Written by Anastasia Kurmakaeva
Table of contents
It’s been quite a few years now since content creation has firmly established itself as a fundamental part of an online marketing strategy, for many companies, both small and large. What do they look for with this?
- To become more relevant in the eyes of the search engines, and to gain more visibility on the Internet.
- And even more importantly, to provide their customers with an improved and better user experience, aiming to retain customers by developing a more trustworthy image.
Here’s the definition of the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) for the concept of “content marketing”:
Content marketing is 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.
The demand for quality content is continuously increasing, but it’s not easy to anticipate the users’ needs. This posts intends to revisit some of the techniques that will help us to create a tighter link with our customers, amplifying our connection with our target audience through the content of our website.
In this ever-changing digital world we live in we always have to go the extra mile to stand out from the competition. We have to grow, evolve and innovate, as the number of users and their activity on the Internet is growing disproportionately year after year. We have to count on entire generations, which have been born in this new society, transformed by the Digital Revolution, with individuals who do not know what it’s like to live without Internet, where the future is now, and every single person has the information they need just one click away.
Development of your strategy
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, though. Before we start generating content like crazy, we should get organised and define a content marketing strategy that takes into account the multiple aspects intervening in this process. It’s convenient to ask ourselves:
- How we are going to approach this task and who is going to be in charge of it.
- What are the resources we have at our disposal to make it happen.
- What goals we pursue with it, and based on which factors we are going to measure their accomplishment.
- What are the topics we are going to cover on our website, and what will be the order of priority in which we are going to explore them.
Once the foundation is set, we will also have to make up a planning and a calendar, which we will then proceed to follow to a “t”.
To adapt or to become irrelevant: mobile-first is a reality
Besides living in a digital age, we’re also living in a ‘mobile age’. I bet you’ve already heard and read numerous articles and news pieces proclaiming the end of the desktop era as we know it.
What challenges does this entail? Besides offering valuable information, we must also take care of presenting it in a way that it can be easily read on mobile screens, which are much smaller than those of a desktop computer or a laptop, and therefore, our website must have a 100% responsive, usable and clean design. We must quickly learn not just to condense our content efficiently, but also to write it and structure it, so that our users can easily scan it and get the information they were looking for.
Emotional targeting as a basic technique to foster empathy
There are many studies out there dictating that those websites, which are capable of moving the user and leaving an emotional imprint with their content marketing strategy, generate better results in multiple respects: purchase intent, profit, sales, conversions, etc. Emotional targeting allows us to connect with our audience in a much more profound way, than if we use any other method. With this technique we’ll be speaking our users’ language, and we’ll approach them in a much more human way.
Learn to connect your business to your users’ feelings, as they will never become irrelevant. We all want to feel that we belong to something or that we are part of something, that we matter; refer to their memories, experiences, relationships, preferences and tastes… Not only you will catch their attention and appeal to their feelings, in the process you will also learn to understand your customers better, creating an irreplaceable link between them and your brand.
Means, channels and format
You can publish your content in an infinite amount of ways, using an infinite amount of channels, it really doesn’t always have to be by writing elaborate articles on a blog. You can also get your message out there via:
- Guides and tutorials.
- Studies and research.
- Long etc.
Depending on your business sector and the profile(s) of your target audience, some channels or formats will be more effective than others. For example, if you have a shop –online or otherwise– selling products for domestic animals, an interesting option to explore would be to create guides and tutorials on how to provide care to animals, using videos, infographics, or even podcasts.
And that’s exactly why it’s important, on the one hand, to study the behaviour of your users and prospective customers; and on the other, to keep an open dialogue, which will allow you to know and always be aware of the things that move them, their worries, their tastes… This will generate engagement and feedback on their behalf. Evidently, it’s impossible to know what type of content is going to work best in each particular case from the get-go, until you get to work and try it for yourself. And don’t forget to measure the results, to see the type of posts have had better impact on the social media, analytic tools or other systems.
At this point, you’re probably wondering: how and about what should I write? Finding good and original ideas as the basis for your content can be a real jigsaw, but don’t despair. You can –for example– start by defining, in general lines, the topics related to your business and brand you would like to explore. Think about the things your audience could be interested in, which at the same time could help you reach your goals.
Even if you discard some of them later on, this exercise will help you to get the ideas flowing more easily. Other things that can help:
- Check out what your direct competitors are doing. You can visit their websites, plain and simple, as well as their social profiles or blogs; or you can use tools like Buzzsumo, which will take you straight to their most-shared content.
- Conduct a keyword research of informational queries and typical questions your prospects could have with regard to your product, service or business sector. You can use Google Keyword Planner for that, or Keywordtool.io, which also has a handy “Questions” tab, suggesting the most juicy questions your users may have.
- Talk to your customer service department. If you have a customer service department with specialised stuff taking care of this aspect, you can always ask them what are the users’ most frequently asked questions. Given that they are always in touch with the customers, they can provide you with first-hand information and possibly very interesting ideas you will be able to develop with your content.
- Communicate with your audience, via a newsletter or social media. Ask them to participate in a survey regarding topics on which they would like to obtain more information.
It goes without saying that for a content marketing strategy to work and to be successful, it’s important that the person in charge of content generation is creative and has good copywriting capability, as well as other skills, depending on the format we choose to present to our target audience. Having minimal SEO experience will also help, as visibility in search engines will help us to get to more people.
Some last tips
- Content creation consumes a whole lot of time and effort, so it’s important that you plan your strategy well, dedicating the necessary resources to it.
- It is also very gratifying, as it’s the best way to get visibility, attract traffic and become known, so the investment in this sense will be really worth it.
- Result measurement is crucial to know what type of content or topics are working well, and what doesn’t bring us anything.
- Don’t be afraid to innovate and experiment! Trial and error can give way to some really great ideas. If you don’t try, you will never know!
Nowadays it’s important to know how to contribute value without expecting to get something in return.