Every marketing professional knows that “Content is King.” (ahem, “Queen”) Content marketing, which literally means using content to market yourself or your business, has many advantages. By producing consistent and relevant content, shared with your target audience via a website, blog, e-newsletter, articles and social media, you establish yourself as an expert or leader in your industry. Rather than constantly pushing your products or services, you are able to stay connected to your customers by providing interesting and informative content that will help foster a trusting relationship.
Let’s say Joe Schmoe decides to open a bicycle repair shop. Joe is a very skilled technician and he offers fairly competitive prices. Joe creates a website, sets up a Facebook, Google+ and Twitter account, invites all his friends to “like” his page and “follow” him and then he starts posting. Joe posts information about his services, about deals he’s running, where his shop is located, his hours of operation, etc. and then he waits for the customers to roll in… and waits, and waits. While Joe may be the best guy in the neighborhood for bike repairs, the people who need him (bike enthusiasts, cyclists, parents whose children ride bikes, etc.) don’t even know he exists. And the people who are following him don’t care to see (or share) his posts about the 20% off coupon he added to his website. So, how does Joe get the attention of his potential customers?
Enter: Content Marketing. By creating, finding and sharing content relevant to his target audience, Joe can then begin to develop an online community. By starting a blog and writing about topics such as routine bicycle maintenance, bicycle safety for kids, or winter clothing ideas for cyclists, Joe can establish himself as an expert in the community and establish trust. By engaging with online communities and sharing articles from top cycling websites, Joe will remain connected with his potential customers and when the time comes, they’ll know just who to turn to for that bike repair.
While there are many benefits to content marketing, building trust and establishing your business as an expert in your industry are two of the biggest and most-valuable. While searching for, creating, writing and posting content can be incredibly time consuming (hint: this is why you hire The CRUSH Agency), the benefits far outweigh the cost. Content marketing is something every business should include in their marketing strategy and regardless of size, industry, tenure, or location these are the five key elements critical to your content marketing strategy.
- An attention-grabbing headline: What good does it do to spend hours researching and writing a blog post if no one wants to read it? Instead of “What to Wear When It’s Cold and You Want To Ride Your Bike” Joe could title his post, “Cycling Through the Cold: The Best Winter Clothing for Cyclists.”
Not the best at coming up with attention-grabbing headlines? Not to worry, there are a number of tools available to help point you in the right direction. BuzzSumo, for instance, is an online tool that allows you to search any topic and find the most-shared content for that topic (i.e. what’s “trending”). You can then tailor your post to mimic the trending content.
Portent’s content idea generator is a hilariously-fun way to come up with some really “interesting” blog post titles. For example, enter “cycling” into the content idea generator and get, “Why Cycling is Hotter Than Jennifer Lawrence.” If that doesn’t get your creative juices flowing, I don’t know what will!
- Useful information that solves a problem: The problem – It’s cold out, but your customers still want to ride their bike. The solution – cyclist-tested, and approved, clothing ideas your customers can wear to keep warm while cycling in the winter. See how that works? Your customers’ “problems” can change from season to season, year to year, or even day to day. If you are able to anticipate the problem and consistently provide real and useful solutions, your customers will continue coming back for more.
- A single focus point, or topic: It’s important that your content remains focused and organized. In order to maintain the attention of your audience, you want to avoid going off on tangents, or starting with one topic and ending with another. This may seem like common sense, but it is easier to lose your focus than you might think. This can be avoided by carefully planning and outlining your blog post, or article, before you actually begin writing it.
- Stories or examples that help communicate your point: A la, Joe Schmoe and his bicycle repair shop (you know, he’s not even paying us for all this publicity!).
When Buffer, an online social media scheduling tool, conducted a test to determine the power of storytelling in their blog posts, the results showed that posts with a story had nearly 300% more people scroll all the way to the bottom, and average time on the page was more than five times higher! Those are pretty powerful results!
- A call to action: Whether it’s a question that prompts a reply in the comments section of your blog, a request to share your article, or a lead-in to finding out more about a product or service you’d like to promote, ending with a clear call to action is the only way your audience will know what you want them to do.
If Joe wants his audience to know that he’s running a special on a certain bike part this month, let’s say a suspension fork, he could share an article like, “Tips on What to Consider When Buying a Bicycle Suspension Fork” and then present a call to action by saying “click here to see our February specials on suspension forks!”
Content marketing is an invaluable tool for businesses. Without it, you’d simply be shouting nonsense in a room full of noise. Content marketing allows businesses to cut through the noise and say something worth listening to. Contact us to learn how The CRUSH Agency can help your business cut through the noise.