Content Marketing is becoming the buzzword of our business in 2015. And the reason is obvious: without quality content your brand won’t engage consumers. Facebook’s “content” or lack thereof, are the reason I deleted my account. Of course, Mark Zuckerberg still has my data, but that’s a blog for another day. The key in all content marketing is to be at least one of the following: informative, educational or entertaining.
There are literally countless forms of content and ways to distribute said content. For simplicity’s sake, we’re going to discuss the most common ways businesses create content and a few best practices for delivering those messages. The most important part of content marketing is understanding the medium. Be cognizant of the user experience and how users use the particular medium. People go to Facebook for a different reason than they go to your website, YouTube, stream radio on Pandora, or browse their favorite Star Trek blog. Make sure wherever your content goes it’s hitting the right user at the right time with the right message.
A website is the cornerstone of online marketing. Most businesses’ digital strategy starts with driving traffic to a website. Once there how do you get people to come back? What about your website drives users to come back or buy from you? Many times a consumer’s first touchpoint with your business or your brand is through your website and thus their user experience on your site is vital. So how important is it to have engaging, relevant and recent content on your website? Let’s just say Google’s algorithms are constantly changing to find the most up-to-date and relevant information. If your last website change occurred in 2007 people most likely aren’t seeing you on the first SERP (Search Engine Results Page). Another growing factor in search results is video. So make sure your website is hosting video, preferably YouTube videos since Google owns YouTube.
Another extremely popular and growing segment of content distribution is Social Media. Remember, SM should be used responsibly and with a strategy. (Check out our previous post on fitting Social into your overall plan). Your message needs to be consistent with your overall marketing plan and should be delivered through SM in the same fashion. If your business doesn’t like to discount, don’t send out discounts through SM. Again, if you haven’t posted on Facebook in 2 months, you may be losing out on the SERP. A post on Twitter will look and act differently than on Pinterest. Facebok is very conversational. Pinterest is great if you can provide new ideas to enhance people’s lives in a tangible way. Instagram is a great tool to showcase work with photos. Twitter is a good use for quick messages, bits of info, or time-sensitive messages. Who can forget this from the 2013 Super Bowl?
Think about the medium when using content in advertising and the difference. When you put content on your website, YouTube, Social Media, etc it’s being delivered to people who are seeking it out. These users have found or searched you directly. The content within ads has to be delivered in a way people understand your brand or objective in a matter of seconds. In this way, advertising copy has to be extremely effective, hence the rise of advertising agencies. And again, digital ads need different content than a TV, radio or print ad. Use the space accordingly.
Native Advertising has grown tremendously in the past year. According to almost all projections, it’s only going to continue to grow. Native Advertising is a generic term for sponsored content that fits into whatever medium on which the user views the content. For instance, Promoted Tweets are Native Advertising. Advertorials are a form of Native. Most online publishers, including NY Times, Washington Post, Vanity and of course RiverTown Multimedia and Forum Communications Company, have adopted Native Advertising as a new form of revenue. And according to this study, Native ads are working.
Email is another rather simple, almost archaic, form of content marketing. You control the message. You can control who you’re sending the email to via a 1st party list or a 3rd party list. Sending to your 1st party email list will have one message while 3rd party is going to look and act differently. Keep in mind the amount of information you put into an email. How long do you typically look at an email? What subject line would you open? As I said at the outset of this post, keep the content informational, educational or entertaining.
No matter your marketing strategy understand how people use and view content. Articles like this show how people don’t necessarily care WHO wrote the content as long as it’s engaging and informative, given they know who wrote it. Deception is never a good idea when creating content. So be transparent with your Native Advertising and provide true value for the reader. Every touchpoint with your content is an opportunity to lose, gain or persuade a customer. Often the content’s tone, message and effectiveness will dictate which way they go.
Finally, have a plan. Schedule your content so it’s timely and reaches the desired audience at the right time. Know ahead of time when you will be sending what Tweet. Have a calendar reminding you to update your website with new content. Upload another YouTube video every quarter. Every medium that touches your audience should have a calendar. We all know sometimes life gets in the way and certain things take a backseat. That’s fine. But when you have a plan you’re more likely to stick to it and be consistent in your content than just winging it.
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