Content marketing may be the new buzz word in digital media, but many businesses are wary of what it means for them. Study after study have shown that this marketing method can be hugely effective for turning your audience into paying customers, but it does require a lot of work. A successful content marketing strategy relies on sharing a regular stream of quality content, and producing this takes a big time investment and a lot of creative thought.
The question that many businesses are asking is this: is content marketing worth the effort?
What could content marketing do for you?
If this question has passed your mind, here’s an answer for you: yes. Content marketing is worth the effort, as it can result in some brilliant benefits for your business. The ultimate aim of this method is a simple one. Content marketing helps you to build valuable relationships with your audience and, ultimately, make sales.
When it’s done well, a content marketing strategy entertains your readers and shows them how good you are at doing whatever it is that you do. It helps the people who are seeing your content to build a relationship with you, begin to trust you and to start to think about how your products/services could enrich their lives.
Generally speaking, anything worth having takes work. Content marketing is no exception. This isn’t a method that will transform your business into an overnight success, but it is a wonderful option for a long-term strategy. The idea of content marketing is that it will help your business to build quality relationships and create loyal customers and brand advocates who will continue to engage and interact for years to come.
Three great examples from big businesses
If you’re not yet convinced that this is the way forward, it’s a good idea to look to big businesses for inspiration. Companies across the world that are household names are investing more and more into this strategy: and they’re doing it because it works.
The Old Spice Man
A few years ago, Old Spice decided to update their image and get noticed by the younger generations. Cue a very successful example of content marketing: the Old Spice Man. The company worked with actor Isaiah Mustafa to create the The Man Your Man Could Smell Like video, which soon went viral on YouTube, and convinced the world that Old Spice could be cool again. The company earned extra points for this campaign by keeping it engaging: they made an ongoing series of videos addressing reader comments.
The Colgate Oral Health and Dental Resource Center
Colgate is another company that has gotten it right when it comes to content marketing. They’ve taken a very different path from the previous example, but they’re still creating online content that is valuable to their audience. Their online Oral Health and Dental Resource Centre consists of more than 400 articles that are valuable and educational for their audience. These articles don’t create a direct income for Colgate, but they do build trust among their audience, and remind everyone just how much Colgate knows about teeth.
The Red Bulletin Magazine
Red Bull is a company that has always been noticed for their advertising. In the past they have invested a great deal of money in advertising and event sponsorship, but they now seem to be moving towards more of a content marketing model. They’ve launched their own digital magazine called The Red Bulletin. The magazine is filled with entertaining content about the type of interests that Red Bull have based their image on, such as extreme sports. Red Bull know what their customers like, and they’ve really shown it with this new magazine.
The bottom line here is that people trust editorial content much more than they trust adverts. Whether your business is as big as Colgate or Old Spice, or whether it’s a one-person start up, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to utilize this simple fact in order to engage your audience and build your customer base.
How can you make content marketing work for you?
Once you’ve decided that content marketing is the way forward for your business, it’s important to consider how it can work for you. Bigger companies have the edge when it comes to producing editorial-style content: and that’s because they can hire professionals to put it together.
If you don’t have the budget to work with a professional, it’s important to make sure that the type of content you create is playing to your strengths.
1. Blog posts and articles
This is one of the key ways that businesses make content marketing work for their business. Whatever industry you are in, you have expertise that your audience will be interested in hearing about. A regularly updated blog filled with advice, ‘how-tos’ and news from your industry can be a brilliant way to showcase your knowledge and connect with your audience. This is the ideal option for you if you are great with words.
Images and infographics
Graphic images and infographics can be a great way to share tips and tricks with your fans in a predominantly visual way. This kind of content is often much easier to share – which is a great thing as long as people know that your company created it in the first place! Make sure you put your company name and URL in the image/infographic somewhere. This option is great for you if you are in a creative industry, such as photography or design.
YouTube is a brilliant platform to connect to a new audience and it is much easier than you think to put together a professional looking video. If you don’t have access to a video camera, there are other options. A good quality smartphone or web cam can help you to put together a video that looks great. This is a perfect option if you are more confident with public speaking than you are with writing.
Tips for making your content marketing strategy successful
Put together an editorial calendar or schedule
Your content marketing strategy will be much more successful if you are consistent with it. Set yourself a target for each week, and stick to it! It can be a good idea to plan ideas for content in one go and add them to an editorial calendar or schedule.
Creating quality content week after week can be difficult. Think about lifting some of the pressure and getting help to create your content. If you have a team of staff working within your business, consider spreading the responsibility for creating content.
Alternatively, if you don’t have a team of people, why not think about working with complimentary businesses to create collaborative content such as YouTube videos or eBooks? This can be a great way to increase your output and introduce yourself to a new audience.
Stay professional and on brand
When you’re updating your business’ blog, or Twitter feed or Facebook page, it can be tempting to stray outside your area of interest. It might seem like you’d get a much better response if you posted about what happened on TV last night rather than something more relevant to your industry. However, it’s not a good idea to fall into this trap!
In order to make the best possible impression on your audience, it’s vital to stay professional and on brand. A good way to do this is to set out from day one what topics and interests you are going to post about: and to stick to them.
You might think that it’s possible to be an overnight success in the digital world, but really, it isn’t. Look at any successful blogger or YouTube broadcaster, and you’ll likely find that they were creating and sharing content regularly for a long time before they received success. This will also be true of your business.
Be prepared to stay motivated and keep going, even if it feels like no one is paying attention at first.
Content marketing offers businesses a brilliant opportunity to re-evaluate the way they interact with their customers. No matter how big or small your company is, you have the ability to use the principles of this marketing strategy and use it to reach out and connect to your audience.
What works for one business might not work for another. Before you get started it’s important to think about what kind of content will best showcase your business’ brand, and what kind of topics and interests it will be most relevant for you to cover. Taking the time to put these thoughts together in a strategy will be much more beneficial in the long run than jumping right in.
Finally, it’s important to remember that content marketing is a long term strategy for positive growth, not a get-quick-rich scheme! Keep engaging your audience with quality content, and you’ll see the benefits.