into the many facets of content curation, management, aggregation and marketing.

Who is this book for? Writers and those already well-versed in the Internet marketing and/or SEO fields.

Managing Content Marketing

The title says it all. This book gives readers practical advice on organizing and managing a content marketing program, whether it’s in a large corporation or a small business. It offers advice on identifying internal clients and contributors who may be able to help the effort. The text also posits tough questions about outlining budgets, deliverables, players, challenges and goals for content marketing, in general. Essentially, the book helps professionals further hone their skills and place content-marketing activities into a framework that can be followed like a process.

Who is this book for? Experienced Internet and content marketers who are looking to organize their activities and become more effective at what they do.

Content Marketing for Dummies

Yes, they write all sorts of books for dummies. Why should content marketing be any different? If you have ever read a book for “Dummies,” you know that the series breaks subjects down into easy-to-understand sections combined with casual and practical language. This title doesn’t get too deep into the organization dynamics of a content marketing strategy or complex concepts about how consumers read content online, but it does take a common sense, no-nonsense approach to explaining the basics. It covers popular channels for content marketing as well as tools that can help people succeed with content initiatives.

Who is this book for? Those who are starting out in online or content marketing that want to know all the basics before going any further.

Content is Currency

If you are looking for a comprehensive and modern take on SEO and content marketing, this book has it. It covers things like keyword research, developing content for people and for search, page ranking factors, lead generation using content and how to develop a sound content marketing strategy. Social media and press release distribution are also topics of interest in the book. There is even a whole chapter devoted to developing content for social media networks and how to optimize these types of accounts.

The Pomodoro Technique

This isn’t directly a content marketing book, but I feel it highlights a lot of concepts that people need to be successful at it. If you are hiring someone else to do your writing for you, this title probably won’t be of much use. If you are doing it all yourself, time management can often be an issue. It’s very easy to get distracted or allow mental habits to keep you from generating good content. “The Pomodoro Technique” offers strategies on time management for writers.

Who is this book for? Anyone who wants help with time management, but especially those producing content on a daily basis.

Clout

This book is another one that gives a good overall view on web and content marketing. The theme, however, goes a little further into questioning all the old tactics used when testing a conversion funnel and how simple tweaks or tricks may not be enough to boost conversions. The title proposes a host of new solutions and ways of thinking about selling online and how content can help websites everywhere get more sales without deception or trickery.

Who is this book for? Experienced web marketers who are looking for a fresh perspective.

Conversion Optimization

I know — this book has little to do with actual content marketing, but it does have a lot to do with selling online. Ultimately, the goal of any business that operates online is to sell more products and/or services to customers. “Conversion Optimization” gives detailed information on how to persuade visitors to make buying decisions. It also gives marketers ideas on the poor design choices that cause visitors to leave a website. The author highlights the difficulties of selling online and how to increase conversions through a variety of different techniques.

Who is this book for? Intermediate web marketers or, perhaps, beginners with a lot of passion.

Get Content. Get Customers

The proliferation of the Internet has caused the buying habits of consumers to change radically. Now people go online to look for authoritative information on the products or services they are looking for. The authors of “Get Content. Get Customers” highlight this phenomenon and provide numerous case studies from large organizations on how content marketing has helped shape their success in selling online. The unique part about this title is that the authors offer ways to combine old and new methods of marketing to make a large impact on overall marketing initiatives.

Who is this book for? Experienced Internet marketers looking for a fresh perspective.

 

Sometimes getting a fresh perspective from an authority in the field can help enhance your content marketing efforts. Even books that may not speak directly to your everyday tasks can help you become a better marketer, overall. Are there any books that have made an impact in your professional life that aren’t listed here? Would you recommend them to others?

Understanding Your Content Marketing Objectives

Unfortunately, many online businesses are winging it when it comes to their content marketing campaign. Most don’t have a defined strategy so they’re simply publishing content— frequently and infrequently, valuable and not—in the hopes that it achieves some sort of favorable result. Some hit the jackpot with bits of viral content here and there, while others aren’t so lucky.

