Marketing

How To Use Content Marketing To Achieve Your Dreams

Tips For Successful Content Marketing

For the acquisition of customers, building an audience, and brand recognition, content marketing is more than the new norm. The creation of content to publish and share on the internet is now the cornerstone of marketing and is branching out into a mobile world. The largest and only real marketing competition comes from the television/radio combination that enjoys the strength of billions of people daily. The day is coming, however, when the strength of numbers will no longer apply. Television is a one dimensional marketing tool. You can watch, listen, and record it, but without the internet, you can’t control it.

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Content Marketing

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Billions Vs Millions

The internet turns content marketing into a multi-dimensional marketing tool that, if done correctly, can help commerce and ecommerce entrepreneurs achieve goals we never before dreamed of. If you are wondering why the internet, which has already been around for a couple of decades, has suddenly become powerful enough to challenge television/radio as the ruler of the marketing roost, the answer is simple. Social media is the key that unlocked the potential of the internet as a marketing tool and changed the way we use content forever.  

What is the Catch?

If used correctly, the combination of content marketing and social media can help anyone to fulfill even their wildest dreams. Signing up for a Facebook business page and filling it with content is not enough. In fact, content marketing is becoming more complex by the minute. Each and every step of a content marketing strategy is vital to the success of the whole. In other words, the marketer must use care and due diligence if he or she wants to take full advantage of content marketing’s potential when used in conjunction with websites, (Copy) email, advertising, blogging, educational/promotional e-books, and social media content. It is also wise to stay abreast of the many changes ahead and to develop the skills necessary to distinguish between true change and writer’s fodder.  

Change is Inevitable (Even for Content)

As you take note of the steps outlined in this post, cast one eye forward. Everything about the world of marketing and communications is in a constant state of change in the form of improvement. The future of content could very well be at our doorstep. As we strive to provide targeted users with content that is valuable to them, content could be adapted to be smart enough to conform to the needs of the individual groups of traffic upon which we depend. Can you imagine a content marketing campaign that is actually smart enough to shape itself to the reader’s needs? That is the theory behind Smart Content in marketing.  

“Smart Content” Could Be the Future of Content Marketing

Email marketing is one example of how marketers adapted content to fit the individual needs of the potential customers they were trying to convert and existing customers they needed to return. If this type of content could be applied to social media and blogging, conversions would potentially skyrocket. So what exactly is Smart Content and how does it work? In today’s world, examples of smart technology are all around us, in our homes, at work, and at school.
  • The newer model thermostats in our homes can recognize patterns of use and adapt to change the settings for us. If we typically go to bed at 11pm and turn the heat down to 65 degrees every night for a few weeks, the new thermostat technology begins to automatically do it for you.
  • Our cable and satellite boxes can now automatically tune into the shows we watch regularly and even suggest new shows based upon the patterns that emerge from the shows we watch with regularity. Very often, they are correct suggestions that are perfectly suited to the viewer’s taste.
  • Waze is a GPS system that uses the smartphones of drivers to ascertain better routes between destinations that include dining, gas stops, and traffic patterns. It does this by analyzing the driving habits of all its users and suggests individual maps and directions using the patterns that emerge.
Marketers are only now beginning to use the logic behind smart technology to create smart content by recognizing commonality markers in readership groups and adjusting the content to better suit them. The concept has a long way to go but so far, the results have been very promising. This is one concept we should watch closely and perhaps even begin to prepare strategies. In the meanwhile, content marketing continues to be one of the best marketing strategies for both ecommerce companies and other websites that need to build an audience. Social media is but one of the methods involved. To use content marketing effectively, it should be used in the following venues:
  1. Social media
  2. Company website
  3. Company blog
  4. Company email campaigns
  5. Ebooks (Both educational and promotional)
  6. Press Releases
 

Social Tools of the Trade

Of the six tools listed above, (Yes, each one of these is an amazing marketing tool unto itself. Read on to learn more.) the first three are the most important. A good marketer will meld them together to seduce every last drop of conversion from visitor to sale much like a great chef uses select spices to prepare a masterpiece meal, blending the spices together to create a unique experience. It all begins with the content on your social media list.  

