Content marketing is all about consistently providing something of relevant value to your target audience. High-quality content marketing should always about the customer. What that means is if you align company goals with the needs of your customer, you’ll have the best chance to achieve desired results and business success. Goal-oriented content marketing can bring about a deeper level of ongoing engagement and an experience that is more likely to develop desirable behaviors such as a greater willingness to share personal data, a greater interest in upselling opportunities, or greater brand loyalty and evangelism.
It can be said that content marketing, along with social media and SEO, is a clever blend of marketing where all three overlap and need collaboration, but content marketing is also very much its own thing. Remember the Google Panda algorithm update that mandated the concept of relevance and value in content to gain higher ratings for web pages.
Here are some best practices followed by content marketers to keep in mind for both B2C and B2B:
Create a documented strategy.
- Research has consistently found a documented strategy to be the one thing that separates successful content marketers from their less successful piers. A written strategy or road map can bring cohesion to an otherwise complex process of creating content, clarifying messages to the whole team and allows for a way to effectively measure your efforts. No two strategies will be exactly the same but all include the following basic elements:
- Establish your purpose and goals. What is it you want your customers to do after they have consumed your content? Are the goals aligned with and focused on the customer needs and business objectives? Examples of purpose include brand awareness, audience engagement, traffic, leads, increasing ROI and customer retention. Then set goals. Some typical examples include sales goals, cost-savings goals and business growth goals.
- Identify personas you are targeting. Who is your core customer and what are their characteristics such as location, age, income and interests? Also, identify the various stages of the purchasing funnel such as awareness, interest, return visits to your site, repeat customers, and referrals, mapping content to fit those stages.
- Identify your company’s unique aspects, the differentiating factors that set it apart from the competition. It is ok to include any struggles. In general, the elements of a good story outline include conflict, tension, climax and resolution. Compelling stories have moments of uncertainty and increase credibility and allure.
- Create an editorial calendar to help ensure you publish content consistently.
The more tactics used the better.
The more tactics you use, the more you will create enhanced customer awareness, engagement, leads and sales. Once you have identified your goals, customers and have a story, the next step is to determine which channels work for your story. Map the content to specific channels and then identify the content you have and what content may need to be created, understanding the process is forever evolving. A few examples include:
- In-person events are still favored by B2B and B2C content marketers. Face to face events can be powerful and personable. Meet up organizers are often in need of speakers which presents an opportunity to interact with new audiences.
- Newsletters are valuable in moving customers through the sales funnel.
- Online video can demonstrate products quickly and effectively.
- Case studies and testimonials provide proof of success.
- Webinars/webcasts enable companies to reach a live audience without travel expenses and allow the experts to move prospects through the sales funnel.
- Blogs can attract prospects when they reflect the interests and needs of the most valuable prospects.
- White papers can add authority to move your prospects through your funnel and are highly effective for B2B.
- Onsite articles with high-quality content are engaging and also important for SEO purposes.
- Mobile content is important as it is now usually the first screen that can tease a user to a desktop.
- Infographics are very prevalent and help to stand out from the noise if the concept and execution is captivating.
- Press Releases with compelling information are effective and made more alluring with video and photos.
Successful content marketing is listening to your customers to meet their needs and interests, and producing high-quality content that is relevant and valuable. Kovach Marketing’s primary goals follow this path to affect positive change for our clients. Driven by a process called “creative intelligence,” we LISTEN to your vision, ANALYZE market trends and DESIGN comprehensive programs to turn your key objectives into a reality.
We hope you enjoy a few examples of the stories we’ve created for our clients, from “Inspired Conversations” of The True Life Companies, connecting in A Town Anaheim and useful formation from TRI-Pointe Homes.