Every brand or business is working hard to sell their ideas. But most consumers are sick and tired of being sold to all day long. They want something more for their time than just an ad. Enter content marketing; the crossroads of brand messages and consumer engagement. Done well, it can bring new exposure to your ideas and start a conversation that ends with your brand name. Here’s the 5 content marketing secrets the pros use to make sure their content doesn’t get lost in the daily web of words.
There’s more to content than blogging alone
Assuming that content and blog are interchangeable terms is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. A great blog post takes time and research, making it an effective but slow form of content marketing. It’s also difficult to get your post to the top of everyone’s radar when there are so many posted each day. For the sake of your followers and your creativity open your mind to the possibilities of what ‘content’ really means. Try making a video, infographic, photo gallery or slideshow, social media post, podcast or even a brochure that shows what your company can do. Once you let go of the idea that blogging is the only path to your content marketing goals you’ll find it easier to share your message consistently.
Marketing your content is the most important part
You may have worked hard on a professional looking website or brochure but if no-one sees it, it’s not doing its job. Promoting your content is what turns it into marketing. But how do you do it? One of the easiest ways to get your content noticed is to collaborate with other businesses and social media influencers. This could be online or in real world settings. Here’s two examples of how this works:
Example 1: You have an organic skincare brand and want to reach new customers. You write a blog about how to help your makeup last all day suggesting things like prepping your skin with quality moisturiser (your brand) and using makeup suited to your skin type (someone else’s brand). You’ve featured makeup by a reputable brand with a large social following. It’s worth reaching out to them before you publish to offer a feature in return for a social share which exposes your article and by default your brand to their audience.
Example 2: You have a mattress business and are looking for ways to increase revenue. You’ve created a brochure on how to select the best mattress. You could ask local businesses from chiropractors to bedding stores to display your brochure at their front desk. You could even offer a small discount for new customers on the back of the brochure.
In each of these examples you’ve created the content but rather than waiting for the viewers to find you, you’ve put yourself on their radar. It’s important to recognise that these partnerships may cost you time and money but if you do them right the exposure and trust in your brand will be worthwhile.
Your work doesn’t have to be mind-blowingly original
It has been said that there are only 7 original stories in the whole world. Everything else is but an interpretation of these core ideas. But does this mean they can only be told once? On the contrary, this means that originality is more about perspective than anything else. Your content can cover the same topic as another brand and still be valuable. It can look at it from another angle, gender, age or interest point. The history of the world is constantly changing and informing how we see things. Where once it was okay to print sexist advertising we are now in the throws of the #metoo movement turning misogyny on its head.
We also rarely take information from the first source we visit. Be it a blog post, book or video we like to consolidate our ideas with more than one resource before taking them as fact. We search for the resource that tells us in a way we can understand.
The bottom line is this: your topic has probably been covered before, so you need to cover it better. Update it for the current time or debunk a myth that’s been perpetuated for too long. Telling yourself that every post you write or infographic you share must be different to all others that came before it is like asking filmmakers not to reinterpret Shakespeare’s work. It can’t be done and it would mean we miss out on some fascinating reimaginings.
One idea can create a week of content
It’s likely that content marketing is just one strategy in play for your business and dedicating all your time to it is unfeasible. Rather than deciding it’s a time-consuming investment, find ways to work smarter. Your blog readers could be a different demographic to your social followers and both of these are likely different to the people picking up your brochure at a store. Audiences are fragmented; they like different platforms and types of media depending on age, gender and technological capability. When you find a topic that ties in well with your brand don’t just share it in one way. Get it out to as many different audiences as you can.
Write a blog that offers an in-depth answer to your readers and repurpose the subheadings into an infographic that can be shared on Facebook for a 5-minute overview of the same idea. Then take a poignant quote from your article and make an image for Instagram that references the original work and provides instant inspiration to your followers. Perhaps your blog goes into the history of the topic before giving the solution. Take the second half (solution only) and turn it into a brochure that provides actionable answers to potential customers problems. Finally, make a video teaching viewers how to implement one solution, preferably using your product or service. We’ve just turned one topic into almost a week’s worth of content, using different platforms and reaching multiple audiences.
Your content is for people, not computers
SEO has been booming in recent years but it’s only half the story for successful content marketing. Over time search engines have updated their algorithms to penalise those using quick link building strategies which take them to the top of the results page. Why do this? Because filling your content with SEO keywords is writing for the computer to recognise your work but it won’t necessarily be enjoyable for readers. At the end of the day your content should be aimed at consumers. Content that readers enjoy breeds trust in your expertise and ability to inform or entertain them. This is what brings them back for more.
The exciting thing about content marketing is it’s accessible to every business and affordable for most. If you’re going to take the plunge into creating content make sure it’s enjoyable for readers and marketable for your brand.
*Julia Hammond is an Australian lifestyle blogger working in content marketing for MyDeal.com.au, the one stop shop for all your favourite brands at the best prices. With over a hundred articles to her name, she understands the power of the right word at the right moment and that bringing value to readers is the most important thing.