Who hasn’t heard the infamous “content is king” phrase ad nauseam? Yes, the concept may be true, but the idea has gotten watered down to a pithy slogan, with few companies or marketing professionals thinking too deeply about what it means when they use content. When you do dig deep, the importance of content will become clear: it is the best way to convey what you do and why anyone should care; it also underscores why your product or service is better than the competition; as if that wasn’t enough, good content will also highlight the benefit of choosing your brand over the other guys. Doesn’t that sound like a good marketing strategy? Here are your five steps to go beyond the slogan to the reality on the horizon.
1. Use Content to Build Thought Leadership
Everyone knows that content can create awareness of your brand, but you want to go higher than awareness and actually be considered a thought leader. How do you achieve this high status? Post consistently, create content that is fresh and innovative, and stay abreast of the latest trends in your industry. More specifically, you want to address real issues your customers or potential customers may face and do so often enough that it becomes expected.
2. Use Content to Create Value
Again, it is not enough to say hello and introduce yourself, your content must also appeal on a more practical level–it needs to be useful. Long gone are the days of the customer doing everything for you and you doing nothing in return; today’s consumers have choices, so why should they choose you? Because you will give them tools and resources that they need to succeed. Create value for your brand by offering free e-books, templates, webinars and demos, even before you get that coveted e-mail address. By building value, you also build trust and that is essential to a good, long-lasting relationship with your audience.
3. Use Content in a Variety of Ways
A website is great, a blog is even better, but there is more to content than these basic tools; nowadays just about everyone has a blog, so how do you set yourself apart? All the research in the world will show you that there is no one “perfect” channel of communication, which means that you should be using all of them to increase your chances of being “heard.” Consider doing monthly email newsletters, creating a meaningful social media presence that adheres to the proper etiquette of each platform, or reaching out to key influencers in your industry to bring attention to your brand.
4. Use Content To Move Along the Buyer’s Journey
Even when you are already creating meaningful, varied and valuable content, you should also consider where your potential customer is on their buyer’s journey. Yes, this is another overused marketing term, but it is also a good way to frame your marketing-to-sales trajectory. Anyone coming in contact with your brand will either be doing general research on products or services, comparing one brand to another, or looking to make a purchase. By creating content for each of those steps, you are ensuring that you don’t lose anyone prematurely. For example, someone ready to buy your product will likely want more than a basic listicle blog post to help them learn more; in the same trope, someone just finding out what they need may not yet be ready to try out your full-scale demo.
5. Use Content As A Representation of “Personality”
Does your company appeal to a particular demographic? Do you have an individual voice and a unique story to tell? Of course you do! All well-established organizations should–this is the making of your brand. You may not yet be the next Apple of Google, but if you want to head in the same general direction, your content should always be speaking in that individual voice and telling that unique story. Every member of your team should know exactly what that means and how to convey it–whether it is through emails, phone conversations, in person or through your website, who you are as a company has to shine through.
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