According to the Content Marketing Institute, content marketing is the creation and distribution of “valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”
Traditional marketing used to rely on a vivid image, tagline, and a call to action: “Drink Coke!”
Now, with the advent of the Internet and so many ways for consumers to receive information, content marketing shows customers why and how they should choose your brand, and reminds them to continue choosing you.
Content marketing requires strategy and consistent implementation in order to be effective. When done properly, statistics show that it can create stronger brand engagement, higher conversion rates, and more web traffic than many other more expensive methods of marketing.
Here are thirteen ways to utilize content marketing to boost your profile and your business.
- Provide Value
The most effective content marketing makes a potential consumer want to know more. They will click on your ad, podcast or video because something in it engages them, answers their question, or offers a solution to a problem they have.
Content marketing is active and ongoing. It is not a static image or logo. It sets you apart from other similar brands and appeals to a specific audience by giving them something they need.
Good content marketing provides information that is valuable to the reader. If your audience is people seeking real estate, your content should be more than just ads for houses. You may have a blog that provides information on mortgages and property taxes. You may offer testimonials from previous customers who can tell others how you helped them.
Value can be found in surprising ways. There is high-value in humor, for example! People need a laugh and a respite from their daily stress, especially nowadays. By supplying an entertaining clip or shareable meme, you are providing value.
The value you provide may appeal to only a tiny niche audience. However, if they are your niche audience, that’s what counts! Content marketing is not always about appealing to more customers, just the ones who will buy.
- Perpetuates the Brand
Content marketing establishes and perpetuates a brand identity for you. It helps create a brand that customers will remember and recall when they need what you have.
Content marketing requires consistency across all platforms in order to maintain that brand identity. It remains the same across platforms through graphics, messaging, tone, and mission while adapting to each medium.
Content marketing can help a brand maintain its core identity and yet evolve over time to meet the changing needs and expectations of its audiences. One great example is Coca Cola. Coke’s iconic font, red and white colors, and its brand of cool deliciousness, have stayed the same. However, its content has changed over time to keep the brand relevant.
Content marketing diverges from traditional marketing by making the conversation a two-way street. Instead of telling your audience to do something, it asks them to engage by post posting photos of themselves using your product or sharing your funny meme with their like-minded network.
When you get your target audience to talk about your brand online with others who may be potential customers, you are using content marketing.
- Actionable Results
A great content marketing strategy requires that you measure its results accurately. Most experts refer to Key Performance Indicators or KPIs.
It can take a lot of time and effort to maintain excellent content marketing. To those who may not understand the content marketing world, you may find yourself having to explain why you need to spend money on blogs, videos, and either digital efforts, plus someone to manage them all,
Having well defined KPIs in place helps you assess what is working and what isn’t. Then you can adjust your content accordingly.
A great content marketing strategist will set up measurable deliverables in order to demonstrate the value of content marketing. The metrics could be web site visits, online sales, or email inquiries, depending on what service or good you are pitching.
Businesses across a wide variety of industries all see demonstrable results when they implement a focused content marketing strategy. It’s important to identify at the beginning of your campaign what results you need to call a campaign a success.
Take a look at American Girl and its content marketing. The company uses numerous vehicles to deliver its content, from stores to books to movies to dolls to clothing. If this company defines its success as by the number of American Girl products sold, it can unequivocally say it has been successful!
- Reaches a Targeted Audience
Effective content marketing requires a precise understanding of the ideal consumer and how to reach them. For example, American Girl clearly targets girls aged seven to twelve. The company’s content marketing is all designed to appeal specifically to that demographic.
Some companies may identify an even more defined audience. They may create a target “persona:” for example, educated urban white males who watch football and make over $100,000 per year.
By drilling down through focus groups and other research, you can define exactly who will buy your product. When you know who you are aiming for, you then will learn how to reach them.
You learn what websites they visit so you know where to buy digital ads. You know what TV shows they watch, so you can ask the producers to include your product in a scene.
By defining your target persona, you can piggyback on other products. If you market shaving creme, you may blog for a website that promotes razors.
When you direct your content marketing towards a specific kind of consumer, you use your marketing dollars more effectively. You do not spend millions on nation-wide advertising when you can reach your niche through targeted local websites. You do not aim for thousands of hits on Instagram when your consumer is more likely to be on LinkedIn.
- Variety Across Platforms
Content marketing allows you to take your messaging and brand across a wide variety of platforms. You can publish How To manuals on your website, accompanied by demonstrations uploaded to YouTube. You can Tweet out testimonials, pitch media on studies you have sponsored, and place products in movies that your target audience may watch.
