The true value of content marketing cannot be underestimated. Thanks to today’s interactive business climate, it is quickly turning into the most powerful asset in the entire marketing mix.
Your Most Powerful Marketing
Studies have found that nearly 80 percent of consumers prefer learning about a company through custom content – as opposed to traditional advertising.
It has become such as powerful avenue of brand messaging that 91 percent of B2B and 96 percent of B2C companies use it in their promotional tactics.
These numbers prove one thing: developing a content strategy is a MUST.
For those who are new to the game, starting from scratch is far from an easy task. You are essentially crafting the way in which the world will view your business in relation to the big picture. Here are three vital tips to consider.
Define Your Persona
First of all, content marketing is NOT about flooding your audience with cliché sales pitches and in-your-face promotions. It is quite the opposite. Consumers are exposed to copious amounts of advertisements every day – in one way or another. In turn, most have become relatively numb to it. Your content strategy is an opportunity to stand out in the crowded marketplace and provide a level of value people can’t get anywhere else.
That being said, your messaging needs to be relatable in order to gain traction and attention. The first step of the planning stage should be to develop a brand persona that speaks to like- minded customers.
Imagine your business was an actual human being. Map out their personality traits.
- What’s their demographic?
- What do they look like?
- How do they sound?
- What are their biggest grievances?
- What is the most important thing to them?
- What does an average day in their life consist of?
- What do they stand for?
By the end of this, you should have a clear picture in your mind down to the smallest detail.
Think of how brands like Harley Davidson market their content. They have developed a powerful freebird persona with rebellious values related to freedom, nonconformity, and ruggedness.
As a result, the material does more than just speak to the target audience.
It creates a way of life.
Take your time here. Your brand persona is what gives your content life and relatability. This is perhaps the most important part of the entire process.
Once you’ve nailed down your persona and actually start producing content, everything must be authentic and original above all else. While it’s OK to use other work to inspire your strategy, there needs to be enough separation to ensure you’ve creating something uniquely your own. The same rules apply to when you were in school: no plagiarism, no cheating, no breaches of the common good. The last thing you want is to be known as a rip off of another brand.
Additionally, writing about the same topics as other businesses makes it more difficult to stand out. The more content there is addressing a certain issue, the less likely a user will find yours.
It seems like for every business these days, there are hundreds – if not thousands – of others working towards the same goals. With this in mind, your level of authenticity works parallel with your brand persona to distance you from everyone else.
Start by diving into the current state of your industry. Buzzsumo can show you what types of content are trending:
Look for the common threads in successful pieces. Then, find ways to improve it while adding your own twist and personality.
Find Your Best Channels
Unfortunately, creating top-notch branded content is only half the battle. You can have the most interesting material that has ever graced the internet. But, if it is not being promoted properly, no one will see it or even know it exists.
Look at it from all angles. Where would be the most optimal channels for distribution be?
Obviously, your website will be the first place. But what about social media? Will you do any guest posting?
If you plan to guest blog as means of exposure, you must be careful of the sites you plan on using. When it comes to readership, number of visitors is NOT the only metric for judging a platform.
Consider the niche. For instance, if you are writing blog content aimed to help businesses with their SEO, you would want to post on industry-specific sites like Search Engine Watch or MOZ – as opposed to general sites like BuzzFeed or Gawker.
Even though they have tons of traffic, the chances you’ll convert their readers are significantly lower than on the targeted sites. Keep in mind, It’s more beneficial to post on a website with a lower number of interested readers, than on a site with a huge number general readers.
In terms of social media, it’s essentially a marketing sin nowadays not to participate. With over 2.5 billion users worldwide (and counting), it’s one of best ways to promote content.
Calvin Klein has done a fantastic job of using social media as an extension of their content strategy. In fact, their Instagram account and the #MyCalvins hashtag campaign has morphed into one of their most successful distribution outlets.
At first, it might be difficult to realize your best channels.
Consider the essence of your messaging. Which platforms are most likely to resonate with your audience? Use analytics to justify your choice of channel, such as social media, SEO or paid search. SEMrush’s Content Template tool will analyze your competitors’ data on organic search and tell you the best keywords to use, the ideal content length, where to get backlinks from, and help you choose the platforms to target.
Content marketing is a constant challenge to put yourself in front of the right eyes. Your success depends heavily on which channels you use.
It’s safe to say content marketing is not going anywhere any time soon. The arrival of virtual reality and increased use of AI is poised to bring a whole new dimension to business promotion as a whole.
One of the most important things to keep in mind throughout your entire strategy is you should be aiming to educate, not sell. The purpose is to provide unique value, build trust, and showcase expertise in the field.
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes on your first run. Finding the groove will more than likely require a good deal of trial and error. Good luck!