Content marketing may be a young field but it has evolved quickly over the past few years and will continue to do so well into the future. Staying on top of changes in audience expectations, consumer demand, Google’s own standards, and content preferences is essential to improving your content marketing strategies. This may sound like a lot but it is actually simpler than it appears. All you really need is a bit of focus, some awareness of your audience, the help of a content marketing agency and—of course—good content.
Keep Customer Value in Focus
When determining your content, always keep in mind what will be of most interest to your prospective customers. You may want to talk about your latest product reviews, for instance, but customers are becoming increasingly sceptical and suspicious of reviews, testimonials, and news reports they read online.
Instead, put yourself in your customers’ shoes and think about the questions they themselves ask. Not all of these questions can be immediately used to promote your business, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore them. Present a series of clear, understandable answers through your content and, as people make use of your knowledge base, they will end up coming to you when they want to buy your product or make use of your services.
Be In the Moment
Most content can be crafted weeks or months in advance. However, you should always keep an eye on what’s happening in the news and think of ways to develop content based around current events. This could be something as simple as sending out a tweet or Facebook post supporting a team at the Super Bowl, or it can be as detailed as an article explaining new government legislation in plain language. The world is constantly changing and can offer a bounty of ideas if you’re observant enough.
You may have noticed that large companies like Starbucks have begun developing partnerships around global issues or charitable causes. Having this sort of purpose-driven approach helps sell a more global image of your brand and creates public awareness and conversations about your business without directly trying to sell anything. It helps get people excited and chatting about you brand longer than any one piece of viral content is likely to do.
It’s easy to think that this sort of content marketing approach is impractical for a small business or startup, but it can be done if you set your goals on a more local level. You may not be big enough to form a good partnership with, say, Doctors Without Borders, but you could easily build a relationship with a local community clinic. Neighbourhood groups, charities, and advocacy organizations strive to do good each day. By aligning your purpose with one of them, you can create a broader narrative and success for your brand.
Engage and Return
When someone leaves a comment for or asks a question of your business on social media, they are giving you something incredibly valuable: their attention. This is more important than any number of retweets or likes and is something you should be prepared to respond to. Engage your commentators and return the attention they have offered. This shows that you are listening and caring about the people who help support and grow your business.
Alongside individual responses, you can also consider more group-oriented engagements. Short videos or messages wishing people a happy holiday can produce surprising results. If you can, try to mix in humour as well. Worldwide, “made me laugh” tends to be one of the top motivators for people sharing content with their friends.
In terms of content marketing, a scenario is basically a series of progressive, linked content pieces that combine to form a narrative. An extreme instance of this would be the Lego movies and videos or the Marvel cinematic universe—pieces of linked content that draw audiences from one item to the next. A scenario does not need to be anywhere near this extensive to succeed, however. To use the upcoming Christmas holiday as an example, a grocery store or food supplier could create a series of content pieces that describes the origins of various holiday dishes. Each piece can stand on its own but also forms part of a larger scenario that helps capture and interest audiences.
Create For Multiple Screens
It simply can’t be stated enough that today’s audience browses the internet from a mobile device more than a desktop or laptop screen. Tablets and smartphones all have their own layout needs and user accessibility requirements that can’t be ignored. You need to have a layout and design that can either function on different screen types and sizes or one that can adjust itself to match the viewer. “One size fits all” simply does not exist anymore with today’s proliferation of digital devices.
One of the great things about social media is that it has allowed companies to be more casual with their audiences and interact with them like people instead of brands. Let some personality infuse your social media content to give people the sense that there is a real individual on the other end rather than a marketing sound bite. Although it’s fine if you want to get an outside content marketer to help, try and let employees and management have more engagement with customers online. This helps create a feeling of community, culture, and personal connection.
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Numero Uno Web Solutions is a provider of search engine optimization (SEO), mobile optimization solutions and content marketing in Toronto for startups and small companies from all industries and fields. We stay on the pulse of industry changes and adapt our practices to produce quality SEO and mobile optimization plans to fuel the growth of businesses across communities. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 905-856-2012 to learn more about marketing techniques and how we can help improve your search profile across all platforms.