“Content marketing” is a phrase that gets thrown around a lot in the business world these days. The idea is deceptively simple: You use your voice of authority in your industry in order to serve up useful, relevant content that provides some value and insight and keeps customers engaged with your brand.
Write a few good blog posts, and the engaged customer we all dream about will loyally patronize your business and evangelize to his or her social network, right?
In practice, content marketing is not so simple. It takes a lot of effort to build and maintain the right sort of audience. The general wisdom holds that the average person is so constantly bombarded by information that they are increasingly reluctant to devote their scarce mental resources to listening to or understanding any message you might want to convey. With the right strategy, however, you can cut through this content saturation.
Here, then, are five tips to getting your message to penetrate the noise of people’s everyday lives.
1. Know Your Audience
For such a simple concept, this step is often overlooked. Mark Schaefer of the excellent grow marketing blog writes about a time when he scrapped an entire blog post that he had already written because he realized that he had simply been writing for other marketing professionals whom he wanted to impress. He recognized that he had to offer his core readers (small businesspeople) something useful and informative. We should all put so much thought into everything we produce.
2. Stick to a Schedule
You can’t just post a great article then let yourself off the hook for a while. The key to establishing an engaged audience and a base of future customers is to keep them coming back to you for new material. Knowing that you’re going to be producing, say, two articles every week will foster a readership that consistently engages with your brand.
3. Be Different
If you work in a highly niche industry, there’s only going to be so much insight you can provide that hasn’t already been picked over by yourself or your competitors. In order to counter this “staleness,” you need to establish a unique voice or perspective. Be funny, witty, or highly insightful. Get creative. Once you’ve established a distinct voice your readers will turn to you for your unique perspective on matters.
4. Take Advantage of Experts
Give yourself a day off every now and then and reach out to an industry expert for some guest-generated content. They will likely have a unique perspective that adds some appealing variety to your regular content maintenance.
5. Remember Visuals
In the age of Twitter, it’s important to recognize the sad reality that people’s attention spans are minuscule and finite. They are more inclined to absorb short, punchy messages than to read anything in great detail.
Remember to include some video every now and then. Graphs and infographics help to distill abstract data into easily-digestible morsels.
In the new era of content marketing the marketplace of ideas can be terribly unforgiving. Make sure you give your readers something useful, in a unique voice, on a regular basis, and the brand engagement will follow.