Of course, maintaining the consistency and integrity of your content across multiple outlets can be a full-time job, and many companies have at least one team member devoted to this. You might also consider a specialist like scotthall.co, who can advise as to where your marketing dollars will be best spent.
A consultant can also manage the various content projects you have so that your messaging stays on point, deadlines are met, and results are analyzed.
- Social Media
Social media is a terrific way to promote your content because it is free, flexible, and can be easily shared. If you get noticed by people who like what you offer, they will share with others. If you are lucky, you may even “go viral!”
The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is an excellent example of how social media helped to create a viral phenomenon that succeeded in raising $115 million and raising the profile of the importance of fighting this disease. Fundraising usually entails traditional fundraising like direct mailings, celebrity appeals, and fancy events. This approach exploded those ideas and showed everyone a whole new way to engage an audience.
The ALS Challenge accomplished several goals of content marketing: it was funny, it was easy to do, and it was simple to share. For extra value, the content appealed to people’s desire to do something charitable.
If you can get people who like your product to share it with others, they become your marketers. Their endorsement means more than a simple advertisement. When you are sent a post or video from a friend, it is like a personal recommendation.
Just make sure you understand the different conventions for each platform. You need to master the science of hashtags, links and follows. LinkedIn is more appropriate for B2B and professional services, while Tiktiok and Instagram are the way to go to reach younger audiences.
- Get People’s Attention
Martha Stweart is the queen of the kitchen, the queen of crafting, and the queen of decor. She is also the queen of content marketing!
Martha’s content marketing strategy relies on her strong brand identity, and her ability to change while staying on brand. While she was in prison, her brand actually expanded to accommodate more audiences who previously have found her snobby. Now she promotes linens for Target and CBD gummies!
Martha has mastered the ability to get people’s attention and keep it. Whether she is cooking with Snoop or walking her dogs, people want to know what is she is up to. They also want to buy what she offers.
- Keep Them Coming Back
In the content marketing world, it is all about keeping people coming back. You may get consumer attention with a well- worded post or funny meme, but you want to encourage ongoing engagement. Otherwise, your competitors may capture the spotlight and you may never get it back.
Blogs are a perfect example of content marketing as a way to engage and maintain your audience. You must maintain a blog consistently and keep providing valuable information so that people will revisit.
Personalities like Martha Stewart or the Kardashians have become their own content with reality shows and Instagram feeds showcasing their lifestyles intertwined with the products they promote. You may tune into “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” to see what is happening with the family this week, but you may then be tempted to buy Kylie’s lipstick or Kim’s bodysuits because they look so good onscreen.
Great content marketing will set you apart from your competitors. It will engage with your audience by allowing them to comment and share. You can respond to their complaints and praise. This creates a bond with your buyers which can last over time -if you keep it up.
This ongoing process allows you to refine and adapt your messaging to respond to your audience. If they Tweet that they Snickers better than your chocolate bar because it has more peanuts, you can add more peanuts to yours! And you can document it all on social.
The look and feel of your branding will be perpetuated across platforms and media. If it is well designed and well promoted, no one will ever mistake your product for somebody else’s.
Quality is key to good content marketing. Writing must be clear and compelling. People normally spend less than twenty seconds on a site: you want to grab their attention before they click away.
Your product must be good too. People may love your website but if your product does not live up to the hype, they won’t buy it. All the tricks in the world do not matter if no one buys the product (however, you may attract advertisers).
- Everything is Visual
With twenty seconds to grab people, how can you do it? Definitely not through long paragraphs of dense text.
Use eye-catching visuals to illustrate your story. (Cute animals always work, too). Use vibrant colors and interesting fonts. Appeal to the emotions of your audience,
Like a good old-fashioned tabloid title, headlines on digital content are critical to grabbing people and drawing them in. While it’s great if they are snappy and catchy, what’s really important is to address how you can help someone get what they want or solve a problem they have.
How To’s and listicles are good ways to get people to click.
- Capture their Info
Content marketing is only truly effective if it accomplishes your key objective. Not only do you want people to buy your product or service, but you also want to collect data about them that will help you keep them engaged.
Make sure you include a quick, easy way to capture someone’s email address. If you can get them to give you more information like their age, how they heard about you, or what they are looking for, that’s even better. But most importantly you want a way to reach out to them again when you have new content.
Content Marketing: Do it Well, Do it Often
Content marketing is one of the most important ways to build your brand, expand your customer base, and grow your business. But you need to do it correctly.
Consider working with a content strategist to help you define your mission, audience, and tactics within a suitable budget and in innovative ways that achieve your business goals.
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