- Often underestimated, content marketing is a winning strategy that will attract customers to your business.
- Understanding prospective customers, the channels to acquire them and being consistent with posts will give you noticeable results.
- The beauty of content marketing is indirect sales. Keep reading to find out how to employ it.
First off, using content to tell your company’s message has proven to be one of the most effective ways to let the world know the awesome stuff you’re doing on a daily basis. There are plenty of smart people out there who will tell you just how easy it is to attract leads and retain business by using the magical powers of the written word. Crafting insightful narratives which cut through the noise, set inboxes ablaze and leave you awash in a tsunami of cash are but a keyboard bashing away. Putting words on the internet is easy. Putting the right words in front of the right people at the right time in the right way is not.
The first step to creating real influence on the purchasing decisions of your audience starts with defining why they buy and why they buy from you. You’ll discover your own learnings in time, but with a little planning, you’ll at least make sure you’re kicking off in the right direction.
There are many rules you can implement when you’re looking to optimise your content strategy and get better results, but this article is focused on getting you started. As content production is not something you’re used to, the best thing you can do is just get started and get in the habit of producing regularly. You don’t pick up a tennis racket and expect to hit backhands like Federer, so you can’t expect your first efforts in Content Marketing to set the world on fire, either.
Know Your Audience
There are a lot of sophisticated ways you can discern who your audience is and define what makes them buy stuff. You can delve into the deep recesses of your Brand Identity, labour over the details of your competitive landscape and how you stack up in a SWOT analysis. You can dissect the intricacies of your Customer Journey, flesh out insightful perspectives on Empathy Statements and break down the all encompassing psychological motivators behind it all to distill the One Great Truth about your product..
Or you could think about your best customer.
Now, I’m not saying those other things aren’t important. They are the essential building blocks of any good content plan. We work with clients on defining these strategies every day! However, to get the ball rolling, you can start by thinking about your very best customer. It could be the person who buys the most product, is easiest to please, pays on time, asks the right questions or needs little of your time. Someone you would like to have more of in your business because at the end of the day, that’s who you’re wanting to talk to. And if you don’t have any customers yet, that’s okay too. Think about what the absolute best type of customer would be for you and your business.
Keep this person front of mind when you generate every word or photo and think about what they would like to see.
Channels Are Important
Now a channel can be any means by which you communicate with your customers. Channels can be Email, they can be Facebook, your website is a channel, so is your Instagram page. They’re all ways for you to distribute the wonderful words and pretty pictures you’ll be letting flow into the world.
Channel selection is almost as important as the content you’re creating. Don’t let that put you off, though. If you’re just starting out, pick a channel you’re comfortable with and focus solely on that. Creating fresh, engaging content on a regular basis can be time consuming, so get it right with one channel before you take on the world.
Thinking back to your very best customer, what is the channel they would most likely see you on? Are you selling something visually striking, which would get them to Like on Instagram? Are you selling concepts and ideas, which you want them to read about in an email?
Use your knowledge of this very best customer to make a call on where you think they would most like to find you.
Persistant And Consistent
So you know your audience and you have your preferred channels in mind, now you need to get cracking! When it’s not perceived as a core part of your business, producing content (and marketing in general) can be hard to prioritise. While it’s not so important to make sure your posts, your pics or your penmanship are delivered at the same *exact* time on the same *exact* day each week, it is important that you’re pushing your amazing work out regularly.
Regular communication keeps your audience engaged: If you publish content rather infrequently, it’s easy for your future customers to tune out. This is especially important if you are still working on building your audience in the first place. It will also keep you top of mind for when they’re ready to make a purchase.
So create and distribute your content as often as you can, though there are upper limits for each platform. If you struggle to regularly check in and create something, try using the Scheduling tools built into most platforms, so you can create everything at once and then drip feed the posts throughout your week/month.
This is probably the hardest thing as a newbie to the world of Content Marketing. You’ve planned out these great ideas and want to tell the world just how awesome your business is! You’re doing great work, customers should be buying your stuff!
This may all be true, but the true art of Content Marketing is indirect selling. The first word in the name gives it away: you must be producing content first and foremost. Your goal is to put something of value into your customer’s and future customers hands that is of value to them. You are positioning yourself as a knowledgeable person in your chosen field by sharing your inherent knowledge and experiences around your business, so that the next time your customers are in market for your product or services, they think of you. You should definitely have your business’ details easily available in your channels, but avoid hard sell phrases like ‘Get a Quote’, ‘Buy Now’, ‘Limited Time’, ‘Order Today’.
So What *Do* I Talk About
If you’re struggling for things to talk about with your audience, the easiest thing is to examine the conversations you’re already having with your customers. What are the questions you’re being asked on a daily basis? Turn your answers into a piece of content and share your response with your audience. Did one of your customers order something unique you could share? Put the idea into one of your channels and communicate the thinking behind both the request and your response.
For example, if you’re a Florist and spend a lot of time talking about the flowers which are in season, a photo on Instagram of your favourite arrangement and why these flowers are so great at the moment is a fitting piece of Content Marketing.
It’s also okay to share other people’s work. You don’t need to create everything yourself. If there’s an article you read which really speaks to you and you think your very best customer might enjoy it as well, get it out there. Your business likely works with other brands, some bigger who can employ all kinds of marketing support. Tap into those resources. Like if you’re a Painter and Dulux release a new shade of green, share it with your audience and ask a question which encourages them to engage.
Content Marketing is a great new tool for you to embrace and an effective one for telling the stories about what makes your business great. With these guidelines in mind, get out there and get started!