Smart companies do content marketing.
It’s because it works.
But here’s the problem:
70% of marketers lack a consistent or integrated content strategy according to a study by Altimeter.
Even though content marketing works, lots of companies are struggling to do it right.
This article isn’t about developing a content strategy.
I’m not a fan of the phrase “content strategy.”
Either you have a content strategy or not, the most important thing is that your content marketing effort is bearing fruits.
Fruits like, your content is generating brand advocates and customers.
It’s making people love your brand.
To me, those are what matters.
So how do you run content marketing that makes people fall in love with your brand?
This article answers that question.
There are some things you should and shouldn’t do.
Don’t Force The Sale
According to Outbrain, 70% of content marketing are too salesy.
I can’t recall how many times I’ve stumbled upon contents that look much like sales letters. That’s not how content marketing works.
Content marketing puts forth offers that meet the buyers’ needs at the right place and time.
It’s one of the most effective ways to communicate with potential customers.
A sales page is often made to manipulate the prospect to buy. That’s what it’s meant to do anyway – to sell.
A sales page is made to create an immediate artificial need.
What content marketing does is it presents solutions when and where people really need it. The need is a natural one.
When I say that you should never force the sale through content marketing, I don’t mean that you shouldn’t talk about your product and what it does – that’s not what I mean at all.
Instead of trying to sell through your contents, you should create opportunities within your contents that naturally promote the sale.
How do you create these opportunities that lead to sales?
You need to recognize what your customers truly value.
What motivates them to jump out of bed in the early-morning and keep them up at night?
For example, people are motivated by the desire to do good – the desire to make a positive change in their lives and others.
You can tap into these positive desires in your content.
Use those desires to create the opportunities that promote sales.
Let’s assume that you run a catering business.
You could create a content about unhealthy foods in your community.
People who read this content will find it very insightful.
This will open the door to catering opportunities in your area.
The content is a perfect match for your business.
Even without promoting your business inside the content, people will be interested in you.
You’re not forcing the sale, like asking readers they should call you the next time they are organizing an event where they’ll need your service.
You must be educating readers through your contents rather than actively promoting your business.
People want to know how you’re making the world a better place.
Content marketing is a great way to make the world a better place. Use and see it that way, and the whole world will start beating their path to your door.
Listen To Your Customers. They Are Talking
With the wide array of mediums and tools available to businesses today, you can see what customers are saying and thinking about your business any time of the day.
If you’re not listening to your customers, how will you create the perfect contents for them?
How will you improve the quality of your product?
How will you deepen your relationship with them?
Customers are always talking. Except you’re listening, you won’t hear what they are saying.
Your content shouldn’t only be talking to customers. It should be listening to them too.
It should also make them know that you’re fully listening to their views and respect what they have to say. That’s what every great content marketing campaign does.
Why is it so important that you’re listening to your customers?
Research firm TARP found that for every person who complains, there are 26 who do not. That means if 10 customers complain, another 260 may have quietly dumped you, never to call again.
How do you listen to customers through content marketing?
One of the best places to start is web surveys.
When someone lands on one of your content, they are some thoughts in their minds which you don’t know, and will never know except you ask.
You need to capture those thoughts. Doing that will give you a big edge over your competitors.
The amount of data you’ll gain through surveys will help you create better products and contents that will increase your revenue.
You can put surveys forms (or links) anywhere in your content. It could be in a video, an email newsletter, a blog post, a podcast, just anywhere your visitors are engaging with your content.
Diving deep into your analytics is another way to learn more about your audience.
For example, if you use Google Analytics like most site owners in the world do, you should know:
- The gender of most of your customers. Are they male or female?
- The majority of their age range.
- Their interests and what they like to read.
- Their language and location.
- How many of them are coming back to your site?
- Their favorite web browser which they are using to access your site.
- The device through which they are using to access your site. Is it desktop, laptop or tablet?
- The channels most of them are discovering your website.
- Their behavior on your site, or how they flow from each page to another.
For example, my Google Analytics shows the age-group and gender of most of my site visitors.
And here’s how their interests look like:
As you can, many of my visitors are technophiles (a person who is enthusiastic about technology), business professionals, avid investors, political junkies, among others.
Most of them come from markets such as business technology, web design, marketing services, employment/career consulting, among others.
I can incorporate these invaluable data into my content marketing campaign.
It’ll make my contents resonate better with my target audience, and that’s good for my business.
If you (or your team can’t write well) then your content marketing campaign has failed before it takes off.
Writing is a vital skill in content marketing.
There are also other skills you’ll need like researching presentation, designing, storytelling, and collaboration. The most important of all is writing.
You always have to get something written down before anything else.
I’ve improved my writing skill over the years through constant practice. It’s not easy. It takes hard work to write well. And to be honest, I’m still not there.
