What is content marketing?
Content marketing is a marketing technique based on the creation and distribution of appealing and attractive content. The basic theory is that if the content is relevant and considered to be of value it will attract, engage and maintain a clearly defined target audience which, in turn, will result in increased popularity, the generation of sales and the growth of the business.
Creating great content
In order to create great content it is important to focus on what will be of interest to customers.
Great content can influence consumer behaviour, promote the brand and achieve consumer retention but in order to achieve this it is important to focus on the customer experience. Whilst the aim of content marketing is to attract and retain customers, this cannot be done by simply generating a constant stream of meaningless content.
Back to basics
At primary school we are taught the importance of asking question words in order to obtain information but it is a skill which is often lost as we get older. In fact, bloggers can sometimes get so lost in trying to promote a product or service that they forget that the aim of content marketing is to inform, educate or entertain the viewer. They may write profusely about a new product which has just been launched but fail to recognise that, despite all the promotional superlatives, the viewer still has only a very limited knowledge of how the product will benefit them and how it will fit into their life style.
Here are five small words which will keep you and your readers on track:
Who is your audience?
What are the demographics of your audience? Understanding this will enable you to use the appropriate language and jargon. Writing content for a group of seventy year olds will require different linguistics to that for a group of twenty year olds. If the content is to be relevant it needs to be adapted accordingly. Equally important as the age and ethnicity of your audience, is understanding their interests and lifestyles so that content can be matched to this.
What are you writing about?
Consider what your topic is and how this is relevant to your target audience. Simply writing a description of a new product will not engage an audience in the same way an article which illustrated how this product could improve their lives might do.
Another point to consider is that people want new content. Simply providing regurgitated and second hand content will not distinguish you as the market leader.
When will you post the content?
Research has shown that the receptiveness of audiences can vary depending on the time of the day. For example posting a blog in the early afternoon may achieve a wider audience than posting in the middle of the night when many people are asleep, or first thing in the morning when they are busy with other tasks.
There are several ways of analysing the viewer statistics of different media platforms and analysing these will permit selection of the ideal time and platform.
Where are you writing?
What platform do you intend to use and is this the best platform in order to convey your message and achieve your target audience?
A regular reader of the Financial Times may not appreciate a blog aimed at 16-17 year olds talking about the benefits of skateboarding. Consider what you are writing about, and where you will find the people most interested in this topic, or if you have been commissioned to write for the Financial Times, consider what topics might most be of interest to this target audience.
Why are you writing?
Are you writing to fill a space on your website or because you have something useful and interesting to say?
Of course, you may say that you are writing in retain customers or to attract new ones. Whilst this might be true if the content is effective, simply writing random content will not achieve this. Perhaps it is more useful to consider first your business aims and examine how content writing can be used to promote and strengthen the business goals. It is important to consider not only how they will support the business, but also how this can be measured.
Evaluate your content writing
I am sure that many of you will already consider these questions, and do it intuitively without thinking. Nevertheless there is no harm in taking a step back to re-evaluate.
If your answer remains the same at least you will be confident that you content marketing is being done for all the right reasons and with optimum effect. As traditional marketing is becoming less and less effective the significance of content marketing is increasing exponentially so it is essential that it is used effectively.