- Quality content should be a no-brainer for any company who has an online presence.
- But to get to a point where that quality content attracts new and recurring customers, companies need to have a vested interest in their audience’s needs.
- Keep reading to find out what the 4 observations are that will help your company to produce content that can attract more business.
In a recent podcast that appeared on Synchrony's Business Schooled, it was asked if content marketing was worth pursuing.
Surprisingly, the overall answer was no.
The podcast, which was hosted by Alexis Ohanian, Co-founder of Reddit and Initialized Capital, surmised that this wasn’t because content marketing is somehow inherently flawed. It's simply because content marketers may not put in the effort to succeed.
Of course those who commit to creating bonds with their audiences, who understand the passions of their audiences, and who can deliver both content and commerce to their audiences are far ahead of the game and in that, well on the path that helps foster their own company success.
Other companies that don’t do this, but instead throw up any type of content they “think” will attract audiences, particularly with the aid of fly-by-night online software whose only intent is to beat down Google with keywords, invariably lose.
It’s the content that counts; not the keywords or snippets, or whatever the “better” competition is placing online.
For a company to have online success and attract business, it’s not enough to copy others and replicate what’s already been written or photographed.
A responsible company that truly seeks to provide quality content to its perspective audience does so with just that – quality content, sans gimmicks conjured up by second-rate software engineers who equate to nothing more than modern day snake oil salesmen.
- Content for all.
In the podcast it was determined that as far as content is concerned, the one-size-fits-all approach to content marketing three key elements need to seamlessly integrate to help deliver real value. They are:
Ohanian used Missouri Star Quilt Company as a top example of a business that integrates the three.
“It's not enough to find and target your customer. Anyone can do that. We should all be looking for ways to create bonds with people to keep them coming back.”
Of course the term "content" as Ohanian explains, covers a whole lot of territory. It can be a one-word tweet or a voluminous whitepaper. Whatever the form or length, content needs to serve the interests and demands of the audience for whom it is intended.
The podcast goes onto explain that while there are dozens of platforms for delivering content, all formats should have a common thread: storytelling. Whether it's an article, a podcast, or a video, the content should deliver compelling, entertaining and/or insightful information.
As to the Missouri Star Quilt Company, the co-founder Jenny Doan was coming up short with her business before her son Al convinced her to create instructional quilting videos and post them on YouTube.
The content that Doan produced consisted of simple "how to" video tutorials on quilting. While not overly produced, or having overly aggressive CTAs, each episode provided a valuable lesson, while doing a brilliant job of showcasing Jenny Doan's warm and down-to-earth personality.
"Creating the right amount of content took some experimentation," Doan says. "We didn't want to be spam-y and in people's faces. Instead, we focused on making content people wanted to see, and building a shopping experience that supported that. Once we became a destination for them, we knew we had to create a steady stream of the kinds of content they were looking for."
Granted, no one is looking for Pulitzer Prize-type of investigative material.
In this case, the exposition of quality content instead speaks simply and meaningfully to its target audience. Quality content uses the people’s voice. It speaks their language.
The articles should teach, entertain, and engage.
And to top it off, creating content doesn't have to be expensive. Nonetheless, it will require a significant commitment if you are going to do it well.
- Learn that community trumps all.
The podcast suggests that while it may sound simplistic, the key to building a community for your business is to create content that feeds members' passions as well as finding ways to get that content in front of them.
It's one thing to know who your target audience is. It's quite another to understand their interests and behaviors. That's where research and hard work come into play. Where does your audience reside online? What content formats do they prefer? In many cases, communities with common interests already exist, and they are interacting with each other online.
"Don't start a content marketing campaign with the idea of 'building community,'" says Ann Handley bestselling author of two books, chief content officer of Marketing Profs, and one of the preeminent experts on content marketing. "Instead, start by articulating your bigger story, creating and sharing great content, and showing up and responding to the people who connect with it."
"Brands can find success by creating content that aligns with their enterprise and capabilities in a natural way," says Mason Narramore, VP, Brand Advertising & Content at Synchrony. "As people with a shared passion engage with that content, you're able to understand what formats, stories and topics resonate. It's a best practice for any company: What value, knowledge and tools can we share that are authentic to who we are? Then the community will follow."
- Commerce and its slippery slope.
Online marketers who have been around for a while realize how dicey content marketing can be.
Sure, customers may want to be informed and entertained with digital content. However, they don’t necessarily want that content to “pitch” them, as in a sales pitch.
The podcast states that if you haven't built a foundation of trust, there can be resistance when you start attempting to sell to your audience.
The key here is to avoid this problem by having a natural flow to the content that is attached to the products or services a company offers.
While doing this, keep your mission statement in mind while also attending to the needs and wants of the community you plan to sell your products to.
- Maintain sustainable growth.
Many businesses enjoy rapid growth spurts only to stall in their growth and see revenue decline. They may have reached a sales saturation point. They may have just stopped innovating.
Businesses can use content to serve and create a community, and then monetize that community by providing goods and services that serve their passions. This approach can help them to enjoy sustainable growth.
The very nature of community is that people share content that supports the members. Sharing not only keeps the community together, it brings in a constant flow of new members, each of whom may be a potential customer.
There is no doubt in today’s business market that content is king. If executed properly, content can be a positive focal point for new and existing customers in any business segment. The only requirement is that the content be produced with the audience’s desires and needs in mind – not Google’s desires or needs.
Do this and you can virtually guarantee your company business today and into the future.