8 Content Marketing Secrets That Work You’ve heard about it, read articles online and yet the concept of content marketing may not quite be clear to you. If …
8 Content Marketing Secrets That Work
You’ve heard about it, read articles online and yet the concept of content marketing may not quite be clear to you. If so, we’re going to cut through the clutter and give you our eight content marketing secrets that will drive more traffic to your website while also improving visitor engagement.
1. What’s Your Story?
From digital marketing to growing your customer base, what’s the one thing you’ve overlooked? For millions of companies, it almost always boils down to one element: your story.
Think about how you personally consume media in your own life. Chances are, you get bombarded everyday by news stories and reports all designed to do one thing. Capture your attention. Nothing else matters to advertisers as they all compete with one another be it online, on TV or radio and even in printed publications. But what are they striving to attain?
Often it’s to capture a few moments of your attention and then lead you into a story. However, are you using the same approach in your content marketing? Chances are good you’re not sharing enough about what drives your core passions selling products and services. Although, it’s not difficult if you invest time pinpointing your passions.
For example, if you’re an IT provider, you’ll likely offer exceptional customer service. One way to grow your story is to share case studies how you solve people’s problems by troubleshooting and servicing their needs. Instead of focusing on your company’s history, focus your story about the value you offer clients and customers.
Don’t forget, the power of the story format is attractive to consumers. Who doesn’t like to learn what makes your company different? If you can develop a story outline featuring genuine case studies of your commitment to service, you’ll no doubt engage your target audience into learning more about your commitment to serving them.
2. Case Studies & Problem Resolution
Now that you understand the benefits of sharing your value story, how do you implement it into your marketing? This is where real-world case studies come in. For instance, every prospect that finds you will want to know one thing: can you solve their problems?
The temptation answering this question is to promote your features and benefits. Perhaps even promote why your organization is an exceptional leader. But this technique is often overused and waters down your value message.
Instead, we recommend proving your expertise by sharing some of your customer case studies. It doesn’t need to be profound and self-promoting. The more emphasis you place on problem-resolution the better your prospects will see how your company is focused on solutions.
If you’re a software company, an obvious case study would be about a recent client that came to you interested in developing a new product. By chronicling why they came to you, what their problem was and how you solved it is a perfect case study to share with your audience.
Don’t forget, the more case studies you share with your prospects, the more trust and credibility you exhibit as an industry leader.
3. Develop Your USP
What is your unique selling proposition (USP)? Do you have one? Although the term has been around for decades, many companies don’t spend enough time developing their USP in simple language. Essentially, a good USP exposes what your company does better than anyone else and delivers it in a subtle way into consumers minds.
Developed by Al Ries and Jack Trout’s book Positioning: Battle For Your Mind, USP content marketing defines how you are perceived in the marketplace. Think of your USP as a mission statement about your brand’s products and services and how consumers perceive them.
If you’re not certain how to pinpoint your USP, here’s some questions to get you started…
• What differentiates you from your competition?
• How do you personalize interactions with your customers?
• In a few paragraphs, what do you do better than your competitors?
• When faced with a service issue, how do you resolve the problem quickly?
Don’t underestimate the power of a simple, yet clearly defined USP. Examples can be seen everywhere. For example, the Internet provider GoDaddy’s USP is to ‘ give people an easy, affordable way to get their ideas online.’
4. Building A Better Content Formula
So now that we’ve outline a few key areas to grow your brand, the next question is how do you launch your content marketing?
Think about less as being more. As in developing a content marketing formula that conforms to a structure that’s simple, consistent and timely. For example, if you’re an IT consulting firm, we recommend you invest in two mission-critical mediums by blogging at least three times per week and podcasting (or video).
The obvious starting point in content marketing is blogging. But why? It’s 100% text-based and can evolve quickly in a matter of days. Meet with your core executive team and sales people. Develop a content marketing schedule whereby you write and publish blog posts at least three times week featuring how-to tips and problem-resolution themes.
If your company doesn’t have in-house writers, outsource your writing to freelancers. But beware. Good writing skills are difficult to find depending on the overall tone and voice of your content. Here’s what we recommend when interviewing writers:
• Agree to an overall writing style that dovetails free advice with small doses of persuasive selling.
• Find writing styles you like within your industry as samples you can share with prospective writers.
• Next, hire at least three different writers to draft the same blog post from their perspective.
• Lastly, evaluate each article and pinpoint what you like and don’t prefer in writing styles.
Podcasting is another medium that offers your audience the freedom to learn more about your company without being tied to a computer. With the advent of podcast sharing sites such as iTunes, your prospective customers can listen to your podcast series while driving, working or during leisure time on their smartphones.
However, podcasting requires some technical considerations. Ones that include a script outline of each podcast as well as selecting voice talent. We recommend you start with blogging regularly and then develop a podcasting program. Typically, it’s best to aim for 30 minutes of air time in each podcast. Thus, you’ll want to pinpoint key topics on the minds of consumers and elaborate in detail about them.
5. Press Release Content Marketing
What was once reserved for large conglomerates, press release content marketing is now accessible to even the smallest of companies.
The benefit of venturing into press release marketing is it adds a large amount of credibility to your company in a global sense. One of the biggest mistakes you can make in press release marketing is to lack newsworthy stories. Remember, PR is about news and not self-promotion. Although there are finer nuances of adding promotion into your press releases, we recommend your release contain at least 75% genuine, news-related content.
