The marketing and advertising landscape has changed irrevocably with the advent of the digital world; it is increasingly difficult to grab consumers’ attention in the crowded marketplace.
So how can your brand stand out from the crowd?
With an epic content marketing strategy, you will be able to connect with your consumers and build a trusted relationship with them, which will eventually lead to greater sales.
Here’s the deal:
Content marketing is essential to all brands in order to stand out. But for an effective content marketing strategy with an increased ROI, you need a clearly defined strategy roadmap to create epic content and successfully reach your consumers.
What is content marketing and why is it essential for your brand?
According to the Content Marketing Institute:
“Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience – and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
Content includes articles, posts, images, videos, infographics, illustrations, games, product descriptions, tutorials, case studies, advertisements, testimonials, and any information regarding your brand, brand benefits, products, product functionalities, category or industry. It can be posted in blogs, websites, social media, magazines, and any other medium.
But what will you gain from creating content?
Through creating targeted and valuable content, you will:
- Connect and engage with your consumers like never before.
- Build trust between your consumers and your brand, by demonstrating your knowledge and expertise.
- Attract, convert and retain them to your brand and products.
- Positively influence your brand perceptions.
- Build and consolidate your brand identity.
- This will lead to greater sales, increased loyalty towards your brand, and additional brand advocates.
Here’s a content marketing example:
With its Share a Coke campaign, Coca-Cola customises its cans and bottles with names, jargons and messages, creating a unique and personalised brand experience. Through this simple content marketing strategy, Coca-Cola encourages its young consumers to become brand advocates and to share the brand and products on social media. In addition, Coca-Cola inspires them to connect with each other and with the brand. The Share a Coke campaign thus multiplied the brand awareness on social media, leading to increased sales, and strengthened the relationship between the young consumers and the brand.
How to develop an epic content marketing strategy and increase your sales
1) Allocate a specific budget and team to your content marketing
First of all, you need to allocate a budget and resources to content marketing. This subject is too essential for your business and your brand to be managed when time arises, and juggled among other priorities. A dedicated team within your marketing department needs to be set up with the sole focus of developing a strategy roadmap and executing your content strategy.
To be most effective, you need to integrate your content strategy within your marketing strategy, and you need to build your content strategy alongside your marketing strategy. This will enable you to be consistent in your marketing efforts and to effectively meet your marketing objectives.
2) Define who your consumers are to master content marketing
To master content marketing, you need to follow one simple rule:
Place your consumers at the heart of your content strategy. I cannot stress this enough: place your consumers at the heart of your content strategy. You need to tailor each content piece to each of your consumer segments. You need to personalise your content to your target audience, and different targets with different needs will require different content.
3) Understand what your consumers need and want
Once you have defined your different targets, you need to understand them. Who are they? What are their needs, their issues and challenges, and their aspirations? How do they behave towards your category and brand? Where are they in the consumer journey? How do they shop? What information are they after? What are their social media habits?
Here’s a perfect example:
Go Pro’s core consumers are adventure seekers that love to share their exploits. By allowing them to capture their passions and then inspiring them to share their adventures with their friends and the world, Go Pro demonstrates how the brand and the product fit seamlessly into the consumer’s way of life. Through this consumer generated content campaign, the brand engages with its consumers like never before, and reinforces the brand’s identity of ‘capture + share your life’.
4) Define the goal(s) of your content strategy
Before creating content, you should define the goal of your content strategy, and the goal will depend on your target audience. Each target will require different goals. The goal will also strongly depend on where your audience is in the consumer journey. Is your aim to raise brand awareness among your potential consumers? Increase your sales among your occasional consumers? Shift your brand image among one of your consumer segments? Or better engage with your loyal consumers?
5) Follow these 4 golden rules to create EPIC content
Once you have defined and understood your audience, and outlined the goal of your content strategy, you will need to create relevant, valuable and targeted content. The relevancy and value of your content should be defined, not by yourself, but by your consumers. The content you create should be of interest to your audience and helpful to them.
The secret to creating epic content is this to:
Provide solutions to your consumers:
By understanding your audience, their needs, their issues and their challenges, you will be able to glean their interests and help them solve their issues and answer their challenges. You should thus endeavour to create content that will provide your consumers with solutions to their problems.
