It’s a sunny Saturday in August and you’ve just brought home salmon–something of an impulse-buy because you’ve never cooked it before.
With the salmon on the counter, you grab your smartphone and do a quick search for salmon dinner recipes. The first result is a blog post from a local kitchen store for “easy lemon encrusted baked salmon”, which catches your eye because you’re pressed for time and you also have a lemon. You click on the post, follow the recipe, and the salmon turns out delicious. And you have your local kitchen store to thank.
This likely- familiar scenario is why your brand needs a content marketing strategy.
Own Your Market in a Way Only Your Brand Can, With Content
Content is in enormous demand everywhere. Most brands are working like crazy to get content across all platforms so they can capture a larger piece of the market share.
Brands do this because they have tapped into the knowledge that consumers are always looking for solutions to their problems, or information that can make their lives better. And if you’re producing content that speaks directly to the needs of your target audience–for instance, a kitchen store posting a salmon recipe because its customers are likely cooking regularly–they’ll read your content, find it helpful, and keep your brand top-of-mind as a result.
Content can open your brand up to a much wider audience, and if your content is useful to them, your brand becomes elevated as an industry “thought leader”, building trust and loyalty among that audience.
You’d likely trust a doctor who confidently and knowledgeably explains a procedure over a doctor who explains nothing. Your brand has something unique to offer, which allows you to authentically own a piece of your market in a way your audience wants to be part of.
Give Them What They Want
By now, it’s well known that simply generating content and posting it to your blog or sharing it on social media isn’t likely to return amazing results.
Content needs a strategy to ensure it is providing useful information to the right audience in the right way and at the right time. You also need to understand how your content connects to your other marketing strategies so you can use the metrics gained around your content consumption to drive marketing tactics.
Here are 5 questions you need to answer before you begin writing content.
- Who is my audience? You may have 2, 6 or 10 different audience personas who all have different interests in what your brand has to offer. Identify these personas and their pain points, and develop content around solving those problems or answering those questions.
- What is my audience talking about? Beyond understanding audience pain points is the deeper question of what type of content they’re already looking for. You can determine the conversations happening on a digital and social scale through a research effort that isolates key topics and themes and will help you develop your content strategy.
- What is my competition doing? To truly stand out with your content, you have to produce something unique to your brand that separates you from the competition or the same old story everyone else is telling. Leveraging a similar research effort to the one you perform on your audience, track your competitors’ activity on the digital and social landscapes and identify opportunities they’re not currently serving, as well as trends and topics to which you can lend your own unique perspective.
- How will I produce my content? Content generation is a large undertaking for any company, but especially for smaller businesses that don’t have dedicated personnel for the task. Establish a reasonable frequency for publishing content, typically 1-2 blog posts per week, and get buy-in from the experts at your company who can write knowledgeably about their subject areas. Another option is to hire a marketing agency to write your content and execute your content strategy.
- What will I do once my content generates engagement? As part of any content strategy, you need to determine how your content connects to your other marketing strategies. Posting blogs is great, but your strategy can’t stop there. That content can be leveraged for email campaigns or social posts, and can be repurposed to provide unique assets like white papers or infographics. Providing the right types of content to your audience at the right stage in their buyer’s journey helps move them further down the funnel to become customers.
In the awareness stage, you want to address audience problems through helpful content like blog posts, videos, guides or manuals, webinars, templates or checklists.
- Once your audience moves into the consideration stage you can begin to educate them on how your solution can solve their problem with thought leadership, demo videos, testimonials, FAQs or case studies.
- In the decision stage, your audience is looking for reassurance that your solution is the right one, which you can achieve through freebies, deals or offers, live demos or estimates and proposals.
- When you have customers, you want to continue delivering helpful content that will give them a reason to evangelize your brand. You can do this through helpful articles and videos, solution updates, webinars on best practices, event notifications and email correspondence.
Content marketing is critical to getting eyeballs on your brand and elevating your brand as a trusted source of information within your industry. Whether your company is large or small, comfortable in its customer base or still trying to grow, content can play an important role.
And content marketing isn’t just about getting new customers or racking up “likes” on social media. Existing customers value being able to turn to the brand they use for the answers they’re looking for.
What we’re saying is, you can’t go wrong with a content marketing strategy. You know your industry the best–start telling the world about it.