Content is an important part of any digital marketing plan. In fact, both SEM (search engine marketing) and SMM (social media marketing) rely heavily on creating valuable content on a consistent basis. Creating that content is time-consuming and requires skills in both writing and creation of content that’s engaging, entertaining, and/ or informative. Building content strategies to optimize performance increase profits and offer opportunities to capitalize on relationships with your market.
On your website, you need a blog or other vehicle for creating content. For instance, King Arthur Flour Company whizzed past its competition by effectively using a blog to share recipes and other content related to baking.
A business uses content in many different ways and on many different platforms. The key is creating content that resonates with your target audience and fits the platform you’re using. A blog, for instance, requires long-form content it the business wants to rank well in search engine results (SERPs). On Instagram, the key is short bits of text and striking images. On LinkedIn, you want to highlight your expertise because that’s a business platform and users are more serious when they logon. On Pinterest, you want images grouped into boards sharing specific characteristics. You get the idea.
Wherever you post content, you want to engage customers and prospective customers. You do that with content fitting your target market and using a voice that sounds like you’re one of them. If your target is young folks, then TicTok videos showing your target audience living exciting lives. If your audience is older, then maybe Facebook (which has a growing number of users over 45) fits the bill.
Your specific product (or service) market also impacts the types of content you create—or at least the types of content that convert best. No one wants to see a post from an oncologist (cancer doctor) that’s all light and airy. By the same token, if you market educational services, no one wants to read posts that read like a middle-aged banker.
Whatever your target audience, bear in mind that content marketing is a long-term strategy. You won’t get anywhere with a few, isolated posts. You need a systematic marketing strategy that drives consumers from awareness to conversion to loyalty. Here are some tips to help you as you build a strategy that fits your organization, its audience, and your goals.
Photo by Will Francis on Unsplash
We’re human beings and we act on emotion, especially for certain types of products in a certain situation, despite what economists believe about people making logical decisions. Good content encourages site visitors to feel something, something hopeful, something uplifting, something fun. There are a few simple ways to do this with the content you create.
One of the strongest emotional drivers of purchase is the fear of missing out. Content that suggests quantities or opportunities for purchase is limited work well. A good campaign built on the fear of missing out involves a countdown clock to motivate immediate purchase. After all, sometimes people want to purchase your product, they just procrastinate until they forget about their desire or some new, shiny object takes over their imagination. So, suggest that they need to buy now, or they’ll miss out.
Fear, all by itself is a strong motivator in marketing and advertising. Think about it—doctors motivate you to eat kale or get invasive tests for fear of dying. Of course, you don’t have to get that extreme in generating fear. Just the fear of looking stupid or different motivates many consumers to purchase products they believe eliminate this risk.
Fear of missing out and the suggestion of limited availability works well for online advertising, landing pages, marketing emails, and other content like lead magnet funnels.
For example, if you’ve created a piece of content you plan to charge for, like a webinar or an eBook, you can create a sense of urgency by offering it for free to the first 50 people who offer an email address. This can increase the assumed value of the content that you’re offering and gives you new leads and interested customers for your mailing list.
In the blog content that you create, create a sense of urgency, even there is no real urgency. You can do this with headings, like “Stop making these 5 social media marketing mistakes now,” or “The 10 tricks that can turn leads into customers, today.”
Another tool in your emotional toolbox is affiliation. Maybe affiliation relates to fear since it’s based on a fear that you won’t fit in or that people won’t like you.
Use peer pressure by showing people who use your products and services. After all, that’s the basis of most traditional advertising and is especially effective when the person modeled is a celebrity popular with your target audience.
People everywhere are socially conscious but online that self-consciousness gets magnified. Showing others enjoying your brand acts as a tacit endorsement of the products, making others feel as though they’re left out if they don’t own ABC brand.
Lots of other emotions elicit buyer behavior. Surprise, excitement, anticipation, and happiness are among those available. Experiment and monitor performance to optimize your outcomes.
‘Write for your reader’ is advice often repeated because it’s true. For your content to work, it must meet the needs, concerns, and issues of your audience.
Segment your audience into naturally occurring groups then speak to each group on their own terms, using the voice best suited for that audience. A tougher challenge is reaching each group to the exclusion of other group members. Email marketing is a great tool for matching messaging to a specific audience. On a website, you might use elements of the product to segment based on who is likely interested in certain products. For instance, people reading about baby formula likely have a baby at home or have a close friend or relative with a baby. Thus, your voice to that audience might use elements that are nurturing while people interested in international travel likely respond to a voice that’s more cosmopolitan.
Also, cover your bases by offering content for people with varying experience levels. For example, make one in every four blog posts offer information for the more advanced, skilled part of your audience. Make the rest of your content less specialized, so people don’t feel they can’t understand your advice.
As mentioned earlier, content strategy isn’t a one-shot deal. Your content should drive prospects down the funnel from awareness to interest to decide to purchase and ultimately create life-long customers.
And, as consumers reach a different stage in the conversion process, different content strategies makes sense. At the awareness stage, for instance, content strategies focus on sharing information about the product, while at the purchase stage, content strategies focus on facilitating purchase such as offering financing options or nearby retailers offering your product.