5 key principles to boost your content marketing strategy in 2023
Maria Sibirtseva is the content team lead at Depositphotos. For The Drum's Content Marketing in Focus, she shares her top five tips for brands to boost their content marketing strategy in 2023 and beyond.
Content marketers face various limitations, so it's important to know how to succeed within these limitaations
Today, content marketing is integral to any brand effort. It helps achieve a wide range of goals, from tailoring brand perception and raising awareness, to attracting traffic and increasing conversions, smoothly paving your company’s way towards becoming a market leader.
As content marketing is all about long-term perspective and indirect impact, teams often consist of a few people and operate with budgets given out on the "residual" principle. Considering the limitations that content marketers face, how do you ensure you succeed in your effort?
Depositphotos, an international content marketplace with over 240 million files, has been doing content marketing since its very foundation in 2009. In over 13 years, the team has developed its vision of making the most of these efforts. In this guide, you’ll find five proven tips and helpful advice for your 2023 content marketing strategy.
1. Develop a content ecosystem
It often starts with a vague idea. Someone in your team says, “What if we create content that covers industry trends for the upcoming year? This way, we’ll continue building expertise on the market, engage with existing clients, and attract new ones.” The topic sounds great and is extremely relevant at the beginning of the new year, but how do you make this piece visible to larger audiences and of use to several teams within your company?
The answer is: by building a content ecosystem as the core of your strategy. At the stage of planning, come up with topics for pillar articles or projects that are in line with your business purposes, but easy to adapt (or repurpose) to multiple communication channels. The same amount of attention should be given to both execution and distribution. This way, you’ll be able to optimize your team effort, as well as provide consistency across all communication channels.
Below is a scheme that works for the Depositphotos team. Most often, at the center of our content ecosystem lies a pillar project, which later unfolds into separate content pieces for other channels:
For each company this ecosystem can be different, however, you can ask yourself a couple of questions before settling on an idea and ecosystem structure:
If we realize this project, how many channels can we use to promote the piece?
What angle, approach, and formats will help us make the most of it?
What metrics will we use to measure success in different channels?
2. Play with formats
In the contest for user attention, content formats are another option for you to stand out. In 2023, quality will continue to win over quantity, with more brands prioritizing user’s informational needs over the company’s sales messages.
When planning content distribution, make a list of formats that, based on your experience and research, work for chosen platforms best. For instance, data shows that short-form videos and interactive content such as polls and games drive the most engagement on social media. At the same time, case studies and interviews are the most popular formats for blogs.
If you have not experimented much with different content formats before, then list everything you can think of, state your hypothesis, and start testing it out. Also, don’t limit yourself to just repurposing the piece. The opportunities are almost limitless, as you can later extend your communication into an entire series or campaigns by running thematic interviews, challenges, or webinars.
3. Go all in with collaborations
Collaborations are the future of content marketing, and day by day, they become integral to many brand strategies. Whether you’re partnering with another brand, content creator, or organization, you get an extensive list of benefits in addition to creating a unique and interesting content marketing piece.
Perks that you can get from content marketing collaborations:
- Audience extension
- Raised brand awareness
- Stronger reputation
- Additional media attention
- Sales boost and more
Who can you collaborate with? Here’s a list of recent Depositphotos partnership types:
- Brand + Brand (from another field)
- Brand + Artist or content creator
- Brand + Brand (your competitor)
- Brand + Institution or non-profit
- Brand + Influencer or opinion leader
The most interesting part about collaborating today and in the future is that you can go all in with them. Don’t limit yourself to one opportunity per project and you’ll be able to see greater results faster.
Here’s a case:
With most of our team based in Ukraine, Depositphotos couldn’t stand aside when the war began. The company left Russian and Belorussian markets, and initiated a charity project to boost awareness of destroyed cultural heritage in Ukraine and raise funds towards its reconstruction. The Revival Project consisted of several parts with different collaborations for each of them:
- Part 1 of the project showcased collages of the before and afters of destroyed sites, which were specially created by a Ukrainian collage artist.
- Part 2 of the project was to evoke empathy and make the project more relatable to wider audiences, we interviewed and shared stories by 12 representatives of Ukraine’s creative community about these sites.
- Part 3 was to raise funds for reconstruction, we collaborated with 7 Ukrainian artists that shared their unique, artistic vision of how the destroyed sites might look in the future.
In addition, the project was made in collaboration with the META HISTORY museum and the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine. Combining all these opportunities together, we got a chance to gain international coverage and bring the project to a new level.
4. Remember the technicalities
Although it might sound quite obvious to seasoned professionals, remembering the below-mentioned points is crucial to achieving your goals and having a positive experience with new projects:
Careful SEO optimization
According to Ahrefs, an SEO tool to analyze websites, 90.63% of content has no traffic from Google. However, stats prove that 68% of online experiences start with a search engine. Sounds paradoxical, right?
For content marketers, SEO is more important than you think, and before you start creating a piece for your website, blog, or any other channel, be sure to turn to your SEO team for help. Having a detailed technical task from them with keyword and heading suggestions, and top-ranking content examples will allow you to make your content seen by audiences and extend its longevity.
An important part of content optimization is ensuring its readability. When writing and publishing, draw attention to the logical structure, flow, headings and subheadings, highlights, bullet points, and visuals to illustrate your paragraphs. By following these things, you will be able to show that you care for and respect your audience, while also improving some metrics such as engagement and bounce rate.
Although content marketing activities can be complicated to measure at times, it does not mean that you shouldn’t set your KPIs and track your results. You need to clearly understand what works for your brand and audience best, and whether your efforts are worth it. What metrics can you measure?
- Users, page views, and unique page views
- Average time on page
- Entrances, bounce and exit rates
- Likes, comments, and shares
- Mentions and hashtags
- Referring domains
- Click-through rate, and more
Depending on your goals, you can prioritize some metrics and analyze them based on the used channel.
Social media tags, hashtags, correct links, and CTAs
The last rule is to simply be careful when using tags, hashtags, links, and CTAs. Ask your colleague or a friend to skim what you’re posting; after working on something for a long period of time, it’s crucial to get a fresh pair of eyes to take a look at your work. Double-check everything to avoid obvious mistakes and boost your content performance from the very beginning.
5. Engage with your audience (like you mean it)
User-generated content has been one of the most popular ways to engage with your audience for a couple of years, but it’s not the only way to do it. In addition to introducing branded hashtags and encouraging your audience to tag you in their posts, you can create audience-oriented projects that include:
- Challenges and competitions to grow your community
- Open calls and contests to better understand your users
- Interviews and case studies to give your audience exposure
Quick example. Recently, after the pandemic hit, the Depositphotos team was looking for ways to better engage with their audience and distract them. To do that, an Instagram-based photography contest was launched, with communication running on social media and the Depositphotos blog. In just a month and a half, we received 5.2k Instagram tags from 1,884 photographers worldwide, as well as a loyal community that we’ve reached out to for other projects in the following years.
If there were only one suggestion to give on content marketing, it would be to get as creative as possible. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and test different content formats, draw inspiration from other fields and brands, and engage with your audience like you mean it. In 2023, attention will be on brands that communicate consistently, don’t scatter, and manage to stand out in today’s overly saturated market.
Visit The Drum's Content Marketing in Focus hub for more news, insights, and strategies around content marketing.
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Depositphotos is an international content platform with a library of over 230 million stock photos, videos, vectors, and audio tracks. Depositphotos consist of a community of 100,000 authors, whose works help clients from 192 countries to visualize their ideas. The company has headquarters in New York and offices in Kyiv, Milan and Limassol.Find out more