So what types of news should your release? Ideally the best type of content focuses on the following themes:
• New product launches.
• Expansion news and service upgrades.
• Awards and accolades of your company by a credible source.
Press release content marketing is powerful because of the shear volume of news agencies looking for newsworthy content. If your release is credible, genuine and offers quality it can be picked up by hundreds of global media outlets giving you enormous exposure to new customers.
6. Customer Testimonials
If you’re looking to enrich your credibility, customer testimonial marketing is one of the most compelling ways to grow your story.
Face it. You probably have many customers and clients that love your products and services. Often these people are so loyal to your organization they would gladly give you a testimonial endorsement.
However, be very careful how you use customer testimonials in your content marketing. Too much self-promotion can backfire in your efforts when sharing customer satisfaction stories. We recommend you embrace a tasteful formula when publishing customer testimonials to include the following elements:
• How they found you.
• What problems they suffered with before purchasing your services.
• Why you are different than your competition.
• Lastly, what the result was doing business with your company.
The obvious temptation in your content marketing is to only share stories which cast a positive light on your company. People see through these types of endorsements as self-promoting sales endorsements rather than genuine stories. Thus, we suggest you mix in a variety of customer testimonials including good, not-so-good as well as ones that challenged your ability to service them and of course what did to resolve their problems.
This is important because it’s not always beneficial to demonstrate how much your customers love your company. Remember, we don’t live in a perfect world. Thus, consumers are more interested in how devoted you are to solving their problems when mishaps and disasters strikes.
What narrative do you feature customer testimonials? Ideally video or audio are the best and can provide enormous credibility. However, they are also more difficult to obtain. Therefore, content marketers with limited budgets and access to customers are best suited to include a photograph and a paragraph chronicling the customer experience.
7. Infographics Capture Attention
Even as recent as just a few years ago, Google images have surfaced in organic search results. Infographics often are listed very high on the first page of Google for one reason. They summarize complex subjects in carefully design graphics.
The unique content marketing value of syndicating infographics is that they can become social bate to be shared through the Internet. However, we advise you focus on developing infographics as a way to save your audience time sharing hard-to-understand technologies.
For instance, if your company provides organizations cloud computing solutions, a colorful infographic could quickly give prospects a better understanding how the cloud can lower their networking costs.
One of the biggest mistakes graphic designers make creating infographics is focusing too much attention on details. Instead, infographics need to cull out only the most important elements of your service. Then illustrate them in eye-catching designs.
8. Video Tells Your Story Like No Other Medium
Needless to say, video is the most powerful content marketing tool you can use to grow your business.
However, it comes with a steep learning curve which involves not only story ideas but creative video production challenges. Although, what may seem like a tall order for many companies to embrace, video content marketing is becoming the industry standard if you’re looking to build your brand in the minds of consumers.
If you need proof, visit YouTube.com. They’re the powerhouse of video sharing and have been since 2006. In fact, nearly 70% of all Internet content these days is video. When you combine the reach of video marketing with the ability to share your messages to billions of potential consumers, it’s an obvious winner.
But how do you develop a content marketing plan using video? It starts with thinking about one thing: your USP.
Remember, when you enter into video marketing, there are many creative challenges including audio voiceover, music and footage used in your videos. Thus, your decisions are complex how you manage and grow your storylines.
Simplifying your approach is wise at least in the first year of your video endeavors. For example, start by developing an agreeable video format among your marketing and sales team. We suggest screencast video production as your first effort.
Screencast videos allow you to tell your story on both PC and Mac computers. Video recording softwares are everywhere and can be purchased for less than $100. But the question on your mind is what do you talk about?
In the beginning, we recommend you focus on keeping your videos to three minutes or less in length. Next, develop a format you can process in your screencasts to outline your company mission, USP and then venture into customer testimonials and case studies.
If you’re worried video content marketing opening up too many creative variables to manage, you are correct. Although one of the most powerful mediums, video production can run into the thousands of dollars per video produced if you’re not careful.
One method to move your content marketing into video syndication is by outsourcing your production. In almost every major metropolitan city in the world, you can find freelance video production people. Often they come with years of expertise and can help you develop a video formula that makes sense for your marketing team.
A fantastic resource to consider using is Production Hub. They offer a global network of video production professionals and can help you identify video professionals in your area to advise you how to embark into video content marketing. Although it will take a sizable budget in the beginning, we suggest speaking with local experts asking them to train your in-house production people to produce your videos.
It may take a year or two growing your organization into a video content marketing maven, but the exponential benefits are obvious with YouTube being the third most-visited site on the planet behind Google.com and Facebook.com.
What are the downsides of using video as your content marketing medium? Almost always it’s with poor video production. Don’t forget, once you upload and syndicate your videos, they are available for people to view 24/7 365 days per year. If your videos lack professionalism and quality, you may very well damage your brand name without ever knowing about it.
Video is by far, one of the most influential mediums that can expand your sales and brand identity. Thus, it’s advisable to move slowly when considering video marketing.
Content marketing comes in many formats. Which is best for your company? One that fits your marketing style and can be done consistently throughout the year. Consistency is the mission-critical element that always delivers results once you develop a strategy that builds upon your trust and credibility.