Content Marketing Tips for 2014

At the dinner table, on the beach and in the airport - these are just a few of the places people consume content today.

The world is more connected to the Web than ever before, which has left enterprises searching for new ways to satisfy the growing demand of content consumers.

As a result, most business owners (58 percent) are planning to increase their content marketing budgets in 2014 according to the Content Marketing Institute.

Before marketers put more resources into this evolving strategy, it is important to move beyond superficial and short-term successes, such as likes or views, to truly understand how to use content to grow a business.  SUBSCRIBE FREE to Website Magazine - 12 Issues

1. Identify marketplace opportunities.

The fastest way to generate impactful content is to know what your audience is interested in. Use your analytics as a starting point. For example, if a beauty retailer's best-selling product is a red lipstick, creating a blog or infographic that helps readers pick their "best shade of red" is likely to be a homerun. For additional insights, marketers can leverage social listening tools like Brandwatch or Visible Technologies to discover hot topics among their audiences.

Aside from covering popular topics, marketers also need to capitalize on other marketplace opportunities. CEO of InboundWriter Skip Besthoff recommends researching competitors' strategies and identifying writing topics where a site's content can compete. He advises that simply writing about a topic one is knowledgeable about is leaving success to chance.

2. Create a path to purchase.

In order to influence an enterprise's bottom line for the better, a marketer must tactfully incorporate a path-to- purchase into content.

"Creative content that's purely interesting definitely has a place in raising brand awareness and traffic, but it doesn't necessarily attract people who will then go on to make a sale, which is ultimately what clients want," said Estelle Puleston, creative project manager at Strategy Internet Marketing. "However, if you can create something that's both useful/interesting and subtly encourages a sale, you're on to a winner."

Let's go back to the beauty retailer example. By linking to inventory within the lipstick article, marketers can funnel consumers to product pages with just one click.

3. Make content consumable.

Consumers won't hesitate to move on from content that is difficult to consume, whether it be a long video, unorganized infographic or poorly formatted article. CEO of ePromos Promotional Products Jason Robbins suggests using a consistent writing style that is both engaging and professional, as well as creating a visually appealing structure (e.g. with subtitles or bullet points).

"Put the meaty stuff - stats, figures, factual information - as early as possible in your content," continues Robbins. "People are busy. If they don't find what they need on your site, they'll go elsewhere."

Power Tips!

LinkSmart shares five tips for increasing reader engagement through in-content linking at

4. Test marketing copy.

When it comes to marketing, enterprises must learn what type of copy performs best. After all, competing in the social sea and email everglades is not an easy feat.

For email, Seamas Egan, manager of revenue operations at Campaigner, advises marketers to focus on subject lines. Campaigner, like many other email service providers, offers an A/B testing feature that makes it easy to test different subject lines. Marketers tell Campaigner what to test, how they want it to pick the winner and the system will do the rest.

Testing copy that will motivate subscribers to open is the key, and the same concept holds true for social. Luckily, social allows marketers to leverage visuals to attract attention. See other tips for creating social posts that get clicks at

5. Know where to promote.

To give your content the best chance for success, it is important to know where to distribute it.

"Go where your customers and prospects are," said Rob Yoegel, content marketing director at Monetate. "People consume content in different ways, at different times and in different places. Create different versions of content to address the different ways people consume content."