The fact of the matter is that in order to have a solid plan your content marketing objectives must align with your overall business strategy. Clear objectives are detrimental to the use of the right media, development of the right message, and creation of the right dialogue. It’s a matter of moving along the path from being found to engaging and generating two-way conversations with your target audience who eventually become brand evangelists.

With this in mind, let’s look at some common objectives you should consider when building out your content marketing plan.

Improve SEO and Traffic

Implementing SEO tactics to gain maximum exposure in SERPs is important, but it probably shouldn’t be the key driver of your strategy. If your sole focus is on keywords, you potentially ignore the needs of your intended audience. SEO should certainly play a major role when planning your campaign, but organic traffic and links should be a by-product of the high quality content you produce. Make this an objective so that you benefit from targeted keywords and phrases, just don’t make it your primary one.

Raise Brand Awareness and Recognition

If you’re still in the early stages of service and product introduction, then generating awareness for your brand will most likely be one of your primary goals. One of the most effective ways to extend the recognition of your brand, business, idea, or cause is to share several content formats across multiple channels.

Increase Engagement

The objective here is to generate content that turns awareness into something more meaningful. The content needs to resonate with your readership and actively encourage connection, participation, and relationship building in an effort to enhance an individual’s experience with your brand.

Improve Brand Perception

Brand perceptions and experiences develop over time through many different sources, including content. The content, tone, and style of the message you deliver helps the market relate to it, helps shape the way in which consumers view your brand, and contributes to higher conversion rates. Relevant, creative, and interesting content is among the top reasons people choose to follow a brand, which makes it all that more important.

Generate Leads

Content marketing is incredibly effective for lead generation. Understanding your audience, identifying the right content to create, and then sharing that content allows you to attract prospects who are willing to exchange their details for the content you have to offer.

Nurture Leads

After prospects provide their details and you have permission to market to them, you need to follow-up with meaningful and consistent dialogue. The objective here is to covert enquiries into qualified leads, and then convert those qualified leads into sales. Your aim is to build strong relationships and maintain mindshare with decision-makers.

Increase Sales/Revenue

When done correctly, content marketing ultimately increases sales. We’re not only talking about converting highly qualified leads into customers, but customers into repeat buyers. Your strategy helps you gain entry into a consumer’s decision process when they’re ready to purchase, and then proves to them that your solution is the best solution to meet their needs.

Improve Loyalty and Retention

If your goal is to turn customers into people who talk positively about your brand and pass on favorable word-of-mouth communications, then you need to focus on creating content in alignment with a solid customer retention strategy. A popular tactic includes the use of e-newsletters. However, you should fully explore the numerous options available before selecting the most appropriate tactics for your business.

Become a Thought Leader

Many B2B marketers see this objective as an area of significance since it differentiates them from competitors and establishes them as a trusted resource. If you choose to pursue this objective, you need to ensure you deliver exceptional value through fresh perspectives and game-changing insights.

Other Objectives

Other key objectives you may want to consider include educating your market, creating greater brand affinity, generating referrals, raising marketplace visibility (globally and locally), influencing key stakeholders, increasing user generated content (e.g. reviews and fan sites), up-selling and cross-selling, and gaining competitive intelligence. In addition, you may want to increase the lifetime value of a customer, improve customer service (before and after the sale), build collaborative, deeper relationships with your online community, and create passionate brand advocates. Keep in mind that the objectives of a B2B company generally differs from that of a B2C company.

Ultimately, you need to figure out what a successful content marketing campaign looks like to your business. The only way you’ll be able to strategize an effective plan is if you know what you’re aiming to achieve. Consider your business strategy and then determine which objectives are most relevant to your strategy. You’ll then be able to pinpoint which metrics to measure and set benchmarks to establish the impact of your campaign.

