Content marketing is the process of creating and curating high-quality, valuable and relevant content, that aims to engage, inform and attract a targeted audience. In other words, you are educating people about your industry, business, brand, team, product or service, so that they can get to know you, begin to like you and then actually trust you enough to decide to do business with you.
Great content marketing can be a wonderful referral tool. Every business I have ever worked with over the last 20+ years has always cited word of mouth as one of the ways they get new business. Content is a great tool for your happy customers to refer others.
Content can be:
Content marketing is about taking the content and using it for long-term commercial gain. It’s about using branding, brand association, credibility rub off and demonstration of expertise to enhance your business. Think about the last time someone referred a local service to you. Did you google them and check them out? I sure do. Based on what I see, I make a decision on whether they seem professional and reputable. This whole process takes about 30 seconds (depending on my internet speed of course!). I’m making an assessment of a brand’s whole offering from their digital presence. A brand publishing regular, professional content will always give a better impression than one who isn’t.
Content marketing can occur off-line and on-line. Great examples of off-line content marketing can include:
Examples of on-line content marketing can include:
Not all content is created equal! And not all content has to be created by you. Creating content is when you write, develop, record or manufacture the content yourself. Sharing, liking, following, commenting on and distributing content made by others is called curating content.
When employing a content marketing strategy for your business your key objective should be to demonstrate your credibility - not to sell. Sales will come after you build trust, and trust can be developed through content marketing (coupled with great service and awesome products when they do reach out to your business in the digital or real world).
Businesses considering content marketing as part of their overall business growth strategy should keep these top tips in mind:
1. Be consistent.
Keep creating or curating content consistently. Don’t post daily for 4 weeks then disappear for a week. Inconsistency in marketing can imply that you are inconsistent in business. I haven’t yet met anyone who wants an inconsistent accountant, builder or jeweller!
2. Be accurate.
Make sure you always double-check your content before letting it loose online. Check your spelling, grammar, and references. Don’t give your readers a reason to stop engaging in your content, because of some sloppy editing. I’ve been guilty of this myself! Getting too excited and hitting publish before someone else edits the work. Oops! Sorry. #learningfrommistakes
3. Understand your audience.
You are creating content that will engage and impress your target audience, not your competitors or colleagues. Keep this in mind and avoid jargon or trying to impress them with big words. No one wants to feel like a fool.
4. Schedule your content.
By scheduling content across multiple platforms, you can ensure you not only keep active and don’t miss any audience – you can also ensure you don’t post the same thing across every channel. If a prospective customer is following you on Facebook, often they will be loving everything you dish up on Pinterest and Linked In too. But if you go and give them the same message 3 times in one day, across all 3 channels, they will quickly get sick of you and step back. Scheduling and being pre-planned can help you avoid this.
5. Keep it sustainable.
Coming up with creative and exciting ideas for your content can be fun! It can be a great way to get lots of people in the business involved. Just don’t get too carried away. This is a long-term game. It’s always better to set things up in a manageable manner (in terms of time and money), then get it right and hone your skills before stepping up to the next level. I have seen local brands do a great job with professional video editing, professional graphic design and the posts look fantastic. Then they’ve run out of budget and can’t keep it up. Plan a sustainable level of activity.
6. Consider consumption.
Consumption is the term used to describe when the reader reads your article, the video is watched or the photo is viewed. As publishers of content, we all need to be aware of how and when our content will be consumed. In Australia, we are now doing more google searches on mobile devices than on desktop computers. Have a look at the analytics of your social media channels and website. Who is viewing the content and what device are they using? You might finishing work at 5pm, but your content doesn’t have to. Depending on your audience, it might be just getting started! Make sure you publish content in a manner that suits your audience (not you).
7. Learn from big brands.
Invest a little time in seeking out brands that are doing this well and apply what you like about their activity to yours. Don’t restrict yourself to your own industry. Have a look at big brands in other industries and ask yourself “How can I make this work for me?”
Some of the great content marketers that we like to draw inspiration from include: