With aspirations of being a devised theater performer, Nadya Khoja focused on pursuing her dream and joined a University program. But it was when she graduated that she realized there wasn’t much opportunity to make much money in avant-garde niche performance.
Deciding to follow a different career path, Nadya studied for a Masters in Digital Media where she was introduced to entrepreneurship, design, and technology. Beforehand, she knew nothing about marketing, but her background meant she already had an interest in engaging an audience and telling stories.
After all, content marketing comes down to telling a good story, and it doesn’t even have to be about your brand or product. It should educate the reader on a topic they’re interested in learning as well as entertaining them.
Now Head of Marketing at Venngage, which is a free online infographic design tool and maker, Nadya’s focus is on content marketing.
She now shares with us how they create killer content which gets them noticed, and what they did to build credibility in the early days by simply reaching out to experts in their field and creating trendy content.
What Goes into Killer Content?
Content marketing goes hand-in-hand with inbound marketing and SEO, and you can’t do one without the other. Therefore, you need to embrace everything.
And as there is a lot of content on the internet already, you have to really stand out. The best way of doing that? Create killer content.
Most people start trying to produce a piece of killer content by trying to answer a question and then finding a way of linking it to the business without actually thinking about what the customer wants or needs.
There are 12 principles which Nadya ensures they follow at Venngage with all of their content. But put simply, it comes down to finding a way in which you can engage and tell a good story.
People need to be able to relate to it on an emotional level, whilst also providing uncomplicated answers, and write as you speak naturally so it is more digestible.
A good story doesn’t have to start with ‘Once upon a time…’, it just has to take them through a journey. And it should be one in which they are the hero of the story, and using that to guide them as you hold their hand and show them what to do.
One of the principles they follow is solving a burning problem. Ask yourself what types of problem they are facing, asking your audience these questions and then using the answers for topics you can dive deeper into. Using data and statistics are good starting points for this.
And sometimes, you will have to tell a story multiple times, not only to get the message across but so you help them to understand the problem by providing further depth of information from different angles.
Four Things Every Piece of Content Needs
With content marketing being the main strategy at Venngage, they are educating users on how to use the tools and create awesome designs. But it is to also engage with their audience using their own research, leading by example and creating infographics which look great.
A majority of this then goes on their own blog, and then do outreach off the back of the articles. Contacting editors and reporters about their content, they then have the word spread and allow more people to become aware of them.
This took a while to gain traction, and to really understand how to do content marketing effectively. But once they started to create engaging posts and ideas, it simply became a matter of pitching it to the right people.
To create content which meets those high standards, they use the PEAC method, which consists of ensuring every post is:
Every piece of content now encompasses all of those things. They give useful information and tactics which people can use, bringing in their own voice, personality, and stories. By using statistics which demonstrate how it is possible, they create the awe, and then back up their claims with sources to prove their validity.
An early post they created at Venngage was 46 Expert Tips For Creating Addictive Content, back before they were considering a properly reliable source. So they contacted marketing experts and asked them to submit a tip, and is now something they’ve duplicated in many areas.
Contacting around 100 people on Twitter which they had established as credible sources for their content, they had a 40% response rate.
With the tips, they then edited the responses to create one overall tip for each to include in an infographic. And they also created an eBook (available for free without even needing to submit an email address), to make the most of the responses they received.
The article is then full of credible sources, which then helps to validate Venngage.
But with an influencer, there are only so many favors you can ask for. You have to be cautious to present an offer first to give something of value to them, and showing how you’re helping them, such as a link on your website.
Then you can ask for something later. And although they didn’t all share the content once it was complete, most did, and with that came a large volume of traffic.
The way in which they do things changes as they learn new techniques. There was a time when Venngage only posted trendy articles as the goal was to increase awareness and traffic.
As they’ve progressed, the aim is to be more customer-centric and understand their needs and struggles, so they can provide actual value to their customers. And this represents a natural maturing of the business and marketing efforts.
At the start of the business, they were looking for initial traction and growth, so created what would earn them shares and links in order to get noticed. But their success now means they can focus more on providing real value.
In order to know what works, they track everything in analytics and have their own metrics which they populate weekly. And the way they measure success depends on the type of content it is, and what its purpose is.
If the article’s purpose is to lead towards more conversations and to educate, such as with a post called How to Make an Infographic in 5 Steps, then they’ll track how it converts. They’ll then put the effort into getting it ranking high on Google.
But when the goal is for press, links, and traffic, then it is likely that it isn’t going to convert a lot. Instead, the purpose is to get prospects to the website and to retarget them later, or hold them on the website.
Over time, they’ll also do content relaunches. This involves updating the article to either keep them trendy or to include any other changes. There’s no point deleting an article which is ranking at the top of Google and therefore fulfilling its purpose. In fact, updating it will give it an organic bump.
As your content library increases, don’t forget to look at your highest performing articles and check that you’re still providing the content value which the title promises. Optimize your existing content to work even better in your favor.
The content which Nadya Khoja and her team produce at Venngage is available on the blog where you can not only learn how to make great looking infographics, but also lots of interesting facts you didn’t know.
On her own blog, This is Nadya, there is so much to read that you’re almost guaranteed to find something which relates to your company and what you do.