We live in a digital age where people being glued to their phones seems to be ubiquitous and unavoidable. Rather than getting aggravated about how far society has fallen, why not capitalise on this era of short attention spans and create content that improves your brand’s connection to its consumers? Through content marketing we can do just that.
Content marketing is the act of creating content that is relevant to your brand, attracting new customers or engaging with old customers in order to maintain your customer base. It involves knowing what your company has to offer, as well as what potential customers wish to see.
Here are nine ways that you can utilise content marketing to increase your social media engagement, connect to your audience and boost your sales.
1. Know your Audience
In order to generate ideas and strategies for content marketing, you first need to understand who your target audience is and what they are seeking. This is the first and most crucial step of content marketing, knowing exactly who you are marketing towards.
Through the creation of marketing personas, you can personalise your audience, making them feel unique and individual, targeting a specific individual rather than a group. Once establishing your chosen personas, you must endeavour to understand the audience’s thought process when creating content, ensuring you are targeting the audience’s needs and wants. You must also consider the channels and messaging most relevant to this persona, ensuring you do not waste funds on inappropriate mediums not to be engaged by potential customers. Ultimately, the audience needs to be able to resonate with the content you are creating for them.
In knowing your audience, you will be at ease in converting audience members to paying customers and eventually brand loyalists.
2. Stay on top of Trends
Staying on top of trends is crucial in staying ahead of the competition. A key component of the digital marketing strategy is to continually identify new relevant trends and implement them into your content marketing.
In order to successfully identify these trends, be sure to subscribe to information resources which provide contemporary news and updates of the current trends. One such resource is Google Alerts, which notifies you when newly posted results of a topic have been highlighted. Another resource is to utilise both email newsletters and blogs, which provide constant reminders and updates of the current market environment. This will allow you to remain relevant in a continually changing marketplace.
3. Tell a Story
Although trends allow you to stay in the loop of contemporary digital media and remain relevant, this is subject to constant flux and change. Rather, telling a story allows for true connection when building a connection with the audience.
Creating a story makes the content you are providing more engaging and compelling, rather than simply throwing out facts to your consumers. As humans, we are drawn to connection through story, we want to react to a narrative. Using emotions to connect with your audience on a deeper level should become a key focus, as emotions are what connect people with a story, making it truly human.
For example, through IKEA’s content marketing strategy, IKEA focuses their marketing around the imagination of the consumer. IKEA creates an augmented reality initiative which allows consumers to visualise how specific furniture items would look within their own homes. IKEA allows consumers to reimagine their homes, immersing them in an experience with endless opportunities to create and build a new home unique to their own lives.
4. Be Informative
Viewers are appreciative of content which solves an educational and informational objective, such as introducing them to new things, for example brands. Educating readers on topics related to your niche rather than just selling to them enables you to reach a larger target audience.
Providing educational information that is relevant to your target audience will solidify your brand in the mind of the consumer as an expert in the given industry you operate in. Once the image of a trusted expert is in the mind of the consumer, you now become an authoritative and trustworthy figure in recommending a product or service.
For example, Colgate raises awareness of the detriment of poor oral healthcare through the ‘Oral Care Center’ [https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health], an informative blog on dental conditions and their treatments. This effectively drives consumers towards products that may not have been considered before.
5. Measure and Improve
Data analysis is an incredibly crucial skill that should be utilised by all businesses that operate social media platforms. Data analytics provides you with a vast amount of information on audience/consumer engagement, determining the likes and dislikes of your audience, further providing you with ideas on how to reallocate your resources.
Additionally, data analytics provides you with information at the time of engagement and enables you to determine the peak times of exposure. Doing so enables you to deliver the right content at the right time, essentially maximising exposure of your content. Being on top of your data analytics allows you to recalibrate your marketing strategy and make adjustments accordingly.
6. Think Out-of-the-Box
Due to the competitive nature of the digital marketplace, fighting for the attention of the consumer is always a challenge in content marketing. You should not shy away from experimentation, try to think of out-of-the-box content and do not rely entirely upon stereotypical methods of content such as blog posts. This is what will enable you to stand out in a saturated market.
For example, popular ridesharing company Lyft created a series on Youtube ‘Undercover Lyft’, which involves celebrities disguising as Lyft drivers in order to increase their brand awareness and stimulate social media engagement.
7. Choosing the Right Platform
When creating content for your target audience, it is important to reach this target audience in the most effective way. Understanding the purpose of each social media platform allows businesses to refocus their efforts and retain the best return on the time invested in marketing.
Understanding your customer base is crucial in the decision-making of the platform, as this will determine what platform is the most effective to reach your relevant target audience and where these consumers will be spending the majority of their time on social media.
For example, Linkedin is very much a professional domain for formal related content contrasted to Tiktok, a more fun and playful platform. Both platforms are used to convey distinctly different messages and therefore, exhibit a different side to your brand.
8. Utilise Influencers
You may have heard this a million and one times and it may be glaringly obvious but collaborating with influencers is one of the most effective ways to generate brand awareness with content marketing. This is an optimal way to both increase exposure of your brand and also improve optics, in terms of viewer engagement with said content.
It primarily persuades your intended target audience. Using the loyal fanbase of an influencer can sway your intended audience, making them feel at ease, by contrast to nonchalant towards a brand they may not know nor have loyalty towards. This persuasion may also appeal to a more diverse audience potentially reaching a whole new market not previously targeted by the brand.
However, the influencers chosen cannot be any random content creator on an app, they will now become associated with your brand, as such they need to be someone whose image and values aligns with your brand’s. Considerations of their relevance, their reach and resonance of their message to your audience need to be made.
9. Make it Relevant
Consumers wish to view or consume content that is in line with their own personal interests, applicable to their current lives and completely relatable. This is the crux of mastering content marketing, a culmination of all the points mentioned above.
In order to be relevant and boost engagement, you must know both yourself and your targeted audience extremely well. You need to completely understand your brand, goals, mission and voice. Most importantly, you must understand how it relates to your consumer, and make content surrounding that connection.
However, this is never constant, relevance is an abstract concept that is continually shifting and in flux, therefore, you must understand how to stay on top of the changes. Specifically the culture and the demand. The world is constantly changing, as well as your customers and users in it.
According to Cory Haik, the Chief Digital Officer of Vice Media, “audiences have to be able to see themselves in content, and if they don’t, they will leave.”
Lachlan is a final year Bachelor of Commerce student at the University of Melbourne, majoring in marketing and management. Lachlan has worked as a Marketing Intern at the property law firm Oxley Legal, as well as a property development firm Aultun Property Group. Through his experience, he has utilised out-of-the-box marketing solutions in social media marketing to attract new customers whilst maintaining and building on the relationships of the current customer base.