Content marketing is revolutionizing the way brands are connecting with customers through two-way conversations in social media channels. As conversations unfold, consumers are becoming smarter and are able to question the validity and authenticity of a brand’s messages. “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.”
Writing impactful content that can elevate a brand’s authority in a field, promote increased customer interactions, and foster a better understanding of the needs of the audience is not a skill set that all marketers can claim to be a long suit, but writing impactful website blogs, producing how-to videos, and utilizing sharp images to demonstrate a brand’s purpose is critical to remaining relative in a competitive environment. What are some important elements to developing effective and meaningful content, and where does the process begin?
Like everything that is important in marketing, valuable content begins with developing a comprehensive strategy that is built around a well-defined goal and a budget with specific and objective priorities. Reaching the correct listeners, optimizing the quality of engagement, and achieving increased conversions starts with listening to the targeted consumer. Focus on specifics that are relevant to the listener and tailor the communication to draw attention to how the brand delivers a relevant and desired solution.
Not all social media platforms are alike by design. Seek out the digital channels and collateral that are likely to produce the quickest and most meaningful connections and generate the best results. Tame the immensity of the noisy social media beast by targeting the platforms where the customers you want to engage are most likely listening. Select the medium best suited to the digital channel and the targeted audience. Video is the number one medium for delivering value-driven content, but not all organizations have the skill and budget necessary to produce effective videos. Interesting and impactful website blogs and utilizing sharp images to enhance quality content can be just as effective as videos in attracting the attention and favor of a listener. How long a piece of content should be, to be considered best, is like a lot of things: It depends on the intent of the message and the goal or objective of the effort.
A short content format generally is used in blog posts, news articles, infographics, social content, and emails where the goal is usually to get a simple and concise message across to an audience quickly, It is best used when communicating with listeners with a short attention span and those looking for “Just the facts, please”. The long format approach will generally be favored for topics that require a deeper understanding by the reader. How-to guides and in-depth survey and statistical-based articles where the audience is performing research to achieve a much more comprehensive understanding of a topic are examples of where a long-form format is necessary to perform well. Both long and short formats have a place in a successful content marketing strategy.
When crafting the message keep in mind that very few consumers want to be sold, particularly when they encounter content that is heavy on platitudes, features and benefits that are irrelevant to the needs, wants and desires of the listener. Often, content that is important to the speaker may not resonate with an audience of consumers unless the information creates value for the listener. Emphasize the uniqueness of your brand and how it differs from the competition. 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.”
Generating personalized marketing content has always been thought to be a creative function that was within the purview of human capacity, but numerous content service providers are employing algorithmic-based artificial intelligence (AI) that mimics human-generated creative content. However, the challenge of developing complete trust in AI remains elusive to many brands because algorithms are wholly dependent on imputed data to generate a result.
Develop a process of validating content-driven campaigns by measuring consumer responses. Social media users are mobile, not only in the devices they are using but the channels they are frequenting. Embrace a comprehensive system of measuring and tracking two-way conversations and respond quickly to customers’ feedback.
Success of any content marketing effort is not reliant on any one element, but rather on a combination of elements designed to engage two-way conversations with a targeted audience that promotes brand value and consumer awareness.