Content Marketing and Social Media

Social Media and content marketing go together like peanut butter and jelly, or bacon lettuce, and tomato. Once you master the subtle art of content on social media, you will have mastered a large portion of your goals for success. Here are the basics… the fundamental content concepts that you must master in order to succeed in social content marketing.
  • Interesting content with an interesting subject is great… but it is not enough. Smart marketers already know that you can make a boring product interesting but only if you have content that is more than interesting… it must be compelling. The word compelling means: To have a powerful and irresistible effect; requiring acute attention, admiration, and respect. The trouble is, the people who use social media are more likely to be affected and respond to short entries, posts, and announcements. If your social media content is post or article sized in word count, it had better be compelling and it will need a lot of help right off the bat.
  • Many new companies fall into the “Look at me” trap and then fail to understand why they are not drawing the attention they think they deserve. It is really okay to ring your own bell; however, there is a time and a place for everything. Tell the world a little bit about you in your social media profile bio. The rest can be linked to a page on your website and blog. As for the content in social media, it should be all about what you can do for anyone who cares to follow you, join your click, follow your links, and purchase your products.
  • Anything that is not of value to your readers is wasted space with the exception of interacting with people on the subjects upon which they show an interest and have induced you to form an opinion. Your content should be focused on the enrichment of the human race; one  person at a time. It has to show the reader why your product or service will make their lives better.
 

Saying Volumes with Short Compelling Content

Your content must be consistent, especially on a social website like Twitter, upon which you have only 145 characters with spaces in which to do so. While each tweet must be individually compelling, it must also be consistently addictive, drawing the reader towards the next tweet. One great example of this kind of content is Buffalo Wild Wings. They have mastered twitter content by following these guidelines consistently.
  • Light and humorous tweets
  • Tweets that are geared specifically towards their audience giving them a personal feel.
  • Tweets that are relevant to world events and major sporting events, like their 2013 Super Bowl tweets that suggested  whoever caused the infamous power outage during the game simply did not want the football season to end and shut the lights out to prolong the glorious season. They received just fewer than 10,000 retweets just for being timely and mildly amusing.
  • Smart use of hashtags of their own design.
  • Use tricks and tools to enhance the power of content. This could mean anything from using a well-known niche writer that is  considered to be an expert in the field, to enabling video embedding and using it in context to the content.
  • Mix up your content with short “How to” posts that benefits those that use your products and Q&A’s with experts or members of your company’s talent pool. Throw in a few mid-sized interesting stories or anecdotes that relate to product, niche, or special events, and you have yourself a nice mixture of content marketing that never grows stale or monotonous.
Remember to treat each of the social websites that your company is using as individual content opportunities that demand individual and unique content challenges. Even if you have to use four or five separate writers to cover your social media presence, it will be worth any extra money spent in order to create a unique company voice on each. The real trick is to avoid being boring on any. This is especially true of LinkedIn, where so many professionals lose themselves in professional boredom. On LinkedIn, it is a bit more difficult to be unique, but not impossible. Here are a few examples of how to use content in LinkedIn:
  • Add color and spice to your LinkedIn company page to draw attention to the content titles and links to content that are important to your LinkedIn strategy.
  • If you have employees, make it worth their while to add their personal LinkedIn accounts to the company’s account in order to expand its reach and make available even more content styles in order to appeal to a wider audience.
  • On LinkedIn, participation in groups is a must to ensure you use your sharpest writers to that effect. Group participation is a fantastic way to increase your exposure in the B2B land of opportunity. Tailor your content accordingly.
  • Encourage recommendations as they provide a leveraged source of free user generated content. If you use, for instance, an SEO consultant like Dynamic Search, give them a recommendation and include a bullet list of what it is they do so well. Encourage feedback to roll the content ball a little further.
Perhaps the most important feature of social content marketing that you will have to master is branding. Your brand should be an exciting and highly recognizable sign of what you represent. The moment anyone sees it, they should instantly think of your company, its products, and/or the customer service ideals for which you stand. You want to strive for long-lasting recognition. Content marketing is the best way to do this. Shoot for the stars and if you miss, you will at least have the moon.  

