It’s been 22 years since Bill Gates declared that ‘content is king’, and content marketing remains as important as ever…
Gates’ 1996 comments are sometimes brushed off as a marketing spiel; ‘content marketing’ purely a buzzword. In reality, content has continued its reign, remaining a core component of a successful marketing strategy and is a traditional marketing activity that has become even more relevant in today’s digital world. So much so, that, in 2016, 75% of companies increased their content marketing budget, in order to bring their business closer to their customers and prospects.
Approximately 329 million people read blogs each month and 27 million pieces of content are shared each day; content is marketing’s chameleon, so diverse and transformable, that it has consistently stood the test of time in our ever-evolving, digital world. So how do you bring an effective content strategy to your business?
Have a strategy
If content is king, strategy is his crown.
As well as incorporating SEO into your content marketing strategy – as with any marketing activity (digital or otherwise) – it is vital know your customer. When you develop a content strategy, it is important to bear in mind:
- Who will be reading it?
- Why they’ll be reading it?
- When to schedule and publish content?
- Where they will see, read and share your content?
- How will each piece of marketing content will stand out from the next?
This graphic from SmartInsights shows how your business can utilise different forms of content to suit different phases of the buyer’s journey.
Give the people what they want!
We all know that regular content creation can bolster strong SEO visbility, but remember, you’re creating content – primarily – for prospects and customers, secondarily for the search engine. As discussed above, always keep your ideal customer at the heart of your content marketing. What would they like to read? Or share? Or show friends? Or talk about?
This is exactly why content is king. It’s about far more than just building brand awareness or SEO visibility, people TALK about quality, relevant content and they share it too!
People want high quality, useful, relevant, and engaging content about things that matter to them. We think that Craig Davis, of international marketing communications company, J. Walter Thompson, hit the nail on the head when he said “we need to stop interrupting what people are interested in and be what people are interested in”.
All brands should strive for their content marketing to be what their prospects and customers are interested in, rather than interrupting their news feed, social platforms and general internet browsing with content that they are not interested in. By bearing in mind the ‘who’, ‘why’, ‘when’, ‘where’ and ‘how’ mentioned above, you’ll be well on your way to producing non-disruptive content that your users will not only click through to, but read, engage and maybe even share!
Plan Ahead – but be reactive!
Having a content plan or calendar will mean that you are never twiddling your thumbs or lost for ideas. Planning ahead and being organised will meant that you won’t miss any national days or other seasonal opportunities, but it will also mean that you can easily keep your content varied, without repeating ideas or themes.
HOWEVER, remember that people want to read blogs and articles that are relevant, on topics that are new or happening now. Giving your brand’s opinion as a reaction to current affairs and news in your industry (that’s the key part!) will not only give you an opportunity to maximise traffic, but will also establish your brand authority and provide an opportunity to position your business as an knowledgeable thought-leader.
Brands frequently write, useful, informative blogs on things like how boost ecommerce sales or copywriting techniques to improve engagement. But how should you appeal to your readers’ emotional needs?
Think about your favourite TV ads? Are they informative, brand-based adverts? Or are they memorable because they make you feel warm and fuzzy inside? We’re looking at you, John Lewis!
Don’t get us wrong, we know that not all brands suit ‘warm and fuzzy’, but that doesn’t mean you can’t create content that engages and resonates with your audience, whether it’s brand purpose or a funny article or podcast – there’s always something to suit your brand. Emotional content marketing can earn your brand valuable attention and awareness, as well as helping your business build relationships with customers and prospects.
Content marketing is value added
As a business, if you increase your content marketing activities, over it is likely that you will see an increase in traffic, SEO ranking, social media follows and brand awareness. This, of course, maximises your opportunities for growing you customer base – adding value to your website, your social media content, and your brand in general.
As a reader – be that prospect or customer – we love it when our favourite brands create good-quality, relevant content for us to read and share! Content marketing is value added for both business and customer – as long as you’re doing it right!
If you want to ensure you’re getting your content marketing right, or would like advice and support how you can better engage with your customers, contact us today, or click to find out more about our Content Marketing Services and Consultation.