A popular misconception is that content marketing its all about blogging. While blogging is certainly an important and effective component of content marketing, it is not the only one. It may not even be the best way to reach your audience.
There are other avenues where your content can be marketed. There are podcasts and video productions which are effective in generating leads. The key in content marketing is delivering your message to your audience regardless of the medium. Here are seven best practices you can follow to ensure effective content marketing:
1. Connect With Your Audience
Todays consumers are not easily swayed to patronize products or services simply on a guarantee of value and quality. Digital technology and social media have given consumers the avenues to connect and communicate directly with proponents. Your market wants to know who you are; how you represent the brand, what you can do for them in order to justify why they should patronize you.
As Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahnehan theorized, consumers no longer rationalize their choices. The decision to patronize is influenced by the ability to connect with you at an emotional level. A business is not just a registered entity. The business is you and you are the business.
When crafting content, let your audience know who you are as a way of introducing your business. Perhaps you can produce a short video on the experiences which inspired you to venture into this type of business. Or write a mini e-book or a series of articles or blogs that depict your journey up to this point. Another idea would be to feature the people in your company in a behind-the-scenes or Day in the Life Of ... format.
2. Be Creative In Spreading The Word
In a way, content marketing mirrors celebrity. In view of all the content available in the Internet, the audience chooses yours. Thus, as actors show their appreciation to those who patronize their movies through special promotions, you should also give your audience a token of appreciation.
In content marketing this could be done by sharing unique information that cannot be found anywhere else in the Internet. Perhaps give them access to a few chapters to an upcoming e-book or create a community for your most loyal readers. If you are a consultancy firm and author of a series of productivity modules, you can give them limited time access to the first two volumes.
The crucial thing to remember is that content must be relevant and aligned with your message.
3. Open Up Your Resources
When creating content don't just limit yourself with the same line-up of resource people. Understand that opinions are not the exclusive domain of a select few. The best way to generate engagement is to open up the content to a variety of ideas and perceptions. Bring in a variety of people who view your content from a different filter or at the very least can articulate it differently.
If you have a podcast, why not invite some of the people who work with you? It allows your audience to listen to people who could be working behind the scenes and presents a unique venue for introducing new aspects of your business. Another idea would be to seek out your industry peers for their viewpoints.
To scale blogging to a new level, you can use tools like BuzzSumo to identify what content is making waves in your industry. Use these resources to write awesome content that will skyrocket your website. To step up the resources even further, you can spy your competitors online presence by analyzing their progress with tools like Monitor Backlinks.
Gather as many resources as you can and use them to your advantage.
4. Engage Your Audience
One of the best ways to drive your content marketing strategy is to engage your audience. An effective technique would be to craft content based on FAQs or Frequently Asked Questions. This way, your content is effectively addressing issues that frequently concern your audience.
There are several sources for FAQs, not just your e-mail. Check your social media pages and take note of common issues discussed by your market. If you host webinars, collate questions asked by callers or audience members and address them in your content. It will build engagement and present you as an accessible and reliable source of information. You can also distribute surveys to your current roster of followers or subscribers.
Remember that one of the golden rules of content creation is to address a concern of your audience.
5. Messaging Must Be Clear
Communication is vital in content marketing and its not just about the messaging; articulating the idea to an extent that it does not discriminate against anyone in your audience is very important. This is a common problem among the experts. They write in a manner where the information is normal or basic to them. Unfortunately, the content reads technical for those who are not to their level of expertise.
Imagine a technical analyst in the stock market who advocates a buying position because the market is in the truncated fifth wave of Wave C of Wave 2 of one lesser degree which corrected 76.4% of Wave 1 and therefore targeting a move equivalent to a 1=1 ratio from wave 5 with a confluence at 61.8% of the move in Wave C. How many in your audience or target market would understand that?
A better way to put it would be to suggest a buying position because retained earnings from the current year is projected to be significantly higher than the previous year as expansion plans have been profitable. Even if the traders decision to buy is based on technical factors, fundamental news is much easier to understand for most people.
6. Less Is More
There are two conundrums in content marketing. The first is the popular advice that the more often you publish content the better for your content marketing strategy. But what happens when the well has run dry and you start to run low on material?
In any endeavor, quality trumps quantity. People want to read or view content that is relevant, compelling and engaging. If your material is none of the above, it would be best to scale down the frequency of publication and focus on the quality of your content.
7. Size Matters
The second conundrum is the size of your content. For years the popular belief is that people prefer shorter content because most only scan material. But studies have shown size matters.
If you write a blog, the ideal size is in excess of 1,000 words. In fact the longer your post the better the results. Why? Writing a comprehensive blog requires greater in-depth detail. 500 words will not be enough to put information to validate your content. People read blogs to research and get advice. This is why 77% of Internet users read blogs and 61% had their decision to purchase influenced by a blog.
In addition to being an innovator and the Worlds Richest Man", Microsoft founder proved to be a visionary when he coined the phrase Content is King back in 1996. Gates alluded to his view that content comes in many forms including as a software program. It is a way of communicating in a language that is clearly understood.
In essence that is the purpose of content marketing; to set up the conditions that make your message resonate and ring loud and clear.
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* Adapted lead image: Some rights reserved by ** RCB **