Stop Shooting in the Dark with your Content Marketing

Have you ever tried to hit a target blindfolded? Now unless you are a trained marksman or “Hundred Eyes” (Marco Polo on Netflix), I am pretty sure that shooting with your eyes closed will result in a failed attempt.

The same can be said for content marketing. If you want to hit the bulls eye, there are a few key things that you need to do to get it right.

Now all marketers are familiar with the phrase “Content is King” and let me explain why this still rings true today.

We are being bombarded every day with companies competing for our attention, trying to get us to notice them, to hear what products and services they have to offer, in the hope that we will recognise their brand, make a purchase or become loyal to their product or service.

With everyone fighting for your attention it can be very difficult for companies and marketers to break through the noise, the hype and the distractions. And the only way in which you can do this is to create valuable, relevant content that is of interest to your readers.

And how do you create relevant and interesting content that your clients or customers will not only like but share with their friends and colleagues?

Well, I have a few tips to give you to set you on the right track to assist you in developing content that is not only relevant to your target audience but will resonate with them and avoid ending up in the junk folder!

Firstly, let me explain what exactly content is and why is it so important.

“Content marketing is a strategic marketing technique of creating and sharing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience”

Content marketing is critical to online survival and enables you to improve search engine rankings, drive traffic to your website as well as help nurture leads into sales. Ultimately you need content if you to get clients knocking at your door, keep your website alive, become more visible online and increase your sales.

So here is my quick guide to getting started with the right content that will attract the right audience and produce the right results.

Who are you trying to talk to?

Before you write a single word of content, you need to define who your target audience is and whether you have more than one target audience? Customer profiling is becoming a critical tool in a marketers tool belt that, when done correctly, can enable marketers to clearly define their target audience and tailor their marketing messages to each customer segment.

    • Who are your ideal customers/prospects?
    • What do they care about, what excites them?
    • What kind of lifestyle do they have?
    • What is their job role?
    • Where can you reach them? Search engines, You Tube social media or blogs?

What is their biggest problem or issue?

To communicate with your target audience, you need to first understand what it is they need answers to. What is worrying them, keeping them up at night, making their jobs more difficult or stressful? What you are trying to articulate is what drives people to look for products and services that you offer. This is the starting point for every content marketing effort you undertake.

    • What are their biggest concerns, needs, challenges and interests?
    • What type of content do they prefer?
    • What are they searching for?

Talking about Me, Me, Me

Now that you have defined what information your audience are seeking, you can put the wheels in motion to create content that relates to them. But before you start putting pen to paper you need to first restrain yourself from talking about your company, your products and your services. Essentially, instead of giving the sales pitch about your products or services, focus on your readers and the entire audience. It just makes sense, right? Think about it. Who likes listening to someone talk about themselves all the time, telling you about how great they are? So, don’t believe that your target audience would be any different. They’re not. The more your content focuses on them rather than the company, the more relevance and appealing it will be.

This can be a hard habit to break, but once you start developing content with your readers in mind, then talking about your company will become less important.

Companies that forget to focus on the reader will be struggle to resonate with their target audience and waste precious time and energy creating content that is of little interest to their readers.

How do I Interest my readers?

One of the best ways to create content that readers will not only love, but will pass on and share with others, is when you answer their questions, solve their problems, provide solutions or offer them information they didn’t already know.

Inform or educate your readers and provide them with valuable resources that they can use to their advantage and help them to overcome their challenges or solve their problems. Make it worth their while reading it.

If you achieve this you will have readers that will seek out content that you provide.

What content format should I choose?

Content can come in many formats and you need to decide on what format is best suited to your target audience or what you are trying to communicate to them. Is a webinar more appropriate to explain a product or demonstrate a service solution? Are they more interested in videos than white papers? Do they read journals or blogs? Is your message easier to communicate visually using images or informative graphics?

All of this should be taken into consideration when deciding on what format your content should take. It is also true that if you have content in one format such as a blog, and it is popular with your audience, then you can also convert that content into another format, such as a video that will enable to you expand or communicate your message in a different way.

Consistency is key

Once you get started don’t stop! Regular content is required to really reap the benefits. We all know that a once off diet to lose those extra pounds, isn’t going to maintain weight loss over a long period of time. The same principle goes for content. Regular, steady and consistent content is what will make the difference. It isn’t a once off fix.

This can be quite daunting for many people, to have to maintain the output of regular content, but if you forward plan and set out a content calendar you will find that it is relatively easy to maintain.

Decide on how regular you can produce new content (weekly, monthly), or if you have a team that can get involved or avail of outsource resources to help. Schedule topics that you have researched and will answer problems or educate your target audience.

When creating your content calendar, it works best to schedule topics 2 to 3 months in advance, giving you and your team plenty of time to plan, prepare and prevent you from running out of steam!

Don’t forget to measure!

It is one thing to get your content right once but another thing to ensure you are consistently creating content that works. And how will you know if content is working? You measure it. If you are not evaluating how your content is doing then you will have no way of knowing what content is working and what is not. Measurement can be simple or as complicated as you need it to be, but what you want to avoid is measuring just for the sake of it.

But as we are just getting started here, my advice is to start with the easy first and look at metrics that support your content goals and provide you the necessary information to support your subsequent actions.

For example, if your goal is to drive traffic to your website through content marketing, then you will need to track where traffic is coming from (blogs, slide share, videos), what topics brought them to the site and did they engage with the content (like, share, comment).

When you start to measure content marketing you need to take a variety of metrics into account because focusing on one metric, such as social media likes, isn’t giving you the full picture. Use Google Analytics and other online tools to identify metrics that successfully track, analyse and report on performance. Once you measure goals and key performance indicators over time you will be able to determine if your content is resonating with your target audience and if not then you will be able to learn and adjust your content strategy going forward.

 

So, next time you are penning a blog or an email, think about exactly who you are targeting, know what they are looking for and solve their problems or answer their questions. Then track, measure and report on how your content is doing. Otherwise you may as well be shooting in the dark.

For more information on IMS Marketing services, contact us on 091 739 450

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