Right now we’re worried that content is turning into pointless waffle. One of our core strengths here as a content marketing agency is helping people create great content, funnily enough. And content isn’t just words – it can be video, podcasts, images – it all counts. But it’s starting to feel like a lot of ‘content’ out there has become a by-word for drivel. Harsh? Maybe…
When we define ‘good content’ we’re talking about engaging, inspiring content that effectively reflects a brand; not only that, but is interesting and appropriate for that brand’s audience, hopefully driving engagement and ultimately, sales. Unless your website is purely for show, or you’re doing it just for the love of it.
“You need to ask yourself – where is this ending up? Are you having a nice chat, or are you actually in business?”
This is just another way of saying that we make sure your stuff is the right stuff for your customers (and team) to like you and want to work with you. And it’s also another way of saying that your content is actually what sells your brand. Something that seems to be getting buried a bit in the world of content marketing.
If you’re working with a content provider and they’re on about ‘storytelling’, or ‘building relationships’ or ‘having a conversation’ that’s great, in part. But you need to ask yourself – where is this ending up? Are you having a nice chat, or are you actually in business?
What exactly is content marketing?
We have talked about this a bit before, but the Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as ‘… a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience – and ultimately to drive profitable customer action.’
As you continue reading this, if you remember nothing else, remember that last phrase . . . . .
‘…to drive profitable customer action.’
So what should content marketing aim to provide? Well, if done correctly content marketing should;
• Provide readers/users with valuable and relevant information
• Solve a problem or meet the needs of the readers in some way
• Be consistent in delivery
• Earn loyalty
• Engage current and potential clients with your brand
• Build a strong bond of trust between yourselves and your clients
• Enable you to connect on a personal and emotional level
• Increase in brand awareness
But it seems extraordinary to us that somewhere in all this, people are forgetting that the ULTIMATE GOAL of content marketing is creating sales, or at the very least, leads.
As content marketing has developed and grown, consumers have become increasingly savvy about the type of content they choose to consume and how they consume it. A plethora of choice is available to them at the click of a button; video content, mobile specific content and interactive experiences. This has led to marketers becoming fearful of alienating readers/users and in turn minimising or even omitting entirely any hint of a sales angle from their content. This is a mistake. You CAN provide amazing content AND drive sales!
The key is in utilising tactical content marketing approaches that drives sales in the long term. That, and being clever with it. Anyway, inspired by the #RandomActsofKindness day recently, here’s three useful tips on us…
1. Always include a call to action
Think about it. You read a piece of fantastic content, you realise it contains the answers to your problems! But what do you do next? Without a call to action you’re likely to just head off somewhere else.
This is not a pushy sales technique, simply a directive for your visitors’ next steps. You are continuing to help them with their current needs.
A great content strategist will include a CTA on all content from blogs to emails to video content.
2. Keep it relevant, keep it regular, make it real
Relevant – just look at the brand. Is the content a good fit? You’re just going to have to do the work on this one yourself.
Regular – don’t engage people telling them there will be a weekly newsletter or whatever unless you’re going to stick to it. Avoid posting nothing on social media for days then shoving up a ton of stories and curated content in the space of an hour, or sending out a newsletter whenever you get it together to remember. You get the picture.
Real – so as an example, rather than focusing simply on the facts and figures of your business and spamming the world about how awesome you are (ugh, so many blogs are like this), telling a memorable story is a great way to gain the emotional trust of your potential clients and to increase the amount of people who read your content. People will share a funny/moving/controversial piece of content, exposing your brand to a mass audience who will remember you. And then remember Point 1 above!
3. Give stuff away
This seems counter-intuitive but it’s a cornerstone for creating good leads. How about a free download? Or an opt-in for some kind of expert knowledge. We are not a huge fan of pop up windows in websites – they’re bloody irritating and so 2016. And gated content is annoying too – where you have to enter your email address to get something sent to you (and then get a daily spam email for the rest of eternity, making people hate you). But there are good giveaway options that will harvest email addresses and generate faith in your brand. We can’t tell you about those though, we’d have to kill you.
OMG THE FREE BIT!!
So – taking our own advice, here we are giving something away for free – apart from the useful advice above of course.
We normally charge a fee for auditing a business’s content strategy, but for the month of March 2018 we’re offering a FREE general audit to the first comers we can fit in the diary. This means we’ll go through your social media, your website(s), your literature – whatever you’ve got – and give you some advice and tips. No catch. Just a good look through and tell you where we think you can make improvements. And that’s it.
Want it? You bet you do! Email us here and put HELP ME! in the subject line.