In an increasingly noisy world, with attention spans dwindling before our eyes faster than the size of modern-day chocolate bars, should your business focus on content marketing or would you be better spending your time and effort on paid ads, SEO and, frankly, anything but content marketing? In this article, I’ll put the case for a big fat ‘YES’.
As you’ll see in this article, today’s audiences are savvy creatures, increasingly powerful because of the choice to move in any direction at any time. With or without you, but hopefully with. The amount of research a person conducts using their own initiative and thought processes means we can’t control the journey they take. We can, however, be around when they need something and shepherd them along the way to reaching the only conclusion we wish them to have: to do business with us.
Some of the key benefits of content marketing today are:
According to the Content Marketing Institute, 81% of people they surveyed agreed that they generally do research before bringing in a vendor to discuss a project. That’s a lot of people looking for answers to some kind of question where you have the potential of being the answer.
These days, people will look in different places to answer their question. For years we’ve focused on search engines as the default. Increasingly, we’re seeing audiences use social media like Instagram or TikTok and places like YouTube or Pinterest to conduct their first search. These platforms will also make suggestions of content or even just show you content that the technology believes matches your interest, effectively bypassing a search and suggesting based on behaviour.
This means the crucial first step with content marketing is identifying your target audience.
If the technology is trying to provide you with the best answer to your question, or display something it thinks you need to see, understanding what they might want becomes a helpful initial exercise. Relevancy of your content to your audience is the best way to get your business seen by your target market. Indeed, although we don’t know exactly how these algorithms work, the relevancy of the post to the user is always mentioned.
So, how do you become relevant? If you haven’t done any persona/avatar work, now is the time to start. And, if you have, give it a refresh because these last few years have been quite something and the way ‘Carla’ your ideal customer behaves, since she hunkered down in Covid, may be different now she’s a complete introvert.
Here are some points to consider about your audience when you’re looking to create content for them:
If you’re not sure how to answer any of these questions (totally reasonable if you’re new to the market), then get researching. There’s nothing like asking the actual people you are looking to serve.
We’d all like the resources of the ONS or YouGov, but most businesses don’t have that kind of budget. Want to get some fast answers? Try:
What do you do with this information? It’s time for strategy and planning. While social media lends itself to reasonable fast-paced posting of information, even here it’s worth putting the time into matching content to your marketing and overall business objectives. It needs to serve a purpose otherwise it will be consumed in the noise alongside everything else.
Caption: Your content when it lacks a purpose.
Consider your business goals and what you’re trying to achieve. Establish which resources you have to implement the strategy (this article will help you with this) [link] and plan accordingly.
In my experience of content marketing in 2023, fewer higher quality pieces of content are far superior to lots of poorly created ‘stuff’. Most of us are not Lad Bible or the BBC with huge resources. Take the time to create something special.
Plan pieces for each part of your customer’s journey as you know it. Determine the best marketing channels and what you need to create for each. A good method is using a grid to match topics with content types, having multiple touch points that support the same messaging.
Here’s an example:
|Awareness||Meet the team||Answer a FAQ||Who we are|
|Comparison||Carousel post comparing products/services||Top 10 products/services relating to your business||Video demonstration|
|Customer Experience||Short video showing process||Step by step guide on how to use product/service when received||Explainer of what happens next|
If you’re struggling at this point, this is where we could help support you in the process of crafting a strategy that takes into consideration your skill set and resources. Generally speaking, you are the best people to talk about your business. If you identify gaps then, well, we can help with that too – all this is about creating specific content that is a close match to your audience.
Some people say ‘build it and they will come’. They might. If you’ve written the blog a certain way, if you’ve crafted a great YouTube description, if you’ve filmed a terrific TikTok they might.
Mostly they won’t. Nobody seems to say this. Without promoting the content you’ve made, only a tiny fraction of your target audience will see it.
There are many ways you can promote what you’ve created:
Similarly, be prepared to talk about it multiple times. Ideally, you’ll have many different pieces of content that you can talk about so there’s a variety of information out there. Remember, you don’t know where each potential customer is at. Algorithms try and deliver the right information to the right person at the right time. They can’t push content that doesn’t exist – talk about things more than once.
Whether you are creating Reels, writing an article or creating a podcast, the platforms on which you publish will give you some metrics to help you understand how your content performed. Things like:
There are many more statistics that you will be able to review. It’s easy to see them as a mindboggling array of numbers on a page. Again, go back to your objectives and decide which are the most important to you. Ultimately, reviewing performance is about telling yourself a story about what happened so you can make a decision on what to do next.
It’s time to get started. I hope this piece of content marketing has itself been of value to you as the reader. So, here’s the call to action (another important thing to include):
If you’d like to learn more about content marketing today and where it’s going in the future, or if you need some specific help with strategy or production, we’d love to help. Drop us a line, send us a DM – heck, record us a video.