Content Marketing Tips and Best Practices for the 21st Century

By Hector Cisneros

Content Marketing has become a buzz word of today’s marketing professionals, yet most of these honest, hard-working individuals only know part of what it means to be successful in this arena. Many, only work in one or two areas of content marketing like blogging, producing videos or posting to Facebook. What does it really take to be a successful content marketer? What are the principles followed and the marketing elements used to achieve success? In this episode of Working the Web to Win, we will explore four of Working the Web to Win’s primary Success principles. We will also cover seven of our main marketing processes so that you will understand and implement our successful methods. So, let’s delve into these content Marketing Tips and Best Practices as we cover Content Marketing in the 21st Century.


Four Best Practices – a Must for Success!

First - you must understand what Content Marketing is. Content marketing is not just SEO. It is not just Search Marketing. It is much more. It is a multifaceted, multi-disciplined endeavor which spans all aspects of the internet. It is not advertising in the same sense as old-school media advertising. It’s a form of branding, giving, educating, entertaining and soft selling all rolled into one. All marketers should approach content marketing from the perspective that they are there to provide the audience the best content for their industry. On top of this, successful content marketing is not one dimensional, it must address as many arenas as possible. You take your message where the audience is engaged, not just where you like to work. You must bring the message to as many media venues as possible, being on Facebook, Twitter or just YouTube won’t cut it anymore. This is a value-added approach. It is comprehensive, and must provide unique and authoritative content whenever possible. A lot of company’s approach content marketing by emphasizing keywords, and producing a lot of short, shotgun pieces that are disbursed to a lot of different venues to produce ranking and traffic. Although this will produce traffic, it will not always be of quality, and it most certainly won’t build audience loyalty. Your content needs to be produced with value-add in mind, not who can I fool with my message. It must be produced as the best possible gift you can provide. This will earn you loyal fans. Following these first four principles will grow your audience the fastest and at the same time produce the most ranking as well. The following are links to articles related to this topic.
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Second you must exercise your due diligence so that you fully develop and understand your target market, ideal customer profile and your unique selling proposition. You must also develop your unique branding and call to action marketing messages. This can only be acquired by doing the necessary research, contemplation and brainstorming, followed by testing your ideas and messages. If you neglect to do this upfront work, you are just guessing. There is no substitute short of the grace of God for doing your marketing research. Guessing at your marketing does not produce a good return on investment. At best you might get lucky, at worst the business will fail because of your mistakes. The following are links to articles related to this topic.

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Thirdonce you know your market profile, you must develop a reasonable budget. This budget needs to be consistent with what you must spend and with the goal you plan to achieve. For well-established companies, this is an easier proposition. However, for startup, it will be a substantial portion of your annual budget, only surpassed by R&D. A good, comprehensive marketing program will put forth your branded unique selling proposition to at least seven content marketing venues. These will include, websites (both nexus and landing pages) online video, blogging, social networks, directory listing, touch marketing and pay per click advertising. On top of this, it would be wise to outsource this marketing because taking this amount of specialize and multifaceted work in house will cost twice as much as outsourcing. This is because of the added overhead and benefits you must provide for the marketing personnel. For example; a single in house social media marketer employee would run you over 30,000 a year. You can outsource a five-element multimedia multi venue campaign that includes blogging, videos, social media, directory marketing, and pay per click for around 24,000. In the beginning, outsourcing is the way to go. The following are links to articles related to this topic.
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Fourth you now need to develop an implementation plan to engage in effective marketing using your target market, ideal customer profile and your unique selling proposition. It must provide a branded and compelling message to the top seven marketing arenas. This plan needs to utilize the funds as an investment in time to build your audience and grow your loyal fan base. At this stage of the game, you need to vet your vendors for skill, capabilities, reputation, price and the ability to follow through to reach your goals. Vetting vendors can be a time-consuming project, but it is one that is critical to your success. The process is much easier today because you can do some of the research on the internet. However, there is no substitute for calling customers who have given testimonials, doing a site visit to their business, and doing comprehensive research on your final three to five candidates. Above and beyond the quality of the company, look for flexible terms for payment, length of contract and delivery of services. Also look for any guarantees that a company provides. Performance guarantees take the risk out of the investment and generally provide a greater return on your investment. Most marketing companies do not provide guarantees. The few that do often have a lot of escape clauses in the small print of their agreements. The following are links to articles related to this topic.
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Now let’s look at the top seven arenas and the marketing methods we use to be affective with our money.

Website Design for Branding and Conversion – A business needs a web page of some kind on the internet. Web pages come in a lot of flavors today. You have the typical nexus site that includes anywhere from five to a couple of dozen pages. You have landing pages, social pages, blogs, video channels, photo channels, Press Release pages, podcast pages and more. The primary purpose of a website is to give your customers a place where they can find what they are looking for. All web pages are mainly there to provide information. However, if properly designed and made mobile friendly, a web page can be set up to convert visitors into customers. We have found that HTML landing pages do this best. This is especially true if they are easy to read, and are focused on only one subject. They also make it easier to setup on page SEO. They must provide easy to find contact information, have a click-to-call phone number, a testimonial video and provide useful and easy to understand information on your product or services. Whenever possible, you need to setup the page so that they can make the buying decision right there and then. Last, but not least, they must provide a compelling offer that provides a perceived value to the customer. All of the above elements need to be above the fold on the web page. Anything short of having these elements on your landing page will reduce your conversion rate substantially. The following are links to articles related to this topic.
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Pay Per Click - The fastest ROI in internet marketing can be pay per click (aka PPC). If it’s set up properly (and this is a big if), it can produce lots of leads quickly. The drawback to PPC is that clicks are not sales and there are bots that engage in clicking. There are studies that show bots can represent between 30 to 60 percent of all clicks. That’s 30 to 60 cents on the dollar! Also, your competitors can see what you’re doing and can counter your efforts by clicking on your ads as well. On top of this, pay-per-click only produces limited organic position (traffic to a landing page or website enhances organic position). Once you turn off PPC advertising, the lead spigot is shut off! PPC pricing is usually provided on a bid basis, which means that the price can fluctuate tremendously. PPC advertising is best used in conjunction with other content and organic search marketing. The following are links to articles related to this topic.
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons


