Shoppers have more knowledge at their fingertips than ever before, which has led to a drastic change in the customer buying cycle and how brands compete for clients. Long gone are the days of a salesperson taking a customer throughout a buying process, from prospect to education to close, but rather, customers are gathering information prior to beginning a conversation with a seller and throughout their buying journey. At the forefront of brands connecting with their audience is content marketing.
While the initial research likely begins with some form of advertising, sales or noticing a need, the customer journey often continues through research before they decide on a purchase. Each form of marketing has its place in the customer buying process and one that has seen continuous growth and is great at converting a prospective customer in their research phase is content marketing. In fact, ‘The Content Marketing Institute,’ has found that 72% of marketers say content marketing increases engagement and the number of leads.
Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach using relatable, relevant, valuable and disrupting content to attract potential customers and for brand positioning. Content marketing is part science, part art and whether going DIY or hiring an experienced marketing agency, knowing some keys to effective content marketing, will help you take the first step. Below are five keys for great content marketing.
- Bullet Points are great to use in content marketing as they make your content easily digestible and highlight what the reader is looking for. Many times search engines will pick this up and give your content favorable rankings as well. Let’s be honest, attention spans have only gone down in recent years, so succinct, easy to read and to the point wins.
- Knowing your voice grows in importance as your readers, ‘get to know you,’ and come to expect a certain style and tenor from your posts. Formal, informal, serious, and funny and all other styles are ok, as long as it fits your niche and are consistent across all mediums. If your voice changes it can turn away even the most loyal of your readers. As we continue to move through 2020 the best brands know their audiences, stay authentic to their audiences and who they are.
- Proper grammar and spelling will never go out of style and is expected from your audience. With nearly unlimited free information at their fingertips, consumers will see you as a credible subject matter expert or move to the next page quickly. Decisions are made quickly on what media to consume so don’t ruin your credibility before getting started.
- Creating Valuable and Shareable content will push your message to an even wider audience as your followers refer your content to others. Diving deep into a niche topic, solving a big problem and following these six keys for effective content marketing will help your content rise to the top. Creating valuable content by providing insight and educating your audience on the topic will be viewed more often and position your brand as the experts. Be sure to add an attention grabbing headline and copyright free picture that will draw your audience and their follower’s eyes.
- Knowing your audience has been critical for sales people since the beginning of time and is absolutely key to be ranked well by a search engine, quickly engage your target audience and move them a step closer to making a purchase from you. As you’d expect, content to drive views among children, chief financial officers and small business owners will all be very different across the board. Know your audience, speak their language and move them through the process.
- Search engine optimization and targeted advertisements will help ensure your content is getting to the right people who are searching for what you offer. Techniques for driving the best return on investment vary largely based on the audience, product or service and the buying cycle, but will need to be a key focus to have maximum effect on your sweat equity and/or marketing spend. Some best practices for do it yourselfers is to include keywords with in-depth related content and using links to and within your content . The best approach, however, is to work with a strategic marketing agency.
Like anything, great content from marketing agencies make the job look easy, while their experience, skills and consistent action drive clicks, conversations and ultimately return on investment. Content marketing is one key to a well-balanced marketing strategy and we anticipate it will continue to grow for years to come. To leverage our content marketing talent or to see if we can improve your marketing program, click here for a free marketing assessment.