Content is undoubtedly part of the very essence of any website and should be located at the core of every Digital Marketing activity or campaign that you are planning to launch for your brand, product or service. Through content marketing, businesses of any form, kind or size can now have the platform and the ability to reach out to a wider and more global audience to tell their message – the stories of the how, the why and the what of their business.
However, many companies jumping into the content marketing bandwagon fail to bring out expected results from all their marketing efforts and activities. This is due largely to their haphazard approach and failure to apply good and effective content marketing techniques that are true to what this digital marketing technique really stands for – building relationships with targeted audiences through relevant content.
With the slow decline of traditional media and marketing methods, companies large and small from various industry niches are turning to digital marketing, particularly content marketing, to connect with their targeted audiences. This is confirmed in the 2013 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends research where it was highlighted that out of 10 B2B marketers – 9 are using content marketing for their business.
The report also mentioned that most of these B2B companies make use of at least eight distinct techniques in content marketing to bring about profitable results by delivering relevant and compelling content to targeted customers. You too can learn not just 8, but 15 powerful content marketing principles that you can implement and use right now, brought to you by Digital Marketing Philippines.
1). Define Your Content Marketing Targets Well
Before you can start with any content marketing campaign, you need to clearly define and identify who your targets are. The point of digital marketing is reach out and cater to the needs of your targeted audiences for it is virtually impossible for anyone, even big companies, to effectively and successfully reach out to everybody all at the same time. With a targeted audience clearly defined, you can customize your content marketing strategy specifically with them as your focus of concentration.
With a clear understanding of who your targeted audiences are, you can create content specifically for that particular audience. Without this clear understanding, your content creation will go to all sorts of directions and focus, clearly not an efficient and effective way of conducting a content marketing campaign. You can start by identifying who your best customer, classify that person to a particular consumer segment, and create a consumer persona for that particular segment. From there, you can now identify what type of content would be relevant to them that could cater to their information needs.
2). Learn Where to Get Content Marketing Materials
The next step after identifying who your targeted audiences are is to compile a good stockpile of relevant, compelling and targeted materials that you can use as content. Where to get content – this is the first question many business owners ask themselves, and the prospect of this seemingly very daunting task are one of the main reasons why many businesses still have second-thoughts in pursuing content marketing.
This task however is not as daunting as people might think. They can start by conducting a Content Audit, both online and off, for any content that they may already have in their arsenal – brochures, research, reports, editorials, presentations, articles, and white papers. On top of existing materials, business owners can create new content that they can use for their campaigns. Content materials can be done in-house or outsourced to qualified providers, as long as you maintain full creative control of the meat or essence of each of these produced content.
3). Understand What Type of Content Marketing will Work for Your
Once you’ve identified where you can get your content, your next task is to define what type or form of content marketing will your newly-created content be distributed on. Again, begin with a thorough audit of what your business already has in the form of content marketing aside from your main website. The possibilities can be endless and can only by limited by your imagination, but you can start by working your way through the following list:
- Your website’s main articles
- Blogs that provide how-to articles and posts
- Quick tips articles or notes that you can upload to social media
- White Papers
- Online videos
- Presentations and slideshows
- — and much, much more!
As will be discussed later in this list, you can also repurpose existing content materials and bring them back alive in a new and maybe more effective form that would suit your targeted audiences well. Check this resource by Hubspot about the 35 free content marketing templates that you can use.
4). Understand the Behavior of Your Content Marketing Targets
Creating content that resonates to the pulse and feelings of your targeted audiences is at the core of success in content marketing. You can only achieve this if you have a clear understanding of your target market and an insight to their buying and consumer behavior. You must understand what is important to them and the factors that will influence their decisions when looking for information or making purchases. With this understanding, you can create content that can drive this behavior towards your own sales channels.
The key here is to create content that your targeted audiences would like to receive or digest from any content marketing channel you provide – your website, emails, online video, and other materials – making them spend considerable time with your content, and eventually influencing their consumer patterns. In a B2B setting, 80% of business decision makers actually do prefer receiving information about a company in such manners of content, instead of outright advertisements, as confirmed in a report from Roper Public Affairs. This is a good opportunity for you to create content that resonates with your targeted customers’ consumer persona.
5). Set Clear Goals for Conversion
The endgame in digital marketing is conversion, channeling website traffic for either generating leads or creating sales. In content marketing, your conversion goals should be clearly defined, identifying what your targeted audiences should perform as the next step after consuming the information or content you provided. However, the levels of interaction or engagement with targeted audiences vary, so should know your conversion goals.
A clear example is during initial engagement with targeted customers. You cannot direct them to a clearly identified sales page right away or after your initial point of contact. Your conversion goal at this point is to build your relationship with them through your content by offering free articles, eBooks or white papers they can digest, in exchange for signing up with a newsletter or mailing list. You conversion goal should build up after each succeeding engagement point, until your targeted audiences are brought before the final stage – and be converted into paying customers.
