Prices starting at $14.99 per page
Content marketing is an entirely different “animal” from traditional advertising. While traditional advertising focuses on the product or service to be sold, content marketing focuses on relationships with customers, with spreading a brand digitally, and with providing customers and potential customers with great educational, informational and entertaining content. To be successful, strategy is crucial for content marketing - an overall long-range plan to maintain an existing customer base and to continually reach out and draw in new customers. Just like traditional advertising, content market can never “take a vacation;” it is a continuous, regular effort.
Five Strategies for Success
As stated, great content must be compelling, informative, educational, humorous, and personalized for your typical customer. This is how your brand is spread and this is how, when potential customers need what you offer, they will automatically think of you. If you adopt the following 5 strategies, you will, over time, be successful.
Know Your Audience: Remember, you are not selling a product. You are developing relationships. So, you have to determine with whom you need those relationships. To do this, you must first develop a demographic of your current customers. What questions and/or feedback have you received from them? What gaps in knowledge do they have that relate to your product or service or to products or services that are supplemental to yours?
As you design your content, it must relate to those needs and wants of your common customer, because you are attempting to appeal to the same demographic. Your goal is to take potential customers through a process of becoming aware of you and your brand, to develop an interest, to have them consider purchasing your products or services, and then to move them to a desire to purchase.
Know Where Your Audience Goes Online: If you know where they go, you can get there too, with your content. Discovering this involves some very specific steps:
- You should use Google analytics to discover the keywords most commonly used to search for your products or services. This will give you good lists of keywords you may use in your content. As well, you can then conduct your own search and discover where your demographic is going when they search.
- Check out the sites of your competition, as well as their social media accounts and profiles. See who is following those, what kinds of conversations are occurring, and what questions potential customers are asking. This will give you ideas for the type of content you must develop and spread in order to attract the interest of these potential customers.
- Survey or poll your current customers. What information is important to them? Where do they go online – what are their favorite sites and social media venues? You can then target for your content to go to the same places!
Identify/Deliver the Right Content: Once you have an idea of the issues your current and potential customers have and what they need, you have the topics for your content. You will then arrange to produce that content and place it where they are. You will post on blogs, forums, and social media sites, and the content must be of value to them.
You will want to provide a wide variety of content and you will need to deliver that content through multiple channels and devices. If, for example, you know that your customer demographic uses tablets and smartphones, you must adapt your content for mobile devices.
Language, style, tone, type of humor, along with valuable instruction and information, will all be based upon what you have learned about your customer base. One of the most important things to do, as you look to produce good copy, is to take a content writing tutorial – there are many web-based opportunities for this, so take advantage of them. You will learn how to create compelling titles, how to grab readers’ attention from the beginning, and how to structure that content so that it is easily read. Remember, you are not engaging in custom paper writing – this is not an academic exercise. It is informal, entertaining, and full of worthwhile information.
Maintain a Business Blog: Having a blog on your website is not an option. In fact, here is where it all begins, as you begin to develop those relationships and become an “expert” in your business niche. Post rich content and post often. Spread that content everywhere through a blogging platform (e.g., WordPress) that allows you to add media of all sorts, allows you and your readers to share your posts on all social media venues with just a click, promote conversations in which you, customers and potential customer can participate, and through which you can receive feedback. Again, you are NOT selling a product or a service. You are giving expert advice and information; you are providing entertainment; you are getting personal. The other critical feature of your blog must be regularly scheduled posts – it cannot sit idle. If you are too busy to post regularly, then contract with someone who can, and ask other experts from related businesses to post as guests. Followers expect to see new content and if it is not forthcoming, they will stop coming!
Re-purpose Good Content: Take your really good content and “switch it up.” If you wrote a good piece, turn it into an infographic and put on your Facebook or LinkedIn account; make a video. Or, take a great infographic or video and turn it into written content. Take a compilation of great post and/or articles, and publish an e-book. Offer it free to customers who share your posts on their social media accounts!
Successful content marketing doesn’t just “happen.” It is the result of a well-develop strategic plan that is carefully implemented over a long term. But when it is done well, it attracts attention and potential customers.