9 weapons to win the Content Marketing battle

In an age when everybody is producing content, how can you rise above the Content Marketing crowd?

Content Marketing is one of the newest, most effective, yet least expensive forms of marketing.

Contrary to traditional marketing, which is designed to push messages out to the audience, content marketing is designed to engage with a specific audience and to pull them towards a brand and its products/ services. With traditional marketing, there is the expectation that some of the target audience would receive the message and act upon it. Content marketing, however, works by creating and sharing high-quality, valuable content through different channels in order to provide value to customers while generating business opportunities for the company.

With content marketing, it’s the audience that decides to be associated with your company because they see your brand as a market leader.

As this article shows, content marketing works: Why is Content Marketing Today’s Marketing? 10 Stats That Prove It

Content marketing is proving to be a rising star, with more and more companies investing in it. So much so that Mark Shaefer, a Professor at Rutger University, recently spoke about ‘Content Shock’ by referring to the fact that the content available to prospects is becoming too much for them to actually digest it all.

So, if the way forward is content production, but the battlefield is already filled with content from your competitors, how can you stand out from the crowd and reach your target audience?

By becoming a thought leader. You need to become the go-to source of authoritative information.

It doesn’t sound easy, and admittedly it is not, but it is possible. Critically, you have to understand your target audience and follow these 9 critical principles:

  1. Be authentic: be honest, frank and plain-spoken. We live in an age where transparency is key.
  2. Be original: create original content. Share your unique expertise. You and your company are in business because you are able to provide unique added value to your customers, which is the unique expertise that your customers are looking for.
  3. Put some thought into what you post and don’t create just “filler” content. Develop a strategic calendar based on topics that you know will address your audiences’ pain-points/ questions/ interests. For instance, what are the most common queries that your customer service team receives? Can you write an article to address some of these? Or maybe you could create an explanatory video that would save your customers and prospects time by not having to contact your customer service team (and save you money by not having to invest in customer service resources).
  4. Be a problem-solver, without forgetting CTAs (Calls-to-Action): remember the 80/20 rule (80: free advice/ 20: sale). Give readers tips and advice, free of charge, to solve their most pressing problems. They will follow you, they will trust you, and eventually they will do business with you.
  5. Be reliable: commit to a schedule because if you’re not regular, you’re not visible. Create an editorial calendar. Scheduling plans at least 90 days in advance will help to ensure you’re on track.
  6. Build relationships, particularly with influencers. They can help share your content and add their endorsement to it.
  7. Be patient: immediate results are rarely possible. Commit to quality content, your brand will rise above your competitors and be visible and valued.
  8. Track, analyse and revise, measure your results: see what works and what doesn’t, optimise from there.
  9. Share your content: just because you’ve made something great doesn’t mean people will find out about it on their own. That’s why developing a plan to promote your content is key. The most successful venues to share valuable content are:
    • Owned media (website, social media platforms, email marketing)
    • Paid media (Native Advertising)
    • Third party promotion (influencers, guest blogging, …)
    • Social Sharing Platforms (Medium, Quora, …)

One final, very important, note about content marketing is the level of investment required. Content marketing doesn’t necessary require a significant financial investment as resources are available online to create videos and infographics at very low cost, you can also find good copy writers at affordable prices. However, it does require an investment in terms of commitment and time. Researching the target audience, understanding their pain points, creating valuable content, sharing it, waiting for the content to be discovered and for your brand to be recognised as an authoritative source takes time. But once you get there, your brand is going to experience real and enduring business success.

Need help with your Content Marketing strategy? Contact me at giulia@knowthybrand.com  

About the author: Giulia Iannucci is a strategic branding and marketing consultant, and founder of KnowThyBrand. From brand identity to logo design, from website creation to digital marketing strategy, KnowThyBrand offers a range of solutions for businesses that are starting their journey and those that are looking to find a new way. www.knowthybrand.com

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