7 Content marketing strategies to get out front in the market
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."
ACI summarizes content marketing as, "The process of creating and publishing content that engages your readers to develop mutually beneficial relationships. It also positions you to build credibility, trust, and authority in your industry. It focuses on “pulling” in new leads via the informative valuable content you share instead of hard-selling them by “pushing” out advertising messages."
Back in 1986, Bill Gates told us that "Content is King." Over the years, his words have increasingly proven true. In 2020, consumers expect more than just content, they expect experiences. They want messages that resonate and speaks to their need/want. The goal of your content, ultimately is to turn casual visitors into customers.
There are 7 content marketing tactics that you can implement into your marketing mix today:
1. Expand Content Variety
The kind of content you are creating is more important than the amount of content that you share. Adding images to Instagram or creating blog posts are a good start. However, you must implement an holistic integrated-marketing strategy that includes, written, audio and video. You need all three tactics to consistently reach the widest possible audience.
There is a photographer of Daniel Moyer Photography in Philly is a good example to illustrate the point. Not only is there a compelling website that has of course, the expected photos of happily pre-married couples but also videos on Facebook, a blog and a wedding planning podcast. Daniel has a video that speaks directly to prospects looking for a wedding photographer from his Vimeo account, which showcases his other work. Each platform compliment and affirm - a refer back to the other.
2. Drill Down to Specialized Interests
It may seen counterintuitive to share specialized topics. Your instincts may tell you to create broad content matter in order to appeal to a larger audience. If you goal is to drill down your audience to attract your Ideal Buyer, then it will be necessary to create content specifically for them. Remember, broad general content is available any and everywhere. Content that resonates with your Ideal Buyer specifically will both engage and excite them.
Specialized content may actually expand your audience. However, the audience will be more targeted and focused on your brand. Your brand may bring more people to your content who are in search of a solution for which you have the solution.
I'd like to illustrate a brand that is doing well. SimpleCoat, who makes cleaning and sealing products for stone countertops, stainless steel and more. If you look at their blog here, you will find they offer a variety of content. One post shares the difference between permeability and porosity in stone countertops. Another is about how to remove rust stains from stainless steel appliances. Going beyond the obvious uses of their product and generalized cleaning advice, the brand has made it easy for their readers who might need their products to find their blog useful.
3. The Authorship
Writing a book, white paper, case-study or special report to highlight your expertise and build authority. Many locally-owned brands write short books and guides to use a lead magnets. Others go further by selling their knowledge on their websites and/or list them on Amazon. A well-written book can connect you with new audiences and deeper connections with existing customers.
Have you heard the saying, "To be seen as an expert, write a book. To write a book, become an expert."
Do you consider yourself an expert? Or are you still in the "process" of honing your expertise? If the latter is true, you don't have to wait forever. I don't care for the phrase, "Fake it 'til you make it." I would prefer to advise you to use creative ways to establish expertise with your authentic experiences. Here are a few ways:
A marketing expert that I follow is Neil Patel, he runs several successful websites but he has also written several marketing books that have helped establish him as a trusted go-to person for marketing advice.
Note: Your book doesn't have to be long. You can offer Top 10 List, workbooks or How To books. If you aren't a good writer or simply don't have the time to write a book, then hire a ghost writer or freelancer to proof your writings.
4. The Show
Share your expertise and highlight your brand's expertise through podcasting. If you are paying attention, personal and business brands alike are starting highly targeted podcasts. You can follow a podcast by brand, subject or cause. Podcasts are a popular way to attract the buyer is more likely to buy from you because you speaking directly to them about subjects that important to them. According to statistics there are over 1.5 million active podcasts and more than 34 million available episodes.
Podcasting isn't just for large brands. Boutique brands and locally-owned brands are having success as well. There is a credit union that hosts, "Making It Count," financial podcast. This is their second season helping their audience with college tuition and retirement planning. They have a good mix of sharing helpful information while positioning themselves as the solution provider.
