It’s hard to provide a list of all of the tangible things that content marketing could be. There’s a lot of emphasis on things like blogs, email newsletters, and whitepapers. While these are all excellent ways to deliver content, the best content marketing strategy for your business will consider the best way to reach your customers. That’s the spirit of content marketing. It’s individualized, thoughtful, empathetic, and puts the focus on building strong, long-term customer relationships.
I know what you’re thinking: Natalie, that’s a lovely concept, but what does it actually look like? Well, if you’d like me to give you an actual answer to that question, why not give us a call? I’d be happy to discuss the potential of your content. In the meantime, I can tell you that the possibilities for content marketing are endless, but all good content marketing has the following 4 things in common:
This one might be a little obvious, but it’s important. Content marketing is often the first impression that potential customers have of your business. You want to make sure what they’re seeing is credible. Vague, sensationalist rhetoric was never a sustainable method of marketing, but nowadays, it just flat-out will not work. As a society, we’ve become smarter consumers. We’re constantly exposed to advertising, and we’ve developed an awareness of insincerity and meaningless promises. You want your customers to be able to trust and believe in every single word that you put out in the world, from the moment they become aware of you. Good content marketing tries it’s best to be as accurate and detailed as possible.
If your business offers individualized services, you might be worried about creating effective content that encompasses every possibility. Without knowing a potential client’s situation, it can be hard to give them good information. But here’s the good news, content marketing celebrates individuality! Things like testimonials from current happy customers, detailed case studies, and engaging calls-to-action are all ways you can provide accurate information about the specialized nature of your business.
It Adds Value—Before the Sale.
Content marketing is about empowering and educating consumers to make the right choices for themselves. The hope, and more often than not, the result, is that they choose you. But before that happens, you need to add value to their buying experience. Blogs are fantastic for this, because they appeal to buyers who are in the research phase. Think of it like a free sample, but instead of a delicious artisanal cheese from the deli section of Whole Foods, it’s a sample of the support and know-how your business has to offer.
The cool part about valuable content marketing is that even if a potential customer isn’t immediately ready to start actively engaging with your services, it establishes an ongoing connection that could wind up converting them weeks, months, or even years after they first discover you. It also establishes your credibility, and goes a long way towards earning a reputation that makes customers feel good about working with you, or recommending you to their friends. After all, word-of-mouth buzz is invaluable.
This is something that’s a little taboo to talk about in the marketing world, but I’m going to go there:
Not every customer is right for you.
When your sales goals have to do with volume and high conversion rates, this can be frustrating to think about, but trying to attract every single person is going to do more harm than good. If you manage to get the attention of customers who aren’t a good fit for you, that will be reflected in their experience, and they might share that bad experience with someone. Suddenly, through no real fault of your own, you’ve damaged your reputation. That’s why good content is targeted, and takes into account the specific characteristics and needs of your ideal customer. When you create content with customer needs in mind, you can meet those needs in an impactful way.
The first step of creating content is developing an understanding of who you’re creating for. When a new client signs on for blogging here at webFEAT, I accomplish that by sending over a list of questions. Here’s a small sample of that list:
- Who is your ideal customer?
- What is their background?
- What are they trying to accomplish?
- What problems do they have that you can solve?
- What problems do they have that you can’t solve?
Sometimes it can be difficult to theorize the answers to these questions, especially if you’re used to thinking of marketing as something to attract as many customers as possible. But good content marketing is about thinking on this micro-level. When communicating with your customers, you need to see them as nuanced and complex people. After you make this shift, you’ll start to see real results.
By now, you’re excited about your content. You’ve flexed your empathy muscles, you’ve done your research, and you’ve reached a level of authenticity you hadn’t previously thought possible. That’s great! So, where are you going to put it?
Not only do you have to be thoughtful about what your content is saying, you have to be thoughtful about where it’s going to live. You have to think about where your customers go to get information. This isn’t a new idea; when people started watching TV, businesses started making commercials. What’s tricky now is that there are so many places your customers could be. This is yet another reason why thinking about your potential customers on that individual level is important.
If you have blog content, a great way to increase visibility and get eyes on your content is increasing your SEO efforts. Blog content and SEO have this beautiful, harmonious relationship. Blogs help with SEO goals, and SEO helps get eyes on your blog.
If you’re focusing on shorter-form content, concentrate on optimizing your social media channels. We’ve covered social media best practices extensively on this blog, and for good reason. You want to do your content justice by making sure it reaches your potential customers where they are. Social media is a great tool to help you achieve this.
With these rules in mind, your content will be the foundation for lasting, mutually beneficial relationships with customers. In my mind, it’s not unlike the early stages of a romantic relationship. When you’re getting to know a potential partner, you want to be able to look to the future and envision them being there to support you and help you meet your goals. The same is true for customers who are searching for the perfect business to meet their needs. Having good content marketing demonstrates that you’re “ready” to progress your customer relationship to the next step. Maybe that means collecting their email so that they get your newsletter, maybe that means a sale, or maybe it’s getting them to leave you a review. Whatever the next step is in your relationship with a customer, you have to earn it with a solid content marketing strategy.
Fortunately, you don’t have to do it alone. webFEAT Complete offers content creation services, blogging services, SEO services, and social media management. Our SEO team consists of talented content writer’s and marketers and we are also proud to be recognized as a Top Content Marketing & Copywriting Company on DesignRush. Tell us about your goals, we’d love to help.