Content Marketing buzz or basic business need?
Content marketing is one of the current buzz phrases in marketing and communications. But is it all that new? Not really, content has always been central to successful marketing programmes. So what has changed? Not the content but the medium, the way we connect to people. People have always had the need for information; they just get more of it and have easier access through the rise of new technologies like social media and smartphones. Content has and always will be your best opportunity to influence people and create business opportunities. That’s why embracing and implementing content development as a marketing practice sets you on the road to success.
Let’s look closer at this mix of marketing and content. Social media has driven an explosion of content so it is important to stand out and get heard; and that is where the marketing comes in. To reach your audience you need to differentiate your company, so you need to segment your market to tailor your content to your audience, making it relevant and interesting.
But it’s not that simple, because it’s too easy to rely on ‘old-school’ traditional communication principles which are less effective in the new media channels. Customers and potential customers alike want to be engaged with information that helps develop their understanding of what you have to offer and why it is relevant to them. So content marketing goes beyond advertising-style branding copy and product features/benefits ‘selling’ copy. It’s not a direct sales pitch, instead it is about developing a narrative that can lead to a dialogue.
So in the content marketing world there are some simple rules about how you can create content that resonates with key stakeholders;
- identify what differentiates your company because that will point to your key messages – the basis of all content creation - ask yourself: what makes us unique?
- segment your target audience to understand what their needs are and how these needs vary for each segment
- tailor your messaging and stories to each specific segment making it relevant to each audience
- make it believable by using proof points to develop the story
- make it more interesting by linking it to industry or societal challenges and trends
- optimise the communication channel for the different segments
- and then multiply and amplify your story across all segments and all channels
Do it right and it will increase business leads and drive business growth. Put yourself in the shoes of your potential customer – think about things you have bought or got involved in – because the message(s) said the right things to you. It can develop interest and lead to an exchange of information which longer term can result in a relationship that may ultimately result in a sale. From message to sales – it is all in the content.