Content marketing is a term that we are all becoming more familiar with in the marketing and online media world. It is a form of marketing that involves regularly distributing interesting and engaging content surrounding your specific industry to your target audience, in the hope that this will then drum up some demand for your products or services.
There are many sources all over the web that will tell you that if it is not part of your marketing strategy then it should be; otherwise you are going to be left behind. However, this piece is aimed at the people that are using contenting marketing, in a bid to help them perfect the way they do it.
While it is true that if you are not regularly issuing content to your target market, you will be overtaken by businesses that are; it is also true that if you are not doing it in an effective way, you may as well not be doing it at all.
Too often you see companies releasing content that is purely aimed at driving sales and this can look a little suspect. Yes this is part of what content marketing does, but the main goal should be to establish a trusting and loyal fan base that will rely on your information and then hopefully turn to you when the time comes that they need the services or products that you offer.
Here are the most effective ways of doing this.
Relevance – It should be obvious to most business that the content they are producing needs to be relevant, but relevance can come in many forms. Of course it needs to be relevant to your target audience; there is no point writing about important political matters if your products are aimed at children.
Again, it obviously needs to be relevant to the industry you are involved in. Lots of people like to write blogs about whatever pops into their heads or their personal lives; that is not needed here. But perhaps less evident is the fact that it needs to be relevant to the time of year and, if possible, recent events.
For example, if you’re business sells custom-made cards then there is no point blogging about your Valentine’s range at Christmas. Some companies can be too concentrated on selling everything they have to offer that they miss the chance to promote the relevant services. This is a sure fire way to alienate your audience and cause them to lose trust in you. The act of posting content that ties in with topics currently in the news is known as newsjacking and can be a powerful marketing technique.
Interest – Content marketing is not just about presenting your audience with absolutely any and every bit of information you can get your hands on. Therefore, not only does it need to be relevant, it needs to be interesting as well. You could post an article that is at the pinnacle of relevance but if it doesn’t make the reader want to read on then it has failed at its job.
To encourage this to happen, it needs to engaging. Think of what makes you want to read something. Is it because it deals with a subject that no one else has covered? Is it the fact that it’s entertaining and approaches a topic from a unique angle? Or is it that the piece is light hearted and humorous in places? No one wants to just read a list of what you or your company has to offer or how you consider yourself to be ‘the best plumber in Plymouth’. Even the most stern-faced consumer likes to read something that makes them laugh every now and again; so write to entertain or inform, not to sell. All these things will help to make your content sing and give the reader no choice but to continue reading.
Make it easy on the eye – There are very few people that will open up a page online, see that it is just one big chunk of writing, and continue reading regardless. Statistics state that we are more likely to read something if it is broken into manageable pieces; meaning we don’t have to concentrate for long periods on large bits of writing.
Another way of making your content easier to read is to include pictures. These also help to break up the writing and make the reader use a different part of their brain for a split second while they focus on the picture; giving them a well-earned break. You can also use these pictures to direct people to where you want them to read. Experiments have shown that a picture of someone looking in a certain direction will make people read the writing that the picture is looking at. Use this to highlight important parts of your text.
Something else that will turn you readers off is your inability to use the English language correctly so check, check and then check again to ensure your content is of a high standard.
All of these techniques should not be used in isolation. Instead they should all form the basis of your content marketing. The main thing to remember though is- don’t sell you or your company; sell the things you sell.
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