4 Content Marketing Strategies Inspired by Print Media
In the constantly changing world of social media and evolving rules of SEO, many of the best practices in the content marketing game seem to change from year to year. Fortunately, there are plenty of things that do stay the same, and there's no better place to look for what can stand the test of time than print media. Below you'll learn how the tried-and-true methods of print media can be applied to bolster your own content marketing efforts.
Make an Excellent First Impression
We're all taught to not judge a book by its cover, but the truth is, that's exactly how most people behave. When you walk by the newsstand, might notice that some books or magazines pop out more readily than others. If you're particularly astute, you might notice that some headlines are better at catching your attention, and some brands get better placement on covers. These same sorts of attributes can be applied to your own work in social media as you try to capture the attention of people sorting through their busy news feed.
Everyone expects high-quality content, and few modern consumers have time to sort through boring, poorly presented information. Many otherwise excellent self-published works fail simply because they lack the right presentation, the polish of professional copy editing, or another apparently superficial element.
The lesson here is to ensure that your content can make an excellent first impression by adding a layer of professional polish before releasing it. Don't settle for your first draft. Be sure to take the time to reread everything, strengthen your core messages, and reduce the number of words you use. Consider having your content professionally edited. Break up your text with graphics, and consider exploring a variety of different content formats, such as videos and podcasts, that can help to reach new audiences.
Give Away Free Content
Giving away your content doesn't necessarily mean providing everything for free, but you should offer enough to hook your prospective reader into wanting more. The exact amount content you need to provide for free depends on how much information you need to dole out in order to inspire curiosity, and how much curiosity is needed to convince your readers to pay. This isn't a new or novel strategy -- many publishers have used it for years by including the first chapter of their next book at the end of a current publication.
This is a way to think past making that first sale and towards crafting a long-term business relationship with your consumers. When you let your prospective customers get a glimpse of information you offer in addition to the available reviews and ratings of your previous works, you enable consumers to make better informed purchase decisions. To put this in practice, think about ways you can enhance the value of your gated content, and encourage readers to purchase similar products by using your current products to support future sales.
Best Seller Lists
Just being able to put the words "New York Times Best Seller" or "Wall Street Journal Best Seller" on your publication can do incredible things for your sales. While achieving these prestigious titles may be out of reach for most people, the same principle can be used to promote your content effectively online. That's one of the reasons that publishers often pursue work from writers with established followings on a variety of platforms. If you're able to put a spotlight your most important content, you have the opportunity to make it on an attention-grabbing list. Even if those lists aren't as notable as the New York Times, you may find that your sales increase exponentially based on the social proof of popularity alone.
A good way to start putting these principles into practice is to create top 10 lists for your own content. These types of lists will promote themselves by their very nature. Another positive step you can take is to seek endorsements from experts in your field. Rather than asking for endorsement, consider including them in content creation process, which will increase likelihood that they will want to put their own name on your project.
Content for Community
This is another tip that fiction authors have been using for decades. Some of the most popular and successful writers earned their position by slowly building a community with the release of each new novel, including noted Game of Thrones author George RR Martin. And these types of communities aren't limited to writers. In an age where so many types of media are widely available for free, musicians, comedians and everything in-between have been crafting these types of communities to keep their sales up.
As content marketer, the thing you need to know here is that you have to understand your audience and their needs beyond the content that you offer. Science fiction writers are usually adept at this because they understand that their audience loves to collect things related to their books, so they can sell those products in the final pages of their novel. For your social media profiles, you should consider building a house file composed of your customers, fans, and perspective leads, and then use that file to build your own closed communities. Just be sure to gain permission for anyone in the file first, or you may be perceived as a spammer.
The best practices for content marketing may change from year to year, but these tried-and-true tactics will weather whatever the next generation of changes may bring. If you want to use content marketing to sell products, you need to start by building trust with quality content, and getting to know your audience. With time and persistence, you can ultimately expand your sales on the basis of that foundation.