I had the opportunity to speak to a group of professionals this past Spring about Content Marketing. It was a fantastic experience, and we covered a lot of ground in just a short hour’s conversion.
I asked a question in the beginning. The answers that were returned surprised me as much as they excited me.
“Who here knows what content marketing is?”
The vast minority raised a hand. Woo… But that was great news! 1) Because that’s what I was there for and 2) Because that tells me that most people still have unexplored opportunities when it comes to improving their online marketing.
So let’s dig into it – WHAT IS CONTENT MARKETING (and why you should care)
In all likelihood, you know of Social Media, and in effect, you’ve heard of ‘Social Media Marketing.’ Once coveted as a free way to get you more customers, times have changed. The arena is crowded with talent, and standing out to the people who matter most to you is more competitive than ever.
Enter content marketing.
Let’s cut to [my] definition of content marketing. I’ll explain the rest in a minute.
Content marketing is the act of creating content, through text, video, ebooks, posts, and more that creates value for your key customer personas, by providing valuable information, entertainment, emotional stimulation, or a combination.
“WOO. THAT’S OVERWHELMING!”
WHAT BRANDS ARE DOING WRONG
Have you ever stumbled upon a small business Facebook page and been immediately turned off? It’s freqently because their posts are talking about how great their product is, 110 different pictures of their product, and just plain boring posts telling you to visit them online, check them out, sign up for this, go do that.
We all want returns on our time and monetary investments in social media, but we need to provide value (through quality content) before we can *ask* for those website visits, signups, phone calls, sales, and even interest in your business.
WHAT STRONG BRANDS ARE DOING
- They know WHO their customers are
- They know WHERE their customers are
- They know WHAT pains their customers
- They know WHY their customers are online (i.e. why they’re scrolling down the Instagram feed)
- They know WHEN it’s time to provide value, and when it’s okay to ask for something in return.
If you post on your facebook page 100 times throughout the month with a link about your cool new jewelry and a link to it on your eCommerce site… yes, you will get SOME web traffic.
But here is what you WON’T get.
- True fans of your brand
- Their trust
- Word-of-mouth or shares
- The full traffic potential of customers
- Added brand value
“Okay, I get it. But what should I be doing with my brand then?”
In short, the first step most brands need to take is to better know their customer. The thought process I use to begin a content marketing strategy is below:
- Define and understand the buyer persona. What are their pain points? What interests them? What are they talking about on social media? How are they spending their time online?
- Define which pain points your brand can alleviate, which interests you can satisfy, which conversation you could potentially add to, and the least intrusive way to do so. (This will dictate the content you will create to add value and stand out from your competition)
- Learn what the competition is doing. Are they creating a podcast, offering ebooks, sharing valuable blog posts, posting pictures, conversing with their customers on social?
- Address your current bandwidth and decide which type of value to provide first. This may be the decision to create a series of blogs, tips to share on Facebook, or anything else useful.
- Begin creating your content, and share that content with your potential customers.
This has covered that mindset you will need to create an effective content marketing strategy, but I’m sure more questions are popping up. “How do I make a good podcast?” “How do I get people to pay attention?” “Should I start a blog?” and the many more…
Stay tuned for upcoming blog posts to learn the answers to these questions and more helpful advice.
Until next time, Tony Papoutsakis.
Also published on Medium.