While content marketing is by no means a new phenomenon, today it is more powerful than ever. In a digitally driven society where consumers are increasingly sceptical and demanding, it is almost imperative that businesses implement an exciting content marketing strategy. Compelling content incites engagement and trust, forging a connection between consumer and brand. As well boosting customer loyalty, it is also one of the most cost-effective ways to reach your audience. This is largely down to the fact that content and social media go hand-in-hand. Content is indeed king, and its mighty reign is far from over. That being said, consistently producing engaging content is no easy feat, especially for small businesses that may not have the resources to do so. Even well-established brands struggle to generate creative content. Here are some pro tips to help keep your customers interested.
Zero-in on what makes you different
Before developing any content market strategy, it’s crucial that businesses establish their unique selling point (USP). The first step is to determine your niche, and consider what differentiates your product or service from the competition. If you are unsure what makes you stand out, study your target customer. What are their challenges and pain points? Do you have a unique solution or approach? Even the smallest differences can give your business a significant edge. Therefore, it is vital that this advantage is communicated to your customer via the content you put out. Without doing so, you will become lost in the crowd. This will ultimately guide your marketing messaging and set the tone of your ad campaigns.
Do your research
Don’t start blogging for content’s sake and hope you will be found by prospective customers. You must be more strategic in choosing topics that interest your audience. Begin by researching high-performing keywords using free tools such as Google Keyword Planner or Keywordtool.io. This will give you an indication of the information people are looking for in your industry. Social media is also a great place to scout for trending topics that people are talking about. Follow influencers in your niche and listen in on their conversations with their followers. The key insights you gather from your research can help you in developing compelling content for your readers.
Create buyer personas
Buyer personas are imaginary representations of your target customers. They are a great way of getting into the mind of the consumer and understanding their key drivers. Understanding your buyer personas allows you to tailor your messaging towards your customers’ needs and preferences. The better you know your clients, the more you will acquire and retain. You can start by looking into your current customer database and collecting insights on demographics (age, sex, income) and psycho-graphics (values, motivations, and lifestyles). Segment them accordingly so you can customise and deliver your marketing campaigns to the right group. Other techniques in developing buyer personas include conducting internet research, running surveys or interviews, and collecting feedback from your sales team.
The human attention span is shrinking, which means that marketers cannot rely on written content alone to get their message across. Truth is, most consumers aren’t interested in reading lengthy text. Businesses must therefore explore other avenues to captivate prospective customers. Here’s where visuals come in. To maximise shareability, photos and videos are essential. Consumers retain information better when it is presented in a visual format. In fact, 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual. When it comes to this type of content, there is endless scope for imagination. Invest in a camera and take original photos for Instagram. Brighten up your blogposts by including memes or gifs. Make data fun by incorporating infographics. It’s a great way for brands to get their creative juices flowing.
Tell a story
Since the beginning of time, humans have always loved stories. Good stories are deeply evocative, unlocking powerful human responses such as empathy, compassion and trust. This makes storytelling a key device in the world of content marketing. Meaningful storytelling shapes brand association, creating an emotional connection between consumer and brand. Stories are also memorable, with studies indicating that people remember stories 22x more than facts and figures alone. Smart marketers know how to use storytelling to indirectly communicate how their products/services add value to the lives of consumers. Expert marketers, however, know how to use storytelling to reinforce brand values, as seen in P&G’s with ‘Thank You, Mom’ campaign. Small businesses can also integrate storytelling into their content, with a host of online sharing platforms at their disposal.
Gone are the days of assuming consumers will believe what they read without suspicion or speculation. Studies show that the modern consumer has become immune to much marketing material. Plagued by hyperbole and cheesy slogans, many time-tested marketing techniques are now obsolete. As audiences evolve in this way, so must content. To be truly engaging in today’s climate, brands should endeavour to be as authentic as possible. Statistics show that consumers resonate with transparency in advertising. For example, Time Inc. conducted a recent study which showed that 89% of consumers think authentic and customised content helps to cut through the slavish online clutter. Thanks to social media, virtually any business can communicate with its audience on a personal and relatable level. Customer testimonials and reviews are a great starting point. If you’re considering influencer marketing, look at those with smaller followings who usually have better engagement and credibility.
It is not uncommon for start-ups and small businesses to hire digital marketing agencies to develop content for them. It frees up their time to manage other aspects of their operations so they can grow their sales and improve the bottom line. You might be worried that content creators may not necessarily have in-depth information and technical knowledge about the subject matter or industry. But good writers have training and experience in research and analysis, allowing them to create content that is both informative and credible. Before deciding to outsource, make sure that you have a firm grasp of what your needs and objectives are. Work with your content provider to develop a sound content marketing strategy. Investing in a strong relationship with your outsourced team can save you time and energy, and help you avoid unnecessary stress.
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