Years ago there were only really two forms of advertising – TV and Print. Together with cultivating word of mouth and referrals, this is where the marketing department focused their campaign activities. Our ability to absorb information has shifted from focusing on one medium at a time to ‘dual-screening’ on a myriad of devices. Consumer behaviour has changed dramatically in the digital age and marketers are having to find innovative ways to captivate their target marketing.
According to Forbes, 10% of websites content drives 90% of the traffic. How do you cut through all the other daily distractions and deliver value to your customers and prospects?
All rise for content marketing:
Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.
- Content Marketing Institute definition
The delivery of content marketing can take many forms. From infographics to videos, whitepapers to microsites, this type of marketing is anything that is authoritative and adds value to your user base, without being overtly sales-orientated. So here are our top tips for creating content that works for your brand and your audience.
Not sure where to start? Consider what your company does best and which areas your customers come to you for advice on. Do you have a niche or a USP that you can write about that will help answer questions for your audience? Write about developments affecting your industry and give a unique viewpoint on the subject. For instance, ask a client whose work you’re particularly proud of, or has helped you to branch out in a new area, to write a case study with you.
The Content Marketing Institute comes up with a great analogy in their blog on this subject.
‘Relationships with influencers are like taking care of a plant: Forget to water them for long enough and they’ll die of thirst. But water them too much and their health will suffer just as surely from overindulgence’.
Like all marketing activities, content marketing is about finding balance between developing a network of influencers and being able to maintain them. Your content can’t be all things to all people. When defining your content marketing strategy, decide on your target audience and categorise each posting so users can find the resources most relevant to them.
We, along with many other digital marketing agencies, often get asking to produce content that ‘goes viral’. If it was that simple folks we would just be sat in the office surrounded by a pile of money. Yes you can have a big budget, yes you can have a great idea, but the intangible elements are areas you cannot control. Audiences are fickle and the idea has to be highly original, or highly shocking, to spark interest on a global scale.
Take the recent Ice Bucket Challenge for example. Pete Frates, former NBA player and sufferer of ALS, started the challenge in late July. He nominated a team mate, who then nominated his model girlfriend and then hey presto, you’ve got yourself a global campaign that has raised hundreds of millions for good causes. It has also led to combined YouTube views of over 1Bn. What also led to this idea being spread like wildfire was because the majority of people could carry it out (Ice: Check, Mobile: Check, Friend to throw ice and nominate: Check). It also had clearly defined tasks, conveys an emotional or personal moment, and people knew it had to be passed on. However, it wasn't thought up by a charity HQ, it was a gimmick which most marketing departments would have shrugged off as a too simple. Lesson: You can’t determine the zeitgeist of the moment so don’t devote all your attentions to the elusive viral trophy.
Don’t underestimate the power of creative visuals when producing articles or infographics. For infographics especially, keep any explanatory text as brief as possible and use icons and scale to highlight the most important areas to draw the eye to. For a fantastic example of combing visual stimulation, factual information, share-ability and ease of use, check out Cisco’s interactive whitepaper of the Internet of Everything:
By displaying the information in this way, it is immediately more engaging to the reader. The first slide also acts as a tease with no other distractions on the page, which makes you want to find out more even if you’re not directly interested in the subject. If you apply these principles, to whatever platform or outlet you use, you don’t need a big budget to stimulate your users.
It is absolutely crucial that you don’t just publish the content on your website and just let people find it in their own good time. Because they won’t. Ensure that you promote the content across all of your social media channels, mention it in your newsletters, highlight it on your website top-level pages and refer people to the resource. This approach drives traffic to your website, increases awareness of your brand, and in time allows you to establish brand advocates who will share it with their own networks. Remember, content doesn’t just have to be shared once, many resources will have a longer shelf-life than traditional advertorial pieces, so break through the rest of the noise that is out there and keep sharing it in different ways.
Nailing this technique is all about playing the long-game. Not everything is going to work for you, but by building up useful resources you are increasing your authority in your field and you never know what that may lead to. So it’s better to be doing it than not to be doing it.
My last piece of advice is to always finish with a clear call to action. So if your brand is looking for support with their content marketing activities, we would love to help. You can start the conversation via our Contact page.comments powered by Disqus