Remember that brilliant commercial by your local car dealership? Or that dazzling advertisement by that too-big-to-fail bank? Of course, you don’t.
The average consumer is exposed to nearly 10,000 brand messages in a day. Forget about remembering a specific ad; it’s a miracle you’re still reading this sentence without your brain buckling under all that sensory overload.
So how does one reach out to customers without spamming them to tears with your marketing messages?
Enter content marketing.
Content marketing slowly but surely made its mark on the marketing firmament as an alternative to the traditional push marketing models that advertising embraces to a much more attractive and cost efficient pull-based model.
No longer did brands have to send out multiple advertisements to get a user’s attention. Users came to the brand of their own accord, seeking out information about the brand and its services.
Unfortunately, it’s much too easy to think that writing a few blog posts will magically engage, entertain, or inform customers and draw them to one’s brand automatically.
The proliferation of thin, uninformative articles and blog posts that litter the web stand testimony to the thousands of lazy marketers hoping to pass off random blog posts as their entire content marketing strategy.
So what does a “non-lazy” marketer do? What are the nuts and bolts that make up a well thought-out content marketing strategy? Here are a few can’t-miss ingredients.
1. Engage More with Video Content
Year over year, video content has consistently proven to be more engaging than any other form of branded content online.
The good news is that your brand’s video content doesn’t need to be expensive or boast Hollywood level production values to engage a user.
As long as you have a great story to tell, feel free to whip out that smartphone from your pocket to record near-professional looking 4K video without an elaborate studio setup.
Live video never fails to take your audience engagement a notch up, however high it might already be.
From a simple product demo, to a new product unboxing, or even product reviews by real customers, you have a million and one ideas that lend themselves to great video content.
Insist on an ad instead? Make sure it can match this hyper-viral video in cheekiness to be memorable.
2. Educate Customers with Tutorials
Earlier we discussed the power of content marketing to draw in users instead of you having to chase after them. A step-by-step guide is a great way to deliver exactly this result.
The idea here is to create content that a user will value and actually seek out. Your tutorial should solve a real problem and not just be a stand-in for a product demo or a sales-y push message for your product.
The best examples of implementing this strategy come from sites in the tech realm, which aim for thought leadership within a certain technology or niche.
For example, iGeeksblog, which covers the Apple ecosystem, has a step-by-step post that offers a Mac OS novice crystal clear directions on how to take screenshots on their Mac machine.
Now, this is something an experienced user might consider basic, but you’d be amazed to find out that the search volume for this keyword is more than 200,000 a month!
Further, no step-by-step tutorial is complete without images showing each action item.
Research keywords in your domain that users typically have questions about to discover potential options for an in-depth tutorial.
Make sure you take your tutorial for a test drive before you hit publish; a wrong or misleading piece of content is much worse than having no content at all!
3. Infographics (Are NOT Dead)
There was a time when every marketer worth his salt had at least a couple of infographics under his belt. Predictably, this resulted in a glut of meaningless infographics that users couldn’t care less about.
But this does not mean that the infographic is dead. Far from it.
A well-designed infographic can reveal more than plain numbers can. Most of us remember seeing the US election results infographic from the 2016 Presidential Elections that looked like this:
A physicist from the University of Michigan, Mark Newman demonstrated the power of an infographic by taking the same election result and mapping it against the actual voting population of the US.
A whole alternate perspective, brought to life with the power of an infographic. It takes just a bit of research to replicate this strategy for your brand.
4. You Can Be a Data Scientist
You’ve probably read studies that show how long-form content outperforms shorter content types in search rankings and click-through-rates.
The very fact that you read these studies shows how users actively seek out unbiased research and data over promises and claims made by an interested party.
A well written, well researched piece not only will build your brand’s credibility in a user’s eyes, it also acts as a content pillar that you can build further content around.
Take a graph or chart from your report to create an interesting social media post. Gate your awesome whitepaper on a snappy landing page and watch potential leads roll in.
Investing in industry research, market surveys, and scholarly white papers can seem excessive and expensive, but it often is not.
The payoff from authoritative, well-promoted pieces automatically makes up for the time and resources invested in creating them – provided, of course, that the topic is relevant to your audience.
5. Show to Sell
Do you scroll all the way down on a product page to read user reviews before buying something? You’re not alone. A whopping 9 out of 10 users say online reviews definitely impact their purchase decisions.
It’s no wonder then that user generated content including product reviews, case studies, and testimonials perform splendidly when it comes to driving traffic and conversions for brands.
This is especially true for big ticket items where users need more reassurance than the average online shopper. They actively seek out unbiased opinions of other customers before committing to a purchase.
Make sure your case studies cite actual customers with quotes that can be directly attributed back to them. Showcasing the positive experience of an existing customer is often that final nudge a potential customer needs to close a sale.
On the flipside, avoid wasting this powerful tool by deploying them only as the customer nears the end of your marketing funnel.
A fresh lead who barely knows anything about your product or service is unlikely to be swayed by a case study, no matter how convincing it may be.
As with everything else in life, timing is key.
Over to You
These are but a few options for creating content that stands out and delivers results. Don’t hesitate to let your imagination guide your content.
Candid camera, Twitter parties, Reddit AMAs? The more creative your content, the more effective your content marketing!
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