Nothing stays the same; at least that’s what we learn from the Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, who legendarily said the only constant in the world is change. Conventionally, marketing was geared towards telling your audience you’re a ROCK STAR, however, as marketing is evolving and changing, the onus is now on showing the world that you are ONE.
The media is becoming more fragmented and choice diverse. It is no longer unusual to hear people say they got the news via a blog or social media on a smart phone. This has reduced the effectiveness of traditional advertising channels such as TV, Radio or print advertising where media houses would rake in a lot of dough from brands through adverts. These days everyone is a mini-news centre or publisher.
Traditionally marketers would buy their customers’ attention and pummel them into submission with adverts. These days with the dawn of new technology tools such as smarter TV, customers can avoid a brand all together either with smarter TV that lets you skip advertisements or mute options on Social Media. In this day and age you’ve got to earn attention. You earn it by delivering the most impactful information your customers could ever hope for, content which makes people stop, read, think, and behave differently.
Success in the new age calls for businesses to develop a different kind of muscle, a new muscle, to be precise content marketing. As with new muscles you need to work at them until they become strong enough and functional. To the uninitiated Content marketing is in essence creating ‘interesting information your customers are passionate about so they actually pay attention to you.’ Below are steps to take to set you up for Content Marketing Success.
#1 Goal Setting
My favourite story on the subject of goal setting is that of Colonel Saunders, the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken, KFC, who at the ripe age of 65 thought restaurant owners would love his fried chicken recipe. He drove around the country knocking on doors, sleeping in his car, wearing his white suit. Legend has it that he was rejected over a thousand times. I believe he was able to handle rejection because he had a goal.
Similarly, in content marketing you should have a goal. The goal could be to increase brand awareness, lead conversion and nurturing, customer conversion, customer service or cultivating customer loyalty and retention.
#2 Defining the Audience
In media there is a maxim which says to succeed one need to entertain first and educate later. The problem is that to do this well you need to know who you are talking to and with. Coming up with a persona is a helpful tool for your content creation efforts as it allows you to tailor your messages effectively to the right audience.
#3 Set Up Listening Posts
It is said that an appreciative listener is stimulating. To become attuned to your customer you need to set up listening posts. Listening in content marketing is all about getting as much feedback from an assortment of sources conceivable so you can find the facts. To get feedback one might consider social media listening, customer surveys, search of keywords and one on one conversation.
#4 Content Calendar
Content Marketing is not just about short term targets but rather a long term strategy to attract, convert and retain customers. Achieving and executing a long term strategy is difficult without the tools to manage it. Fortunately, you can use an editorial calendar to manage a long term strategy. A content calendar will allow you to come up with a content cycle, set creation and publish dates. This is important as it enables collaboration and determining the wok flow steps.
#5 Content Types
All you need to learn and know about content types is perfectly summed up by this quote by Confucius which says “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.” True to the trend, social media is moving to be more visual. Facebook changed their timeline to display more visuals, Twitter followed suit. Pinterest and Instagram are becoming more and more popular because they are visual in nature. Some of the more popular content types include real time content, fact driven content and as well curated content.
#6 Amplifying Your Content
Now that you have come up with content, you’ve got to share it. Content is the fire and social media is the gasoline. The gasoline amplifies the fire. The same happens or should happen with Social Media. Growing your networks should be a big part of your strategy, the bigger the network the better the reach. There is a caveat though, accumulating a large subscriber base should not take precedence over engaging and stimulating your audience.
Rather than being on every social media platforms, carefully choose the ones which your audience regularly frequents. Remember what we said about coming up with Personas?
#7 Measuring the Impact of Your Content Marketing Efforts
Measurement is absolutely critical to the success of your content marketing. It is said that what you cannot measure you cannot influence. As a rule, measure what is important to your business. This involves being up front with your key performance indicators and making sure everyone fully understands what is required. Normally, these three things should be always be in the equation: Sales, Saving costs and Customer Retention.
Wrapping it up
There are so many other things that are absolutely critical in getting your content marketing up and running, however, for me these are absolutely critical. What are factors do you think can be included. Share with me your insights and comments on Twitter. My Twitter handle is @tnyaruwanga.