Is it Time to take Content Marketing off its Pedestal?

Posted by frank harris on 28/02/19 15:50

b2b content marketing 0618The idea that content marketing is some sort of messianic marketing device has stuck so well that, regardless of business, product or market, there has been a compulsion to simply ‘do content’. With securing and retaining permissions, building relationships and earning trust more important than ever, is it time for content to integrate more with the rest of the marketing mix?

 

Never mind about the consumer’s experience – what about the content? Never mind about how, when or even whether you should engage – what about the content?

 

Too often, content marketing has not had the data, insight and creativity to support it. We have got personal without building the foundations. We have kept content and data strategy apart.

 

Now, GDPR puts the way we engage under greater scrutiny than ever before. If consumers want to hear what brands have to say, and share information with them, then content is going to have to climb down off its pedestal and integrate.

Permission to Speak?

GDPR doesn’t mean the end of email marketing. But it gives permissions the sort of currency usually only associated with US dollars in Cuba.

 

GDPR means content has to work harder to earn and protect those permissions. It should cultivate the journey from the initial privilege to communicate, to securing the long-term relationships that make people want to share their data.

 

Amaze One commissioned research to understand how UK consumers feel about the information they currently share. 70% of consumers said they were concerned about the way their personal information is collected and used. Only 18% feel they have some degree of control over their data. 80% have concerns about the way their data was sourced and sold.

 

The research revealed a feeling of imbalance in the ‘value exchange’, the quid pro quo of reward in return for personal information. Consumers feel they’re giving a lot of quid for very little quo. That would be worrying even without GDPR. But with the marketing landscape having changed, now is hardly the best time to be alienating customers who just want a fairer deal.

 

The right to share your content starts with clear permission. That is what gives you the privilege to engage. So, be transparent about the ask. Make requests big and bold, front and centre: permission that says, ‘here are some of the great things we are going to be sharing with you – and here is how you get to see them’.

This transparency is appealing, but there is pragmatism too.

 

GDPR does not have to be scary or difficult. If we embrace it, we share the benefit with consumers. If we don’t, we get to spend the next few years testing the boundaries of GDPR compliance to no real purpose.

Collaborative Content Marketing

Crucially, this model ensures content marketing is not the headline act. It forces it to work with data, strategy and consumer experience, and that forces us to ask questions about the nature for content before we create it:

  • Is content desirable and appropriate? How does your brand sit in your customers’ lives? How does that inform the content you create?
  • What is the role of the content marketing? How does it fit your communications strategy? If it doesn’t fit the strategy, why do it?
  • How does the content fit the customer experience of your brand?
  • What is the publishing model? Let the data, strategy and customer journey guide you to a production, publishing or newsroom model that is a natural fit.

How Personal is Personal?

Amaze One’s research showed that even a simple breakdown by age reveals major differences in the way we want to consume content.

  • Preference for visual (including video) content is strongest in younger groups (18 to 44) and falls away with age.
  • Entertainment is a key determiner of channel appeal among younger groups (18 to 44).
  • Being informative is a universal preference, but peaks in the 25 to 34 age group.
  • Trust in the originating brand/sender is a key factor in brand interaction. The older the target group, the greater the trust required.

So be personal. Tailor your voice to your customer. Mass marketing is fine when you are issuing a change of terms and conditions to every account holder, but it is personal content that generates interest and inspires a response.

New Time and Place for Content

Traditionally, content has been created parallel, but often not quite connected to other marketing activities, CRM-driven communications and distribution strategies.

 

But if content is to help drive sharing in this post-GDPR world, it needs to be constantly in the mix, a part of – but not superior to – the data and insight that informs the initial brainstorms and briefings.

 

It is time to take content marketing off its pedestal? Next time someone suggests you should just ‘do content’, pull back and ask what you are doing it for. When you do, you will find it’s a far more effective tool at generating the trust, permissions and sharing we are all going to need.

 

For your content marketing toolkit click the link below:

 

content marketing for small business

Tags: b2b content marketing, small business content marketing, interactive content marketing, content marketing strategy

3 Reasons you should be doing Content Marketing in 2019

Posted by frank harris on 21/01/19 16:23


b2b content marketing 0618Content marketing is a very general term that can be used to refer to many individual areas, from digital PR to the creation of blog content. Put simply, it is the creation of content that is shared online using a variety of marketing channels and assets. However, it can be so much more than this. Here are three ways content marketing can be useful for your business:

  1.  Stand out from the Crowd

In a world where almost everything is online, it can be difficult to stand out from the crowd and that is where content marketing comes in. The aim is to provide content that is useful to the user so that people want to share and engage with your brand and in many cases, this means staying away from branded content that looks to sell.

