by Grant Lingel
The world is more connected today than ever before. Ideas cross the globe in the blink of an eye, simply by touching a button. Small businesses and entrepreneurs can reach an audience that at once seemed unimaginable.
Content marketing has become the “it” strategy for getting the word out, but by no means is content marketing a new idea. At the end of the 19th century, John Deere launched The Furrow. His customer magazine is still around to this day. This was the first real case of native advertising, an important piece of the content marketing puzzle.
Brands and businesses have been telling stories for hundreds of years. The difference now is that there are so many ways to spread the word.
The most thorough definition comes from the Content Marketing Institute: “Content marketing is the marketing and business process for creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience—with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”
Content marketing is a megaphone that has a remarkable reach. When pointed in the right direction, it can get news out to the masses about products and services at incomprehensible speeds. Great marketers are able to get complete strangers working for them. These strangers can then send the ideas to the world, sharing them along all their networks. So how are these savvy marketers able to do this? How do they join forces with complete strangers to sell products and ideas?
The idea is simple, but the execution is where things get complicated.
Build the right team
Content marketing is no easy task. Understanding your audience and figuring out the right way to reach them can be a daunting experience. That is why delegating each responsibility to the right person can go a long way.
The right content marketing team is a lot more than just a brilliant marketer. There needs to be an excellent copywriter, videographer, promoter and social media expert. To truly maximize the efforts of each campaign, the right people must be in place.
Combining experience and creativity makes a content marketing campaign much more likely to succeed.
Make it cool and interesting
Most people have no patience waiting for the three seconds to pass so they can click the “skip this ad” button on YouTube. If we are so quick to disregard those ads, why are we so quick to share other “advertised” content? Because it's crafted in a cool way.
It brings intriguing, relevant information to the customer hidden as entertainment or educational material. No one likes to see ads floating around the margins of their favorite blog. But when there is an interesting post within that blog that indirectly promotes a product or idea, we eat it up. Even better, we share as if we were part of the company producing said content.
The idea is to not be obvious; blog posts created for content marketing strategies have no blatant references to the company producing it. Most of the time, there is no mention of the company at all within the text. Usually, there will be a tiny mention in the author byline and that is all. Doing this over and over across many sites will likely turn that author into a thought leader. Since the author is a content manager or content marketer for a certain company, that company will also become a thought leader, thus, growing their audience indirectly.
Attract new users with landing pages
You will benefit greatly down the road by setting up a striking landing page where people enter their name and email and receive exclusive content in return. This will help you grow your database and number of leads, while also gaining loyal followers.
Make those who sign up feel like they are getting the most exclusive experience as possible. Letting them know that the e-book, discounts, contests and more are only available to those who sign up, your clients will feel as if they are a part of something special. This is a key factor in boosting customer retention. Sure, it is great to get the e-book out there and that should be one of the focuses, but the end goal is customer retention and that can only happen when customers are happy.
A landing page is designed to receive campaign traffic and lives separately from the website. This allows landing pages to focus on single topics, which then makes reporting and testing easier.
Educate your audience
Producing well-researched, informative guides and e-books is the one of the best ways to attract a new audience. Giving these away to people who visit your site is a multi-faceted way to grow your viewership and stockpile user emails. Offer these guides for free, asking only for people’s names and emails in return. Sure it will take a long time to produce and you won’t get any cash return with the distribution, but becoming a thought leader in your area has a much higher value and return than charging a few bucks for the download. Free goes a long way.
Involve your customers
Customer lifetime value (CLV) will skyrocket if they feel a strong connection with a business.
A report by Econsultancy revealed that a remarkable 94 percent of businesses believe that personalizing the customer’s experience is “critical to current and future success” of the business.
Customers don’t want to simply be considered part of company’s profit margin; they want a real relationship. When companies involve their customers, either by actively seeking their feedback or rewarding them for partaking in marketing campaigns, they feel more connected.
If customers get more out of the experience than simply purchasing a product or service, they will be way more likely to help spread the word. This makes the content marketing campaign stronger and more effective than ever.
Personalize the experience by interacting with customers. Be quick and positive in response to all correspondence; send them birthday cards, special deals, referral programs and more. These simple, low-cost strategies are crucial when it comes to enhancing CLV and getting customers feeling as if they are part of the team. When they feel this way, they will work with you to get the word out about your business.
Content marketing knows no bounds
Sure, some strategies might not work as well as others, but the learning experience drives the campaign in the right direction. This is why having the right content marketing team with plenty of experience is so important for any company, regardless of size or budget.
When it comes to content marketing, try and try again. Learn from ideas that didn’t go as planned and move forward by tweaking and experimenting. The right team will continuously brainstorm, building on both successful and failed strategies.
The beauty of content marketing is that there is no limit to what can be accomplished.
Born and raised in Rochester, New York, Grant now lives in Brazil where he owns a hostel and works as the Content Manager of Bunny Inc., creators of VoiceBunnyand ArticleBunny. Before Brazil, he was working in the travel industry as a freelance writer, consultant, and promoter for over a decade and has visited dozens of countries across five continents on assignment.