Video to the Rescue -  Video marketing has been around since the mid-2000’s when internet bandwidth increased in speed enough to make it viable. The good news is that most competitors are not fully engaged in video marketing and most are still learning how to use this medium. The best news is that videos listed in search results are five times as likely to be clicked on as other search listings. On top of that, Google limits the number of videos to a couple of listings.   If your video pops up in organic search, you’re a winner. The trick is to have high production value and optimize the keywords in the listing. Plus, like in all social venues, it’s also important to be consistent in producing and posting videos on a regular basis. Video marketing is not expensive. All it takes to engage in video marketing today is a willingness to learn, a smartphone and a YouTube or Facebook video channel. The following are links to articles related to this topic.
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Blogging for Credibility – Blogging is a marketing venue that can produce the most credibility for a company that is trying to showcase an excellent product or service. It can be relatively free to setup and use. The trick is to provide the examples by producing articles that inform and entertain. You also need to use content that is keyword optimized and pushed out to a large audience. In contrast, what you often see in blogs, are a lot of poorly veiled sales pitches. Trying to sell in a blogpost is a mistake. That doesn’t mean you can’t have ads on the sidebar or in column banners, but tricking the readers with veiled sales pitches won’t help you grow an audience. A good blog is not too short (about 1000 words) and it provides unique, authoritative, and useful information that is of high quality and relevant to your target audience. Anything else will hurt your credibility. The following are links to articles related to this topic.


Social Networking for Reputation Management – The top eight social networks (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, Blogger and Pinterest) are where you will find people to grow your audience and build a loyal customer fan base. Social networks are mostly free to use to distribute your blogs. Blogs and videos are the perfect fodder for the social nets. When you write a blog, produce a video or podcast to go with it (or have a blog with an embedded video or podcast). When you post it to your social networks, make sure you use a catchy headline to attract readers and content consumers. If you provide them with compelling headlines, useful information and congruent links, your audience will naturally grow. This is a fantastic way to build your reputation because everyone likes to buy from the resident expert in any industry. It is also the primary way to acquire testimonials and positive ratings. Social networks can also be a primary means to provide customer service and to deal with unhappy clients. The following are links to articles related to this topic.

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Touch Marketing for Follow up – Once you have collected the contact information for a customer or prospect, it's time to continue the conversation by providing prospects with an e-newsletter via an email or direct social message. The information must be timely, useful and relevant and delivered when they agree to receive it (i.e., daily, weekly, monthly, etc.…). Make sure that you provide a way to unsubscribe and that the headline is catchy and describes something timely and useful.  If it does not meet the above criteria, it will be considered spam. This at best will cost you a follower, at worst it will get you reported as a spammer that can lead to being blacklisted or fines. The following are links to articles related to this topic.
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Search Directory Listing for Organic Ranking – Being listed in a lot of authoritative search directories brings ranking factors, distribution and web page traffic. This is the least expensive non-black hat SEO technique that you can implement that provides measurable results. We like posting our clients website and landing pages to the top 100 search directories before the campaign starts. The after effects of these profile posts usually start showing up within two to six months. And if updated monthly, even sooner. Any web page that you want to increase traffic or improved ranking factor for, search directory listings are the low-cost ticket to ride. The following are links to articles related to this topic.
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons


We have been providing content marketing for clients for many years. The clients that have allowed us to manage the above best practices and implement the top seven tips have achieved tremendous success. Those who only allow us to implement parts of the strategies had less success. In fact, the more a company tried to micromanage the process, the higher the likelihood that they were going to fail. It is our hope that you follow these four marketing principles and our top seven content marketing practices as closely as possible. If you don’t have time to manage these elements, by all means, outsource them. As a rule, outsourcing your marketing is a cost-effective way of achieving success. Please feel free to contact me personally if you have any question about the information in this article.

Since this is the 300th edition of Working the Web to Win, I wanted to provide our readers and follower, a valuable resource for them to use. Let me know if it meet your expectations. The linked article provide years of our personal experiences in marketing. I hope you take the time to produce the high quality and useful content that today’s audience is looking for. Providing readers what they want is a sure way to win a loyal following. Providing useful high and quality information without regard for self-gratification is the best way to win the hearts and minds of your readers and followers. Please share this article and its links with your friends, co-workers and those individuals who are engaged in content creation and blogging. It is my hope that they find my message helpful and useful.

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This article discusses how content marketing in the 21st century should be produced. It covers our four success principles and the top seven content marketing processes we use to achieve success. The seven processes discussed will always yield the best results possible when applied using the top four principles listed. Included are additional resources, links and other reference material to help the reader learn how to use these principles.

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Hector Cisneros is COO and Director of Social Media Marketing at Working the Web to Win, an award-winning Internet marketing company based in Jacksonville, Florida.  He is also co-host of the weekly Internet radio show, "Working the Web to Win" on BlogTalkRadio.com, which airs every Tuesday at 4 p.m. Eastern. Hector is a syndicated writer and published author of “60 Seconds to Success.

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