Organic brands are a natural fit for content marketing – these brands have powerful stories to tell, inspire strong brand loyalty, and can readily articulate clear lifestyle values to share with their community. Yet many organic brands are struggling to move beyond stale blog posts espousing the importance of “eating organic” to authentic content that genuinely engages consumers. So what gives?
Content marketing: is a strategic marketing approach dedicated to creating and distributing valuable, relevant content that builds your brand’s relationship with its target audience. But while big brands from Microsoft to Cisco are jumping on the content marketing bandwagon, not all companies are confident that content marketing is worth the investment.
On average, less than one-third of marketers feel their organizations are effective at content marketing. Worse, more than half (55 percent) of business to business (B2B) marketers say they’re not even sure how to measure content marketing success or what “effective content marketing” looks like, per HubSpot. Yikes!
When done correctly, content marketing can be wildly effective. When the same tired ad copy is trotted out under the guise of “content marketing,” you’ll miss the mark for authentic, meaningful engagement.
Posting “educational material”-- that’s a thinly veiled promotion or sponsoring lifestyle blog posts that amount to little more than product placement won’t cut it. Worse, with plenty of authoritative articles popping up in the media questioning the value of organic products, it's more important than ever that you're clearly communicating with your audience about your company's values and building a strong brand-customer relationship.
For instance take a look at interactive infographics as an example of well executed content marketing. Interactive infographics are informative, well designed, and interactive, showing visitors that there is an authority in logo design while showcasing graphic design skills, and engaging audiences, will keeping them interested. “Engaging our audience with well designed, thought provoking content is a must for us, it strengthens our brand, generates more leads, and gives us leverage over our competition,” says Rahul Aggarwal co-founder of Designhill.
Here’s how to get your content marketing back on track:
1. Understand the customer journey.
Content marketing is meant to nurture long-term customer relationships. But you can’t build a relationship if you don’t know what your customer wants or needs! For organic companies, there’s a temptation to assume that certain lifestyle values are driving their buying decisions.
In reality, the customer profile for organic consumers is very diverse. There are savvy organic consumers who have been dedicated to buying organic since before it was “trendy” to do so. There are parents who shop organic primarily for their children’s health. There are “health minded” consumers who shop organic because of perceived health benefits. There are “sustainable” consumers who are also concerned with buying local.
If you’re lumping all your organic consumers into one group, you’re making a mistake! Take time to build detailed audience profiles and understand the motivating factors that drive each customer’s purchasing decision. By understanding these factors, you’ll be better positioned to create authentic content that sparks a two-way dialogue, rather than falling back on generic advertising messages.
2. Tell an inspiring story.
Give your audience a reason to care about your product beyond your brand. How does your product or service fit into their daily lives? How can you enhance this experience through genuinely useful content?
Boutique cleaning company Upstairs Downstairs Cleaning has an entire blog dedicated to green cleaning product solutions that can be made at home. The blog lists easy-to-make solutions for bleach alternatives, oven cleaner, and even carpet cleaner to remove tough stains. Engaging images (like the one below) accompany each cleaning “recipe,” boosting engagement.
Image credit: Screenshot
It’s no surprise that this blog on DIY cleaners is also one of the company’s most popular–the graphics and “recipes” making it a natural winner for Pinterest.
Most importantly, this is an example of content marketing that “works.” While Upstairs Downstairs Cleaning is clearly a cleaning company, there’s no hard sell in this content to hire the company. There’s no push to “learn more about our services” or “contact us now for an appointment.”
In fact, the blog post ends with a suggestion to share the tips and accompanying images with anyone who might find them useful. The blog adheres to the most important principle of content marketing: share relevant, useful information in an authentic way that adds value to the end user’s day. Period.
3. Be a lifestyle resource.
Ready to invest in a content program that goes beyond the occasional blog post? One popular option is to become a go-to lifestyle resource destination.
Natural Vitality, a Texas-based producer of natural supplements, has created a secondary website dedicated to “calmful living.” The name echoes the company’s product line: the supplements all have names like ‘Natural Calm Plus Calcium’ or “Kids Natural Calm Multi’. The Calmful Living website does not directly mention these products. Instead, the website offers up a host of useful information dedicated to “calm body” (e.g. fitness tips and food recipes), “calm mind” (e.g., relationship tips, personal growth insights), and “calm living” (e.g., DIY, healthy home and garden tips).
Image credit: Screenshot
Creating and maintaining a lifestyle destination website requires significant financial resources and a very clear content plan in place from day one. If you’re still in the early stages of identifying your audience and mapping the customer journey, focus on creating fewer, higher quality pieces.
Once you’ve gotten the hang of how to work an editorial calendar, then you can upgrade to a full-on lifestyle blog.