Your content should be created by experts with knowledge and experience in the topic discussed, and your content should be engaging and inspiring. In doing so, it will be perceived as credible, authentic and valuable by your audience, and this will positively reflect on your brand.
Communicate your brand message:
You should always place your brand message at the heart of your content. Your brand message should be personalised to your target and their needs, and be impactful and resonate with them. And through your brand message, you should educate your audience about your brand, and your products and their benefits. This will lead to your content and your brand being memorable, and to building stronger relationships with your consumers.
Write in your brand’s tone of voice:
Finally, your writing style and tone should adhere to your brand’s tone of voice. A brand should be consistent across all touch points, and content marketing is no exception. The writing style of your content should therefore reflect your brand and reinforce your brand values.
Here’s another content marketing example:
With its Live Better consumer lifestyle magazine, Walmart inspires its shoppers to live more fully while staying on budget. The retail brand understands its consumers live on a tight budget, but still like to indulge, and thus provides content ranging from recipes to beauty tips and from housekeeping advice to fashion ideas. Through this magazine, Walmart engages with its consumers and strengthens the brand’s motto of ‘save money, live better’.
What’s the bottom line?
Different target audiences with different needs and challenges require different content with different messages created by different experts. Through this epic content, you will differentiate your brand and products from the crowded marketplace.
6) Don’t forget the distribution
In order for your epic content to have the highest impact and for your content marketing to increase its ROI, you need to distribute it in the right places for your audience, and so where it is available to them. By understanding your target audience, you will understand their habits, the platforms they use and the information they search for. Your content needs to be easily found by your audience, even when they are not looking for it. If not, you will never reach your consumers and all you content strategy efforts will be in vain.
In order to distribute even more effectively your content, you should reach out to your consumer’s influencers and work with them to develop, create and distribute your content. Influencers will enable your content to be distributed exponentially and to be perceived as even more credible, authentic and compelling. In addition, you should develop and cultivate your brand advocates, they will help you share and amplify your content and your brand message.
7) Optimize your content to increase consumer engagement
You should also optimise your content according to the platform you distribute it on. Certain types of content will be better received and more impactful on certain platforms, and not others. You will thus need to adapt your content to the different platforms you will be sharing it on.
Here’s an example:
Visit Scotland develops content to allow consumers to discover Scotland and to inspire them to visit Scotland. Through stunning photos, astute itineraries, various listings and targeted events, the brand highlights the wide variety of experiences available. In order to reach its consumers, Visit Scotland optimises its content and distributes it through its website, Trip Advisor and other travel websites. Visit Scotland also relies on its brand ambassadors; the tourists, locals, communities and businesses are encouraged to share their Scottish experiences widely.
8) Increase your ROI: 5 ways to track your content marketing effectiveness
In order to understand the success of your content campaign and to increase its ROI, you need to track its results. You should define your tracking measures when planning your content strategy and before your content campaign starts. And the measures to track your content effectiveness will depend on the goal of your content strategy.
Here are 5 measures to track your content marketing effectiveness:
For any content marketing campaign, you need to track its engagement. All content should be engaging and inspiring in order to effectively attract and retain its audience. How many people are sharing your content? Who is sharing your content? How many are reacting and interacting with your content? How many people are now following your brand on social media?
If your content strategy goal is brand awareness, you should also measure your content’s distribution. How many people are viewing your content? Who is viewing your content? How much time do they spend viewing your content?
Again if your goal is brand awareness, you should additionally track your content’s click through rate. How many people are clicking on your call to action? Who clicks on your call to action? What extra information are your target audience looking for?
If your goal is growing sales, you should track your sales. What are your conversion rates? How are your consumer journeys changing? How are your consumers’ baskets evolving?
Brand image change:
Finally, if your goal is changing your brand image, you should measure your brand image and associations and how they are shifting in the mind of your consumers.
What’s the bottom line?
Content marketing is essential to develop and grow your brand. With an epic content strategy, you will be able to connect with your consumers and build a trusted relationship with them, which will eventually lead to greater sales. And in order to master content marketing, you need a clearly defined strategy roadmap with your consumers at its heart, to create compelling content and successfully reach your consumers.
Do you have any best in class content examples to impart? Or any experiences and learnings to share?
How do you ensure the content you create is relevant and valuable to your audience?
Featured Image: by Carlos Muza (Unsplash)