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    How to Make Your Content Marketing Shine

    You know that content is king in any Internet marketing strategy. But creating an excellent content marketing campaign requires more than good ideas. You need to be able to develop fresh, interesting content, over and over. Eventually, posting updates about your business becomes repetitive, and product descriptions and descriptions of what you do become tedious.

    You need to find ways to keep people interested and generate buzz—not just around your company’s capabilities, but around the content itself. This is what leads to shares and new exposure, and ultimately what both brings your current customers back and brings new customers to your door.

    Balance Current and Evergreen

    One dilemma you face is whether to keep your content running with the times or to try to build a library of content that will remain relevant regardless of when someone reads it. Google rewards content that is fresh and current, so the need to create posts that strike chords in the moment makes sense. On the other hand, writing that retains meaning beyond the instant you post it holds appeal as well; a business should do more than capture a momentary mood, and your content marketing should reflect your enduring company.

    As it turns out, just as you would expect of any either/or question, the answer to this one is a little bit of both. Your best online marketing strategy, like your best investment strategy, is to diversify. When you move between writing that focuses in the present and writing that endures, you do more to maximize your reach. Different customers will respond to each approach. Content situated in cultural moments reaches the hipper, and generally younger, part of your customer base. Longer-lasting content, on the other hand, appeals to the more conservative and information-oriented customers and potential customers. Your strategy should account for both groups, so mixing up the temporal nature of your content marketing provides one piece of a sound strategy.

    Lighten Things Up

    When your content marketing gets too serious for too long, you lose people. When you look at content that goes viral, the most shared and viewed entries are seldom serious or somber. Humor connects people to each other, and if you employ it well, it will connect people to you.People like to smile, and to laugh. Give them opportunity and reason to do so, and it will serve
    you well.

    Two important caveats apply. First, there are some subjects that should generally receive a level of gravitas or dignity that is difficult to balance against humor. This might include tragedies that occur on the world stage, or illnesses and other serious moments in people’s personal lives. Professional comedians may be able to pull off humor in these areas, but they are working with a niche audience prepared for the material. When you attempt to reach a larger audience,you should tread more carefully.

    Second, but related, you should be wary of humor that seeks to make fun of particular groups,races, disabilities, or anything else. Some attempts to be funny come across as mean-spirited.You will never please everyone regardless of the approach you take, but you should take the time to look at your content marketing material and make sure you are not accidentally mocking or ridiculing anyone. You want to make people laugh, but you want to make sure your tone and material strike the right notes.

    Focus on Your Customers, Not Yourself

    Similarly, many businesses feel their content marketing falter when they focus exclusively on aspects of the company. You can certainly post information online about your business. If you have a sale or special event going on, or if you move or open a new facility, it makes sense to let your customers know. But in general, you should remember that your goal is to engage readers and garner their interest. Think about what your customers will care about, and cater to that when you create and provide content.

    In general, there are two ways to gain the attention of potential customers. The first is to inform them. As a business owner or manager, you hold expertise that not everyone does. That expertise lies not just in your company, but in your industry. If you can give people information about how to do something, or how something works, that creates value that people can use.

    And if you can help someone learn or understand information that they can use, you give them a reason to keep reading and to come back to read more.

    In addition to informing your potential customers, you can gain their attention by entertaining them. This approach tends to require some understanding of your market and your customers’interests. Local sports references, interesting stories, funny jokes or graphics, or any number of other kinds of material can catch people’s attention. Take the time to understand your customers and what they enjoy. If you focus on those customer interests, you can usually find topics that will work for your content marketing campaign.

    Keep Mixing It Up

    The longer you continue your content marketing campaign, the easier it is to get into a rut. If you keep posting similar content over time, you risk losing customers from fatigue or boredom.You can find a multitude of ways to vary your content: length of posts, subject matter, levity,inclusion of images and video content, and many other wrinkles. If variety is the spice of life, it should also help flavor your marketing approach.

    One way to build in variety is to set up a schedule that lays out particular topics or search terms you want to target for your SEO. Doing this helps you avoid falling into patterns without realizing it, and gives you a path toward a content library people will enjoy over time. Again, the key is to create in your content marketing an experience that attracts readers to you. When you balance your approach over time, you give yourself the best opportunity to succeed.

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