Content Marketing

Content Marketing.  This is where it’s happening.  Whether you are a big brand or a start up, you have the opportunity to make a big impact with your customers and potential customers with a good content marketing plan.  The good news is that you don’t need a huge budget to be effective.

What can set you apart?

The biggest mistake companies make is creating content that THEY think they should create or simply that they want to create.  I’m not saying all of that content is bad or wrong, it just may not be hitting the mark.  What you want to create is content that your target audience (i.e., your customers/clients) is already looking for.  Your customers are always searching for that next piece of information; something that tells them how to do things better, how to use the product in a different, more effective way, how to use it more efficiently.  In some cases, they are looking for information beyond your product or service; information that helps them learn something, do something better, be more productive, have more fun, enjoy life, etc.  You can be the source of that information.  Everything you create doesn’t (and shouldn’t) just be about your product.  If you want to be a trusted source, learn about the things that are important to your audience and give them tips and ideas that help them.  This is where you will connect.  This is how you will get people to engage with you.

What kind of content should you produce?

The easy answer is to provide information that is of use to your customers / target audience.  Know your market.  Understand your customer.  Know their “pain” points and their needs.  Know what is important to them.  Know who influences their decisions.  If you can delve into these areas, you are bound to find plenty of topics about which you can create content.  If you spend some time on YouTube, you’ll likely find that there are customers or potential customers that have already created some of this content, because no one else has.  That is an opportunity for you.  Become the one place where the questions are answered, where there are great product demos and “how to” videos, where new ideas are discussed.

Many larger brands and companies have taken steps to “own” their category.  They spend time analyzing their customers.  They’ve hired agencies to find out who are the influential voices in their space, to find out what people are talking about that is relevant to them and their products and services.  They also do what is called a content gap analysis to determine what is missing between the information or content they are providing and what their target audience really wants to know.  From this data and analysis, they have a strong road map on what content to produce that will resonate with their audience, customers and potential customers.

As for how that content should be presented, the strong recommendation is that it should be in video form, no longer than two minutes in length.  There is a reason that YouTube is the #2 search engine in the world.  It’s because people want information in video format.  An surveys have shown that people are willing to look at videos created by brands as long as it gives them something useful….meaning it’s not promotional.

On that note, don’t think of using a content marketing platform as a means of promoting your company, brand, or product.   You will turn your audience off immediately.  The idea here is to engage.  You don’t walk up to someone you don’t know and start promoting yourself and telling them how great you are, do you?  I hope not.  Normally, you start a conversation where you both learn a little bit about each other.  Think of content marketing the same way.

What’s the goal?

The goal should be to create a plan where you are creating new content on a regular basis, sharing it with the market/community, and engaging with that market/community.  You will need to continually “take the temperature” of your target audience.  Their interests, concerns, needs and wants will change.  You should be in touch with that change so that you can adapt your plan to stay relevant.  Larger brands and companies use analytics to keep tabs on how people are interacting with their content and adjust what they produce based on how people interact.  It allows them to stay relevant and engaged.

Content marketing is an ongoing effort.  You’ve probably seen the really good people in your space.  It’s OK to mimic their model, just make sure your content is original.  That doesn’t mean that you have some brilliant idea every time, it does mean that you have to have your original take on the topic at hand.

This doesn’t have to be a complicated or difficult process.  Consistent marketing is the key to long-term results.

David Henry / The Real David Henry