Content marketing is big business, with the industry experiencing significant growth over the past year. Brands of all sizes are beginning to see the value of creating and sharing content as a core part of their wider marketing strategy. The right content can not only help attract new audiences but can also ensure they and existing customers remain engaged and loyal.
As with any part of your marketing strategy, the ultimate aim of content is to drive audiences towards making purchase decisions. Smart companies are catching on fast; so what does it take to create great content?
Start small with blogging
You don’t need a huge budget to support a sophisticated content marketing campaign. There are plenty of opportunities to publish your own content easily and for little or no cost. The best way to create interesting and rich content is to start a blog about your industry or expertise. From your blogging platform you can do everything from post YouTube videos that demonstrate your products in action, to creating in-depth resources for your customers position your brand as an authoritative expert in your industry.
Take inspiration from the big brands such as
Produce interactive and engaging content
The key to successful content marketing lies in the value of the content you are publishing. It must be readable and useable—bonus points if it’s interactive. A perfect example of content that’s both useable and interactive is the SimpliSafe Digital Security Quiz. Not only is it engaging and suitable for sharing, but the reader has the opportunity to gain some information as a result.
Readers are invited to participate in a quiz to ascertain how vulnerable they might be to online security threats. The content changes depending on the response to the question, and valuable tips and resources are offered throughout. The overall effect is to reinforce the message that Simplisafe knows everything about security.
Demonstrate your brand in action
Don’t just tell your customers that your products work or sell well. Use content marketing to show them. This could be in the form of customer driven testimonials, product demonstration videos, or expert tips. Try to make it innovative and entertaining if you want to maximize the opportunity for sharing, but stay focused on your core brand values to ensure you don’t stray from your business objectives. A fantastic example is Columbia Sportsware‘s Omni-Heat videos.
Columbia allowed X-Games visitors to wear their special heat reflective gear inside a freezer that was negative 15⁰ F. This campaign was highly effective because it put Columbia’s products in front of its target audience: highly active people. It was also highly effective because it allowed users to test the gear out for themselves while allowing online viewers to see the gear in action; online viewers were also able to hear customer testimonials about how well the gear worked.
Information dates quickly on the internet so ensure news is timely and current and replaced with fresh and up to date content as often as possible. Not only will it keep your audience interested, it will show that you have your finger on the pulse of your industry. Companies like Virgin Mobile update content several times every day. Music, apps, web memes and more are uploaded to a social newsroom and shared across its entire social media suite.
To date, the site is averaging over 1 million unique views per month, and is spread virally by over 50,000 people on Facebook and Twitter. However, you have to keep in mind that social promotion and content creation without a purpose won’t necessarily benefit your brand; you need to have a highly targeted content strategy that gives your specific audience exactly what they’re looking for.
Online vs Offline
Content marketing focuses on letting the customer drive the interaction independently through education, thought leadership, and quality customer relations. Online activity needs to be supported by offline experiences if it is to have maximum reach. Marriott achieved this with its recent Renaissance Hotels campaign.
Two platforms were designed to communicate experiential lifestyle brand messages. A Navigators platform helped guests discover the city outside their hotel.
While an RLife LIVE platform helped guests discover new music, films, arts, food and drinks inside the hotels.
Both programs provided rich content for engaging guests before and during their stay, and Marriott managed to achieve significant growth in web traffic and Facebook popularity.
While social sharing is important to the success of any content strategy, you can’t rely solely on your online audience to distribute your campaign for you. This is where it can pay off to integrate your content with other marketing strategies to ensure it is promoted to new as well as existing audiences. Once you have introduced new customers to your product or service you can turn that initial introduction into a long term customer relationship.
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