We’ve all heard the expression “Content is king,” and indeed it rules.
High-value content is why the internet is our go-to for information on anything we are looking to buy or do. Your customers are among those who are looking for quality content and what they seek is information that will help, guide, educate and inform them. More importantly, they are looking for solutions to their problems and ways to address their challenges.
Your Web content is intended for your target customers, so it should do more than simply promote your products or services. You want to be continuously creating content for your website, your blog (if you have one) and your social media pages that is relevant to and addresses your customers’ needs, problems and challenges. In the Web-driven world we live in, with the wide range of products and services that are readily available for consumers to explore, it’s important that you have content that strategically positions you in the minds of your customers, establishing the desired perception and differentiating your business from the others in your market.
What content marketing accomplishes
By always having fresh and dynamic content across your Web presence, you accomplish several marketing goals:
• Search engine optimization (SEO), which ensures your customers find you at the top of their search results on Google and other search engines.
• Thought-leadership, which you gain by providing informative and educational content that positions you as an expert in your field.
• Establishing credibility, as providing valuable and engaging content that responds to customers’ questions, problems and challenges, positioning you as a trusted resource.
• Engaging customers and driving them in your direction, which happens when you offer fresh, informative and helpful content via your social media, email campaigns and other digital marketing vehicles.
• Generating leads, which occurs when customers going to your website download a valuable piece of content you are offering, sign up for a webinar or newsletter or start following your blog. With these leads, you can conduct lead nurturing activities such as periodic email campaigns offering additional valuable content.
• Building customer relationships, which lead nurturing achieves by using the sales funnel approach and providing a well-timed stream of high-value content offerings that establish trust and customer confidence. The ultimate goal, of course, is to convert these prospective customers into buying customers.
The ideal content to create
As mentioned, the valuable and engaging content you create should offer educational or helpful information on solving a problem, addressing a situation or applying best practices. You can advise and guide customers on what to look out for, provide valuable tips for achieving success and demonstrate how you’ve helped others in their position. Depending on the topics you choose to focus on in your content, you’ll want to use the best format to present them. There are numerous types of formats, such as white papers, case studies, e-Books, infographics, research reports, FAQs, how-to guides, podcasts, videos, thought-leadership articles and even press releases.
If you have a blog, it should be a forum for educational content only vs. promotional content. It’s expected that your website pages will convey information about your company and the products or services it offers, including materials that are geared toward sales by outlining features and benefits. However, it’s crucial that your Web pages tie in how those products solve those problems and address those challenges that your customers possess.
The plan for creating compelling content
To create great content that appeals to your target customers, you need to first delve into your customers’ needs and what problems they are trying to solve or challenges they are trying to address (particularly those problems/challenges your products or services address). With that information, you can determine what topics will be most valuable to them, which formats are best for communicating those topics (e.g. video, infographics, blogs) and which channels to use. The valuable content you create for your content marketing campaign should be posted on your website, blog and social media and offered in email and direct mail campaigns, but you should be strategic about how you post and promote each piece. Make sure you are creating diverse pieces of content that can be used across different areas of your marketing, as content marketing is integrated with and supports digital, inbound, search and social media marketing.
Your content marketing plan should also outline the development of relevant, high-quality content throughout the year, as it’s important to continuously offer your customers fresh information. Your blog should, at the very least, have a new post on a monthly basis, if not weekly or bi-weekly. The goal of your content marketing communications is to always focus on the purpose of the content to educate, provide helpful info and problem-solve. That will be key to establishing your business as an indispensable resource and keeping customers coming back for more. By creating and offering the kind of content your target customers are really looking for, you help them find you and make it easy for them to turn to you when they are ready to buy.
Beth Bryant is the owner/principal of BBWrites Strategic Communications in Marlborough, which specializes in public relations, marketing, content writing and speaker training. For more information, visit www.bbwrites.com.
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