Customers are becoming experts at identifying paid advertisements and instinctively diverting their attention elsewhere. Customers do not want to be sold to. Instead, when they are ready to buy, they do their own research on their path to purchase.
Think about the way you shop. Do you scroll past ads or stop to review? Personally, I hover my mouse over the 'Skip Ad' button on YouTube before I even have a chance to consume the ad.
As a business, how do you overcome this client or customer evolution to get your brand out there? When a customer is ready to buy, how do you make sure your business is on the first page of Google?
One powerful strategy to consider is content marketing. An effective content marketing strategy focuses on increasing brand awareness through blogs, whitepapers, e-books and other useful resources for your target audience.
With content marketing, there is no direct "sell" to the content consumers. Instead, being viewed as a credible resource and a thought leader is what will ultimately drive new business.
In this post, I share 6 tips to create an effective content marketing strategy for just about any business.
Creating an effective content marketing strategy allows marketers to be creative in how they are selling to clients and customers. Implement these tips into your strategy for content marketing and increase new business.
1. Know your audience
Before you dive headfirst into generating an abundance of new material, take some time to identify your ideal client. In what industry do they work? What is their role? What do they need to succeed?
The goal with content marketing is to author content specifically for your ideal client. You can even dedicate unique content to clients of different sectors such as financial, legal, or retail. Just remember to never lose sight of what these clients find most helpful.
Because people increasingly avoid sales pitches, have the mindset of always helping your client first. Even though the content won't explicitly scream "Buy Now!", you will still be communicating value and building rapport with the right audience.
A common issue here is not knowing how best to speak to target audiences or being unsure of what type of resources would be most beneficial. A customer insight analysis can generate customer insights and profiles to help steer your content marketing strategy in the right direction. Do not sit on this powerful insight - this is all information that can be extracted through your own customer database!
2. Have a schedule for generating content
Content marketing is not something you can dabble with in your down time. To see real results, it is imperative for marketers to have a plan for generating and distributing content.
Designate certain team members to take the lead on content creation to ensure you stick to your schedule. Or, if you are the primary content creator, block off time on your calendar each week to focus on writing a blog, creating a video, or other forms of generating new content.
It does not have to be perfect! The more you get in the habit of writing on a weekly basis the easier it will become.
3. Do not stuff keywords for SEO
At one point, keywords were the definitive factor in a successful search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. The problem is, Google now considers 200 different components to decide where your company should be displayed in an online search.
Where before it might have made sense to fill your content with random keywords related to the topic you are covering, search has now evolved. Not only are our customers getting smarter, but so is Google. Google will "punish" organizations for keyword stuffing by moving their website down in the search engine results.
The use of voice search has also changed the Google search engine algorithm, making what customers are searching for more conversational.
For example, an online search for a local restaurant that serves pizza might change from "Pizza Syracuse, NY" to "Where can I get pizza near me?" This transition is happening in the B2B world, as well. The takeaway here is to consider how a potential client might search a topic and use that verbiage.
4. Leverage the power of links
Another mistake to avoid with content marketing is creating your content in a vacuum. The beauty of regularly generating new blogs, social media posts, or infographics is the ability to link to one another.
Once you have a few months of content under your belt, chances are you can tie a new blog post to a different blog post or service page on your website. The spiderweb of hyperlinks is a great way to keep potential clients engaged on your website or social media accounts. One post can lead to another, and before you know it, you could receive that prized contact form.
Pushing your content to receive external links is another excellent strategy. When a credible third-party shares a link to your website or materials, more people see your content and your SEO gets a boost.
5. Blog Around a Topic
As nice as it would be to blog about your lovely weekend in the Poconos, it is key to focus on a single overall topic for your content. This doesn't mean your can't write with some personality. Just keep the overall themes on track with reaching that ideal client.
To give an example, our market research company generates content around all things related to market research. This gives us a pretty wide umbrella of topics that we can speak to every day.
Some organizations however, do not have this luxury and only have a few services or products to speak to. We see it all the time. Businesses let writer's block get in the way of generating new content. A solution we often recommend is conducting content marketing research.
Content marketing research provides marketers with hundreds of topics to write about, all based on original research from customer surveys or interviews. Marketers are able to extract the data and insight pulled from original research and use this as context to drive their content marketing strategy. This helps take the guesswork out of what to write about and instead relies on original research provide marketers with new topics and speak directly to what their audience is seeking information about.
It is also worth noting that multiple authors covering the same topic is not necessarily a bad thing. Different perspectives on the same subject can cover varying components and each contribute to SEO.
Interested in learning more about content marketing research? Watch as we discuss 4 deliverables from original research.
6. Find a use for videos
Videos are the here and now when it comes to content on social media and other websites. Audiences have developed selective attention, and dynamic content is your best bet for making an impression.
Feeds have become dominated by videos, often on autoplay. Don't believe me? Go on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, or even a major news outlet and see for yourself. Videos galore!
For your company, see where videos can be best applied. They may be simple, fun brand awareness clips or perhaps more informative, instructional videos. If anything, you are likely to experience better engagement with videos over plain text or static images.
Drive Research is a market research company located in Syracuse, NY. If you are looking to generate fresh content to share with current or potential clients, our team of experts has ample experience with content marketing research to help.
Interested in learning more about our market research services? Reach out through any of the four ways below.