“We need to stop interrupting what people are interested in and be what people are interested in.” – Craig Davis, former Chief Creative Officer at J. Walter Thompson
By now, many organizations have adopted the mindset that in order to be found online, they’ll need to generate content–all different types and lots of it. The wall that many businesses find themselves running into is what they should talk about in that content. While brand message is important, it’s also important to not lock yourself down in a sell, sell, sell state of mind. Essentially, that’s what makes content marketing different from advertising: content marketing is designed to educate, entertain, and inform, while advertising is designed to sell. Marketing is an entire strategy that implements many different platforms with many different purposes, and establishing your brand as an influencer and a thought leader in your industry can be accomplished through a strategic content marketing strategy.
Let’s take a look at seven things you should be talking to your audience about instead.
What information is parallel to or right in your industry vertical that your customers would be interested in? If you’re a B2C service industry that targets homeowners, you might want to provide those homeowners with resources to deal with common emergencies that they face, even if they’re outside of your organization’s service offerings. If you’re a B2B technology company, what groundbreaking things are going on in your target customers’ verticals that you could talk about, again, even if they’re not within your service offerings?
If you use your blog content to constantly sell your product, your reading audience will lose trust in you. That trust is a long-term commitment you must acknowledge and build through your content and communication with your audience. If your only intention of audience communication is to sell to them, then how are they going to trust you? Provide them with valuable content that will allow them to trust your brand, and do it without promoting your products or services.
Diversify Your Content.
Content is not always about the written word. Do not limit yourself to blog content being posted on a consistent basis. Use video, white papers, infographics, mobile apps, and podcasts to also engage with your audience. With that, you’ll be able to find out what works best for engaging your audience, and you can dedicate more time and energy to generating that type of content.
“61% of consumers say they feel better about a company that delivers custom content and are more likely to buy from that company.” – Study by The Content Council
Of course branded content is a necessity. While you shouldn’t inundate your audience with branded content, you should absolutely ensure that branded content is a part of your content marketing strategy. But, the catch is with branded content, you need to be innovative. How do you do that? What are some of the interests and passions of your target audience? Align your brand with those some interests and passions, and communicate that through innovative content.
It’s highly unlikely your target audience is comprised of mindless drones. They’re human beings. Treat them as such. Talk to them like human beings. Stay away from the salesy language, and don’t inorganically fit your product into each piece of content you generate. Your audience is smart. They can spot bull from a mile away.
Your customers come to you because they have problems, and they need a solution. Use your content to help solve their problems. Educate. Inform. What kind of questions do your customers frequently ask you when you speak with them on the phone? The more information you give your audience through your content, the more qualified your prospects will be when they actually pick up the phone to call you or fill out a form on your website.
If You Build It, They Will Come.
Why don’t you build something that is truly amazing for your customers? Content hubs are the perfect places to generate a variety of different content that doesn’t directly sell to an audience, but it’s something that your customers are interested in and can use it as a resource. It can help solve problems, give answers, entertain, and engage your audience.
All in all, you’ll definitely want to make sure that your content marketing strategy isn’t around to just sell to customers and generate leads. Use it to build a community. Use it to inspire people. Use it to become an authority. If you need help generating a content marketing strategy that engages and creates a community of active listeners, contact us, and we can help.
Thanks for reading,