If you believe that you’re a terrible writer, you may need to hire a good writer who can get the job done.
But I don’t believe that anyone can’t become a good writer.
As long as you know how to read and write, you can improve your writing skills.
William Zinsser is my favorite writer on writing.
He authored “On Writing Well.” The book is the best you can get on writing.
The book made me a better writer. Of course, along with constant practice. (I’m not a great writer yet. I’m still building up my writing skills).
I recommend the book to every non-fiction writer who wants to get better at writing.
So let’s get back to communicating well.
How do you communicate well to increase the effectiveness of your content marketing campaign?
It’s very simple.
First, your writing should be simple and easy to read.
Great reading is hard writing. It takes effort.
Examine each word in your sentence.
Does each word contribute to the message?
Or, are you hanging on to a word because you like it?
Then is your content easy to read?
If your sentences are long, people will find them boring.
Take a look at the below sentence:
That’s too long!
It could put you to sleep.
Now, take a look at the paragraph in the below screenshot:
I’m sure you’ll want to read the article with short sentences and paragraphs because they are straight to the point.
Here’s one question you should always ask yourself when writing:
“Is it easier to read out loud?”
If a sentence is not easy to read out, cut it short.
I use the Hemingway Editor to make my writing easy to read.
In fact, I bought the app and can’t do a day without it.
I recommend it.
The app makes your writing shines.
And in addition to that, if you’re struggling to write well, take a time to study the great writers you admire.
Pay attention to their flow and rhythm.
Analyze how they structure their sentences, open their articles, books and move from one point to another.
As you study the works of the greats, you’ll gradually start incorporating their styles into your writing. By doing that, you’ll develop your writing skills.
And the most important of them all is, you must have confidence in yourself to create great pieces of contents.
If you don’t have the belief in yourself to produce great works, it’ll be impossible to communicate well with the readers of your contents.
Tell And Show How Your Product Works
I’ll like to re-emphasize that you should never push or asks for the sale in your contents.
But there’s a highly-effective method of asking for the sale without ever asking for the sale and annoying prospects.
It’s when you show your product at work.
I mean the art of using your product to educate prospects.
Maybe, using it to entertain them.
With this method, you aren’t saying “Hey, go buy my product.”
Instead, you’re saying “Hey, here’s how to do this using our product.”
See the difference?
In the first scenario, you’re telling people that your primary purpose of creating the content is to sell your product.
In the second scenario, your goal is to educate prospects using your product.
Okay, let me give you a real-world example.
The “Will It Blend” series.
Will It Blend? is a viral marketing campaign consisting of a series of infomercials demonstrating the Blendtec line of blenders, especially the powerful Total Blender.
In the show, Tom Dickson, the Blendtec founder, attempts to blend various unusual items in order to show off the power of his blender.
In the below video, Tom showed how the Blendtec blended an iPhone 6 Plus.
I’m sure this is funny to you if you’re seeing it for the first time.
And you probably can’t wait to get the Blendtec blender.
Tom is showing his product at work rather than asking you to buy it.
This video alone has received over 5 million views on YouTube already.
Make sure you keep these rules in mind when showing your product at work:
- Never pressure people into buying your product with hard-sell tactics.
- And never act like your product is the greatest thing in the world.
When you let people decide, they’ll not become only customers, but advocates of your brand.
Apply Content Marketing Time Management
“Content marketing time management?”
What does it mean?
I’ve seen companies with a great content strategy, but yet, still struggle to improve and get the desired results from their content marketing campaigns.
What could be the reason for this?
It’s because they focus on the wrong things. Things that don’t bring growth to their campaigns.
According to Content Marketing Institute, only 9% of B2B marketers consider their content marketing efforts to be “very effective.”
You should keep in mind that there’s no one strategy that fits all content marketing campaigns.
In fact, the strategy that worked for you last year may not work for you this year or next year.
Your content marketing goals change from time to time. Your strategy should change too.
Your competitors are also changing.
For example, a strategy that was so effective for you last year may have been heavily used and abused by your competitors this year.
You need to keep refining and evaluating your strategies.
You need to keep testing new ones and dropping the old, over-used ones.
To be ahead of your competitors, you have to be creative.
Maybe your competitors have increased their content marketing budget. You need to decide if you want to increase yours or simply tweak your strategy a bit in order to suit your budget.
If something isn’t working for you as it used to be, you need to move to others that produce better returns on your investment.
Instead of wasting your time and money doing things that used to work before, or not working right now, you need to start investing your resources in things that work right now. I mean things that bring growth, right now.
By keeping your business on its toes, and producing the best non-selfish contents, people will fall in love with your brand.
Thanks for reading and please share this article with your friends on social media.