The 3 E’s of a Content Marketing Strategy

Content is at the heart of successful digital marketing. It comes in many different shapes, sizes and formats: blogs, videos, surveys, polls, infographics – you name it. Which makes it even harder to find companies that don’t have some sort of content strategy in place, whether it’s complete or not.

Content’s popularity and impact on marketing in the Digital Age means every business on the block has launched some type of content strategy. This means the competition for audiences’ attention is extremely tight.

The following content marketing tips will ensure that your efforts have the greatest potential to entice, engage and enchant – the 3 E’s of content marketing.

Let’s dive in..

Entice

The first objective of your content strategy is to entice the click. Before anyone will engage or be enchanted by your content, you first have to draw them in.

The challenge of enticing readers is you have a limited amount of space to catch their attention and convince them to click through. Depending on the channel and the content type, you may only have the headline title to encourage that attention.

If you’re lucky, you have a short summary/description attached to the title, but that luck only buys you another sentence or two worth of space. So, how can you entice readers?

Diversify To Satisfy

While content comes in a lot of different styles, many companies get stuck in the shallow end of the content swimming pool; they play it safe with what’s expected by audiences.

Enticing users to click, and then reach that second ‘E’ and engage, requires a diverse content strategy that utilizes all appropriate content types/channels. This creates a more expansive and interesting customer experience and content strategy that won’t bore or overload users with repetitive content.

When brands fall into the content safe zone, they routinely post the same types of content (and typically the same handful of subjects). Great content marketing is diverse and dynamic; your strategies are always changing and responding to how audiences have reacted to your past efforts.

The broader your content strategies, the better equipped your content will be to meet the demands of even the pickiest audience member.

Spelt backwards, if you lean on a single type of content for the majority of your posting, or even two or three types, you’re running the risk of normalizing your marketing efforts to the point that audiences are no longer excited or engaged.

It starts to feel routine. The only thing that should be routine about your content is how often you’re posting.

A diverse content strategy breaks up the monotony by keeping audiences on their toes with all different types of content. You can think of content types as the ingredients that create your main course content strategy.

If you only use a couple ingredients, you’re giving your audience the equivalent of a Kraft Mac and Cheese dinner. It’ll feed them, but they are not going to stick around for a second helping when they see your competitor is handing out beef wellington and asparagus drizzled in hollandaise sauce.

Blend Content Types Together

Part of having a diverse content strategy is combining different types under the same roof. A video may see more likes if there is a blog post introducing that visual content.

Alternatively, an infographic vastly enhances a reader’s ability to decode complex subject matter that has been delivered through a white paper or long-form blog. Enticing customers into the engaging step of your content marketing strategies means offering audiences something they haven’t seen before. Or, something they don’t see often.

While every brand is producing blog content, how many are enriching those blogs by including survey/poll questions or embedding video content within the blog? Pairing different content types together entices readers to click and ultimately engage with the content because it promises more value.

The other approach to blending your content strategy is to tackle the same topic from multiple content angles. For example, I could follow this blog up with a short video further explaining the the three 3 E’s of digital marketing. Or, a poll asking which ‘E’ is the hardest to achieve, most important, etc.

This creates a much enticing content strategy because your audiences will be encouraged (read enticed) to follow each individual piece to get a fuller understanding of the topic.

Engage

Once you’ve enticed that click and ushered individuals through the front door, your next objective is to make sure they stay engaged throughout the duration of the content and beyond. Otherwise, they might click away to something different, like your competitor’s page.

Your content can have that initial hook to entice the click, but if you don’t have the mojo to keep audiences continuously engaged, then gaining their attention was all for not. To obtain that mojo, your content needs to always make its value known, so customers never waver and click that back button to disengage.

Value, Not Fluff

This is one of the hardest balances for content creators to achieve. Again, audience engagement requires your content viewers to constantly feel that what they are consuming is valuable. The longer you maintain that value, the deeper the engagement. But, there’s a significant difference between creating long, concise content that is engaging versus long content that is fluffed.

Fluff happens for a number of reasons. First, some content creators, especially the freelance breed, are paid on a per-word basis, which means the more they pad that word count, the more they are paid. Avoiding this pitfall is easy – don’t pay any writer (in-house or otherwise) based on word count, but rather agree on a fair per-blog rate.

Second, marketers like long content because it has a history of converting more. In several A/B tests, where a short page was compared alongside a long-form counterpart, the longer pages almost always converted more. For example, Highrise Marketing was able to increase their sign-up rates by 37.5% by switching to a long-form landing page.

