The days of marketers pulling in consumers with mindless product platitudes may be over. As the conversations unfold, consumers are becoming smarter and are able to question the validity and authenticity of a brand’s messages. The days of pulling in consumers with generalized mindless product platitudes may be over. Developing an effective content marketing strategy is critical to remaining relative in a competitive environment. So, what is content marketing?
“The old adage that content is king has gone by the wayside, because everything is content,” said Daniel K. Lobring, Vice President of marketing communications at rEvolution. “Competition for mindshare means that brands and others who deploy content marketing have to be smarter.” Content marketing is essential in the digital marketing environment because it offers information about a brand that extends beyond the product and/or service offerings. The unabridged proliferation of pitch and persuade advertising has produced exhausted consumers interested in doing business with trustworthy, reliable, and authentic providers.
Writing impactful website blogs, producing how-to videos, and utilizing sharp images to demonstrate a brand’s purpose and promise is a content strategy that can elevate a brand’s authority in the field, promote increased customer interactions, and foster a better understanding of the needs of the audience. Content provides valuable information and builds on relationships that create trust and credibility. But to be effective, content must be original, personal, and authentic and must be targeted to specific audiences. Great content is original, conversational in tone, and punctuated with humor and personal antidotes. Pitches of a brand’s name and product features and benefits should be avoided. Overt prose of self-promotion will be seen as the messenger having an ulterior motive.
Identifying the targeted audience and having credible knowledge of interests, wants, and needs are critical to creating relevant content. The use of back-links to supporting evidence and supporting quotes from topic experts will aid in establishing the credibility of the message. Providing relevant case studies and testimonials from other satisfied customers will facilitate the building of confidence in the prospective customer and demonstrate the range of capabilities of the brand. Creating colorful infographics will make the consumption of raw data easier to understand and read. If the product requires explanation, how-to-videos are an excellent medium to bridge misunderstanding. Webinars, online seminars, are helpful to engage two-way conversations and educate consumers and encourage direct interactions.
Getting the message out at the right time and to the right audience is always vital to making connections and creating interests with consumers. Employing Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques will increase the likelihood of success for any content marketing strategy, as will identifying the most optimal channels of social media. A solid understanding of SEO is required in order to create a robust distribution plan.
Content marketing is revolutionizing the way brands are connecting with customers through two-way conversations in social media channels. Amanda Milligan, Marketing Director at Fractl and Lee Odden, and CEO of TopRank Marketing, says, “Don’t say anything if you’re not going to be providing some kind of value, there’s a lot of sentiment going around and people are getting kind of skeptical or cynical about brands just saying things that sound nice, but they’re not actually doing anything. Brands that are able to assist their target audiences, or simply continue serving customers will continue to build trust and an audience.”