Where’s the beef? (in your content)

Where is the beef in your content marketing?

(We) Consumers have shut off the traditional world of marketing. If you’re like me, you use the DVR to skip television advertising, often ignore magazine advertising, and now have become so adept at online “surfing” that you can take in online information without a care for banners or buttons (making them irrelevant).

Smart marketers understand that traditional marketing is becoming less effective, and that there has to be a better way: content marketing.

The competition for audience attention is fierce. Across the board, marketers are increasing their investments in content, while attention spans are getting shorter. The challenge, however, is that marketing budgets are finite. While marketing is getting more money to invest, they still need to make the most out of very little; they need to make sure that each dollar and moment spent on content delivers maximum ROI.

Creating engaging content doesn’t have to be tough. In addition to focusing on the big picture, like message architecture, blog topics, and distribution, focus on the subtle techniques that amplify engagement.

Please consider these 7 rules for creating great content:

(1) Seeing is believing (embed videos)

Content with videos attracts 3 times more likes than plain text posts. Now, think about these stats and the implications for content marketing:

  • 89 million people in the United States are going to watch 1.2 billion online videos today. (ComScore)
  • Only about 24 percent of national brands are using online video to market to consumers. (Kantar Media)
  • 52 percent of consumers say that watching product videos makes them more confident in online purchase decisions. (Invodo)

What does this mean to you? Your audience is watching videos and they prefer to see what your product/solution has to offer. Your competition is probably in the 75%, not leveraging videos; shouldn’t you join the 25% and engage customers with video to gain a competitive advantage?

Speaking of videos, check this out if you’re looking for a marketing content platform:

(2) Give Power to the people (involve the community)

Make your audience a part of your content strategy. This process could be as simple as inviting your audience to contribute and integrating social media to participate in the conversation. People crave a sense of community support. When companies provide this by building communities that deliver tangible and emotional value, through employees and customers working together to solve collective challenges, they build lasting bonds of loyalty and discover new sources of growth. Good marketing always puts people at the center. Smart marketing in taps the collective power of community.

(3) Listen first…then respond

In order to respond, you must be listening. Successful content marketing is a two-way conversation. Encourage your audience to participate in the discussion by responding to comments with follow-up questions and resolutions. An omni-channel approach is best, because your audience is going to have varying preferences for communication (twitter, facebook, blogs, email, phone, etc). This leads to #4…

(4) Break down the silos: engage audiences across channels

Think about it, your customers don’t think about channels; they just want convenience.

Today’s customers move seamlessly in and out of channels, utilizing a variety of devices to consume content and marketing messages. As a result, customers naturally expect timely and coordinated experiences from their favorite brands.  However, disparate marketing platforms have previously forced brands to interact with customers from within individual channels, often times delivering disjointed and uncoordinated messages throughout their journey. This disconnect is not only confusing and frustrating to customers, it’s expensive and cumbersome for brands. Essentially, your internal marketing dysfunction is passed on to your customers.

Another challenge with content marketing is that readers are busy, so you have limited time to make an impact. it’s unlikely that they’ll commit to visiting your site on a regular basis. That’s why your marketing team needs to provide guidance by reaching your most dedicated fans across multiple user acquisition channels.

(5)Talk to your customers like you talk to your friends.

How do you talk to your friends? You probably tell stories. In regards to content marketing, the goal is not bullying, but inviting. Not grabbing attention, but earning and holding attention, through stories. Naturally, you want audiences to take action, but it’s the rare brand that understands how content and story must interact to add real value instead of merely selling a product or service.

Storytelling is an essential human activity and must be the cornerstone of any meaningful content strategy. Unless you have a real story, loyalty is out the window.

(6) Seeing is believing (part two…Photos)

It’s common for businesses to cut corners by avoiding images. They’ll post content without compelling visuals; this is a big mistake.

We are visually driven. It’s estimated that 46.1% of people say a website’s design is the number one criterion for discerning the credibility of the company, and 40% of people respond better to visual content than plain text.

Whether you’re producing blog posts or sharing content on social media, make sure to prioritize the photos that you’re choosing. There is ROI value in beauty.

On the topic of beauty, let’s conduct an exercise. Which message is more compelling?

  1. If you don’t want to look your best, you should use MY facial cream.
  2. If you want to look your best, use MY face cream; this is me before I used MY face cream…

Dorian 2

After I started using MY face cream…

Dorian Gray

* I had to get a Dorian Gray plug in…my favorite book #oscarwilde

(7) Stop Trying to Sell

Taking the time to listen to your customers will help you create content that resonates with them. While 26% of marketers are using customer feedback to dictate content strategy, only 6% have optimized this method. Content should be grounded in research-based customer insights, such as surveys and interviews. Ask your customers if they find your content meaningful and don’t forget to listen. A sale lasts a moment, but customer engagement can last a lifetime.

Sales and marketing teams are under immense pressure to sell. It makes sense, since it’s really the only barometer for success (revenue). On the other hand, consumers are sick of being sold to. The more you try to pitch your audience with an aggressive marketing message, the more turn you off, or unsubscribe.

If you want “beef” in your content marketing: customer-centricity and relevance are essential characteristics of “beefy” content for customer engagement. To become knowledge brokers and use content in an insightful way to build rapport with target audiences, you must pay close attention to content marketing performance. The goal is to create strategic conversations with to acquire leads, build trust, and shorten selling cycles.

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