In a similar study, Neil Patel compared how his shorter content performed against longer posts on social media. He found that posts under 1,500 words were typically outshined by content that was longer than 1500 words. On average, his longer content received 68.1% more Twitter favorites and 22.6% more Facebook likes.

Additionally, longer content has been known to rank better in search results. Google has also hinted at this in its Webmasters Central Blog by saying search results are designed to help users find “in-depth articles.”

Long content is phenomenal, but the more length you add, the higher the propensity for fluff. To prevent yourself from developing over-fluffed content, remember that not all content should be long. A great content strategy mixes short and long-form together.

In terms of creating valuable, engaging content, it’s better to leave that 1,000-word blog right where it is, rather than try and squeeze another 500 words in. And, while you proofread your content, remember to keep an eye out for fluff and cut it out when possible.

Enchant

This is the most difficult of the three E’s to achieve. You can engage hundreds with your content, but enchant only a few and maybe none at all.

By definition, enchant means to “fill (someone) with great delight; charm”.

Enchanting an audience member is a step beyond engagement. A reader can consume every word that you’ve written and even find it valuable, thought-provoking content, but that doesn’t guarantee you’ve delighted or charmed that individual.

An enchanted content consumer takes action beyond just reading and liking the content. For lower levels of enchantment, this may be sharing the content, so that their friends/followers can experience the same delight that they had.

On the higher end of the enchanted spectrum, a reader might be influenced to subscribe for future content posts or answer your call-to-action. Enchanting content converts and produces hyper-loyal readers.

Be Bold, Be Different

There’s a lot of content out there, no matter what space your business operates in. Moreover, a lot of content is really similar. Listicles have become mega popular because they are easy to create, easier to read and attract a fair amount of readership.

At this point, there isn’t a content strategy alive that isn’t supported by a hearty dose of lists. The drawback to our love of listicles is, where there’s one list, there’s hundreds. Generally, there isn’t a lot of disparity between one top 10 countdown and the next.

This idea behind this article started as a list. I could have left it that way as another, generic ‘X Ways To Make Your Content Strategies Better.’ Instead of playing it safe, I opted to take a more unique approach with these 3 E’s.

Without being too self-inflating, this decision was a better option because it is unique and different. I can’t definitively say that, by being different, I’m going to enchant more readers. However, by ignoring my initial instinct to play it safe and make a list, I’ve created something much more unique; something that you’ll only find in this form here. That is something I can definitively say.

It takes a certain amount of creativity to produce content that enchants, but there are some resources that will help you. One of the best sources of inspiration is your competitors. If you’re at a lack of ideas, their blogs and content channels can be a goldmine of ideas.

Remember, this is inspiration. If you simply rehash their thoughts and ideas, you’re not going to enchant viewers and you could end up harming your SEO. So, tackle it from a fresh angle or introduce some new data to the mix.

Bring It All Together

The best advice I can give you towards enchanting your audiences through content is the guide that you’ve just read. If you follow these tips and offer a dynamic content strategy that leverages all different types of content, provides consistent value throughout the content, and brings to the table something new and unique, you’ll delight and charm your target audiences.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Ashley Ward

Ashley Ward is a Corporate Speaker for SEMrush, an EPIC all-in-one tool designed to make life simpler for digital marketers. Ashley is passionate about helping businesses and individuals gain longterm ROI through teaching content marketing and social media tactics. With over 6 years in the digital marketing industry, Ashley brings first hand experience and case studies to inspire marketers around the world to better their strategies using the SEMrush platform and unique marketing tactics. She regularly speaks at workshops and conferences like Pubcon, RetailGlobal, SMS, and more. Ashley is also a contributing writer to industry blogs such as Search Engine Journal and AuthorityLabs.

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3 Comments

Ajay Pruthi

Hi Ashley

The best content strategy is to ask questions, ask what people want. Search on google, what questions people are asking about that content. try to answer those question. If you ask one question, google will throw another 4 questions. You then know what people are looking for.

That content will be enticing, enchanting and will be different too.

Bill Hipsher

Excellent post Ashley. I only wish you weren’t giving away so many “how to” details that successful agencies are paid to create.

Tina Winston

Very interesting and straight forward information on what can engage an audience. I raise toy and mini australian shepherds and work on tweeking the information and how I communicate that information to my customers and puppy parents.

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