Editor’s note: Josh R Jackson is a contributing editor at BestMarketingDegrees.org. To celebrate the launch of our New Content Marketing Certification, Josh joins us this month to discuss the most effective Content Marketing techniques for driving sales, engaging consumers and improving ROI.
Given the many web platforms that exist for content promotion, we tend to talk about the importance of content marketing technology as often as we talk about importance of content marketing itself. And that’s a lot of talking. Yet we rarely discuss the importance of content marketing techniques. So what is content marketing technique? Is it when you add a new font to your website for a little extra flourish? A new designer with a different style to your graphics team? Or is it more intangible, like an artist’s choice to use a special brush that flecks paint on a canvas in a certain way, one that simultaneously affects chaos and control?
The answer is a little bit of all the above.
Since content marketers are artists of information delivery, the techniques they employ package several different methods of communication into one principled message. We can define content marketing technique as a brand’s unique recipe for marketing their brand content, especially in a way that captures its essence and sets it up in front of an ideal audience. Such techniques can include whatever admixture of content formats, social media platforms, and distribution strategies best fit our respective companies. But like most forms of artistic expression, customized techniques are usually practiced with a standard set of tools.
That’s why we’ve taken this post to organize the standard set of tools (e.g., social media, video, blogs, websites, one-time publications, virtual and print periodicals, audio, mobile applications, educational online classes, in-person interaction, content platform posting, and traditional news content) according to the type of content marketing techniques they work with best. Along the way, we’ll also point out which techniques are likely the most important for content marketers to pick up in 2017. Without further ado, here they are:
1. Ephemeral Messaging
The latest technique to enter the modern content marketer’s wheelhouse is ephemeral messaging. Snapchat is the most popular platform for ephemeral messagers today, although older platforms like Twitter and Facebook have attempted to enter the marketplace with applications like Periscope and Facebook Live, which have capitalized on popular demand for one-and-done messages that can “self-destruct” like snap pictures, texts, and videos. Such messages convey an uncensored level of authenticity to viewers, who tend to see them as privileged, intimate windows into an individual’s everyday life.
The broad rule for ephemeral messaging is that the less editing, refining, or secrecy, the greater the sense of authenticity. And the greater the sense of authenticity, the better the experience for the viewer, much like the case for reality television. When compared to print media, we can also see social media as a precursor to ephemeral messaging, just as in-person interaction like word-of-mouth advertising can be seen as a precursor to social messaging. If content marketers can access this connection to in-person interaction, and companies can effectively learn how to perfect the technique of ephemeral messaging—both as a way to reach people directly and practice the most effective form of marketing there is (i.e., word-of-mouth)—then we can expect ephemeral messaging to play a very important role for content marketers in 2017.
2. Short-form Content Promotion
The bread and butter of content marketers’ posting diet is short-form content. Its promotion is the most commonly practiced technique among content marketers today. From blogs, videos and social media news updates to one-time publications like white papers or eBooks, short-form content makes up the vast majority of posts on both the search web and social web. Short-form content posting generally requires less time and resources than long-form publishing, though slightly more time than sending a Snap video.
The rule for short-form content promotion is generally to provide fast, actionable news and advice on accomplishing a goal, whether that be finding a new job or career, buying a particular product, or fixing a car or washing machine. The more educational, entertaining, and quickly information can be delivered, the more actionable it is. And the more actionable the information is, the more social engagement and backlinks that short-form content tends to collect on content platforms like YouTube, Medium, and mainstream media outlets. Because the cultivation of social engagement and backlinks is the best way to elevate company websites and platform rankings on the all-important search web, perfecting the technique of short-form content promotion should remain the bread and butter of any content marketing strategy in 2017.
3. Long-form Content Publishing
Short-form content promotion goes hand-in-hand with building long-form content publications. For example, websites are built by stringing together a series of pages that usually contain short-form content like blogs, videos, infographics, podcasts, and links to social media pages. The cultivation of all this content under the roof of a single domain makes websites a long-form content publication, which as a general rule, requires greater time and resources to publish than short-form content. Other examples of long-form content publications include online classes for educational purposes, virtual or print periodicals that are contributed to regularly, as well as more traditional content such as industry ranking series, survey research, video testimonials, and books.
Another general rule of long-form content publications is that they tend to require a higher degree of technical know-how and editorial control to pull off, and are therefore more polished than short-form content promotions or ephemeral messaging because of their permanence. Due to the predominance of short-form content and regular updates to technological infrastructure over the past decade, however, the trend has been to avoid publishing content that professes permanence. Look no further than books published five years ago on the topic of content marketing for evidence of just how difficult it is to hit the moving target of technology. However, with the advent of big data and predictive analytics, it is becoming possible not only to hit a moving target with long-form content, but to predict where that target might be in days, weeks, or months. That’s why in 2017, it’s important to perfect the technique of research to pull off long-form content publishing, which could be vying for a innovative comeback in the near future.