Smart marketers understand how important it is to have a leg up on the trends and changes of their respective markets in order to reach out to the right target audience. In keeping with the success mantra of ‘Go where your audience is!’ it is imperative that the marketers follow the evolving landscape of marketing. With the advent of social media as one of the key marketing tools, traditional marketing is becoming less effective by the minute. While it took television 13 years to reach 50 million users, networking sites like Facebook garnered an audience of 200 million in less than a year’s time. On platforms like Twitter celebrities like Ashton Kutcher and Britney Spears have more followers than the populations of entire countries like Sweden! More and more marketers are thus reverting to social media platforms to reach out to a large target base, at minimal operational costs.
Moreover, in this competitive market landscape, it is essential that the marketers keep a leg up on trends and changes happening in their respective markets, and accordingly design their campaigns and strategies. Market intelligence shows that 78% of people trust peer recommendations obtained online vis-à-vis 14% who make purchase decisions based on advertisements. Thus the content available online is fast becoming the major influencer when it comes to consumer decisions. In these circumstances, it is not surprising that brands are now very particular about the perceptions they drive online – giving content marketing – the very act of creating fresh content for marketing purposes a fresh boost. With the flourishing and eloquent use of internet to research buying options, coupled with the rise of social media to connect with peers, the focus on content to educate buyers through the stages of their buying journey is seeing a strong comeback.
Content marketing is essentially the art of communicating with your target audiences, through creating and curating relevant and valuable content, with the intention of enhancing consumer behavior without actually selling a product/service. The strategy works on the belief that businesses consistently deliver valuable content that give power to the end user thus creating goodwill, ultimately rewarding the company with consumer loyalty. Though the essence of content marketing is not new, the innovative uses of content to generate leads is one of the newest trends across industries.
When creating content it is essential, that you keep in mind the purpose you intend to achieve. Here are some brief pointers on how you can design a content strategy that is targeted as well as subconsciously pushes your consumer towards the next stage of purchase.
- Sourcing Topics of Relevance: Determine who your target audiences are and topics that are of relevance to them. A good idea could be to pick a handful of online communities that your target segment frequents and listen in to their conversations. Base your content strategy on topics that interest them – this is sure to get you visibility amongst your target customers.
- Plan Monthly Content Themes: Though theming may seem like a minor detail, consider the amount of disjointed information that is being broadcast on the internet every second. With a theme, not only can you give your audience a direction, but also provide a much-needed anchor for the readers that allows them either to await your next article or binge read every article from a particular month, thus enabling you to tie in your audiences.
- Customize the formats and styles to suit your audience: As a marketer it is imperative that you understand the vein of your audiences and sass out what drives the maximum responses from them – videos, podcasts, eBooks, blog posts, slideshows, infographics, images etc... You also need to further determine the nature of the content they prefer, so as to be able to design the content effectively – is your target audience more inclined towards content that is funny, or are their tastes more serious in nature, is engagement driven by conversations or hard facts and data; whether it is argumentative in nature or relaxed. When presented to your target audience in a format they appreciate, your content is likely to move faster.
- Flesh out a sustainable content calendar and determine how your content ties in with a larger goal: Once you are through with the theming and content style, create a monthly calendar that you can follow and determine how individual items in your calendar will work together to drive your audience towards a larger goal. Start off by smaller goals like getting shares or likes, and gradually aim towards driving comments to attracting leads and finally making sales.
Thus, having recognized content as the present and future of marketing, organizations across the world have jumped onto the bandwagon of creating pertinent content and using social intelligences platforms to reach the content to a greater number of audiences. P&G, Cisco Systems, Microsoft, John Deere are some of the largest companies that vouch by the effectiveness of content marketing thereby empowering customers and creating a brand perception online that remains unparalleled till date.