Content marketing is selling without selling. It is providing high quality, relevant, interesting content for a specific, targeted audience. Not only are you giving something of real value to this audience, you are increasing your visibility with search engines, expanding your reach, building your brand, establishing your authority or expertise, and building customer loyalty. It is essential that business do this because most of their audience has tuned out and traditional marketing is no longer effective. People trust this content more. How can you make sure that your efforts are rewarded?
Make it personal.
One of the ways that businesses can create that closer connection is with characters. There are a few different ways that they do this. SF Films A/S created Facebook pages for six of the characters in its fictional Max Pinlig movie. These were then linked back to the main Facebook page. Sony Pictures did something similar to promote 2012, creating a microsite, blogs, a YouTube channel, Twitter feed, and Facebook page based on the film’s characters. Other companies use a fictional representative, or a mascot of sorts. Think Mr. Clean, Ronald McDonald, or the Pillsbury Doughboy.
Now, you don’t have to create a cartoon mascot to make this work. You just have to put a real face to your business. It’s not enough anymore to make a great product; you have to connect with your audience to cut through the noise.
Consumers are not just consumers; they want to be community members. They do get behind brands, but customer loyalty is different. They do not blindly follow a company – but they will interact with a company. They want a dialogue, and this provides you with an opportunity for content marketing. Crowdsource or feature consumer-generated content. This has been successful for companies like Apple and Microsoft, but it can work just as well for small and local businesses. The key is to listen to your audience and respect their voice. This is a good way to connect, catch issues before they become problems, and build a stronger customer base.
Give them what they want and keep them coming back.
Free Sample Friday. Recipe of the Week. Tuesday’s How-To. Content marketing works well when it is structured and at least partly predictable. This will ensure that visitors come back, especially when their favorite type of content is published (whether videos, interviews, reviews, how-tos, recipes, or give-aways). Having this type of structure can help you get over any content writers’ block you may come up against.
If this is constricting, do make sure to offer different types of content to appeal to a variety of users.
Rather than writing or producing all of the content that will interest your readers, you can point them to the best, most relevant content across the web. Curating is used by about half of marketing executives, and you can expect this to increase in coming years. You can become the go-to for information and answers. If you don’t have them, you can show them where to go. This helps tame the internet and establish you as an authority and arbiter of all that is good online.
Make content marketing a priority. A survey of business decision-makers conducted by Roper Public Affairs finds that 80 percent prefer company information in the form of articles rather than advertisements. 70 percent feel that content marketing establishes a closer connection with the company, and 60 percent say that content helps them make product decisions. It is worth the time and energy to engage in sustainable marketing strategies.