 

It’s important to consider what your personas wants to know or talk about, this information can be found on

platforms that are probably already used by your business such as social media or social news aggregators.

  1. Brand Identity

Initial thoughts are that content marketing does not benefit a business instantly or directly however it can

help build relationships and loyalty. This is developed over time and whilst users are engaging, they are also a persona, providing an emotional aspect that the user can relate to in a digital landscape.

 

So, the next time potential customers look for answers or need a certain product your brand will be there in the forefront of their minds ready to assist and provide the answer.

  1. Learn about your Personas

Understanding consumers wants and needs can sometimes be baffling, especially at the pace they change today, so running content marketing campaigns means you are always monitoring your target audience’s interests. Ultimately, providing a deeper understanding of your market, which can be useful when looking to expand or change your product offering.

 

However, content marketing is experimental so not every creation will be a success, but you can learn from this. It is all about the research, talking to your users, experimenting with mini campaigns, and learning from

experiences. Analysing the performance of a digital campaign is much easier than a traditional marketing campaign, if you choose your platforms wisely.

 

Just like most elements of marketing, nothing stays the same for long, so how do we expect content marketing to grow in 2019?

2019 Content Marketing Trends

We are now in the age of assistance and so the content we produce may see a change in 2019. Providing content that answers a question for the audience will meet the need for assistance, whilst also positioning your brand as thought leader in the industry.

 

During 2016, there was an 80% increase in live videos viewed online, and in 2018, 78% of people watch videos online every week, and 55% every day. With video playing such a big part in daily life written content alone just won’t cut it – it is time to use video to share content, of course written content still has its place, and it’s important to accompany any video with some optimised text.

 

Authenticity plays a big part in marketing today with consumers wanting to know where, when, and how products are made. When it comes to content marketing, authenticity can come into play with the type of content you create and the way that it is shared.

 

To get the best content for your industry is essential. The toolkit that you can download from the link below will give you many great tips:

 

content marketing for small business

Tags: content marketing, b2b content marketing, small business content marketing, b2b content, small business content, content marketing strategy

8 Ways to Create Small Business Content

Posted by frank harris on 06/12/18 15:10

content marketing 0119While small business content created for your personas helps persuade and engage customers, it also has the added benefit of letting search engines know what your business is about.

 

Although the days of writing and producing content for the likes of Google has long gone, if you focus purely on keywords and forget about your personas it’s just not going to work today.

 

It’s all about quality content that your visitors and customers will want to read and is of value to them, here’s a few ideas on how to create engaging user friendly content

  1. Use Variations of your Keywords

Forget keyword stuffing and using the exact same words 10 times, but you do need to keep in mind relevant words that will make the content relevant to the users search and SEO friendly. Search engines now have the ability to understand variations of words which benefits you and users, for example – ‘social media course’, ‘social media training course’ and ‘training course for social media’.

  1. Create Evergreen Content

When producing content, it’s good to keep in mind how Google works, which is to return relevant results. When they deliver the right answer to a query they are doing their job right, that’s where evergreen content comes in.

 

Evergreen content focuses on longevity, so will be just as relevant in two or more years as it is now. Google will continue to deliver evergreen content and it can rank well if users are finding it useful by clicking and engaging on that page.

  1. User Experience

Creating content for ‘search results’ is usually based on what content is on the page. When you create content for a great user experience you need to focus on the impact the page has on a reader too.

 

Google’s web crawler measures how quickly a person clicks to your website page, how many people click on a page, how long they spend on that page, how far they scroll on that page, and where they go after viewing that page. All of this information available through Google Analytics, lets you see your website through your visitors’ eyes and whether your content is compelling them to click on more and stay on your site.

  1. Use a Readable Style

User friendly content must be easy to digest and in a style that is suitable for your target audience. Make sure you write short paragraphs so not to intimidate readers with long sections of text. Within your paragraphs, keep sentences short and don’t try to impress by using big words.

 

Breaking content up also helps, use headings (H1 and H2 tags), along with bullet points if you have a lot to get across. Don’t forget to include images, we process an image faster than text but it also breaks up the page.

  1. Create Shareable & Link Worthy Content

User experience and SEO should work together, and if you can let your visitors have a positive experience using your website or reading your content they are much more likely to:-

  • Visit more pages
  • Interact on your social media
  • Share your products/service
  • Link to your website
  1. Video Marketing

Video captures viewers faster than written content but you still need to keep it user friendly. Ensure that as well as grabbing attention, it also educates and entertains at the same time. The growth of video within social and mobile content marketing makes video a great option. Even the smallest of budgets and an inexpensive video camera or smartphone can go a long way.

