There's no question about it. An effective content marketing campaign can help build your reputation, establish your expertise, and strengthen customer relationships. It's the practice of communicating without selling.
With consumer demand for engaging content greater than ever, it's critical that brands focus on a strong content marketing strategy. Smart marketers understand that content marketing involves creating valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a defined audience-and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.
The marketing materials you create for your business can include blogs, ebooks, social media posts, videos, infographics, case studies, and more. Regardless of the marketing tactics you use, content marketing should be part of the process. And the more types of content you produce, the more powerful your content marketing efforts become.
To get the most value out of the content they develop, here are eight things marketers should consider:
- Understand the audience's state of mind. A common mistake is creating personas based on a gut feeling or internal company discussions. As the digital culture continues to evolve, it's essential to use social data and analytics tools to accurately capture the needs of the customers. Using insights helps you gain a better sense of your audience, improve your solutions or products, and understand the impact that those offerings have on your clients. Though researching and forming personas can be an intimidating task, creating persona-targeted content that is well-aligned with a deep understanding of your audience will offer better content consumption.
- Take a customer-centric approach. It's a cold, hard truth: no one wants to read about your company or be sold to. What your audience wants is for you to answer their questions or solve their problems. Listen to them. Many marketers try to push heavy marketing messages that are important to their company, rather than what's important to their customer. Potential clients want to feel like brands have thought through everything before they did. It's not only about delighting your customers; you also want to make it easier for them to resolve issues.
- Use data and insights to attract your ideal customer. Consumers have an appetite for engaging and useful content. One way to ensure that you deliver on their needs is to leverage data and insights to lead sales and content marketing campaigns. It's more important than ever to know your content is performing and what you can do to customize your content so consumers will be more inclined to respond positively. You can use a variety of traditional and unconventional business intelligence and analytic tools to develop a data-driven approach that includes qualitative, quantitative, linguistic, and visual information. For example, Metia's team of researchers and data scientists utilize various tools from Clarabridge (CEM software), Brandwatch (social monitoring), Blab (predictive analytics), and Glimpzit (social surveying) to assist our clients in their analytic needs.
- Create emotional connections through storytelling. Write your story like you would tell your story. Storytelling requires making an emotional connection-not a human-to-product messaging connection. We live in an attention economy, and you have to give readers something they can connect with to hold their interest. Potential customers want to hear stories early in the buying cycle. And I'm not talking about a list of features and benefits, I'm talking about real and relatable details about the effects your product or service has on the people who use it. People attach to stories. They remember them and tell them again.
- Give your customers a good reason to be an advocate. Brands want clients to make purchases, of course, and more than that, they want them to encourage other buyers to make purchases as well. These brand advocates are very important assets who can help promote your brand. They bring added firepower to your marketing mix, but you must not take their loyalty for granted. It's important to continue to provide great service and display thought leadership by showcasing and sharing relevant content they want and need. By demonstrating your knowledge, it can help to build credibility, establish your authority, and increase customer loyalty and advocacy.
- Promote a two-way conversation. You don't want your company to do all the talking. Build a community of willing advocates, and create authentic, mutually beneficial discussions. Be engaging and invite dialogue. Find ways to help people who reach out to you and develop strong relationships by responding to comments and questions, retweeting, and addressing negative feedback. As you do more of this, your audience will grow.
- Find better ways to repurpose and amplify your content. Every story is a versatile asset. Find your most powerful story and publicize it in several formats with varying levels of detail to engage your audience in new ways with content that would've otherwise gone unseen. Be careful, though. You don't want to diversify to the point of dilution. Often, a single concentrated tactic works better than a dozen tactics that are poorly executed. At the very least, pick one or two content tactics and carry them out.
- Measure your content marketing efforts. You've invested a significant amount of time and money into your content marketing initiative, so you'll want to measure its effectiveness. You want to see where your content is being consumed and shared. Beyond simple page views, if your content is relevant, it's likely your reader will browse through multiple pages when visiting your site. To help assess content resonance, you'll also want to calculate the length of time your readers spend on the site. There are a variety of other KPIs to consider (including lead generation and sales), but the bottom line is you need to establish qualitative and quantitative measurements for your content.
There's a big audience out there, filled with your potential clients. And you're competing for them with many other companies and brands. By creating content and distributing it to your audience with these topics in mind, you'll drive traffic to your website, viewers that you can convert to leads and ultimately sales.