I received an email over the weekend from an entrepreneur by the name of Lucy, who explained that following the collapse of an estate agent established by her half-brother she had taken on board the lessons learned from that commercial calamity and set up a niche business sourcing new-build flats for first-time buyers.
Lucy went on to explain that she had defined her buyer personas, and after consulting with Content Marketing Institute founder Joe Pullizzi and reading Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, the best-selling book by Gary Vaynerchuk, which explains how to tell your story in a noisy social world, had embarked on a content marketing strategy to promote her new business.
“I thought content was king, but I feel as if my content strategy is the digital equivalent of standing by the side of the M25 and shouting my marketing messages at the speeding traffic,” she complained. “Can you help?”
Here’s a summary of the advice I gave Lucy. Content marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. Do not expect your content marketing mix of blogs, guides, emails, webinars, e-books, social media activity or videos to bear fruit immediately. This is because its aim is to engage your target audience and provide that audience with information that makes them trust your company and regard it as an authoritative source of advice.
We are bombarded with so much content, the majority of which we access on a Smartphone, that it is no surprise 80% of it goes unopened and unread.
Like Lucy, companies that produce unread content are performing the digital equivalent of shouting at the motorway traffic.
So, how do you ensure your target personas place their finger on your digital communications as they scroll down their Twitter feed, email inbox, or Facebook notifications? By taking the time to produce quality, original content that addresses their needs, passions and interests, and encourages them to share your advice.
If, like Lucy, you’re targeting first-time homebuyers, it’s no good regurgitating the live listings for your local area on your blog or newsfeed. For a start, the average age of a first-time buyer is now over 35, but such information is far from original and does nothing to underline your knowledge and promote trust in your brand.
If you’re launching a new product or service, don’t use a passive voice or business jargon to communicate this news – you don’t want to be viewed as a faceless, corporate organisation. Tell the reader the story behind the new development and remember to add small, personalised details to bring to life the scene you are describing. Note how I started this post by telling you about my email from Lucy.
If you know the hangouts of your audience members and know their preferences, you can adapt your content strategy accordingly and increase the potential for engagement. The more you manage to get your content in front of the right people, the greater the chance of engagement.
Visuals work especially well on social media. Statistics show that image-based posts get more engagement on Facebook than text-only posts. In addition to pre-recorded videos and live videos, use memes, eye-catching colours, inspirational quotations, infographics, slideshows, screenshots, charts and graphs, and animated images.
I received a thank-you email from Lucy last night. She told me how she’d used Google Analytics to discover a blog post she’d written – which told the story of how her new business was inspired by the badgers that had taken over her half-brother’s former premises – had received a record number of views and was causing a stir among numerous Google+ communities dedicated to short-legged omnivores. Some you win!
Tags: Content Marketing, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Social Media Marketing, Twitter