Article first appeared in Entrepreneur India on 6 September, 2017
The adage “Content is King” has been true in the field of marketing for well over three decades now. It continues to grow in relevance, led by the multiplicity of channels – both online and offline, disruptive new business ideas, and changing customer behaviors – especially shortening attention spans, which makes separating the signal from the noise difficult for brands, yet critical for business success.
For any business — small or big — content can be many things; video clips, blogs, quizzes, whitepapers, surveys, PR, infographics, content updates on social platforms, advertising creative, are all content types.
As an increasing number of people increasingly seek out information on products and services, a business getting relevant content at the right frequency in front of its audience is critical to change behavior and inspire participation in favour of the brand.
Therefore, getting the fundamentals right is key to raising the level of trust with your audience, even before she has made the first contact with the business.
It is important for businesses to pay heed to the following to effectively leverage the opportunity afforded by sound content marketing.
Identify your audience
Sharply define business goals– whether they are attracting talent, or signing up more partners, or selling to more customers. This will help identify the relevant audience for your content marketing campaign, and also guide the content itself.
Understand your audience
Having identified the relevant audience, it is important to define the audience persona in detail. It is critical to understand their sweet spots that can help engage with them more actively.
Look at your existing customer behavior to drive a deeper understanding of the audience. Address questions about your target audience’s interests, current content consumption patterns, content preferences, ways and means of accessing different content types, including information on products and services of interest to them.
Document your content marketing strategy
Not having a strategy that answers the question ‘why and how’ will make your content marketing plan ad hoc. Define how you will measure the ROI on your campaigns. Map content to your identified target audience. Determine the frequency of your content outreach, and establish how generic or specific your content needs to be. Then focus on creating the relevant content, and finalizing the content distribution strategy to ensure your desired reach.
Content marketing is about continuous active engagement and building a relationship, and requires a long-term outlook for successful outcomes.
Through this process, you become a credible resource for your audience and it helps your business be top of mind. This can result in a response towards your business at the right time as a relationship of trust has been built.
Think like a user, not a business owner
Ask yourself, “why should the target audience view my content?” It must be contextual, useful and helpful. There can be distinct content categories such as Hero content that helps drive thought leadership and enhance customer engagement.
Don’t underestimate your existing content library. A lot of it can often be effectively repurposed to reinforce certain messages in your target audience.
Measure to improve
If you don’t measure the outcomes of your content marketing efforts, not only will you not be able to determine the impact, but also lose out on the opportunity to improve and accelerate your efforts.
Content marketing is an iterative process, and by analyzing the data such as click-through rates, unique visitors, time on page, likes, shares and subscribes, bounce rates, conversions, on a regular basis, you will be able to make informed choices of what is and what isn’t working and help to refine your content strategy over time.
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