Do you have clearly defined content marketing goals? Share your thoughts below.

Content Marketing Strategy

Develop A Content Marketing Strategy That Packs A Punch

You might want to rethink your approach if your entire content marketing strategy depends on the outsourcing of a 500-word article for $1 every few days. In fact, if you’re outsourcing any content for a dollar or less, STOP. Yes, we all like a bargain, but if it comes at the price of your ethics and integrity, you’re being ripped off.

Before we talk strategy, let’s take a quick look at what content marketing is, and how you can use it to meet your business objectives.

Content marketing is a low-cost, effective way to build brand awareness and drive traffic to your website. Any type of content you publish, whether it’s videos, blog posts, or status updates, forms part of your content marketing strategy. You can use content to attract and engage your target, which ultimately helps you increase your conversion rate.

So how do you build a rock solid strategy that defies the limits of a laughable budget and actually works? Believe it or not, it’s doable. While you may decide to incorporate your own methods for generating quality content, these basic steps will help you formulate a content marketing strategy of note.

Keep Your Eye on the Desired Outcome

Image of Content Marketing Success

Content Marketing Success

Mistakenly many business owners take their eye off the ball, buying crappy articles for the sole purpose of creating a backlink. As an online entrepreneur, you should never underestimate the power of your content. When you lose focus, you start to place importance on factors that have little significance in determining your search engine rankings or providing value to your customer.

Understandably, you may feel the pressure to outdo your competitors by producing more, instead of better content. Don’t put your credibility or your business at risk by making that profit crushing error.

Your content has to mean something – every word counts. You’re not just publishing generic text, posting pretty pictures and revolutionary videos, or making bold statements.

You’re saying something about your company, about what you stand for and who you are. Unpalatable content that doesn’t resonate with readers could be your biggest downfall.

In a nutshell, you need content that resonates with current and potential clients, while giving your brand greater visibility in search engines. When you’re able to create a balance between SEO and making a connection, you’ll have traffic flocking to your site in droves. An increase in traffic leads to an increase in conversions, which means higher profits for you.

Get Rid Of the Designer Budget

You want a Ferrari when you can barely afford a bicycle. We get that. Unfortunately, the grand life doesn’t come cheap. It’s time to be realistic and realize that a shiny website with all the bells, whistles, and bling you can afford isn’t going to get you very far without engaging SEO content and plenty of it.

Assess your budget and make sure you’re spending in the areas that matter. If you’re throwing more cash into your website design than your content and SEO budget, make a serious change now, not when it’s too late. It’s time to free yourself from the mental anguish that comes along with expense and see the potential for conversions. In other words, don’t become so disconnected from content creation you lose the plot entirely.

 

6 Steps to a Powerful Content Marketing Strategy

 

Step 1: Find and Research Advantageous and Viable Gaps

 

Before you can create engaging content, you need to figure out which keywords you have a chance to succeed with, or improve on, in search engines. You’ll want to use several tools to evaluate content that’s achieving desirable results, and you’ll want to research keywords and phrases that drive the most traffic. Google Analytics, Yahoo Web Analytics, WordTracker, Google’s Keyword Tool, and similar tools are going to help you tremendously. However, make sure you understand the information they provide. If you don’t, consider hiring or consulting someone who does.

Once you have your keywords, it’s time to brainstorm content ideas. Research your target to find out what they want to hear. Survey customers, surf forums, and explore question and answer sites to see what people are saying. Pinpoint the topics that have the potential to attract visitors and boost conversions.

Tips:

  • Don’t waste time on phrases you’ll probably never rank for, especially when there are phrases you can rank for quickly and almost effortlessly.
  • Think of ways to repurpose content that works.
  • Target the keywords that are doing well, but could do better.
  • Stay informed about developments happening within your industry. You may hit upon a few ideas for content.

