There is a huge focus on content production from brands currently especially as Facebook and the like are making so much noise about being ‘video-first’. However, with a greater reliance on content production, there has never been a greater need for effective content marketing strategies.
Let’s first visit and refine the meaning of content marketing so we are all on the same page.
The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as:
“A strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
To break that down, content marketing is about delivering relevant information to your customers that aims to inspire, engage and change their behaviour. By enlightening and enriching our customers with useful or entertaining information, the more likely they are to create a loyal bond with us and in turn, grace us with their custom.
A well-crafted piece content can come in any form; copy, video, photography etc. As Marshall McLuhan suggested “the medium is the message”. In this context - conveying your message to your audience in an appropriate format/channel is as (if not more) important as what you want to tell them.
A great example of the medium as the message is Domain the real estate agency’s online series Avalon Now. By creating a comedic short-form series that resonates with its target audience doesn't contain content that tells people to buy houses. Instead through the medium of a video series Domain has adapted its potential customers’ behaviour, driving them to the company’s website where it can then further engage with them.
Research undertaken by the Content Marketing Institute found that 89% of respondents used content marketing, yet only 37% had a content marketing strategy, and only 29% thought their organisation was effective at content marketing.
Why is that?
Is it because creating a content marketing strategy is a more difficult than posting an online ad? Or is it because it demands creativity and for businesses and marketers to constantly innovate?
Of course, developing and executing an effective strategy is more labour-intensive and requires continual delivery of new and fresh ideas, yet the long-term benefits ranging from; customer loyalty or increased conversions to brand identity, validate the effort invested.
3 rules for your content marketing strategy
- Be relevant - There is no point writing about the latest dating app to rival tinder when you are selling maternity wear to expecting mums. It just doesn’t fit.
- Be strategic – Look to your wider business objectives and the ongoing marketing plan and create content themes to complement and serve these objectives
- Be targeted – You know your audience better than anyone and so you also understand your audience segments. Instead of adopting a one-size fits all approach for content target different segments with highly relevant material.
Let’s take a look at the impact effective content can have.
A Story of a Fuck Off Fund is an article you may have seen that was posted on The Billford – a website designed to encourage people to talk openly about money issues. They do this with extremely well-written articles that adhere to the three rules listed above. This particular article speaks to every young woman at the cusp of starting her career – those with high hopes, big aspirations and a good dose of confidence and attitude. The writer puts herself back into those shoes, connecting seamlessly with the modern-day lives and challenges faced by those looking for their big break while trying to make ends meet. Little do the readers realise that as they are light-heartedly entertained, they are finding themselves nodding in agreement of the importance of setting up their own ‘Fuck Off Fund’ (savings account) in order to avoid the fate of the damsel in distress.
This is a shining example of how powerfully a perfectly devised and well-targeted piece of written content can resonate with its audience and evoke action (even in the age of ‘video-first’). With over 5,400 likes on the website, international press coverage and a hashtag that has seen immense pick-up globally, this has been the most popular article The Billford has posted and what’s more it incited action. Had a bank been behind this content it would have been a bold but potentially very effective piece of content marketing to drive the opening of new savings accounts.
If you are looking to overhaul your content marketing strategy get in touch, we’d be happy to discuss it with you.