9 out of 10 marketers place content marketing as the top priority in reaching their consumers. Yet interestingly, one-third of the marketers do no have a strategy to guide them. To emerge from all the marketing noise, you have got to do the “Content Marketing” right.
According to a study by Salesforce, 77% of the buyers are now requesting content at each stage of their research. They predicted that in marketers be starting to create content specifically for each stage of their funnel.What is then surprising, is that one-third of the marketers do not have a strategy to guide them. Without a sound content strategy, your content will get lost in the clutter. It does not mean that when you are churning out words onto your blogs, you are doing content marketing. There are two words Jobs hated most, they were “branding” & “marketing”. To quote from Jobs,
Forming Your Content Strategy
Blindly producing content in hopes for raising awareness will only leave data trails and enrich your competition. The marketing funnel that all marketers talked about, it’s now broken. Greg Satell advocates that it is insufficient to simply gain awareness, you will have to hold their attention. Businesses must focus on the three business core objectives – sales, awareness & advocacy.
Knowing the business objectives are important, but the ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach would not perform as effectively. You have to understand the needs of your business, ask yourself these questions:
- Where are you winning?
- Where are you losing?
- Where do you have an opportunity to improve your competition position?
Only when you have Identified the area your business needs, you will then be able to target that area and craft contingency-based content strategies.
Sales – Recency & Proximity
The purpose of the content is to inform prospective leads and successfully convert them into buying customers. The paths to purchase should be easily identifiable and presented when the information is still fresh in their mind. Websites should implement call-to-actions (CTAs) where appropriate. Bufferapp sells social media management. Its Bufferapp blog often post long-form articles which are helpful for digital marketers in managing their social networks and online content. Their CTA complements their content because the side-banner ad scrolls with the reader and when you feel that Bufferapp is an useful tool, you know how to get it exactly.
Famous C2C Housing Rental marketplace Airbnb places its CTA seamlessly without being too in-your-face to the visitors. In all the neighbourhood guides, the front page will have direct links to all the listings near the area. The close proximity of the CTAs would mean higher conversions for your website, leading to higher revenue.
Awareness – Attention & Evaluation
Building awareness might be deemphasized in the digital age, it continues to play an important role in helping new products and technologies enter the markets. Even if your product or service is not a bleeding-edge innovation, you would still want to improve on the brand awareness. The ad concept of Mercedes is interesting. Mercedes wanted to promote their new zero emission “F-Cell” hydrogen fuel technology they got people talking about it by driving an “invisible car” across Germany,
Viewers who are intrigued would search for relevant information about the “invisible car”, and would eventually be led to the company’s promotional page for green initiatives, the Wikipedia page or one of the glowing reviews about their revolutionary new car. Another good reference is AirBnb’s YouTube Channel. It sometimes shows remarkable stories of people making a living out of the website and other times the lifestyles of the locals. By watching these engaging videos and sharing them on social media, the viewers inevitably become aware of the company. The best thing is it doesn’t leave the viewers feeling force-fed the information.
Next time when you are producing content, instead of hard-selling your company, why not think of creative ways to get the message across.
Advocacy – Value-exchange & Community
Have you ever wonder why do certain people visit your websites, some even regularly and frequently? What do the users and businesses seek of your website? You have to provide value in your content, enabling it to provide product, social and content experiences. It could be a change in perspectives or gain in knowledge or simply, interacting with the consumers. A good indicator that your content has made the mark is that your content have to make people want to come back and share the content with their friends. Like what Seth Godin says, “Remarkable content has to be something that makes people to make remarks on.”. The popular and long-lasting Coca-Cola campaign “Open Happiness” often pull new stunts in giving free drinks to the audience.
The actual stunt pulled off could attract around 50 people. The video made has to date, more than 400,000 views. The point is not about getting more people to drink extra coca-cola on the spot, but about making real videos that would be shared and talked about by millions on social media. To harness the full potential of sharing on social networks, the timing is important for your social media distribution. Heavily dependent on communities, Airbnb provides value to its users with social connections, on top of the regular listings. Users would be able to know if any of their friends have stayed with the hosts once they have synced their social network accounts to Airbnb.
You will be able to know if the place is truly when it claims from your connections. This provides better word-of-mouth for both the hosts and Airbnb. More importantly, it is creating a community among the users as people start discussing about the hosts and houses.
- While catching on the content marketing fad, you have to make sure you are doing it correctly
- Identify the areas which you are winning or losing and those with rooms for improvement
- Then, form a tactical approach based on three business core objectives: sales, advocacy and awareness
- Airbnb is a good case study for content marketing. They integrate their content seamlessly while marketing their service