 

Step 2: Plan Your Content Creation and Distribution In Advance

 

To keep your audience interested and engaged, you need to deliver a steady stream of quality content, no matter which publishing platform you use. It’s inevitable you’ll be pulled away to deal with more pressing matters, which is when clever scheduling tools come in handy. Schedule several social media status updates throughout your day, but make certain a reasonable amount of time lapses between each one. Don’t overload your audience with information.

Tip:

  • Keep a collection of blog posts on hand for emergencies. You never know when you’ll be away from the computer for a few days.

 

Step 3: Create or Outsource Relevant and Engaging Content

 

If you can’t produce your own content, you need to hire affordable professionals. In today’s erratic global economy, there are millions of writers searching for a supplemental income online. However, it’s best to work through an established, reputable, and affordable content provider like The Content Authority. When you have a structured system in place, there’s less chance of being burned.

Tips:

  • Find freelancers who specialize in your niche. Besides being knowledgeable, they may have a few sharp ideas and will tackle your articles from a fresh perspective. The Content Authority’s direct order system makes finding freelancers who specialize in a particular topic easy.
  • Continue to add talent to your team for a stronger content marketing strategy. Depending on your outsourcing needs, you should always look for writers who are able to add value. You’ll find it helpful when you have a pool of writers you can depend on, instead of one.
  • Readers prefer content that is easily consumed. Most people skim, deciding within seconds whether they’ll stick around. It’s best to break your article into smaller, digestible bits, paying attention to the way you format your content. Use bullets, bolding, and sub headlines, as well as appropriate images to liven up your content and make it visually appealing.
  • Monitor your writers, and the content they produce to ensure you’re getting results. However, take into account you’ll only achieve a desirable result if you are clear about what you want. Provide your writers with clear, detailed guidelines, so you’re not disappointed with the outcome.

 

Step 4: Further Optimize Your Content for Search Engines

 

Part of a smart content marketing strategy is to use every opportunity to make the most of your content. Although writers will provide keyword rich articles, you can further optimize your content by including anchor text that links to relevant pages within your site. These internal links not only provide value to your readers, but you help improve your rankings, since anchor text holds significant weight in the determination of your positioning within search engines.

You should also create backlinks by submitting content to article directories and other websites. Be sure to include your keyword phrase in the resource box, linking it back to your site.

Tips:

  • Don’t use too many internal links. You don’t want to distract your audience, leading them away from the message you’re trying to convey.
  • Search engines will assign greater value to your site when you have more backlinks. Besides using article directories to generate backlinks, consider leaving insightful comments on forums and blogs with a link back to your URL.

 

Step 5: Promote Through Social Media

 

You have to get your name out there if you want people to see you. With the rapid growth of social media, you now have thousands of outlets to share your content with the world. Use Twitter, Facebook, Google +, MySpace, LinkedIn, and other popular social networking sites to build your audience and share your content.

Tips:

  • Along with the content title, post a small snippet of the juicy information people can expect to find when they visit your site.
  • Link to relevant, quality content, even if it’s not yours. When you find something your target will love, share it with them. They’ll thank you for it.
  • Search for social bookmarking and sharing widgets that allow you to make your content shareable. Popular options are Tell-a-friend, AddThis, and ShareThis.

 

Step 6: Measure and Tweak

 

You need to know how you’re doing so you can change what’s not working. In addition to assessing the page views, bounce rates, links, and conversions your content garnered, determine how responsive your audience is. You’ll also gain insight into how effective each writer is in creating content that connects with your readers. You’ll find you can quickly pick up different writer’s strengths and weaknesses, allowing you to allocate projects appropriately in the future.

Document the results so you can easily analyze your progress. Keep going back to the drawing board and look for ways you can strengthen your content marketing strategy. No one ever said marketing was easy, but when you find your groove, you’ll reap the rewards.

Have you developed a content marketing strategy? We’d love to know what works for you and what kind of results you’ve seen. Share your tips with us in the comments section below.

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