Many people think of content marketing as being limited to web and blog articles and social media. This is not true, so let’s start off with a basic definition of what content marketing actually includes.
Content Marketing – more than blogs and Facebook!
Content encompasses written, visual or auditory material and includes everything from your website copy, to blog posts, newsletters, social media posts, press releases, articles, marketing letters, email communications, webcasts, infographics, photo’s, video’s, whitepapers, ebooks, case studies, guides and recorded interviews.
As opposed to adverts, content marketing does not focus on selling. It is rather based on sharing interesting information and advice based on the products and services that a company offers.
Why do I need a Content Marketing Strategy?
There is no point in creating content if it is not somehow appealing to your customer and prospects, so every piece of content that you create, needs to be targeted to the needs and interests of a specific person or group of people. A content marketing strategy ensures that you are hitting the right nerve, with the right person – your ideal customer.
1. Target Market
Who is your ideal customer?
You will never be able to please everyone all of the time with a single marketing message or approach, which is why it is critical to identify and hone in on the specific needs and interests of your target market.
If we drill down into the specific needs and desires of your ideal customer, you will find that deciding how to position your services will be far easier, while you will actually attract more of the customers that you really want.
Let’s use an example to make this more realistic. Imagine that you operate a health food restaurant with a take-away service. Surely anyone who likes healthy food would be interested in supporting you? This may be so, but to market effectively you will need to be more specific than that.
An example of your ideal customer, may be a single working mom. This customer would certainly benefit from the convenience of your take-away service, but let’s go further than that. She would definitely be interested in knowing how to make well balanced food choices which boost her kids immunity.
Another example may be a single young male who enjoys going to gym and is concerned about his health and physique. Learning about the meals that would give him added stamina is very likely something that he would be interested in.
Yet another example could be a middle-age male who is trying to lose weight. Knowing what foods to eat for ones blood group would be of interest to this individual.
To narrow down your ideal customer profile, think about who has bought from you before.
Here are some questions to help lead your customer profiling exercise. Remember that the more specific you are the better, and do consider creating a few profiles according to what you know about your current client base.
1. Where does he/she live (country, province, town, suburb)
2. Does he/she have kids?
3. Does he/she have a car
4. Does he/she live in a house, flat, complex, on a farm?
5. Does he/she have pets?
6. What is his/her level of education?
7. What are his/her interests?
8. What is his/her profession?
9. What does he/she read and where?
2. The Message
How can you help your customers?
Once we know who our ideal customers are, we will need to identify the very specific ways in which we solve their problems or attend to their needs. Aim to drill down into what really pains your ideal customer and solve those issues. Look at the examples we used previously. The information you generate will be linked, but may not be entirely centred around promoting a produce or service.
Every business owner and marketer has in-depth, highly specific answers to the questions that their clients ask. Take the time to dig these out and use them for the basis of your content.
Refine your topics by identifying multiple needs. For example our single working mom would appreciate tips on preparing quick and healthy snacks for her kids, or would even want to know about the dangers of processed foods.
For more insight into how to create truly engaging content, read our earlier post ‘The Equation for Engaging Content‘- here you will learn all you need to know about how to write posts that your customers and prospects will love.
3. The Platforms
Where will you share content?
Now that you know what content you are wanting to create and for whom, you can start thinking about where to share your content.
Note: Look out for our next Social Media Marketing Post ‘How to Write for Social Media’ in which we will provide tips on how to write and compile great content for each of the Social Media platforms.
Before deciding what content to create, you will need to know what your target audience reads and where they find their information. You should have identified this when you prepared your ideal customer profile, however be 100% sure of the answer to this question. If you are struggling to identify what your customers are reading and where, consider running a short survey to find out.
Having said this, for reasons which include the Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) of your website which influences organic search results (people who found your content as a result of using a search engine to find products and services such as yours), the most basic content marketing strategy should ideally include 3 basic outlets, namely your website, a blog for your articles and at least 2 social media platforms.
Distributing content such as a YouTube video, a page on Pinterest, a webinar and so forth should ideally serve to boost the content marketing strategy that you already have in place.
Who will create your content?
Many organisations are now employing content marketing teams and individuals on a full time basis, while smaller companies tend to give the responsibility of creating content to an existing member of the team. If you are interested in following the latter approach, be very sure that this person is suitably talented with the ability to understand what is required of your content marketing strategy and is able to conceptualise and write creative, professional content.
If you don’t have this talent within your organisation and don’t have the funds to hire someone to manage your content creation for you, then consider hiring the services of a professional and experienced agency such as The Formula to assist you.
The focus needs to be on quality content, delivered to the needs of a specific audience on a regular basis. Remember that content marketing impacts your brand directly, so it must be done well.
Need help to create great content? Contact The Formula today!
When will you publish content?
Once you are ready to share your great content with the world, you will need to think about when would be the most appropriate time to do so.
There is no hard and fast rule to this and no average best time to publish content. Your indicators will be based on when your prospects are most likely to be sitting in front of their PC or tablet.
For example a surgeon will not necessarily follow office hours, so the time that you publish content to capture his attention would be different to when you would grab the attention of a stay at home mom for instance. Look back to your ideal customer profiles and think about what they would typically be doing and when.
Be sure to maximise the use of your content as a marketing tool. While this doesn’t really apply to social media posts, your blog articles, videos and pictures should be shared with your audience through as many marketing channels as possible.
For example, your newsletter could consist of a selection of your top blog articles and videos, or you could email weekly info alerts (boosters) which could include an informative article in addition to a few specials you may be running.
Remember to also link your content platforms. Your blog should feature a link to your YouTube account, while your social media accounts should be used to distribute links to your blog articles, pictures and video content.
Try to ensure that your customers and prospects have easy access to your content across every content platform that they choose to read.
All good things take time
Ideally your content marketing strategy should be revisited every few (not longer than 6 months) months to determine whether what you are doing is indeed working. Always be prepared to change, however also be patient. Content marketing traditionally takes longer to yield results that other more direct forms of marketing. If you are the new kid on the block, you will need to let customers and prospects get used to seeing you around and will need to work at creating content that they look forward to seeing.
Do you need help in defining your Content Marketing Strategy, or in creating outstanding content? The Formula is geared to integrate with your company as your virtual marketing department. Give Garth Dahl or Shiraz Khatib a call on 021 556 5661 or email us: firstname.lastname@example.org – our consultations are free and we look forward to helping your business grow!