3 Lessons You Learned In School About Content Marketing And You Forgot About
Content is among the most important aspects of online marketing. You probably know by now that it’s essential for you to continually post engaging and relevant content on your online sites so as to attract a steady stream of site visitors and establish a loyal customer base. It is not really possible to learn everything you need to learn about content marketing from a single article, but the goal of this article is to provide you with the basics such that you can successfully start an effective content marketing campaign.
Lesson 1: Ask Questions
In grade school, you were taught to start an essay by answering the questions who, what, when, where, why, and how. The same principle holds true when you’re preparing content for online publication. First, you have to identify who your target audience is, as this will give you an idea on what the best approach is going to be. You then have to determine what message you want to deliver to your target audience. This may be determined by the expressed and implied needs of your audience or a known need in your niche or industry. What’s important is for your message to directly address a need in order for it to be deemed relevant.
You’ll also have to ask yourself why it’s important to deliver this particular message at this time. What do you hope to achieve by delivering such message? What’s the goal of this particular content? Having a clear goal and knowing exactly where you’re headed with your content allows you to easily determine the best strategies to use for getting there. Finally, you should ask yourself how you can best deliver your intended message. Which online platforms are you going to use and in what form will the message be delivered (text, images, video, etc.)?
Lesson 2: Research Properly
When you do your research for content marketing, remember that you should be researching not only the topic your content will be centered on, but also your target audience and your network of influence. In researching your target audience, you’ll have to visit forums, social networking sites, and Q&A sites they’re likely to frequent. This will give you a general idea as to what they’re interested in and what they most care about. Based on this general knowledge, you could draw up some ideas for the topics you’ll cover in your content.
Once you’ve drawn up a list of possible topics, you could narrow them down by checking how often a certain keyword is used in online searches. Google’s Keyword Planner can help you out with this. You could also check popular sites like Facebook and Twitter to see what your target audience usually talks about. This can sometime be more effective than using a keyword tool. Additionally, you could follow topics on sites like Quora and Yahoo! Answers to see which questions get the most attention. This has the double advantage of telling you which topics your target audience find most interesting and providing you with initial data for your topic research.
To ensure the success of your content marketing campaign, you need to reach out not only to industry influencers, but online influencers in general. Build a network with these influencers by tweeting and retweeting prominent industry personalities, posting relevant comments in popular blogs and building a relationship with the bloggers, and getting in touch with influencers on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+. To build your network successfully, make sure you offer an opportunity for the influencers and try to meet up with them in real world events whenever possible. Once you’ve built a good network, you can ask for advice about a particular content you’re about to post or campaign you plan to launch.
Lesson 3: Raise your hand and answer
Naturally, the content you post should answer the question or need it is meant to address. This can be done in the form lists, guides, case studies, white papers and even stories. The primary appeal of a list is the ease with which a reader can skim through it. People generally feel a certain kind of satisfaction when they’re ticking items off of a list. Bear in mind that a successful list is one that covers the topic comprehensively, cites sources to establish facts, is entertaining and logically organized, has a brief introduction and conclusion, and stands out from other lists concerning the same topic.
Where guides are concerned, the biggest attraction is the fact that readers can actually put them into action. This type of content is therefore deemed extremely relevant and useful because it can have a direct impact on your target audience’s life. This is the type of content that can successfully get more traffic to your company website, since people will likely tell other about your wonderful guides and repeatedly visit your site for more of the same. Remember that a good guide directly addresses the reader and walks him through every step in the process.
For its part, a story can be very appealing because it depicts situations the general public can relate to. People are naturally drawn to stories, which gives them the ability to impart lessons in a manner other content formats can’t. If you want your story to be effective, make sure it features a person in a specific place struggling to solve a problem, failing a few times, but persevering until he or she finally succeeds. Of course, it may take some time and a little experimentation for you to determine whether your message is best delivered as a list, guide, story, or a combination of all three. Don’t rush.
Whatever form you may choose for your content, it may be a good idea to add visuals to it. Statistics show that people remember things a lot better when pictures are associated with the message being delivered. This is perhaps the reason why memes, videos, and infographics have become very popular in recent years. Of course, you have to make sure your visuals support the message in your content and provide a clear contrast between traditional solutions and what you have to offer.
The next time you create content as part of your online marketing campaign, be sure to keep the above tips in mind and you should be well on your way to more productive interactions with your target market. As long as it’s done right, content marketing could be the easiest way to set your brand apart.