Think about the problems, need, wants and desires of your Ideal Buyers. What information do you have that would lend positively to their lives? Think of podcasts as an extension of your blog, our social and your integrated-marketing campaign.
By the way, if you haven't done so already may I invite you to listen to our newly launched, Industry Influencer Podcast. 🙂
5. Content Humanity
Consumers are looking for brand experiences that inform, educate, entertain and inspire them. They have gotten use to having a more direct and personal relationship with the brands they follow. C-Suite level leaders are more accessible to their customers, thanks to LinkedIn. Blogs like this one have made the duty of building relationships so much easier with a speaking voice and with specialized content.
Dove is one of my favorite examples of a brand going to extra mile to make itself relatable, curious, in-touch, relevant and filled with humanity. They have done a very good job of staying connected to movements surrounding beauty, body affirmations and social justice.
Bring forth the human factor in your brand will help your customers related to your mission. It shares your values and exemplifies what's important to you. See the Facebook post as an example of how Dove puts their customers front and center.
6. Voice Optimization
Back in 2011, Apple introduces Siri to the world. Siri as you may know is a software that made it possible for iPhone users to ask questions and perform actions by using their voice. By 2019 we have become reliant on both directing and asking Amazon's Alexa and Google Home. If you don't think there are a lot of us using this technology in our home, may I share the fact that 41% of adults use their voice search at least once a day!
Voice search is incredibly popular because it allows us to easily multitask. Multitasking is so much more efficient when you ask Alexa to put on smooth jazz while you continue using your hands to mix the batter for birthday cake you're baking for son's surprise party! Oh and if you can't remember the ingredients, you can ask Siri to find the recipe for you online, AND set the timer for 35 minutes! Voice search simply makes daily routines easier, to help you find directions to nearest bookstore as well as your favorite restaurant and wake you up at 6:00 am.
A good example of a brand implementing a good voice optimization strategy is Nestle. They have partnered with Amazon to allow users to ask Alexa for recipes specifically using their products. Alexa will actually give the user step-by-step instructions by linking to Nestle's website. Genius marketing right there!
Still not sure if voice optimization would be a worthwhile investment? Check out this article by Wordstream, 33 Voice Search Statistics to Prepare You for the Voice Search Revolution.
7. Power Storytelling
We all know, most people love a good story. One with a good plot twist, compelling story line and of course we love to hate the villan and we love to cheer on the hero. Storytelling is one of the best ways to connect with your audience and subsequently connect them with your products. Sharing a story about your brand, helps your audience connect with you in deeper and more meaningful ways.
Successful brands use storytelling to help inspire customers, stakeholders and their employees. When they identify with your story, it helps them transform that emotional connection to brand loyalty. Storytelling gives the audience a chance to experience your brand from another person's perspective. This is beneficial because those experiences can either strengthen or challenge opinions and challenges.
A strategic story is designed to capture your Ideal Buyer's attention and engage them to keep them listening for the meaning within your messages. It allows allows you have influence by teaching, inspiring and entertaining. Your story can both grow and unite brand advocates by connecting them by ideas, culture, values and passion. Storytelling is in no way limited to text. Images and videos are remarkable ways to share your message and elicit emotional responses.
Here is a wonderful example of a brand's use of images to bind their customers. Click here to checkout how the footwear brand Minnetonka uses a dedicated customer page to share their use of their product. You will see each image shares a story. They give us a glimpse into lives of other customers which reinforces the purchase decision. It further hugs social followers as they become an essential element in their marketing communications. This inclusion makes customers feel special, connected and loyal to the brand.
Of course there are so many more content marketing strategies available. Implementing these seven are a good start to help you organize, plan and orchestrate how you communicate your brand. Purposeful, compelling content can drive your followers to connect with you where you choose - on your landing page, your blog, your lead capture, your online store or your latest marketing campaign.
As always if you would like a parter to help you, check out our Content Marketing Strategy Plan here.