It’s becoming more apparent by the day, that traditional marketing methods to generate a sale are losing its effectiveness by the power of content marketing. It’s not a new concept, it’s actually been around for centuries, previously in the form of customer magazines. When the internet was publicly introduced in the ’90s, brands had very limited cards to deal with; static images and minimal information which offered no interaction with the consumer. Although it seemed far-fetched to consider that content marketing would be a preferred choice of communication for enterprises, Bill Gates’ 1996 paper ‘Content is King’ predicted the inevitable success of the internet and how content would be a prevalent successor, in business-to-consumer interaction that we see today. In our latest series of blogs, we provide top tips to ensure your content strategy is innovative, on-trend, and ahead of your competitors.
The Importance of Content Marketing
Content marketing as defined by CMI (Content Marketing Institute), is ‘a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience, and ultimately to drive profitable action’. It is a commonly used form of digital marketing which intends to be informative, engaging, and transformational.
Great content should be answering a customer’s problem without having to pay for a product or service. The intangible result? Value. This firm-generated value for a customer can create a psychological effect on customer behaviour, which is perpetuated by having a viable content strategy. If your brand can successfully generate customer engagement, whether that may be your latest Facebook post, #MondayMotivation tweet, or call to actions on your website, there is a possible scope to convert that engagement to a sale in the long-term.
Creating and developing a relationship with your customers is a key component of a long-term content strategy. It comes as no surprise that content marketing is widely used as a strategic method, with ‘97% of marketers using prescriptive content, or content that outlines a formula for success’, according to software firm Curata.
Noise’s Top Tips
To successfully execute content marketing within your organisation, you must plan a content strategy. Within your content plan, put together an SEO strategy, social media marketing strategy, and a communication strategy. The key? Perseverance. Content marketing isn’t an overnight job, it takes months to see real results. That being said, if you follow these three elements, it can elevate your chances of gaining traffic and organic visibility, on Google and your social media pages.
1) Hone your tone & voice
Perfecting your brand’s tone & voice is essential to any copywriting role, which is a fundamental aspect of putting together a content plan. For copywriters, it’s crucial to understand the difference between tone & voice. It varies from each platform, so brands need to be fully aware of how to represent themselves; i.e. professional tone on Facebook whilst having a conversational tone on Twitter.
The tone is the character of the brand; the primary driver of marketing communications. Depending on the situation, the tone will need to change, especially in the external environment. Circumstances can cause brands to adapt a tone to maintain relationships with customers if something goes wrong. Take a look at Greggs’ Twitter page for example, where the release of the vegan sausage roll caused praise & outrage from consumers across the UK. They executed their responses with wit; a hit with their younger demographic. There is a time and place for risky responses though, using the wrong tone has the potential to damage your brand.
Tone guidelines are hard to define holistically because context entirely drives it. Some examples of using your brand’s tone could be:
- First-time sales pitch: Upbeat positivity
- New customer onboarding: Cheerful encouragement
- Emergency response: Brief, precise, careful
Voice is the all-encompassing influence on how your brand reacts and presents itself to the rest of the world. Just like climate is to weather, if you understand the local tone of a company, then you will most likely know the overall voice and the influence it has across platforms.
Well-marketed companies demonstrate a transparent voice, giving a clear picture of how they create and retain relationships with their customers or clients. A bad voice leads to a more sporadic tone, which can sometimes raise a red flag for consumers, suggesting inconsistencies in your content marketing. It’s important to align your voice with what your company does. For example:
- A family-owned restaurant: humble and generous
- A security company: tough and battle-tested
- A bookstore: calm and reserved
- A sportswear company: excited and ready
2) Create sustainable website content
To leverage your content strategy, produce different types of content for your website. Here are some examples of website content that you could create for your company:
- Digital newsletters
The rationale is to provide information that your customers will perceive as catch-free content, to build strong relationships to ensure that your brand has loyalty, credibility, and authority. A good way to start with website content is to create informative blog posts, which answers a searcher’s problem without the sales-heavy advertising. Getting to the top of the Google search is the end result of a blog post. Organic visibility will increase your chances of driving more traffic to your site. This requires SEO to get there. You don’t need to be an SEO expert to increase organic visibility and drive traffic to your site. However, a basic understanding of SEO is very important.
If you persevere with an SEO strategy, expect to see results within three months. Within your blog content, implement internal and external links to increase your authority for Google’s web crawlers. Also, adding internal links could potentially drive a landing visitor to another one of your blogs or services. Do keyword research; to find out what keywords are popular amongst searchers, measured by search volume. Be careful though, keywords with heavy search volumes and high SEO difficulties will make your efforts an unlikely success. Too many keywords in a blog can also lower your search ranking. Don’t forcibly ruin your tone & voice for the sake of keyword placement, because it can damage the credibility of the work.
3) Social media content which varies per channel
Creating a social media marketing strategy is the be-all and end-all to a great content strategy. With over 2.23 billion monthly active users on Facebook, over 1 billion active users on Instagram and 562 million members on LinkedIn, there are endless opportunities to generate leads on social media. However, the way you approach these platforms differ, due to the nature of the channel. For example, the age group of most Instagram users worldwide are 18-24-year-olds, followed by 25-34-year-olds. Therefore, content that displays your brand persona, should reflect how your brand targets this demographic, with images that complement it. Also, include the use of hashtags to generate more visibility for your account.
According to LinkedIn, their channel is the most effective social media platform for delivering content and securing audience engagement. It’s important to note that LinkedIn’s audience is a different dynamic to Instagram, typically older, more formal, and focus on informative video content. To get the right content to target the right people on LinkedIn, use professional videos, sophisticated tone, and a formal persona.
To have an effective presence on Twitter, use video content more than images. This is because tweets with videos get over six times as many retweets as tweets with photos. Additionally, use a conversational tone with your content, to spark conversation with your followers – at the end of the day, Twitter is 24/7 global conversation. Content that involves polls, open-end questions, or posts that could spark a debate with your followers, will improve your impressions and engagement.
Having a clear content strategy each quarter will accelerate your company’s marketing objectives in 2019. Content marketing is more important than ever, with the biggest corporations implementing this method to get results; and it works. Traditional marketing is fading away, a new marketing landscape is forming within digital marketing. If you can nail your SEO strategy, with a clear communication plan on your website and social media, you will obtain traffic and generate leads for your business. Although it may be a slow-burner at first, including hard work, you will feel the benefits in the long-term.