Create more value with content marketing
Getting the right message to the right user, at exactly the right time. That’s what content marketing is all about. It’s not just a matter of creating relevant content. It also involves the whole process of planning, distributing, publishing and sharing that content in order to reach and engage your target group. As opposed to outbound marketing, where you want to reach the largest possible number of people with branded content, content marketing offers a factual answer to the questions of your target audience. As such, it is a full-fledged component of inbound marketing.
Let’s look at a few clever ways to set up content marketing that gets your audience both involved and engaged.
Be the solution
Some people are oblivious to the fact that there is a solution to certain challenges in their lives. Content marketing’s main purpose is to detect those challenges/problems and at the same time demonstrate how your products or services are the solution. By providing content that answers the questions of your audience members, you can position yourself as an expert. And by sharing your expertise, you can gently nurture your target group and eventually earn their trust before converting them into customers.
Draw up a clear strategy
Content marketing isn’t a random process. It needs a well-considered strategy that focuses on your buyer personas, the specific intentions of each persona in the buyer’s journey and the way your company can help them travel through this funnel. By mapping out the buyer’s journey, you can add touch points with content that activates your target group and ultimately converts them.
In order to do so, you first need to analyse the needs of your visitors throughout the customer journey. Once you know what they need, you can offer them a solution. The ‘3 H model’ of Google can help you shape your strategy: Help content / Hub content / Hero content. This model offers you a framework for your strategy. It doesn’t provide you with a roadmap for the specific content that fits the framework. If you want to know more about the creation of content throughout the buyers journey, you can read this article.
- Help content: always on content that’s always available through search engines and that offers answers to either specific or general questions from your target audience. It’s a non-campaign approach where the main goal is to simply create value which helps to position your brand as an expert and generate traffic. This is content based on interests, frequently asked questions and SEO.
Examples: blogs, how-to articles, reviews, help videos, …
One of our clients, Carglass®, for instance, has a blog with help and good-to-know articles about car related topics:
- Hub content: content designed for people that are already aware of who you are as a brand. This content should mainly focus on stimulating engagement and interactions with your audience and help you ‘bond’. Periodicity is key and ensures solidarity with the people who read your content, creating a sense of community. Maintaining a steady output of quality content will result in an audience that’s loyal and will view you as the go-to company for whatever product or service you’re offering. Always aim for your content to be sharable, whether or not advertised to spark the conversation.
Examples: weekly tipmails, monthly quizzes, vlogs, …
Carglass® sends out a monthly newsletter with tips, tricks & car hacks to make daily (driving) life easier, with noncommercial product promotions and with fun & lighter content. You can find out more about this newsletter in this article.
- Hero content: destined to perform, as an all-in campaign. We’re talking about content that requires time, effort and creativity to produce. This type of content should speak to a wide audience, but clearly highlight what your brand stands for. Think it through, because this content can help you set the tone or adjust how your brand is perceived. Hero content is what it takes to really get your brand out there and expand awareness. We’re looking for content that sticks and leaves a positive impression. Any potential to go viral is a big plus.
Examples: games, commercials, …
For Carglass®, we developed a competition which we advertised through Facebook and Instagram. First of all, we wanted to collect opt-ins, so we could broaden the reach of Carglass® email marketing (= inbound). Additionally we wanted to create a positive brand awareness (outbound). You can find out more about this case in this article.
Don’t be afraid to experiment
New formats, like gamification, VR, animated content, … If you refresh your approach and your formats regularly, you’re likely to get more attention and response. Your content naturally revolves around informing your users, but don’t neglect the importance of search engines. Make sure you write content optimised for SEO. As we discussed in our previous blog post - How to make the synergy between SEO and SEA work – you’ll get the best results when you let SEO and SEA work together. It’s a good idea to bring your content to the attention of your target group with targeted advertisements, in Google or on social media.
OK, you have an insight into the customer journey. And you have sufficient content available. Now it’s time to match them and provide well-timed touch points. The ultimate goal is to create an optimal user experience, which ensures that as many users as possible reach the end of the funnel.
Content marketing is an often overlooked part of inbound marketing. And that’s a bit unjustified. Relevant content is an essential part of your marketing strategy. Offering the right content, to the right person at the right time in the customer journey, is crucial if you want to guide your users all the way through the funnel.