Content Marketing: Developing A Successful Strategy
A few years ago, content marketing meant very little to the average person. But much like Google has entered our everyday vocabulary, so too has content marketing.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, digital marketers flocked to the notion that by developing content online, they could bring customers to them. Editorial calendars were crafted; blog-writing strategies were employed; a focus on SEO on-page optimization became an integral part of a marketer’s arsenal.
But as content marketing matures past its age of infancy, what we as marketers are beginning to understand is that content isn’t just about a bunch of words on a page. In fact, with advancements in technology – and the growing capacity of mobile devices – your content strategy should be more than just text.
Your Audience Does More Online Than Just Read
One of the goals of your marketing strategy should be to reach out to the widest possible audience. While a portion of your target audience might be avid readers (where static blogs and white papers are effective), there are others who learn and retain information differently.
Any teacher could tell you that we all learn differently. Some people are kinesthetic (they need actionable, hands-on content), while others are auditory (they benefit from content including podcasts, or perhaps webinars). Then there are visual learners, who do best when they read something (blog) or can see the information printed out in front of them (videos).
Work Smarter, Not Harder, To Reach Your Entire Target Base
Trying to come up with unique content to reach each type of learner isn’t only exhausting – but it’s likely not going to provide you the type of ROI you’re after. You’d have to invest far too many man-hours to make it happen.
That’s why a more effective approach to take is to adapt each piece of content you produce to every learning style. For example, one common approach that’s taken is a marketer will produce a blog or white paper. He’ll then take that content and adapt it into in infographic and/or video. This way, you can produce content for all of your learners, without having to recreate the wheel every single time.
Don’t Forgo Mobile
2016 is here, so we’re likely preaching to the choir here, but it’s absolutely vital to factor mobile into your content strategy. As part of your content strategy, we encourage you to not only consider mobile, but perhaps pursue a mobile-first approach. Blogs, emails, and links shared on social media are overwhelmingly opened via mobile phone – when readers are on the go. If your content is slow to load or difficult to read, you risk losing a customer for life.
Telling Stories With Content Marketing
There was a time, years ago, when content marketing consisted of promoting your products or services. That age is long gone. Now, especially with the onslaught of social media, it’s vital that brands humanize their content. Storytelling should be at the crux of your content strategy.
Keep in mind, people don’t buy from businesses; they buy from people and characters. It’s why Progressive promotes Flo, and Geico uses a gecko. These characters personalize a rather impersonal service (insurance).
Another popular approach these days is transparency. Social media tool Buffer reigns supreme with this approach. Not only do they share the salaries of their employees (and exactly where every dollar is spent within their business) but they also admit when things aren’t going so well. For example, in a recent blog post, the social media giants admitted that their social media referral traffic has dipped significantly. They then proceeded to use that post to discuss ways they’re looking into in order to remedy this (which, in turn, served as a great guide for businesses who are experiencing the same phenomenon).
The Key Takeaway – Content Is Worth The Investment
Businesses around the world are accepting the reality that content marketing is something they must invest in. The good news is that content marketing doesn’t have to be as costly as traditional methods, yet can still provide invaluable leads and sales.
But in order to get true value for your investment, you have to know about your audiences, where they linger, and what they’re looking for. In other words, content marketing is still (wait for it) marketing.
A good content strategy should not be hinged on the “spray and pray’ method. You can’t just push your content out there and hope for the best. You have to dig a little deeper to find out who your audience is, where they are, and what type of information they need in order to act.
That’s where OperationROI can help. As leaders in digital marketing, we can help you leverage the power of content marketing in order to reach your target audience, funnel them through the buying cycle, and encourage them to not only convert but become lifelong brand ambassadors.