Businesses are starting to realize the power of content marketing, as consumers are no longer being influenced by traditional, intrusive messaging. With an estimated 60% of businesses employing inbound marketing last year, it is safe to say that the consumers have spoken. Besides being a better experience for readers, content marketing has become the best way to increase SEO rankings, find leads, and build a strong audience.
What the Heck is Content Marketing?
Before I get into my tips, I wanted to clarify what content marketing was. It is a strategy that focuses on providing valuable information to your potential audience for purposes of gaining trust, and building a partnership with them. The reason content marketing is so effective is because you are being relevant to your audience’s life. Unlike interruptive media where the person isn’t even looking for that particular product when an advertisement comes on, content marketing is a way of engaging your audience without imposing. Here’s an infographic that demonstrates the differences:
Very similar to dating, consumers don’t want to spend their time hearing about you. They want genuine, honest customer-driven content. With that said, here are my three steps to getting the relationship you crave with your dream audience. These tips are based off of this image from Scribe:
1. Get Their Attention
Think of your audience as a boy (or girl) that you like very much. When you first see them, you aren’t going to start sending out wedding invitations, you have to make sure they know you exist. Successful content marketing gives you an opportunity to get an in with your audience by working together with their best friend; Google. In order to engage with your audience, you need to make sure they can find you. You can write the best content on the planet, but if you don’t place a few keywords in there, the search engine bots will have a rough time finding and indexing your content. Scribe’s Business Case for Marketing article stated it best here,
“Google is a bright toddler who needs information delivered in a way that works for him. He needs to be spoon fed.”
This doesn’t mean keyword stuff, however. Google doesn’t want to set its friend up with some “all looks, no substance” website. You want content that is clear in its intentions, compelling, and dense, but also is cut into small pieces of information for Google to eat up. When you have Google on your side, you will be able to reach the audience that has been looking for you.
2. Make Your Move!
Now that your audience knows you exist, this is the time to really step your game up and keep them interested in you. Content needs to be compelling, and interesting; if it doesn’t have that, it doesn’t matter if Google has you on the first page. If you’re boring, no one is going to read what you have to say, and eventually Google will write you off too. Content marketing at it’s core works because it’s contextually intriguing. I was surprised at the amount of articles I found that focused on content marketing being all written. Content comes in all shapes and sizes: blogs, videos, radio shows, they are all considered content. You have a slew of creative outlets to choose from, so don’t write a term paper about how awesome you are; get creative! For some inspiration, here are some of my personal favorite campaigns :
–Old Spice Man Youtube Campaign: My absolute favorite marketing content to date. Back in 2010, the “What Your man Could Smell Like” campaign started off with just a 30 second commercial 3 years ago, but ignited a social media frenzy that is still talked about today. Soon, “Old Spice Man” was making youtube videos in response to tweets he would get on twitter. This turned into thousands of mentions, over 60,000 tweets and blog mentions, and a great increase in twitter followers. Now 3 years later, they have Wednesdays with Wes, the new Old Spice Man.
–Coca Cola Journey: Going through a massive website revamp in 2012, Coca Cola decided to tell it’s story through an online magazine called Coca-Cola Journey, named after a magazine named Journey that was published for the company’s employees back in the day. The new website offers articles on entertainment, health, and sports, and draws about 1.2 million unique visitors a month.
–Our Food, Your Questions: This past June, McDonald’s Canada launched a website called Our Food, Your Questions, where people could ask any question they wanted about McDonald’s food, and McDonald’s would answer them honestly. With more than 3.1 million questions answered, I can honestly say McDonald’s has definitely wooed it’s audience back…at least in Canada.
3. Share Your New Relationship Status
So you’ve been creating compelling content for weeks now, and your fledgling followers have become a full blown loyal audience base. Once you have successfully captured the attention of your audience with riveting content, it becomes natural for your audience to want to share your content over time. Content marketing gives you the opportunity to engage with your audience, but you need to give them something to engage with in order to be successful. Be sure to give your audience reason to inspire action. So you want them to share your content? Write a call to action asking people to share it. Do you want to start a discussion? Leave them with a question. Relationships are a two way street my friend; don’t leave your partner guessing about what they should do next. Tell them. With this, your audience will start to grow into a strong lasting relationship between you and the consumer.
Have your own personal content love story you’d like to share? Think content marketing is a relationship nightmare? Let me know in the comments below!
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