As marketers, you (and I) are not the story. As a brand, your company is not the story; neither are your products or services. Your customer now sits at the centre of her own universe and is only interested in you if you can involve her in that story.
Last time we looked at why your content marketing demands its own distribution plan. We would be remiss if we didn’t wrap up this blog series with how to succeed at content marketing in 2021.
Marketing is under constant pressure to increase web traffic, generate leads and increase sales. Marketing software and the analytics that come ‘as standard’ have enabled us to track, measure and report on a wide range of metrics. It is now easier to calculate engagement levels, conversion rates and return on investment, but has it made marketers’ job any easier? Targets and Key Performance Indicators for marketing assume that it is a simple process to attract prospects and convert them into customers.
There are significant changes affecting digital and content marketing that throw up fresh challenges to this ‘simple process’ and need to be fully understood by all everyone involved in shaping marketing and sales strategy within your organisation.
“The idea that “great content rises to the top” is over. We are in an era where advertising, promotion, and distribution strategies may eclipse the importance of the content itself.” Mark Schaeffer
All good marketing starts with the customer
The unavoidable truth is that your customers are better informed, more discerning and than ever. They have heard the scare stories, had the lousy experiences and are less trusting of you. Understanding them is your number one job. Part 4 of our online programme, Content Marketing Conquered, shares the tools and strategies you need to research your target customers online. You can start to build a picture of what captures their attention as you develop your ideal customer avatars (ICAs) or buyer personas.
The key areas that you need to gain better customer insight into are:
- who they are as individuals
- what they care about and value
- what they’re looking for from you
- what language they use to describe their wants, needs or desires
- what keywords or phrases they use when searching online
Your customer wants to feel like he or she’s been seen, heard and understood. You need to learn to think and feel like your ideal customer. Otherwise, how can you show empathy, recognition or even compassion?
“…I think a primary strategy would be for a small company to focus on emotional engagement that leads to loyalty instead of content volume and lead generation.” Mark Schaeffer
Before you design your content marketing strategy here’s what you need to know
- What is the goal for your content marketing activity?
- Who exactly do you want to “attract” to your website or social media?
- What content will your Buyer Personas find valuable & engage with?
- What is the balance between brand (why choose us) and offering (why choose our products or services)?
- How does content fit into your marketing plan and do you need a content calendar?
- How often will you post? Can you commit to it? Consistency is the key to building trust.
- How will metrics and analysis help you identify success?
The buyer journey has changed beyond recognition and if you are to create the quality of content they have come to expect, you will need far better customer insight, targeting, SEO and distribution. As you read through this blog series, A Flight to Quality, keep these in mind.
I have guided hundreds of marketers as they begin or improve their content marketing and have concluded that success is built on three pillars:
- Empathy & Customer Insight
- SEO & Targeting
- Content Planning & Distribution
You CAN compete on quality and you don’t need to win the quantity game depending on your ability to reach your customers hearts, and minds.