Hi Doctor Digital, I was at a networking session the other day where everyone was discussing their content marketing strategy, I nodded wisely, but have no idea what it is - can you enlighten me?
we’ve all been there. If you are a savvy small business owner you’re probably already
doing content marketing and just don’t have a formal name for it. It’s a cost
effective way to build your brand story, especially if you don’t have the big
bucks to throw around for monster media campaigns with superstar celebrities.
But let me answer your question – content marketing is a technique whereby you infuse your brand and products into high quality content across your digital channels. It takes the ethos of the two-way conversation and works on the premise that your customers want value and information, not to simply be sold to. What comes with this understanding is that consumers know that they are on your site and that you have a position of knowledge and authority to speak from, and so while they are extracting value they are also forming an association with you as a trusted source of information.
Here’s an example, imagine you were a digital strategist selling consultancy services. Your content marketing strategy would be to have blogs, videos, white papers, infographics and fact sheets across your web and social channels that help people understand how to make their digital strategies work better for them. This content would be relevant, quality, informative and importantly shareable, as you would want your readers to get such value from reading the content that they in turn would post your links on their sites and social feeds.
If you were a photographer that specialised in pet photography you might have content about how to get animals to sit still, what are the best Instagram filters to use for long haired cats, and similar articles that help your readers to take their own awesome pet photos. Ultimately though you will be seeding the brand association, so that your company would be top of mind when the time came for Fido to be immortalised in a professional family portrait. Can you see where this is heading? Of course you can. Content marketing is giving real value to build trust. It’s the time honoured economy of the internet, and every business can use it simply by sharing what they do best with their fans and clients.
Everything digital and brand building works better when there is a strategy involved, and content marketing is no exception. Start your strategy by identifying your business goals, who you are targeting, what value will be created for the customer, and what value will be created for the business. You can get inspiration straight from the source by asking potential customers. Reach out to them, find out what problems they want help with, and most critically give good quality content in response. Develop a plan that links your overall business goals and objectives into your content marketing strategy.
Don’t forget to integrate your SEO, social media, and content marketing. These three elements all have to work together in order for you to be successful, and create a presence in the social media marketplace. SEO success is massively boosted by fresh, relevant content across all your digital channels, and the better your SEO, the more people will see your awesome content marketing and transition from fan to customer. While we’re talking about transitions, this is a patience based exercise.
Trust and brand loyalty takes time to build, and the longer it is, the deeper and stronger it will be. It’s a marathon not a sprint, and you need to prepare to have that compelling content available regularly and in every format as listed above. But hey – you LOVE your business right and want to tell the world about it and what you do, so that should be the easy part. Finally, don’t forget to measure. Content marketing loves metrics, and so will you as you begin to see the trends and spikes in your content and what gets your customers juices flowing.