Danny Wong

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Content marketing was one of the most buzzed about topics in online marketing in 2013 which gave rise to plenty of unique trends. Many marketers were drawn to the promise of limitless traffic, so they picked the perfect platform to suit their needs, made sure it had a fancy and responsive design, only to publish 200-word posts once a month for a few months before abandoning the project entirely.

Those marketers felt content marketing didn’t live up to all the hype. “It’s a lot of work,” they groaned. “It’s costly,” they whined. “No one is sharing my stuff,” they constantly complained.

Here’s my advice: stop being lazy, stop being cheap and stop creating content no one wants to read.

A successful content marketing strategy doesn’t work simply because you want it to. In order to demystify content marketing, we conducted a quick interview with Allen Schweitzer, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer of content marketing agency Brafton.

Brafton, a Boston-based content marketing agency

1) What are the most effective types of content for your clients and why?

The content that drives results for our clients depends on their customers and unique marketing goals.

We make our recommendations about which formats to use only after we get a sense of what each customer is trying to achieve. For web marketing strategies to be effective, they need to be built around business objectives and refined based on results. However, we see that some content types pair better with certain aims.

For instance, landing pages drive product awareness, timely industry news helps SEO, white papers help establish thought leadership and can drive lead generation, social contests and infographics deliver engagement. We’ve recently seen demand for visual content take off and clients are seeing a lot of success with custom graphics and video content.

2) What are your best content marketing “secrets”?

Though it’s no “secret”, Brafton’s first priority is to create content that brings unique value to readers. We take a ‘people first, SEO second’ approach. If it doesn’t bring value to the target audience, the strategy won’t be successful.

Our consultants and writers spend a lot of time and effort learning about our clients and their ideal audiences, determining which topics and content types will be most effective while staying true to the brand’s unique voice.

Beyond that, Brafton’s strategies rely on smart, creative choices, and we achieve that through our agility. We have the in-house resources and creative talent in place to act quickly and scale when we learn what resonates so we can move on trends and seize opportunities.

3) How are clients distributing and promoting their content? What type of results are they seeing from these efforts? Please quantify.

After working with literally thousands of customers, we’ve found that the most effective channels for achieving results are Search, Social and Email.

Each have specific goals and objectives and Brafton’s strategies are designed to not only get the most out of each channel but also make sure the interplay across channels is strong. Online publication provides search visibility, giving clients access to new prospects who are actively looking for information. Social content promotion casts a wider net, and email distribution keeps target audiences engaged.

In the early stages of a content marketing strategy, clients generally see a 20% increase in organic traffic or more. Those who have us actively share and interact on their social channels (e.g. 10 Tweets/day or 2 LinkedIn posts/day) tend to experience follower growth over 50% and engagement increase over 100% quarter-over-quarter. Clients also see open and click-through rates rise and opt-out rates drop for email campaigns.

Content marketing, like all business tactics, requires strategic planning, and constant testing, iteration and optimization.

If you’re not ready to do it on your own, consider hiring an agency like Brafton to do the work for you. If you’re already executing exciting and successful content campaigns, share your story below in the comments. We’d love to hear about your unique approach to content marketing.

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  • Katherine_E_Griwert

    Allen, I love how you’ve debunked the myth that successful content marketing follows a “secret” rule or formula! Say something useful and interesting, make the next steps for readers clear. Thanks Danny (and Allen) for sharing these insights.

  • Your advice is spot on.

    • Thanks! Unfortunately, I can’t take much credit here. Schweitzer is responsible for all the great advice.

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