How Can I Gain Attention with Content Marketing?
Are you being noticed in the overcrowded digital marketplace? Dumping heaps of money into advertising will not grow a loyal audience. Enter the world of content marketing. The curtain lifts and your company story begins.
What is Content Marketing, Exactly?
Content marketing is the creation and dissemination of branded digital content (online material). It differs from public relations and sales in that it does not overtly promote the brand or its products. Yet, content plays an increasingly expanded role in courting the digital consumer. Content marketing aims to identify, speak to, and stimulate the interests of target audiences. Rather than focus on products, it focuses content around consumer desires and identity. Branded content is created around clear guidelines that communicate a company’s character. Companies with clear and consistent brand mission, values, and identity are better trusted by consumers. Content-rich websites increase traffic. They provide material customized to online searches and targeted audiences. Content marketing best practices include evaluating keywords, trending searches, and user behavior. This increases the customer base and generates marketing leads. Ultimately, this contributes to brand recognition and trust. That, in turn, leads to increased sales and a bevy of other benefits.
What is Content?
Content includes visual and written text and multimedia. (All of which can be optimized independently and in relation to each other.) It is not just blog posts and newsletters. Content includes everything —Instagram, photos, Tweets, white papers, advertising copy, UI text, Facebook statuses, briefs, user generated content, et cetera. It also includes live or scripted video content marketing or awareness infographics.
- Content is a single piece of content; or, more broadly
- Content is how discrete content and/or text comes together to tell a story about your brand, product, and the customer.
Branded content is a little misleading, since all copy reflects the company.
What is story?
Content is the sum of every visual and written textual message that goes out. Content creates your story. But what does story mean? Story is the digital landscape all your messaging creates. People navigate in that space, hoping for adventure and discovery. This is the customer journey. Plainly, the brand is no longer an entity. It’s a total environment where the digital consumer is the hero.
The consumer can choose any digital landscape they picture themselves in (and there are lots). The proliferation of rich visual landscapes, rising prominence of UX, and high bounce rates prove the user’s primacy. Within the first few seconds, your content must answer, “How is this relevant to me, the viewer?” Today it is about the user journey through your world. Hopefully, that is towards your CTAs. It is not enough to have a good product. This is how SEO and content marketing can help. SEO helps you grab attention and divert traffic. Quality content keeps that traffic moving through your domain.
So, stop brandishing your logo. Cast the spotlight on your visitors. How do you make your story part of their journey? First, you have to know your audience. Second, your story and product need to be central to their needs. Content is the way you reach audiences and build consumer trust. It is how those individual chapters scattered across platforms and pieces coalesce into a known brand with strong appeal.
Customer Journey in Storied Content
Since the customer is your hero, here are content must-haves:
- Setting (Brand) – Identifies the context of the story
- Characters (Consumers) – Locates the hero within the context
- Mission (Identity) – Is the wants, needs and values that motivate the hero’s journey
- Obstacles (Disincentives) – Understands the obstacles
- Outcome (Value offered) – Creates meaningful ends for the customer
Your content should be able to integrate all five of these categories.
Content must understand and communicate its identity and purpose. (Remember: your brand is the setting!) That setting should compel a target audience. It should appeal to audience desires. Understand the obstacles. And, openly promise to fulfil user needs.
Since the customer journey guides user behavior, it bears on multiple departments. Content is increasingly a cross-functional area. Companies are restructuring around digital spaces. Content runs through an growing number of overlapping organizational teams. Because, how do you get noticed in a crowded digital marketplace? There are over 3 billion internet users. 60% of time on mobile devices is spent on social media. The fact is: we live digitally. Outcomes depend on attracting and keeping audience attention. Integrated marketing leverages content to carry marketing messaging to captivated audiences. And loyal audiences journey towards marketing outcomes.
Integrated Marketing. Where Does Content Come In?
Siloed approaches to marketing are gone with the 20th century and VHS. Integrated marketing campaigns unify the various marketing communications’ expressions and strategies to ensure:
- Messaging is consistent across channels
- Story is centered around the customer’s need for information
- Outcomes are clear, reliable, and build continued engagement
At the heart of integrated marketing, is content. Content guides the customer journey. It is the total environment that carries and connects advertising, PR, sales, and social media across various media channels and activities. Although content marketing is a more nebulous, watching for corollary growth and revenue as content increases can show dramatic increase in consumer attention.
Content writers can also be incorporated into traditional copywriting and messaging roles. This will help extend brand impact by infusing voice and value at all touchpoints. A brilliant content writer will wield persuasive, subtle rhetoric that goes far deeper than syntax. They should be able to apply conceptual (meaning structures) and lexical (relations between words) semantics to messaging. These root connections between your audience and your brand more deeply. It’s not just what you say. It’s how you say it.
The Benefits of Content Marketing
Content marketing is distinct from advertising campaigns in that it plays a long game. Its goal is not a specific revenue boost for a product. Your SEO tools provides invaluable insight into what users want. From those keywords and searches, providing quality content will capture the ongoing attention of increased traffic. Content marketing:
- Increases brand visibility and positions brand as a dependable authority.
- Generates more inbound traffic by catering to target audience interests and improves lead generation.
- Content rich websites make visitors more likely to purchase products by keeping them within site. Strategically create links that continue or augment the visitor’s journey.
- Audience-oriented content increases engagement, sharing, and return visits and opens communication with audience and proxy audiences
- Improves brand recognition and deepens familiarity with brand identity (values, mission, and purpose) for a lasting consumer base consumer trust and identification
- Ensures brand and content consistency across platforms, products, departments, and campaigns
- Soft touch points avoid expensive and off-putting hard pitches
- Grows exponentially, providing the framework for organic growth