As technology has changed the way consumers socialize, shop and interact, companies are finding that the marketing playbook has a few new and unfamiliar pages. When the marketplace changes, it only serves to reason that companies must begin to adjust the way they communicate marketing messages.
Today’s consumers have instant access to compare prices, research product reviews and, with the press of a button, can easily “skip” advertising messages. No longer can companies merely flood the market with their brand messages through traditional channels and see results. Even digital channels are now crowded with blinking banners and sidebar buttons all screaming for attention.
One marketing trend being integrated into the overall strategy is content marketing. In simple terms, content marketing is the focus on creating valuable and relevant content that speaks
to a clearly defined audience. It is putting aside the “salesy” messages in favor of resources and
information that educate the consumer. It is connecting rather than pitching. Engaging rather than selling.
In fact, this trend for using content marketing is on the rise. According to a recent study by
Boston-based software company Curata of more than 600 marketing organizations, 76% of those surveyed are planning to increase their investment in content marketing in the coming year.
WHAT DOES A CONTENT MARKETING STRATEGY LOOK LIKE?
Finding the right way to connect and engage with your target audience will depend on the type of business, resources available and determining the way in which your audience will be most receptive to receiving your messages.
Here are eight ways to start a content marketing strategy:
BLOGS – A great option for providing written resources, video feeds and images.
PUBLISHING – Whether it be cookbooks, magazines or a buyer’s guide, publishing can establish your credibility as an expert while keeping your name in front of an audience in an entertaining and engaging way.
VIDEO – With the rise of YouTube, the power of a good video is undeniable. You could provide step-by-step how-to videos or create a commercial that has viral potential.
WEBSITE – Today’s websites are responsive and can be designed with content marketing in mind. Add features to engage your audience as well as integrate other elements of your overall strategy such as a blog or videos.
NEWSLETTERS – Whether you provide in print or by email, a newsletter can be a great way to keep brand awareness with your customers. Provide relevant and meaningful content to increase its value.
BLOGGER REVIEWS – Connect with bloggers who have an existing audience that includes your target audience. Offer them free products in exchange for reviews and exposure to their followers.
SOCIAL MEDIA – Even with limited character space, you can still establish yourself as an authority in the Twitterverse and beyond. Don’t just blast your specials, but take the opportunity to really connect with your fans and followers.
INFOGRAPHICS – Clever graphics that tell a story or provide information have great viral potential. Provide information in this easy-to-absorb format and increase your exposure through shareable content.
Your content marketing strategy is only limited by your imagination. Ask yourself what your customers really want or need to know and then create the resource to provide that information in an entertaining way.
In simple terms, content marketing is the focus on creating valuable and relevant content that speaks to a clearly defined audience.
*Published in the Spring/Summer 2015 issue of Tools for Success Magazine.
Author: Bethany Meadows is the owner of Vertical Solutions Media Inc, a full service marketing agencies that specializes in helping small businesses build strong brands and increase revenues.