Content marketing is driving most campaigns today and yet we don’t all have a solid handle on how to do it well. Here are five solid tips to help you improve your content marketing campaigns, and become a better marketing executive with real results.
5 Content Marketing Tips That Attract Customers
by Steve Sachs
Content marketing has long been the rage. The old mantra “content is king” has segued into the more current “brands are publishers.” Now brands are exploring all of the digital avenues where they can have a voice within the content that consumers value, not just around that content.
- Great content itself isn’t even the first step.
- More content, and more varied content, on more platforms helps to engage a broader range of audiences.
- Product offers and calls to action have a greater effect further down the consumer’s path to conversion.
For many brands, though, the operative word is “exploring.” They are hard at work pushing content onto the Web and social platforms without a clear idea of how their efforts will drive bottom-line results. Content marketing is a valuable tool, but to a lot of brands, it seems more like an obligation. The big questions are: Where should your content appear? What form should it take? How should it be presented to the consumer to have the greatest impact on inbound business?
Fortunately, with all of the activity in the content marketing space of late, we’re able to discern some clear patterns in marketing habits that drive those positive results. Keep these tips in mind to keep your brand’s content strategies on point and to avoid wasted hours and dollars.
1. Use a data-driven approach to determine the best placements for content: Great content itself isn’t even the first step. The volume of consumer data available in digital channels is enormous, so why take a “spray-and-pray” approach in a broader content marketing push when data analysis can help identify where on the Web your brand’s most engaged audiences are and those places where your content needs to exist. Smarter, targeted content placements helpeddrive click-throughs for Remington (a OneSpot client), putting more customers on the path to preference, intent, and purchase through the brand’s content efforts.
2. Understand how content and images work together for better engagement: The Web is nothing without images, which are eye-catching and highly shareable. It’s old hat to cite how images are the most-shared type of posts on Facebook. To take it one step further, General Electric, one of the great success stories in content marketing, says it has seen the most engagement by linking quality images with content that has a clear call to action.
3. Generate or aggregate large amounts of content and distribute it across multiple platforms: One initial blast of content placements isn’t enough for a smart content marketing campaign. Neither is sticking to just a couple of channels. Brands that see success through content remain active on all major social platforms and across the open Web, and they roll out fresh content continually, whether generated under the brand’s umbrella or aggregated from third parties. Brands can create their own events and content series, and they should angle their content toward seasonal or timely trends for greater engagement. More content, and more varied content, on more platforms helps to engage a broader range of audiences—and it also creates a larger sample for testing and determining what content works and when.
Engagement is key early on in a content campaign. And this means—though some marketers might instinctively resist—it’s OK to ease up on brand messaging at the beginning. The already-engaged consumer is more inclined to respond positively to direct calls to action. This is another tactic GE has pointed to—creativity over the hard sell early on—in its content marketing success.
4. Retarget the consumer with the appropriate sequence of content and offers: Brands with successful content strategies don’t lead with their whole arsenal at the starting bell. Product offers and calls to action, we’ve noted, have a greater effect further down the consumer’s path to conversion. Once the consumer is engaged with the content, the brand has an opportunity to extend that engagement with more detailed product- or consideration-oriented content. Remington saw that effective content sequencing led to more repeat traffic to its company Web site and, ultimately, to greatly increased online sales.
5. Use the data to optimize new content: With all this data available, brands should feed analytics around what content performs for their KPIs back into the creation of new content. This way, data analysis helps to eliminate wasted hours around creating content that doesn’t work, and to create more content that does.
Content marketing isn’t an obligation for brands; it’s a tool for driving deeper brand engagement, dialogue, and relationships with consumers. But content alone won’t magically guarantee results. For it to work the way it should, brands need to make full use of today’s data, creative tools, and infrastructure in their content marketing efforts.