  1. Share, Share, Share

Once you have carefully crafted your content, it's time to get marketing through your website, email marketing, blog and social media networks. Whatever form your content is; a blog post, infographic or a video, content marketing is all about getting your message out there to attract and retain customers.

  1. Create a Content Marketing Strategy

Organising your content marketing is not only helpful in order to provide focus but lets you see what works well and what you can do better. A simple spreadsheet is often enough and you can link this to events, offers and instore promotions you have and create a coordinated marketing plan.

 

Have you created user friendly content that made you stand out from the crowd? If not why not look at our Content Toolkit, an eBook that can help you further>>>

 

content marketing for small business

Tags: small business content marketing, content strategy, content writing, interactive content marketing, small business content, content marketing strategy

10 Steps to Creating a Content Marketing Strategy

Posted by frank harris on 28/11/18 15:32

online marketing 1018A content marketing strategy plays a crucial role in digital; marketing as it tells you how successful your programme is going to be. It’s about planning, strategizing, execution and measuring results.

Why you need Content Marketing?

Here are 5 reasons why you need it:

  • Trusted by customers - When you write a blog post or publish an eBook, that content will be trusted more by your customers than the marketing copy on your website.
  • Supports purchase process - A sound strategy helps guide your personas down the marketing funnel to conversion.
  • Feeds social media - With social media, content drives behaviour. It’s not just the cat pictures that people like and share on Facebook but also content that your personas like. Your content distribution feeds your social media channels.
  • Delivers your message multiple times so customers believe it - You can produce the same content in different formats like blog, eBooks, infographics, video etc. In doing this your customer has more chances of believing it.
  • Is less expensive - There is a cost in producing pieces of content. It comes from the time you spent researching, writing, editing, designing that piece of content.

So now let’s start your content marketing strategy with our 10 Steps:

  1. Establish your content marketing goals

Be clear on what you are trying to achieve. Goals may vary per campaign e.g., building your brand or generate leads and sales?

  1. Know your personas

If we try to market to everyone, we reach no one.

 

Start with identifying a simple demographic and then expand. This link shows you how to develop personas:

 

personas cta

 

  1. Determine information needs

What information are your customers seeking? Providing something they need and want makes you a useful source. Not sure what your audience wants? Test. They may want answers, product information or how to tips. Ensure any ratings or reviews are accurate and legitimate. Honesty is a must!

  1. Select Content Formats

Content comes in many forms so decide what works best for your brand and your personas.

 

Once you start to relate to your personas and develop a better understanding of them, you’ll be able to cater for their needs. If you use a format and determine an alternative would be better, don’t worry change tactics!

  1. Tell stories

You can share stories, but you must allow your personas to do the same and remember it’s not always about you.

  1. Brand content

You have to take everything you do and make it consistent. Colours, text, sound, and even the structure of your language.

  1. Develop an editorial calendar

This ensures you stay on track with your content marketing efforts and will save you time in the long run. To create an editorial calendar, decide its structure. Decide how many posts you will be sending out daily and the metrics you’ll track. Remember seasonality and holidays to embrace content like seasonal tips to humanise your brand and directly relate to your personas.

 

Your calendar allows you to establish recurring content features and decide on your major content offerings. It also means you can do some advanced keyword research and enhance your content’s SEO.

  1. Optimise search and consumption

If no one can find your content, no-one can consume it. It’s easy to get close to your business and become removed from your personas are searching for. You must start by finding out! Your headline is crucial so ensure that it is attention grabbing. Your content should be visually appealing with eye-catching images. Write your content around one keyword phrase that your personas are searching for.

  1. Distribute and promote content

After creating content, distributing and promoting it will determine how successful your content marketing efforts will be. Start by placing it on your website, then promote and direct people to it from your social media platforms. Include links in all communications and incorporate your content into offline interactions.

 

It’s important to ensure that people are aware of and can find your content, otherwise all your hard work won’t bring the rewards they should.  Attend events relevant to the topics you have covered in your content and spread the word!

  1. Track results

You have established your goals, implemented a strategy and worked on creating and promoting your content. Now, track the results.

 

What were you trying to accomplish? If you were trying to increase traffic, did people come? Have you generated leads?

 

To make things measurable, you need to create a sense of urgency by including a promotional code, a call to action or insert a tracking into any links that you share beforehand.

Conclusion

Content marketing is about establishing goals for your target audience and then determining their needs. It is also about selecting the content format that your personas use along with keeping your branding in mind. Finally, it’s about being focused with the help of a content calendar and then optimising your content and distribution and measuring results. Content marketing is hard but if it was easy everyone would be doing it!

 

To get my toolkit to help you further, click on the link below>>>

 

content marketing for small business

Tags: content marketing, b2b content marketing, small business content marketing, content calendar, real time marketing, call to action, content marketing strategy

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