In a world saturated by advertisements – on outdoor billboards, on television, and on the Internet - standing out from the crowd is a greater challenge than ever before. Marketers have found that the strategies of yesteryear simply don't produce the results they used to.
This situation creates an environment that puts a premium on advertisement and promotion that helps people. Now, brands that consistently provide their audience with useful information are emerging as market leaders. Content marketing is simply the strategy of using this information to generate leads and push customers along the buying cycle.
Contrary to popular opinion, content marketing doesn't always mean blogging. Assuredly, the blog format is a very popular platform for content, and 58% of marketers call original written content the most important type, but visuals and video are highly effective. To find the type of content that works best for your company, you'll need to get to know your customers and identify a target audience.
IDENTIFY YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE
The choice of content format speaks as much to the target audience as your content does. For instance, tutorials are a very popular and successful content marketing method that tend to work in text, infographic, and video contexts. If your product or service is in a complex and highly technical field, however, writing a wall of text describing how to use it will not resonate the same way that a video does when it shows how.
Defining your target audience might be the most important step you take in your digital marketing plan. Marketers who fail to understand their target audience tend to fall into the trap of making content specific to their industry. Potential customers never get to see this content because it doesn't address them.
As CoSchedule points out, your target audience is the only audience you should address. There is no material benefit in obtaining website visits from people who aren't part of your target – they're not looking for what you're selling, so they will not buy it.
Brands with a carefully-selected target audience have multiple avenues to address customer needs. A landscaper without a target audience, for instance, will probably resort to creating content about landscaping. But people who hire landscapers don't want to know how to landscape – they're more likely to be interested in buying their first home, or professionally developing real estate. A landscaper with a target audience in mind can create content that speaks to those needs.
EDUCATE YOUR CUSTOMERS
Once you've chosen a target audience, the next step is to determine how you can help them achieve their goals. Whether your product or service directly helps them is only marginally important – your first priority should be educating them.
Customer education can take many forms. Most marketers begin with tutorial content that addresses direct customers – content that shows customers how to use the product being advertised. After that, successful marketers will look into the needs and wants of the target audience and find ways to address them creatively.
In a landscaper's case, customer education can reach into any field related to the purchase of a new home. Content based on local real estate law, interior design, or architecture can all address potential landscaping customers.
This makes it easy to find blogs where you can guest post. Since you are focusing on educating customers rather than focusing strictly on the features of your product or service, you'll be able to pitch educational content to any blog in any related field.
MAKE A CONTENT ROADMAP TO FOLLOW UP
WITH RELEVANT CONTENT
Now that you have a target audience in mind and are ready to begin educating them on the subjects they care about, you need a content roadmap. Without a basic content plan in place, you'll quickly find yourself out of novel ideas to generate content around.
Consistently high quality content is expected of your content marketing strategy, and repeating worn-out subjects ad libitum will quickly erode consumer confidence in the quality of your posts. Furthermore, your writers and content generators will get bored of the subjects long before your audience does – because creating content takes longer than consuming content.
To address this obstacle, you need to develop a broad, month-by-month strategy for consistently delivering content relevant to your target audience. Begin with the subjects that interest your audience and then develop a series of content topics related to those subjects.
The human brain is wired to value novelty, according to LifeHacker.com. If your content stops offering novelty to your target audience, they will eventually find other, more engaging sources of information. Staying ahead of your content roadmap means staying ahead of your competition.