Do You Have Content You Can Bank on?
The latest catch phrase for marketers today is content marketing. Of course, we've always done 'content marketing,' creating and sharing brochures, datasheets, websites, press releases and more. The key difference is that we now have more channels to share content than ever before - from email platforms like Constant Contact to full-on blogs and a large selection of social networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and YouTube.
Good, solid content is like money in the bank for marketers, but if your content is lacking – it may leave your marketing strategy feeling a little bankrupt. Content keeps you front and center in the eyes of target audiences, and the ability to supply a steady stream of fresh, relevant content ensures you're remembered when your customers need you.
Different strokes for different folks
Naturally, content marketing centers on content - but how you deliver that content makes a statement of its own.
Think about it... you've just published a white paper. Some will appreciate the convenience of downloading the paper from their favorite LinkedIn group, while others will see your tweet on their smartphone and retweet it to their boss, and still others will want to view it directly on your website. By offering multiple ways to connect with your company, you're building relationships and becoming more accessible to customers and other key targets in ways which are most convenient to them.
7 Checkpoints for Content Marketing
- Audience - Know who you want to reach and what is important to them. Don't try to be all things to all people as your message will be too diluted.
- Capture - Identify and capture content in a central repository for easy access. Once you start seeking content, you'll find it at every turn. Accolades and awards are great items to highlight in social platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Also consider corporate appointments, speaking engagements, training sessions, media coverage, infographics, and the obvious such as news announcements. Interesting items such as a webinar may not merit a full press release, but are ideal to tweet and post about. Consider leveraging visual social networks such as Instagram, Vine, YouTube and Pinterest to highlight products or give behind-the-scenes peeks into your company or the development of something new. Opinions, trends and outside events can also have a lot of value to your audience, and you can build a reputation for being a current in-the-know resource.
- Relationship Building - When assessing a content item, ask yourself if anyone will care. You have to have meaningful content to build a relationship. And when you do get responses and comments as a result of sharing your content, engage and build that relationship!
- Relevant - Your goal is to create and share content that is relevant to your mission. Relevancy will resonate - and that's good for business. No need to share your enthusiasm for a new chain of coffee shops unless of course your company is providing the Wi-Fi or POS system that makes it a stand-out experience.
- Categorize - Determine the right medium to share your content. For instance, a new product has broad appeal and is suited for multiple channels of delivery, such as packaging as a press release and issuing over the wire. The same news can be posted in your blog, on your Facebook wall, tweeted about, explained in a video, etc. A media story on the same new product can be great content for sharing on your website and social platforms. Perhaps your customer is media shy and doesn't feel comfortable being spotlighted in a press release, but is more than happy to have their story shared on your blog or within a case study. Match the content to the medium and you'll have a well-rounded content marketing program.
- Deploy - Evaluate and build your channels to share and push out content. Wire distribution, Facebook, Website, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Slideshare - the list goes on.
- Tune - Fine tune and alter your content program to ensure you're on track and in lockstep with your audience.
Know, Like, Trust
It has been said that the key to sales is to be first known, then liked and trusted. With a good, thoughtful content marketing strategy in place that delivers meaningful content, you're well on your way to that next sale - and to establishing a trusting relationship.