You may have read on this blog recently about the importance of using data collection and measuring those metrics to work out how effective your content marketing is – and that is important, no question. But equally critical is the simple, obvious purpose of your content, for it to make a bottom-line impact.
If you run an SME, content marketing can prove an enormously lucrative way to market your brand and what you do. And yet, unlike the big companies out there (say, Adidas and Red Bull) whom happily engage in big, powerful rich-content programmes, it’s probably unlikely you’ll be able to justify putting so many of your marketing resources into creating and sharing content on that scale. The answer then? Coming up with engaging, original and targeted content that puts your brand exactly where it’s earned – or is earning – the right to be in the marketplace.
Be the consumer
One way you might do this – or, at least, a maxim you might return to and remind yourself of every time you’re producing content – is not to think as a business owner/ marketer, but to put yourself firmly in the shoes of the consumer. Ask yourself what your ideal customer would like to read. Often the most effective content isn’t entirely brand-specific (i.e. the hard sell), it’s about topics around the brand or product/ service offering you want to push (the soft sell).
So, if you sell nutrient-rich supplements you might want to put out content about different ailments and how to avoid them through vitamin-intake and exercise, or should you retail radiators, you could write about how to warm a home in an energy-conscious, cost-effective way.
The shorter the better?
You may also be surprised to learn that when it comes to content, bite-size isn’t necessarily king anymore – if ever it was. The average blog post in 2015 came in at just over 900 words, an increase of 10% in word length on the previous year. Moreover, the top-ranking content on Google last year tended to be between 1,150 and 1,300 words. The content marketing tips here then? If people are interested in what you have to say, they’ll be happy to read it; whatever its length – and possibly the longer the better.
Mix it up
While it’s useful to put yourself in the place of the consumer, as mentioned, it’s also important to keep in mind why that’s actually the case – because your content, when you break it down, is a value exchange between you and your customer. Your content needs to be relevant, interesting and valuable; if it isn’t (or, worst, irrelevant), your audience will simply switch off. That’s going to do nothing for promoting your brand, products or services or building and retaining new customers.
To that end, you should also consider what sort of content you’re producing – you need to vary it, keep it dynamic and vibrant; you need to mix it up. In addition to articles on a blog then, how about including surveys, polls and quizzes? Recent research suggests that nine in every 10 (91%) of consumers like content that’s more interactive or visual than the usual word-rich variety.
Indeed, think about all those videos that are shared across social media platforms and all those Buzzfeed quizzes that pop up on your Facebook timeline. There’s a reason why that happens, they’re very popular – people inherently like them. So why not take advantage of this?