When you think of “content” the first thing that probably comes to mind is: words. And that’s correct—but it’s just a small part of what makes your content marketing successful.
“Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.” — Content Marketing Institute
Consumers get bombarded with thousands of messages a day, all trying to attract their attention, their business, their dollars through claims, promotions and sales pitches. Unfortunately, a large majority of those messages are bypassed (or blocked) because the information isn’t pertinent, interesting, or engaging for the viewers on the receiving end of that “content.” Although those messages fall into the category of marketing, it’s not true content marketing.
Although content marketing has, well, the word “marketing” in it, it is not your Grandpa’s marketing. Content marketing is all about relevance. Giving your audience important information that they need, that they want, that they wouldn’t get elsewhere.
The thought behind a great content marketing campaign:
Educate your audience about things they care about—rather than telling them things you want them to know about.
Content marketing is all about reaching, then engaging with people on a personal level. Information is offered to them in an unobtrusive, non-disruptive way through a variety of ways, including:
The bottom line and the key to successful content marketing, whatever the delivery vehicle: Offer a specific, targeted audience relevant information on a consistent basis that’s valuable to them, so they naturally want to keep coming back and hence, develop a trust in your brand, and pass that trust on to others.
Let’s talk a bit more about the “specific, targeted audience” mentioned above. Before any content marketing can be developed, you need to know:
Who is the person you’re trying to reach (persona)
How best do these people prefer to receive content (email, video, subscriptions, infographics, printed pieces)
What content style will engage best with the person (conversational, technical, humorous, story format)
As important as identifying your audience, is figuring out exactly what you want to achieve with your content marketing message. Do you want to:
Raise awareness of your brand
Increase your website audience
Move prospects further down the buyer’s journey
Maintain/retain current clients to become referring “cheerleaders”
Consistency is critical in a successful content marketing plan. Placing one white paper offering through a gated content offer via social media is not going to develop, and retain a loyal following. Make sure your follow-on workflows are planned out, developed and ready to launch as you start getting interested parties requesting that white paper. Perhaps that white paper leads to a webinar offer, or an instructional video through your YouTube channel. Content marketing is a chain reaction philosophy. One piece of content links to another, and another, and another — to complete an engaging communication chain between you and those appreciating the information you provide them.