Five Benefits of Brand Recognition

Your recognizable brand gives you and your company the competitive edge that it needs in an incredibly competitive world of internet ecommerce. Having a great brand affords you the following advantages:  

 Reach

Reach is the level of depth your content and message can achieve. How many people are you actually reaching with your content? One thing is absolutely certain. The company in your niche that has the best brand recognition is reaching the most people. If you want to be that company, use your content marketing skills to attain brand recognition.  

  Trust

As a general rule, people purchase from or have more confident interactions with companies and organizations that they trust and while it is true that trust must be earned, there is a certain amount of trust that comes automatically attached to recognition. If someone is searching for something in your niche and they have a page filled with options, links from which they can choose, and one of those links has a recognizable brand, that is the link people will go to first. They do this because in recognizing your brand they feel that they have found someone they know. Content that is compelling enough to read with gusto creates that type of recognition. Not too long ago, Nielson (The rating company) conducted a survey that revealed a surprising 92% of internet users have more trust in recommendations they receive from a friend. The friend outlined in the survey indicated social media friend. This means that anyone that these people recognized from social media interactions was considered a friend. The more people whom recognize your brand, the more people that will recommend you through third party word of mouth.  

 A Deeper Level of Intimacy

With social website users  approached by people and companies that they do not know or recognize, they experience suspicion as their first emotion. However, when approached by a brand that they recognize, the first reaction is one of comfort or happiness that they have come into unexpected contact with a friendly online presence. They experience a deeper level of intimacy that includes longer conversations and the revelation of personal details about their life, how they feel, and how their day is going so far. As the Borg would say… Conversion imminent… Resistance is Futile.  

Visibility

When your brand reaches a certain point of recognition among a community of users, your posts are read more often and your visibility is spread by these readers. The circle is expanded to people with whom they would like to share their excitement, joy, amusement, and curiosity. The more this sharing happens, the higher becomes your visibility on social media. This is all achieved via content.  

Conversion

It is far easier to convert a reader into a customer if they recognize your brand from the beginning of the interaction. There are several things that you can do to increase your brand’s recognition factor and experience these benefits for your company. Leveraging the internet takes time and  money, but it is well worth it. Here are a few tips on brand awareness and how to get it:
  •  Social media is the bomb when it comes to spreading brand awareness for your company. It allows you to personally interact with real people, often in real time. You can actually have an active hand in your own word of mouth phenomenon. Compelling content and being on hand to socialize has an endearing quality that lends itself to brand awareness in the online community.
  • Line of sight content marketing is a great tool. When your brand is used as your personal profile image and avatar, it shows up wherever you do, including forums, groups, and personal chats as well as when posting to your wall or someone else’s wall. The better your content, the more people that will see your product images and the brand that comes with it.
  • Sponsoring an event or holding a promotion allows you to really splatter your audience with your brand without seeming out of line in doing so. It is really the only place where you can go overboard with your brand. It is well worth it as contests and events spread faster than just about anything on social media with the exception of breaking news.
  • While this may seem crass at first, at least until you realize that everyone who would say so is doing the same, becoming involved in breaking news discussions about a tragic celebrity event gets your brand noticed. This is especially true if you are holding or supporting any type of fund raiser or charitable event in that celebrities honor. It accomplishes great things for someone in need and has the added bonus of increasing your brand awareness exponentially.
  • When your compelling content helps you to become known as an expert in your niche, it vastly increases your brand recognition factor. Create a page to place in front of your educational and How-To videos on YouTube and wherever your video is posted. Your blog is also a great place to create educational posts that add value to users and since it is your blog, you can create a page banner with your brand.
  • When it comes to brand awareness, emotional recognition is key. The way to be remembered is to create content that not only tells a story, but tells an emotional one. Even if you do not create the story with your content, if you find something that touches people that you can share with them through social media, it can increase your brand recognition.
 

Content Marketing and Your Company Website Blog

Your blog is at the center of your marketing universe. It is the ultimate goal of all marketers to get people to the website where they can place an order and the best place to convince them to do that is on your blog. The majority of conversion comes from the pages in your blog. It is the one place where you can really let go of your content reins and seduce the public at large with compelling content. Your blog is where the kid gloves come off. If you want to get the most out of it, follow these simple tips and watch your conversion rate soar.  

