Content Marketing in a Digital Age
Content marketing is a very hot topic. Unlike many marketing trends that catch fire and die quickly, content marketing is here to stay. It’s a proven way to interest customers and convert them into buyers.
The magnitude of information thrown at customers every day causes them to guard their attention closely. If you want to grab your customers’ attention, you need to produce content that solves real problems of higher quality than that of your competitors. That’s a tall order.
“The reality is that while website content can be a great marketing tool, it can also be a trap for the unwary who miss some key opportunities to really develop their marketing efforts online successfully.
“You can read a great guide to creating great content marketing by content marketing guru Neil Patel right here.” via 3 Ways To Destroy Your Website Authority With Bad Content Marketing (And How to Change That For Good)
Write for a Community NOT for an Avatar
Popular marketing says, Create an avatar, spell out all of the demographics and psychographics of that individual. Then write specifically with that person in mind. Visualize them. Speak directly to them. Meet their needs.
Let’s challenge that thinking for a bit. What if you wrote for a specific community? What if you focused on meeting the needs of a community instead of an individual?
Some examples of a community:
- Senior citizens
- Parents of teenagers
- Spouses of soldiers
- Living in Rural America
- Teachers of preschoolers
- Recovering disco fans
You get the idea. The community interest is the glue that binds the community not the demographics or psychographics. Each member of the community may drive a range of vehicles, shop in a diversity of locations, or have different spending habits. but they’re loyal to the community. Address the community and you reach a broader base in a more targeted manner. Address the behaviors and spending habits and you’ll be chasing forever.
Writing for the community sets you apart as the expert. When you speak to the needs of the community you’re talking to their loyalties. Try to address each individual and you risk missing them all.
Your business is recycled Japanese car parts. Who should your avatar include? Doctors? Retired School Teachers? Yuppies? Car enthusiasts?
How would you know for sure? You could take a look at your current client list. Or you could consider Miata owners community. Would it be easier to target the community or target individuals in that community?
This is a diverse group of people as you can imagine. Targeting a specific demographic you very well could miss your target. By meeting the needs of the Miata Owners Community you speak to the loyalty of the group.
Community focus flies in the face of traditional marketing
Traditional marketing says, “create an avatar (your ideal client), give him/her a name, know everything you can about that person, then speak specifically to them.”
Let’s go back to your business. Your business is selling recycled imported car parts. It’s not, to sell to a retired school teacher who likes to cruise around with the top down. Who makes $64,000 a year and invests heavily in the stock market. This school teacher has 7 grandkids and reads the Wall Street Journal daily.
You sell recycled imported car parts…
Who is in the market for your business? Focus on the avatar and you’ll struggle trying to hit the target. Focus on the community and hit it with deadeye accuracy.
What if you frequently contributed quality content to the Miata Owners Community about: “The care of imported cars.” “Where to source quality parts.” “Ten really cool places to take a road trip in your amazing Miata on days when you can ride with your top down.” “The Top Twelve Best Brokers in America to Buy a Vintage Miata.” “Tips for insuring a vintage import.”
You get the idea. When you’re contributing to the community you stand out from the crowd. Your contribution increases the value of the community. You’re demonstrating that you care about people who own Miata’s.
Studying the community allows you to focus your Content Marketing…
- Read what they write. Listen to their questions. Tap into feelings and emotions in your writing. Once you understand how your buyers want to feel when they use your product, you can evoke those feelings with your content.
- Know your communities’ buying triggers. Then send your emails and messages at the right time to interest buyers. You can also make sure that the same content is on your website and anywhere else your buyers find you.
- Directly address problems the community experiences. Solving problems in the community helps you stand out as the expert. Your content, however you deliver it, should focus on problem solving. The result is revenue.
- Invite influencers to persuade them. Knowing who your customers listen to (you’ll discover this by listening to and participating in the community) and respect is an important piece of the content puzzle. You want to include influencer endorsements/attributions in your content whenever possible.
- Let the community set the tone of your voice. Listening will help you determine whether you need a formal voice or something more conversational.
What about Google and SEO?
Organic search results are important, but familiarity with an author carries weight as well. What if they began their Google search looking for you?
If potential buyers are finding you in the communities they love, they will start looking for you when they need what you sell. Build your brand around the value you bring. Content marketing puts you in multiple places all of the time, building your brand (demonstrating your value).
Quality content marketing is the secret to ranking well, but more important is building buyer confidence. You build buyer confidence by creating quality content consistently with authority and supported by market influencers.
Measure Quality by Engagement
Do you get the picture? Quality content is king because it helps you stand out in a noisy crowd. Content that doesn’t engage the audience is just noise. Standing out is essential to getting found.
Not just interesting, but useful
It’s not enough to create quality content. You must create useful content as well. Write something that creates an actionable item for your reader. Something that they can immediately put to work. What impact do you think your content would have if you began, “Before the Spring weather hits here are 5 things to post on the wall in your garage. Simple things you can do to extend the life of your roof. None of them require you to leave your mower.”
Become a resource and people will get to know, like, and trust you. When they’re ready to buy, they will also buy from you. A resource of useful information is invaluable in the world of many noises.
Don’t just care, listen
It’s not enough to say you care. You must provide a feedback mechanism…it’s called listening! The skill of listening is the most powerful content creation tool you possess. Image the impact that your content would have if you began, “I was reading in the group yesterday and 12 people mentioned that they ________ so I’ve created this ________ to help you find a local solution to __________.” Then speak to them in their terms, exactly the way they describe the issue.
This is demonstrated listening. A skill that few possess, but an expert has mastered. An expert knows how to listen so that the question behind the question becomes obvious. Having understood the real question, the expert then formulates the response in such a way that the audience embraces the answer.
Not just facts, but relatable stories
The art of storytelling is getting lost in our 140 (now 280 characters) character limit world. A story that is meaningful and related to the topic at hand, is more valuable than any other form of communication. Our brains are wired for stories, perfect this skill and your content will stand out!
Is Content Marketing for You?
No Doubt Content Marketing is Vital for Business, But do You Know Where to Start?
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