Content marketing is really like a first date. If all you do is talk about yourself, there won't be a second date. So says David Beebe, a digital media executive, global creative and content marketing leader.
Content marketing is a specific strategy focused on creating valuable input and experiences in order to engage, define and understand a target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action. According to Joe Pulizzi, who is one of the leaders behind the content marketing movement; it is the “effective combination of created, curated, and syndicated content.”
Content marketing is no longer a nice-to-have; it’s a must-have. Businesses that are able to successfully address customer needs and queries with great content are able to add value to every interaction that takes place. Businesses with this knowledge are able to achieve relationships with their customers based on trust and respect (as opposed to “buy me!” banners). Remember great content marketing has the ability to shape brand voices and identity which makes companies and their products relevant and trusted.
Elements of a great content marketing strategy
1. Define your targets
Be focused and understand where and how to aim your marketing strategy (and to which audience). You can begin this by focusing your attention to one customer segment at a time – this should include your best customer. This customer will serve as the model for your target buyer persona.
2. Understand your customers
Create content that resonates with your customers and realise the unique context of their situation. Understand what your customer wants and why. By knowing what they care about and understanding their buyer journey you can influence and drive conversions which will in turn move them through the sales funnel.
Kevin Cain, content and communications strategist, states that you need learn the following in order to create content that will resonate with your buyers:
• Know what they want and what they don’t want
• Know what you can do to help them
• Provide them with the assistance and information they need to propel them forward
3. Setting goals
When you have fully understood your customer, and what they need, it is time to figure out what actions you want them to take as result of consuming your content. Remember your main aim and content strategy is to turn your target audience into paying customers. In order to do this it may be helpful to set small goals and benchmarks that can guide you with tracking and measuring the performance of your content. Top goals could include making sure your target audience open your e-mail or visit your website. This could later lead to encouraging your target audience to start a free trial of your product which may result in loyal buyers in the future.
4. Initiate conversation
Get your target audience to be interested in you and what you are offering. An example of initiating conversation could be phoning, texting or contacting them directly through social media.
5. Develop a content marketing strategy
Pulling everything together can be daunting at first. However understanding your buyers and their journey with set goals in mind is the first step to delivering content and creating a fail proof strategy.