Attract Content from High Profile Blogs

This means that it is time to pull out all the stops and start paling around with the big wigs on social media. Once you get to know some of the hot shot webmaster/writers with the big name blogs, start soliciting their expertise and get them to write a post for your blog. This increases your authority by stealing just a little bit of their thunder. The odds are also pretty darn good that they will either post or promote their efforts on their blog as well, giving you even more clout.  

Back to the Future

Now that you are up to speed as to what compelling content can do, you should hit your archives and upgrade the older yet still visible posts. Here are a few things to look at when it comes to the historical records department of your blog:
  • Juice up your older titles so that they are more appealing
  • Go through your content and find and fix any information that has either changed or is no longer valid. While you are at it, go ahead and make your older post more compelling, just as you did for the titles.
  • Make sure to update any call to actions that you may have lying around in your older posts. Add bigger and more colorful call to action buttons and place links where they can be seen and reached readily.
  • Make sure that your entire blog is social ready. It never hurts to spice up your social invitation content and change the style of your social sharing buttons and links.
 

Educate Motivate and Inspire

Your blog, which you have linked to all of your social media endeavors, should be a place of learning. Everyone who visits your blog should leave feeling as if they stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night. For those of you who have never seen the Holiday Inn commercials, it means they should leave your website believing that they have just become experts in whatever question led them there. Teach your readers valuable information using compelling content and they will not only return again and again, but they will spread the word on social media, improve your conversion rate, or become repeat customers. Motivate your blog readers with inspirational writing and confidence building content. Strive to make them feel good about themselves and it will be a place that they will want to visit often. Remember that your blog and all of its compelling content should be dedicated to the readers. Inspire your visitors to achieve greater things in life and you will also inspire sales, sign-ups, downloads, or whatever your blog and website agenda requires. This means that you must reach them on an emotional level. Compelling content, video, and images that touch the heart are fantastic tools that you can use to get that conversion rate where it belongs… in the clouds.  

Your Blog and Content Distribution

Do not just depend upon your efforts in social media and other places to get your compelling content in front of readers. There are numerous turnkey solutions that you can incorporate into your efforts that can get the job done for you. StumbleUpon This unique website has great potential when it comes to content distribution. It has a unique way of reaching people as it gives its members website content randomly so that you never know who will see your posts. This is not great for your bounce rate, but it does get your content in front of a lot of people. Zemanta Zemanta is another incredibly unique content distribution idea. Actually, it is more of a link distributor. Once you are signed up with Zemanta, your posts are displayed for promoters to see. If, for instance, you were writing a compelling post on freelance writing and a promoter wanted to use your content, they would pay to promote it through the posted Zemanta links. In other words, they bring new readers to your website or blog by recommending it to a diverse network of interested parties. SimpleReach This website helps you to take advantage of social signals by analyzing more than a billion signals and then shares your insightful work with those most interested and likely to use it. Simple reach has a simple plan, but the technology behind it is amazing and complex. OutBrain This is a headline sharing approach to content distribution that many blog experts and webmasters swear by. It works much like Google’s Adwords, only it is for that compelling content that you write. They send your titles via RSS to major news outlets. Those interested pay to see your content and there is no telling where this could lead. You have to know that if they are willing to pay to see it, they are definitely interesting in what you have to say.  

The Word of the Day

If you have been paying attention at all, you know that there is one word that has appeared very frequently in this post. This word encapsulates the most important point and is the key to successful content marketing. When you write compelling content, you get results. The more compelling the content you produce, the higher the conversion rate it will inspire. It just does not get any simpler than that. Compelling content is that which adds great value, is interesting, touches an emotion, and moves the reader to take action. The only action we wish for you to take is one that will help you to succeed in your marketing efforts. Content does indeed still rule as the king. Use it, get out there and place yourself in a social media position where your content can be seen and shared by all. As we said in the beginning of this post, change is inevitable, but the one thing that will remain constant is content.

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