6). Establish Points of Contact with Content Marketing Targets
An important aspect in content marketing is continuous engagement with targeted audiences and at this point it is important to identify points of contact with your targets to initiate these engagement instances. Points of contact can be:
- initiated by your audience through search engine queries, PPC ads or contact forms
- initiated by you through emails, social media posts, or tweets
- initiated by third parties through recommendations or referrals
When selecting which strategy to use, always consider the context of your target audience and their consumer persona you have identified earlier. This way, you can influence their consumer persona towards the conversion goal you have set for this particular point of contact.
7). Build Relationships with Content Marketing – Avoid Hard Selling
One of the main reasons why many businesses fail in content marketing is they fail to recognize the very essence of this digital marketing tool – which is to build relationships with targeted audiences through relevant content. In their haste to gain profit or achieve an ROI for their digital marketing investments, these businesses are hard selling their brand, products or services through their content, instead of providing relevant content that their targeted audiences are looking for.
Content marketing is effective because consumers generally dislike interruption marketing, like what traditional marketing channels do. They would prefer someone providing them with good content and disregard or avoid anyone directly pitching their brand, products or services right in their faces. The key here is to provide them with valuable and relevant information that they need – and they will eventually reward you with their loyalty and business patronage.
8). Create Content with Strong Openings that Gets Attention
In a fast-paced online environment, users have no time beating around the bush or wading through fluff and useless information people usually inject into their content. Putting these things at the forefront of your content would be a surefire way of driving people off to look for what they need somewhere else. For content marketing to work, your content openings should be strong and direct to the point, instantly grabbing their attention and enticing them to investigate more and delve deeper into the rest of your content.
9). Engage Audiences of Content Marketing at the Emotional Level
People are very emotional creatures. You can leverage this fact in your content marketing strategy by creating content that are not only relevant and important to your targeted audiences, but can also engage with them at an emotional level. Cater to their emotional sense receptors by weaving effective emotional words into your content. This way, you can connect with them at an emotional level, enough to generate concrete and specific conversion actions that you would like for them to take.
10). Content Marketing is About Your Audience and Not About You
Content creators usually make the mistake of talking too much or focusing more about themselves and not their audiences. To reap success in content marketing, you must understand that this digital marketing tool is about your audience and not about you. You content should build relationships by understanding what they need and using yours or your businesses resources to cater to these needs. Although providing information about you and your brand, product or service is still an essential part of content marketing, they should not be the point of focus or the sole information in the spotlight.
11). Your Content Marketing Material Should Be New and Ambitious
Content that presents information similar to a thousand or more other providers stands little chance of capturing your targeted audiences’ attention, much less building a relationship with them towards your goals. Your content should be new, ambitious and more exciting or interesting than what other providers are presenting. If your competitor is writing about a “top five” in their article, then provide something more compelling that talks about the “top 10” or the “top 100”. Of course, the information you present in your content marketing campaign should be true and factual, as what the next item would like to emphasize.
12). Reinforce Content Marketing with Real Data
Real data conducted through your own research or through reputable sources can make your content stand out and gain the attention of your targeted audiences. The internet is saturated with opinionated content that many in the B2B marketplace would try to avoid as much as possible. They would prefer to look for content that are backed by sound research, surveys and experiments – making your data work hard for you in achieving your digital marketing goals.
13). Reinforce Content Marketing with Good Visuals
As real data can put credibility to your content, adding in good visual components can make your content stand out even more. Digital marketing is way above traditional marketing in the sense that you have the ability to make use of other visual media components like videos, interactive images and user-generated content. Online users want content that they can clearly digest, and putting in good and easy to understand visual components not only catches their attention but also doing so long enough for them to grasp more about your message.
14). Learn How to Give Life to Old Content
Creating content is one of the more difficult, challenging but important aspects of content marketing. This area is where good business owners that achieve successful content marketing campaigns invest their resources on, for it is in content creation where they can build a base for the rest of their digital marketing campaigns. To beef up your content creation activities, you should also learn how you can give life to older content, and you can do this through the following:
- Repurposing – old materials and creating something new like breaking down eBooks into a series of shorter articles.
- Repackaging – old materials and re-creating it into another form, like compiling smaller articles into a longer white paper.
- Recycling – old content that you targeted audiences really love, like republishing an updated version of a very popular article of yours that generated a considerable number of views, likes or shares.
15). Monitor the Results of Your Content Marketing Efforts
Finally, your content marketing efforts should be reinforced with monitoring systems to enable you to gauge and analyze where your campaign is heading. Monitoring your content marketing campaign will provide you with information and insight about the demographics of your website visitors, their behavior inside your website, and information about the most popular content in your arsenal. From there, you can adjust or enhance your overall content marketing strategy to bring in even bigger, better and more profitable results.
Everyone is in need of information and in this highly evolved online world, getting information is as easy as a click of the mouse. But not all information in the Internet is relevant and caters to the needs of your targeted audiences. You can leverage on this fact and use content marketing as an efficient and effective method of engaging and interacting with targeted audiences – and eventually reaching your digital marketing goals on converting them into paying customers.