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Content Marketing Tips to Help Tap into Your Audience: Part 2
Content marketing allows businesses to define their online presence and attract an audience. We received a wealth of great tips, strategies, and ideas to master the craft from content marketing experts. There’s a lot to learn, from identifying an audience and producing valuable content, to managing resources and testing what works.
Head of Marketing, Spree Interactive
Be consistent and deliberate.
There are four major steps you should take to get your content marketing strategy right:
Know your audience.
Like in any other marketing activity, it is key to know your audience. You need to be a hundred percent sure whom you want to talk to and address your topics accordingly.
Know the pain of your audience and your potential clients. What makes them stay awake at night? What information are they missing? How can you help them to make their lives easier?
Make sure everything you publish follows a line and is consistent with the other stories you want to tell. Nothing confuses people more than different statements within one topic. With content, you position your company as a subject matter expert and your goal is to gain trust on a long term basis.
Spread the news.
You have a bunch of ways to distribute your content. Of course, you want to use as many as possible and you should do that, but also be aware of the channels your clients or prospects are actually using. Ask your user base which channels they use and what is the most relevant and convenient one for them.
Involve your user base and make them a part of your story. Invite them for interviews, webinars and case studies and make them feel valuable, because that’s what they are to your business.
Digital Marketing Manager, Lifestyle Communities
Keep testing and create recognizable content.
Know your target audience.
It is crucial you know who your audience is and what is going to make them have that emotional connection with your ad. Whether it’s buying a pair of shoes or buying a home, you need to know what it is that’s going to be the trigger, in those few seconds of seeing your ad, to make them choose you.
Have a strategy.
Before you start any campaign do your research to know what channels your audience uses. Often there will be multiple and your content will vary due to this. If your audience is broad, segment into groups so you can ensure the messaging is relevant.
Content is king.
We’ve all heard this before and that’s for a good reason. Having strong imagery (still or video) and quality text is everything. Spend the time to get this right and you will reap the rewards.
Test and test again.
Don’t post content and sit back thinking your work is done. You need to look at the data and understand what’s getting the best engagement. Test different imagery and text combinations to see what’s going to give you the strongest outcome.
Remember your brand.
If you are running a campaign to build brand awareness or drive leads you need to ensure the look and feel of your content is recognisable to your audience. Trust and authority in a brand is what builds long term relationships with your customers.
Digital marketing is an ever-changing environment and what works one week may not work the next. Always monitor campaigns and keep informed with what changes may be going on in the digital space so you can make sure your content is always on point.
Digital Marketing Lecturer and Consultant, Quickfire Digital
Content creating is for the long haul, so don’t start if you plan to abandon it.
Delve into the detail.
A vast amount of content is created every single day—yet 90% of it receives no traffic from search engines. Why? Because it’s often bland, regurgitated nothingness which has been cobbled together for a blog with no real quality or depth. The result is content not being seen and time being wasted. If you’re going to produce content, do it right. Go into crazy amounts of detail, showcase your unique knowledge and refrain from adding to the dross.
Nail your colours to the mast.
Get off the fence and be prepared to put your opinion across. Yes, that will mean some people will disagree—that’s what you want! Create a debate but stay strong with your belief. If you pitched to a potential customer, you would say, “This is what we can do for you,” not, Well… we could do one thing, or another, or another…” This doesn’t mean you need to be controversial—just believe in something.
Be clear on your audience.
Write specifically with one person in mind. This could well affect your language, your tone and the structure of your piece, depending on what will resonate with them. You wouldn’t write the same article for a parent as you would a widow—but both might be thinking about what pet to introduce into their home!
Quality over quantity.
A lot has been written about this, but it remains true today as it always will. Short of time? Plan for one, in-depth piece a month rather than trying to cram one piece in a week.
Forget about content marketing…
…if you think you’ll see immediate results driving a huge increase in sales within the first few months. Creating content is a long-game tactic and it isn’t for everyone. If you’re not prepared to believe in and commit to it, then don’t even start because you’ll end up alongside thousands of companies with blog ghost towns highlighting the fact your website hasn’t published a new post in four years. And that doesn’t reflect well on your business.
Courtney Hartmann Tisa
Continue to reassess who fits into your target audience.
Identify the goal.
Not every content piece has the same goal. Are you trying to boost SEO with a longform article? Do you want to create an of-the-moment buzz about a particular product or service? Is the intention to hitch your content efforts to a trending topic? Although your content may achieve more than a single goal, keep it simple and identify one, main measurable factor.
Prune your copy.
Many companies don’t have editors on staff. They rely on copywriters to also build strategy, in addition to editing. Whether or not you find yourself with an editor, always take a read-through first. Eliminate unnecessary words, but also get rid of repetition as well. You may be surprised how many times you use the same adjective or verb in one piece of content.
Regularly review audience(s).
It’s nice to have a guideline regarding who the content is meant for, but by doing so, you also potentially exclude people who may not have been considered in the first go-round. Furthermore, they’ve likely reached different ages, milestones, income levels, and value needs since the last time you considered them.
Talk with your team about what they’re reading. What are brands they admire? And, in addition to marketing copy, what book, magazine, or online authors do they gravitate toward? Notice how and where they are connecting with their readers. Content marketing requires the ability to evolve and that can’t happen if people keep telling the same stories in the same ways.
Too many times, ad campaigns are pulled or content calendars and budgets are slashed because the “ROI isn’t there.” If you’re not ready to play the long game, content marketing isn’t for you. And if content marketing isn’t for you, that’s telling of the kind of sustainability you predict for your business.
Digital Marketing Production Manager, Maxtech Agency
Helping your audience will direct them down the sales funnel.
