Content marketing places an emphasis on providing useful information for consumers. Do you have a content marketing strategy though? For example, if you own a company that sells furniture, you could publish an article or blog post online that discusses techniques for cleaning difficult spills off of the most commonly used fabrics.
Although this might seem to go against the idea of encouraging people to make furniture purchases as often as possible, it is actually the perfect way to establish your company as an expert in the industry.
Additionally, the goodwill that you can generate by providing solid advice is likely to result in an increased amount of customer loyalty. Therefore, it is imperative to take advantage of any opportunity to spread the word about your business via your content marketing strategy.
Identify the Needs of Your Audience
If you have no idea what your current and potential customers actually need, it will be difficult to build an effective content marketing strategy. You need to better understand the subtle details of their interests, opinions, psychographics, demographics and personal journey in order to offer strategic value in the right context. This research will inform your content strategy and subsequently, your social media engagement strategy.
The Pareto principle, also referred to as the 80/20 rule is seen by many as an ideal principle when dealing with social media and content, that is; sharing 80% of the time and promoting you or your companies content only 20% of the time.
Pioneered by Eric Schmidt, the 70/20/10 model goes something like this:
- 70% of time dedicated to core business tasks.
- 20% dedicated to other projects related to core business.
- 10% of time dedicated to projects that are unrelated to core business.
With so many brands creating content these days who are new to publishing, this is an ideal method for dealing with content. Jonathan Mildenhall, Vice-President, Global Advertising Strategy at Coca Cola came out with a brilliant articulation of this principle as it relates to content.
It states the best way to properly diversify the content that you publish is to use a mixture of proven content, premier content and experimental content. Because you want to ensure that you are meeting the needs of your audience, you should stick with 70 percent proven content. In other words, seven out of every 10 articles should discuss basic topics that are related to your line of business.
The next 20 percent should be directly related to the proven content, but there must be an additional incentive for people to read these premier content articles. Good examples of premier content include infographics, webinars and eBooks. The final 10 percent of your posts can be experimental in nature to help you determine exactly what your customers are interested in. These posts do not need to be directly related to your industry, but they do still need to tie to your company.
Content Marketing Strategy Tools
There are several different tools available to help you with the implementation of a new content marketing strategy. Some of the best options include Social Search, Google Ad Planner, Facebook Ad Creation, Nielsen Prizm and Quantcast.
A large amount of the content being marketed on the internet is frequently shared on social media. Regardless of the industry, you should be utilizing social search services like Topsy, Social Mention and WhosTalkin to get insight into your target audience. What type of content do they consume? What type of language are they using? You can use social search to identify key influencers as well as to better inform your outreach strategy and get much better results from the content you create as a result.
The Google Ad Planner is a very powerful tool that will make it easier for you to properly implement your content marketing strategy. The ad planner takes information from you about your current audience, and it helps you determine which ad placements are the most likely to capture their attention. You can use this to streamline your marketing budget, and it will also make it much easier to figure out which ads to place on Google.
Facebook ads are a great way to promote your company’s Facebook page, but you have to make sure that the ad will speak to your potential audience. These ads should be targeted at people who are not already connected to your page, and you will also be able to limit the audience for the ad based on geographic location, age group, interest level and even gender to ensure that your money is spent in the best possible way. For example, if you sell sports memorabilia for a specific team, you could target your audience to individuals above the age of 25 who live within 100 miles of the team’s home stadium.
Nielsen Prizm provides companies with the perfect way to determine their customers’ individual interests. By splitting each American household into 66 different categories that look at demographics, geographic data, lifestyle and purchase history, it becomes easy to create an effective content marketing strategy. Your company can use this data to learn more about your current customers and to reach out to a long list of potential future customers. For example, an analysis of the interests of your current customers would make it easy to determine what type of content marketing is most likely to appeal to people with similar tastes.
In order to help you accurately determine who is clicking on your posts and how they are interacting with them, you can use the Quantcast Cookie Corrected Audience Data. After all, it is not enough to simply know that someone clicked on your link. You also need to know how long they stayed and whether or not the message spoke to them. Therefore, you can post a topic that should be of interest to your customer base and use Quantcast’s reports to determine if you were on the mark.
Personas and Message Architecture
Although each person has their own distinct personality, there are definitely certain shared traits among individuals with similar interests. For example, if you are selling products to NASCAR lovers, you are probably going to want to stay away from using a literary reference in your advertising. Instead, you would want the message to be loud and bold enough to capture their attention.
In order to determine the persona of your buyers, you need to identify the following five points: priority initiatives, success factors, perceived barriers, buying process and decision criteria. After all, if the decision criteria for your main base of customers is based almost entirely around convenience and impulse shopping, you will need to make sure that your ads make it easy for these consumers to find and buy your products. If you fail to properly design the message of your content, it will fall flat. Therefore, you need to use all of the tools that are available to you to align the content you create with your customers needs.
Marketing Content: I’m Not Talking to You!
Are you a digital marketer that already knows all this stuff? Cool! Well guess what? I’m not talking to you! I’m talking to your customer. That’s right! I’m taking to the people who need this type of information to help them get more business online. Are you a small business owner, executive or in-house marketing manager trying to make a purchase decision on a digital marketing firm that knows content? You are exactly why I created this blog post and you should do the same thing I just did for your target audience on your own company blog. When done correctly, writing useful blogs can help you build trust and authority with new prospects as well as your existing customers.
It is very hard to make ubiquitous content that pleases both your customers and your colleagues. Rather than try to please everyone, create content for various segments of interest. Know who you are talking to when you create content and follow through with information they need in their everyday lives as it relates to your business.
Measure and Improve
Unless you use tools to measure the performance of all of the different facets of your content marketing strategy, you might as well poke out your eyes because you will be operating blindly. By evaluating each piece of your strategy on a regular basis, you can avoid the issue of spending all of your marketing money on an ad campaign that yields zero results.
For example, it is so vital to track your conversion rate. After all, if you post a Facebook ad that is seen by 1,000 people but only gains you 10 new followers, there is definitely something wrong with your approach. There are several tools available to help you track the effectiveness of your content marketing strategy, including Google Analytics, so make sure that you explore these options.
Another important component of tracking the results of your content marketing strategy is that it will let you tweak the message in your ads and other online content as needed. For example, if one of your posts is viewed by 5,000 people and another one is only read by 50 people, it does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that the second post is not properly tailored toward your target audience.
By paying attention to these important variables, you can get a good handle on what your target audience is looking for, which can be instrumental in helping you grow your inbound marketing and with some hard work, your bottom line.