Content marketing is now bigger than ever and has been rapidly embraced by the majority of agencies and in-house online marketing teams across the globe. Content creation was recently ranked as the single most effective SEO technique and marketers have jumped on it. The problem however, is that people are rushing into this new online strategy before thinking about why they are really doing it and how they are going to use it to achieve their objectives.
Of course there are the obvious reasons for developing a content marketing strategy, including making sure you come across as a thought leader in your industry by providing regular up-to-date content on industry news. There is also the point of telling your own brand’s story through content that you put out in your news section and the ability to promote your brand’s products and services in a more engaging way.
Having a well thought out content marketing strategy is all well and good, but without a trusting audience who are loyal to your brand you almost need not bother. As individuals, we are aware that the connection and trust we have with a company plays a large part in whether we are then likely to work with them or buy from them.
Content marketing is all about creating and sharing free content that is valuable to your audience and will attract new customers and retain existing ones. The content your brand needs to be sharing should be related to your industry so that you can help and educate others, this will encourage people to trust you and once you have their trust then they will work with you.
Over 2 million blog posts are published every day, which means that readers these days have a huge choice of what they read and that’s before you consider all the content sent through social media channels such as Twitter and YouTube. With a high level of content overload, it is important to make sure that your content marketing strategy makes you stand out from the crowd.
Too many content marketing strategies focus on quantity over quality, but really it comes down to making sure the content you produce is going to build a trusting relationship between the brand and the audience.
Customise Your Content
A huge 61% of consumers said that they felt better about a company that delivered custom content and would be more likely to then buy from that company. This demonstrates just how important it is to be creating unique content that is directly suited to your industry and audience.
Custom content is about really demonstrating to your audience that you have them in mind with every blog post you write or every video you create – make sure you have fully analysed your audience and that you are working to their interests. If you know the majority of your audience want to read your content via email or want to watch it on a video, then make this option available. This will help build trust just by the fact that they will be regularly seeing content aimed at them.
Promote Content Wisely
While content promotion is crucial to ensure what you’re producing is being seen, there is a very fine line between making your audience aware that you have created something new for them and spamming them with links to your latest blog post.
Find out which channels your audience is most active on and promote your content through them. For social networks such as Twitter, there are tools available that will tell you what days and times your followers are most active and when previous content you have promoted has been successful. Using this information you can then schedule content at the most beneficial time without pushing it out too often.
Engage, Engage, Engage
Trust is built through communication and as a brand it is very important to make sure you are regularly engaging with not only your audience, but also influential people within your industry – 36% of people trust brands more when they have a social presence. Don’t send automated replies and comments to those who reach out to you, send them a nice thank you message if they have shared your content, or offer them advice if they have a question related to your industry.
Make sure that you are easy to find. Where you can, promote your social media channels and forms of contact available to your audience. Being open about how people can engage with you will really encourage a high level of trust. Demonstrating yourself to be a personable brand will give your business a human touch and reassure your audience that there is a person behind all the blogs and social media accounts and that person really is interested in them, not just purely for sales reasons.
Analyze & Strategize
Once you have set out your content marketing strategy and implemented it for a certain amount of time, the most important thing is to then go back and analyze its success. What might sound like the best strategy ever may not actually work for your brand and may need reworking.
The type of content you initially thought might interest and engage with your audience might actually have no effect, so there is no point in continuing down that path. Once you have analyzed your results it’s time to re-strategize. If a certain style of content is receiving a high number of shares and engagement, then focus on producing more content like that, don’t waste time on the pieces that aren’t working.
Trust is not usually something that is given to a brand over night, it takes time and effort to build, but it is totally worth the hard work. When brands and consumers have a trusting relationship everything else will slide into place – sales and conversion rates will grow and brand promotion will happen more naturally.
Image Source: James Bell at MySocialAgency
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