Acquiring and maintaining a loyal and profitable customer base requires so much more than offering great deals on your products or services and consistent advertising. You need to provide value to your customers outside of what you’re selling. This is where content marketing comes into play.
Content marketing is the process of creating and publishing valuable and relevant content on a consistent basis to attract and maintain a well-defined audience. Not only does it add value to your brand by strengthening customer loyalty, but content marketing will also give you ammo for social media posts, increase SEO and guides consumers farther into your buyer’s journey (See “The Buyer’s Journey….”). It’s true, content marketing can be time consuming, but it is well worth the effort and here are the six basic principles to get you started.
First and foremost, you must create a tactical plan to achieve your business’s goals. The plan should focus on your audience and content marketing goals of which align with the ambitions of your company.
Once the plan has been formed it must be proposed and embraced by the rest of your team; it is essential that they are fully on board and understand what is required for the strategy to work. We recommend assigning each team member specific duties and responsibilities that they can take ownership of, and then put together a content template, editorial calendar and measurement plan to keep everyone on strategy.
This building block of content marketing revolves around research – researching content that matches your strategy and is relevant in today’s market. Once you’ve found interesting material you then repurpose or share it across the medium’s you see fit. Whether that is a simple Facebook share or a more complex post to your blog describing your thoughts on the topic. Curating marketing content can take less time than writing original content, but you still need to commit to finding content that is true to your brand and is important to your readers.
Here is where we take curation a step further and manifest our own unique content. Again, you want this material to be meaningful to your audience, so make sure to put a solid effort into it. Creating original content helps to label your company as a reliable source of information within your industry.
Assembling unique, thought provoking content is key, but it is also important to have an assortment of content style and length. You should create smaller, more digestible content to publish regularly via social media posts, e-mail blasts, morning radio talk-shows, etc. You’ll also want to spend some extra time putting together videos, podcasts, white papers or blog posts that you can repurpose down the road.
You’ve probably heard it a hundred times, optimization is key in today’s online marketing world, but how does it impact content marketing? For the content you’ve published online to show when someone does a search, you need to use keywords in your content. Keywords enable search engines to pick apart material, understand the information entwined in it, and display it when a relevant search is performed.
Expand the reach of your content marketing beyond your immediate market via amplification. The two best known methods are paid and earned amplification. If you utilize the paid content method you are paying someone or something to share your data with their followers. Whereas with the earned method, someone read your material and enjoyed it so much they chose to share it with others in their circle. Both approaches to amplification improve the possibility that your content marketing material is going to reach a larger audience.
To determine if your team’s tireless efforts have positively affected your business, you must devote some time in to calculating measurements to determine the impact your content marketing has had. These measurements will allow you to see whether your strategy worked and you achieved your content marketing goals or not. Measurements should also be used to guide any adjustments your strategy may need.
As you can see, content marketing isn’t a one-and-done sort of thing. It requires a deep understanding of your audience, a thorough and tactical game plan, creative, relevant material, and a strong delivery. Focus on your audience and adding value to your brand and you will be headed down the right path.