Attracting the right customers has long been a challenge for any eCommerce business. It’s hard to know where to focus your efforts, and you could be pouring money into ads and marketing efforts that fall on deaf ears. Enter content marketing.
Instead of pushing sales to any consumer that comes across your page, content marketing focuses on passively attracting relevant consumers with the intent of converting them into paying customers.
Content marketing utilizes relatable, educational and entertaining content based around helping your core audience fixing a specific problem that your product or service will alleviate.
We’ve put together some tips to help you get started:
- Identify your core audience and their problems.
- Think about your target audience and decide how your content can best help them.
- Tie your content back to business goals.
- Attracting new readers doesn’t automatically convert them into buyers. Show them how your products or services can help them alleviate their problems.
- Be consistent with your brand’s style and tone.
- Establish a voice that you feel represents your brand and works for your audience and use it in all your content. The goal is to educate and entertain your readers at the same time.
- Use a healthy mix of content.
- Don’t just focus on one medium over the others. A blend of social media posts, blogs, e-books, podcasts and vlogs will diversify your offerings and help different members of your core audience in different ways.
- Use analytics to track successes and identify issues.
- Pay attention to traffic and conversions. One medium may attract more readers, but if it doesn’t convert them into buyers, you could be wasting your efforts. Analytics will help you direct your focus and optimize your content.
- There you have it. With these tips in mind, you can begin creating content to delight your readers and help direct them down the sales funnel. It starts at the “awareness stage” and gradually moves them from readers to loyal customers.
Marketing Manager, TROY Group, Inc.
Listen to how your audience and customers speak about your brand.
The phrase “Content is King” is absolutely true. In the Lion King, Mufasa tells young Simba, the future king, “Everything the light touches is our kingdom.” Relating this children’s classic to content you could say that, “Everything crawlable by Google is our kingdom,” and hence why content reigns as king. Content has to be strong, stand up against competitors, and show your followers that you know what you’re talking about. Content is how you show you’re the leader to be trusted and make them feel special, like a part of your pride (i.e. family).
I recently had the pleasure (and pains) of successfully rebranding our company. Here are some pointers I’ve learned along the way:
- It doesn’t matter what media we’re talking about. The important thing to remember is to produce concise content that is consistent across every media. Your online and offline content should look and feel like the same company. No more separation!
- Use content to tell your story but make sure you’re speaking their language. Jargon and spiffy terms may seem important to you but what do they mean to your reader? Make sure you’re using content that resonates and isn’t superfluous.
- Listen to your receivers to make your content better. How do they talk about your brand? What words (i.e. content) are they using when they give reviews or talk about you on social?
- Test, test, test. Did I mention test! Must be important!! Don’t wait for the perfect content to inspire you. There’s no such thing as perfect content. But you can test content to help you get close.
- And finally, for those marketers who don’t think they’re content writers, you are. If you’re struggling to write content that drives users to take action, read Ann Handley’s book, Everybody Writes. It changed how I write, edit, and re-write, until it’s a piece that I think will elicit the desired action. Then, I test it against all the edits that didn’t make the final cut!
Head of Marketing and Digital, Bluespot Furniture
Use the expertise of the people working at your company.
- Stop copywriting and think content creation. All companies do is talk about themselves. No one is interested in that. Stand out by delivering a content strategy focused entirely on the customer’s needs and wants—regardless of where that takes you.
- Transcend your brand and become the industry voice to quickly gain authority within your sector. The only way to really achieve this is by creating truly utilitarian and completely unbiased content addressing real topics which your customers are actively searching for answers on. Focus on that instead of the usual short-lived gimmick campaigns and PR stunts everyone else is doing.
- Ensure the use of SEO and CRO optimisation techniques is proportionate. Adding a sprinkle of each of these disciplines is absolutely necessary to (a) get organic visitors in the first place and (b) get them to take the desired action once on the site. On the other hand, these should not drive the copy and merely inform it. People and Google are not stupid, and they know exactly what you’re up to if you overuse these disciplines.
- Tap into the great wealth of information locked away inside your colleagues’ brains. Insourcing is more cost effective than hiring external content writers: it has the added benefit of existing product knowledge, will always feel more authentic and gives everyone within the organisation the opportunity to contribute and be recognised for their expertise way beyond the company walls. This type of employee engagement activity brings immense benefits to all involved.
- Write clearly and concisely. The human brain is a machine but instead of using up RAM, it consumes calories as it processes information, so it naturally tries to avoid long complicated copy in order to operate at optimal levels.
Head of Digital Acquisition & Content, Calendly
Use search volume to find the sweet spot for your targeted content.
Content marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) have a symbiotic working relationship. It’s a cliche at this point, but you can’t do one effectively without the other. SEO is the architect, using best practices to create a blueprint. Content marketing is the contractor, working from within that blueprint, producing something concrete that accomplishes the goal of SEO: bringing the architect’s blueprint to the people.
Contrary to what our social feeds tell us, too much of the wrong content is a bad thing, but that fear of producing the wrong content can be just as dangerous. Throughout my career, I’ve looked to one rubric to guide my big decisions: search volume. The Center for Disease Control uses search volume to detect regional outbreaks, so why shouldn’t I be able to identify industry trends the same way? The formula (on the surface) is simple. Write about what people are interested in and the details will come. The trick is finding that happy place where search trends intersect with your industry.
Search volume, simply put, is the number of people looking for information on any given keyword in Google over a specific period of time. For example, if you search for “red shoes” once this month, you’re one in 110,000 searches that term, the latter being your search volume. It should guide your editorial calendar; keywords falling between 2,000 and 15,000 searches per month tend to be the sweet spot for lead generating or high-value educational content. Remember, your content is only as good as the number of people who see it, and good SEO will get you more people. No question.
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