You know the score; it’s no longer enough to tell your customers and potential customers what’s so great about your brand and call it a marketing day. Consumers are too savvy for a simple sales pitch these days. To gain their attention, and their business, your content marketing efforts will need to do much more than that.
The key is to put your customer first. Each piece of content marketing should tell a story — not about your brand or product, but about how to help your customer fill a need or solve a problem… and your wonderful offering can be spotlighted therein.
With this in mind, here are some tips for a modern content marketing makeover.
• Blog: Your company should establish a consumer-facing blog, if it hasn’t already. Discussion of developments about your product or service should only be part of the equation. This should primarily be a venue for placing your brand in a larger context. Tips, advice and how-tos are key to offering readers content they can use in their daily lives and content that will keep them coming back for more — and turning to your site as a destination.
And of course, your company blog should function like any other blog. It should link to relevant content, be visually appealing, and give readers a reason to come back — whether this be through storytelling, advice or promotions like giveaways and discounts
• YouTube Channel: If you have the resources to create video content, a YouTube channel can be an important medium for delivering your gospel. This is not the place for commercials however. The content should balance your messaging with useful information. For example, “how to use our product for maximum effect” is a reasonable theme for a video. Retain viewership by creating content often. And also serve up instructional videos that relate to your brand’s areas of expertise but are unbranded or only lightly branded, featuring your products sparingly, if at all. Not every piece of content needs to be shouting your name.
• Social Media: Open discourse over social media like Facebook and Twitter will send the message that you want to have a transparent relationship with your consumers. If you have enough followers, you may consider hiring a full time social media manager to make sure these interactions stay consistent and civil.
Become part of the community you seek to serve by offering advice and tips and exchanging ideas. Integrate your expertise into the conversation! Your social media presence is also a good place to advertise promotions and sweepstakes, link to video content and new blog posts and tell your brand’s story.
• SEO Strategy: Your SEO strategy should not be a single pronged approach at driving up your brand’s name in search results. Unless your brand is a household name synonymous with its use, such as Google or Xerox, you aren’t going to drive many hits to your content on your name alone. With that said, now is the time to get inside your customers’ heads. If they are in need of your goods or services, what search terms would they be using to solve their problem? Be sure to incorporate these words, phrases and questions in all of your content to drive traffic to your site. To keep readers there, make sure your content is of interest to them. Avoid inside baseball, too many technical specifications and straight up advertising.
• Content Distribution: Now that you’ve created that ace content for your own site and distribution channels it’s time to make the most of it. Consider expanding your reach with the editorial distribution and placement of a feature story or infographic — such as those from our own StatePoint Media services — one of the best avenues for widespread distribution of news readers can use. In this context, your content becomes “service journalism,” providing families with tangible info they can turn into action, acquired from their local media outlet. For example, StatePoint Media’s registered media outlets include more than 12,000 daily and weekly newspapers, TV stations, radio stations and media websites in more than 200 media markets across the country.
While you may have already begun shifting a portion of your efforts away from traditional advertising to new forms of content marketing, old habits can sometimes die hard. Reevaluate your content to determine how much of it is modeled on the old standard and move away from simply telling your story. Tell stories your audience wants and needs, and your content marketing will truly be customer marketing.
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