‘Content marketing’ might not be a phrase to everyone’s liking but, in its simplest form, the strategy of creating high-quality digital content to attract, inform, and engage an audience (while also promoting your brand) is one that can reap rewards alongside traditional PR and marketing approaches, writes Mike Berry.
As the digital world become ever more cluttered, the role of content in building a long term and ultimately valuable relationship with current and future customers cannot be underestimated. But for any strategy to ultimately succeed there are some rules that should be followed.
Aside from the basics of experimenting with different formats such as listicles or how-to articles, writing catchy headlines and keyword-rich intros, here are a few must-have attributes of content that will grab people’s attention.
When your content consistently answers the questions your target audience are asking, then you’ll likely be increasingly visible and an authoritative voice to the people you’re trying to reach. Content marketing is essential to establishing thought leadership, especially once a critical mass of blog posts, insight papers or other content begins to build and keeps appearing in the right channels. Here it’s important to include influencers and advocates in the mix. Respected voices add instant credibility to your story and through using social media channels you can tag these people to get their attention and make it easy for them to share your content.
Numerous research studies show that all types of visual content, including video, infographics and other imaged-led material are a sure-fire way to boost engagement. Tech firm Cisco suggests that video will account for 69% of all consumer internet traffic this year. Depending on the subject matter, video might not be for everyone but infographics are a straightforward way of making complex information easily digestible. Including the above as part of your content strategy makes an impact and encourages people to share with their network and broadens your reach.
A distinctive brand voice can undoubtedly help you stand apart from competitors. But while this might be effective in traditional advertising or marketing collateral, it’s worth considering tailoring your approach with digital content. Readers can ascertain much about who you are and the type of company you work for through your tone of voice. Injecting authenticity and personality will make for an easier read in contrast to anything that’s too ‘corporate’. Of course in the B2B world a business-like and professional approach is important, but avoid anything that sounds too impersonal or jargony. The best piece of advice I’ve seen is ‘write the way you would speak to your customers’.
Whatever the reason, people crave information on what is current and being talked about. Even better are insights and opinions about the next trend or market development to watch to keep your audience one step ahead of their competitors. What is the industry talking about? What are opinion-formers blogging about or the trade press covering? Make sure to address these issues in your content and help provide answers. Providing this information will help build loyalty and establish you as a ‘must-read’.
People might remember certain statistics and facts, but they are more likely to remember powerful stories that set out how you solved a business issue or added value. Storytelling is how we have connected with each other down the centuries and the way you make your blog, social posts or website updates more memorable is by taking this approach. Whether your goal is entertaining, informing, educating or inspiring, your audience will connect more with your content when there’s a narrative running through it.
Follow me on Twitter @mrmikeberry