Content marketing is more than just sharing content, it’s the strategic combination of producing, publishing and communicating content that promotes interactive discussions between consumers and companies.
Before the advent of the Internet, content marketing shared a colourful history with advertising and marketing, from industry reports to newspapers, conferences and client publications. Social media is now becoming a staple in the consumer digital diet, with over 1 million links shared on Facebook every 20 minutes and 9,100 tweets sent every second. Organisations that ignore content marketing do so at their own peril.
Read on for Wordsmith’s top tips to take your content marketing campaigns to the next level.
Quality vs. Quantity
Despite the amount of available content, only 32% of marketers believe they’re executing an effective strategy. Many companies fall into the trap of producing content purely because they can – without taking the time to analyse its effectiveness. Quality always trumps quality. Irrelevant, offensive or simply poor content will just go on the back burner of web-blogging history, no matter how many times you retweet it. Over time, the machine gun approach can backfire, with your content ending up flagged as spam. Google applies the “less is more” approach to their content marketing when it came to showcasing how Google Street view works. Clean-cut copy - that doesn’t disappoint.
Keep it Casual
Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs highlights the importance of establishing the right tone: “Your words are your ambassadors — they tell your customers and prospects who you are. Many companies still don’t differentiate themselves enough through their writing voice. “ Successful content marketers create copy that’s casual and inviting for online and offline strategies, with a focus on starting conversations. Ask rhetorical questions, offer advice, and steer clear of business jargon. Samuel Adams Boston Lager Company strikes a friendly yet professional tone across every social platform, engaging potential consumers around the globe.
It’s All About You
Content that uses personal pronouns such as “I” “You” and “me” makes readers feel like you’re speaking directly to them. Gone where the days when advertisers could promote content without considering the customer. Nowadays, consumer focused strategies are essential to marketing success.
Amazon excels in promoting a customer-centric culture throughout their content marketing strategy. For instance, Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon is now infamous for the "empty chair" method in boardroom meetings, which shows his employees who the real boss is:
“He periodically leaves one seat open at a conference table and informs all attendees that they should consider that seat occupied by their customer, 'the most important person in the room.” Place customers at the heart of your social media campaigns by creating content that speaks directly to them and addresses their needs.
Make it Short and Sweet
Content marketing and social media are now going hand in hand. Communication expert Howard Rheingold isn’t far off when he claims, “In today’s modern world, people are either asleep or connected.” But how do businesses repurpose content for online consumers? By keeping it easily accessible, readable and concise.
If you have more information you want to share with your readers, provide a link and keep your writing pithy. Mobile content marketing has seen substantial growth in the past 5 years with 1.9 billion people owning smartphones today, and estimates suggesting half of the world’s population will own a smartphone by 2018. The Content Marketing Institute claims that many copywriters fail at mobile marketing due to simple positioning. Keep your copy short and eye-catching, or readers will just keep scrolling.
Use Action-Oriented Language
The essence of content marketing is to start conversations between your business and consumers. The end goal is to encourage them into action through the art of persuasion – whether it’s reading an article, buying a product, joining a discussion or attending an event.
Compelling storytelling is one of the most effective Call To Action techniques. Cadburys "Thanks a Million" Campaign for loyal Facebook supporters used actionable copy, like “add a chunk” or “like this now” to encourage followers to engage with their social media story on Facebook. Cadbury got their just desserts in the form of 40,000 new followers – a sweet result by any measure.
Don’t Produce Content Just for SEO
Believe it or not, Google rewards good content. Over-using certain keywords or phrases in your content to please search engines doesn’t guarantee results. Content should be written with the consumer in mind, not simply to be scanned by crawlers and forgotten.
Modern day audiences want inspiring, informative, knee-slapping content. Keyword stuffing and phrase optimization can actually stifle creativity. Google may bring audiences to your content, but it’s your job to keep them there. Creating copy that encourages recommendations, backlinks and social signals is the key to improving your Google ranking. Jonathan Mildenhall, VP of Global Advertising Strategy and Creative Excellence at Coca Cola, stresses that content needs to be“ fresh and relevant, because of 24/7 connectivity. If you’re going to be successful...you have to have fat and fertile ideas at the core.”
Content marketing is here to stay. To make the most of your content marketing efforts, be consumer centric with the content you produce, recognise shifts in business and evolve with the ever-turning cogs of online conversation.