Content marketing is the logical evolution of social media, the practice that puts the theory into action. Most businesses, whether B2B, B2C, enterprise or small business, are jumping on the content bandwagon, but a lot are also missing the key connections that turn content marketing into leads and ROI. Here are a few of these principles.
1. Content should serve your audience, not the business
Most businesses write about product literature and customer success stories that were product focused. Although, product-related content is important, you need to focus on the audience. If you want a broad audience to remember and share your content, it needs to solve their business problems. What is the customer’s problem? What is keeping them up at night? How can we help solve those problems?
These are questions you should ask your customers, or at least your sales team. Looking at the analytics, you can see what is exactly bringing people to your website. This will help identify some problems they might be having. You can also use a social media listening tool to sift through the conversations and find the questions your customers are asking. Customers are busy and looking for content that they can use right away.
2. Volume and Speed trump Perfection and Polish
In our agency, it isn't unusual for a piece of content to be written by one writer, edited by another, designed by a designer, and reviewed by multiple sources within the agency. A white paper or product literature might have a two-month production cycle. Nowadays, everything is happening so fast on the web, and our attention spans are a to shorter. If you want to capture your audience, your content needs to be timely. How helpful can you be to the audience’s problem? Write a blog post about it and see the benefits of those early search results.
Although it might seem we are writing directly to the audience of customers and prospects, in reality we are writing for Google search. Purchasing decisions begin with a keyword search for a specific topic. The more content you have on any given topic, the more likely your audience will find you.
3. If content is king, engagement is the royal army
A common questions from business marketers is, “Why should I be on Twitter or Facebook? How can it benefit my business?” The answers revolve around listening to your audience and responding to questions, opportunities or complaints. This is still true to this day. Post on your blog, share it on Twitter, Facebook, etc. Give your audience as many chances as possible to find your content.
4. Unlock the potential of your employees, customers, partners, and influencers
Everybody is looking to share content and searching for outlets for their content. Your employees want to share useful content with their followers. Your customers and partners are looking for content, and places to share the content they create. The thought leaders, analysts, bloggers and authors who influence your community not only have great content to share, but they need to keep their social channels timely and relevant. Creating content-sharing relationships with these groups of like-minded folks could be as simple as asking.
5. Content is wasted without a CTA
Marketers worry about how to convert content page views into sales leads. If you write the world’s most helpful blog post, how can you be sure it will influence the person who reads it? How do you know who they are?
Every piece of content you create needs to have a call-to-action. Look at the end of this blog post. After I wrote it, some smart person put a link or button at the end. That's a call to action. Give your audience a reason to ask for more information. Not only can you add them to your contact list, but you can see if your content is valuable enough to benefit your prospects and customers.
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