No, we aren’t talking about the rock band (although we will give mention to rock ’n’ roll later in this post). In this instance, you, our trusted follower and reader, are the who. While there are certainly times we forget to remove our marketing thinking caps, we often try to put ourselves in our client’s shoes and consider who we are speaking to when we create content.
So while it is our job to be familiar with phrases like “content is king” and “content marketing is a growing trend,” we understand they may not be a part of your everyday vocabulary. We understand that you may be a business owner who uses marketing to leverage your own expertise and that content marketing may not be on your radar. If you aren’t even sure what content marketing is, that’s OK. You’re not alone. After all, jargon is a term in the dictionary for good reason.
Speaking of terms, let’s start with the definition of content marketing. According to the Content Marketing Institute, “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.”
Did that near run-on sentence have you running in the opposite direction of this blog post? Please stay put. We are going to simplify this.
If content marketing had a walk-out song, it would be “I Want You to Want Me” by Cheap Trick. What separates content marketing from all the other junk food out there is the audience’s desire to actually consume your content. The content must be valuable and relevant so much so that your followers, clients, customers, etc. want to see your message rather than avoid it. If you aren’t sure if your content is something to write home about, here are a few questions to ask yourself:
- Are you eliciting action or an emotional reaction?
- Is it helpful? Informative?
- Is it personalized for your niche?
- Is it likely to be shared?
An excellent example of content marketing is the “Share a Coke” campaign. Coke made this campaign both relevant and valuable by taking your own personal brand and slapping it right on theirs. Have you seen your name on a Coke bottle? Have you searched for someone else’s? When Coke launched “Share a Coke” in Australia, they sold more than 250 million named bottles and cans the first summer, and I think you can guess how their success grew from there.
That is an extreme example, though. Content marketing doesn’t have to be a nationwide craze to be successful. A few examples of content marketing on a smaller scale are:
- Creating video (consider going live).
- Hosting a podcast
- Publishing a manual or book.
- Hosting a webinar.
- Sending an e-newsletter.
- And so much more!
Obviously, some of those suggestions are easier than others, and as a whole, content marketing is easier said than done. In fact, 57 percent of marketers said they do not devote enough time to content marketing, and 47 percent said they have content-creation challenges. So is it worth it? And what are the benefits?
- Brand Awareness: If someone is talking about an event you hosted or the blog post they read on your Facebook page, they are likely talking about your brand as well. This is important when we consider that attention and peaking interest are the first two stages of the sales funnel, and 82 percent of Americans say they seek recommendations from friends and family when considering a purchase.
- Earning Respect: By sharing content that consumers actually want to consume, you will gain their trust and furthermore prove your expertise in your industry. People will be persuaded to work with you or buy from you before they even walk through the door or pick up the phone.
- Site Traffic: Entertaining content will bring people to your website where they will learn more about you and your products/services.
- Increase Social Media Traffic: Putting good content on your social channels will help you gain followers and build a relationship with consumers/clients. Also, social media is the ideal platform for sharing content. As Facebook shifts its algorithms, engaging content will be imperative.
- Improve Search Engine Optimization: Search engine optimization (SEO) is a series of tactics meant to increase your site’s rankings in search engines, including the individual pages within that site. Consumers use search engines when looking for a product or service. The more quality content you have, the better your SEO.
So you see the point, but aren’t sure how to get started. Try these steps.
- Become acquainted with your audience! What is the demographic? What platforms are they using? Who is influencing them? What hours of the day are they on the web? Figure out what is trending. Google Trends is incredibly useful for this and allows you to see search interest in a topic.
- Once you’re familiar with your audience, it’s time to start producing content. Everything stems from an idea, so start brainstorming. What inspires you, teaches you something or catches your attention? What are some of your customers’ most frequently asked questions? This should get your creativity flowing. Then remember to think back to the who and put yourself in the shoes of your consumer or client. Would they enjoy it too? Here is an example: Let’s say you own a local tire shop. Instead of running an ad on the radio about a product sale, instead consider using those dollars to hire a designer to produce an infographic on the types of tires, their life span and dangers of tire failure. Push it out on your social media and website. Hold a contest, ask people to share it and reward a lucky winner. You’ve educated your consumers, elicited action and proven yourself an expert all in one sweep.
- Scope out your competition. Figure out what’s working for them, and more importantly what isn’t.
- Keep your eye on the ball. When you’ve nailed down a few ideas that help you meet your organizational goal, write them down, keep them in front of you, set deadlines and execute.
Start now. If you didn’t believe “content is king,” we’re hoping you do now. We’re also hoping you’re humming Cheap Trick and feeling more empowered to create content of your own.