In the last year, content marketing has exploded as a brand awareness strategy. Considering 80% of business decisions makers prefer to get information in a series of articles versus an advertisement, while 61% of consumers are more like likely to buy from a company that delivers custom content, we think it’s safe to say that content marketing is here to stay.
When done correctly, content marketing can be highly effective for brands to stay engaged and top of mind, but when done poorly, a brand can quickly become a cautionary tale of what not to do. To ensure our content marketing approach is on point, I’ve enrolled in a MarketingProfs content marketing crash course and compiled the 5 key takeaways learned thus far.
- Understand your audience: This may seem obvious, but when a content marketing strategy fails, there’s a high chance it’s because the target audience is wrong. When developing a content strategy, it’s suggested to think as your readers like dinner guests – you want them to leave satisfied. If you already know your audience, great. If not dedicate your efforts to discovering who your audience is by listening, and paying attention to consumption metrics. If needed, use brief, open-ended surveys to find out the age, occupation and interests that your audience have.
- Don’t create just for the sake of creating: Or as I see it… set measurable goals. A brand that sets out to create content for the sake of hoping on a trend, will see little success. Instead, set goals with numbers in mind. One you have goals in place, your brand can work to create a content marketing strategy that will help you reach said goals. Be certain to take the time needed for the creation phase, and please… know your brand’s values and mission ahead of time. If you don’t know your brand’s message, how will your audience?
- Reinvent content that’s not working: Pulling in the earlier analogy, stale food is one easy to leave your dinner guests unsatisfied and with a bad taste in their mouth. Applying that to content marketing, stale content will have the same effect on your audience. If a piece of content, or an entire strategy for that matter, isn’t resonating with your targets (i.e. not reaching the goals you set) it’s time to reinvent. MarketingProfs suggests diving into website traffic to pinpoint where your audience is dropping off. From there, carefully evaluate your brand’s content and make changes based on the information you pulled. First, don’t be afraid to change up current material before totally scrapping an idea, and if that’s still not working, then work with your team to create a new strategy with your goals and audience in mind.
- Figure out what format and platform works best: Similar to understanding who your audience is, no content marketing strategy will be successful if its on the wrong platform. Once you know your target audience, research what platform they prefer to get information from and what format is best suited to your brand’s needs. Should you focus on a native ad or a sharable video? Is a lengthy LinkedIn post or slideshow best for your campaign? Choosing your format early on is key producing to content that showcases your brand in the right light. There are a number of formats at your disposable, like online video, interactive tools and thought leadership. Once you’ve decided on a format, make sure to select the appropriate platform for delivering your message.
- Develop your brand’s voice: Having a clear, authentic voice is vital to any content marketing campaign. The voice of a brand is essentially its personality – and that determines what kind of audience you will attract. If you don’t already know your brand’s voice, there are a couple of things to keep in mind.
- Voice isn’t a veneer. A brand’s voice cannot be created or imposed – people will know immediately if your voice is not authentic, and as a result you will lose the attention of your target audience.
- Be specific with your attributes. Is your brand doing something different than anyone else? Something original? Try using the term ‘groundbreaking’ instead. Be specific with what your brand is saying, and shy away from general words or phrases that make your brand sound like every other one.
- Build in a range. Human voices have a huge range, and you need your brand’s voice to do the same. Make sure your message isn’t flat and always the same – like a robot – that will also make your audience classify your brand as unauthentic.
Interested in learning how BLASTmedia executes successful content marketing campaigns? Get in touch with Lindsey Groepper to learn how content marketing can help increase awareness of your brand.