The skill of writing is to create a context in which other people can think. Excellent thought from Edwin Schlosberg. Have seen statistics on the amount of information available today … doubling every 18 to 24 months? Amazing isn’t it? According to Nielsen, there are 27,000,000 pieces of content are shared each day. We check our phones 150 times per day. We check our email up to 30 times an hour. And Statistic Brain says that our average attention span has dropped from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds – one second less than a goldfish! It is not surprising then that the battle over the content plan is getting more difficult every day.
So we all need to pay attention to the Edwin Schlosberg quote about creating the ability to stimulate thinking in our readers.
All this available information and data is creating a battle for customer attention between brands, publishers, and each one of us who creates content. But more importantly, it’s forcing businesses to think and act much more competitively.
Zen teaches that the potential to achieve enlightenment is inherent in everyone but lies dormant because of ignorance. It is best awakened not by the study of scripture or the practice of good deeds, but by breaking through the boundaries of mundane logical thought. To be successful in the battle of content marketing you certainly break through these boundaries.
That is why “Content Marketing” is one of the biggest buzzwords in marketing. It requires businesses to create content that their customers actually want. Content that helps them. And it is such a hot term right now because it is one of the biggest gaps between the content marketers creates and the information our customers are looking for.
That is also why more than 90% of marketers are using content marketing, but only 42% rate their content marketing efforts as effective, according to a recent study.
Related post: The Zen of Winning the Battle of the Content Plan
If everyone is creating content, how does a business break through the boundaries of mundane logical thought? How do we reach our customers in a way that engages them? Our objective of this blog topic is to address these questions.
Content plan … what is content marketing?
Content marketing involves using writing to make customers and potential customers more aware of a customer’s brand. This text can be web articles, blog posts, eBooks or white papers. Unlike newspaper and traditional magazine articles, good content marketing does more than just report. Good content marketing connects with readers and makes them want to use your client’s product or service.
Traditional marketing was all about print advertising, branded magazines, catalogs and directly promoting sales – until the digital age took over. Today’s marketing has adopted a completely digital look and feel; from eBooks to white papers, blog posts to webinars, the Internet is considered the primary conduit for modern content distribution. Within this transition to digital marketing, social media and online engagement have quickly taken on major roles, and are now viewed as fundamental tools in present-day B2B marketing.
Marketing content is all about making connections. Your level of success has a lot to do with how your readers react to what you write. People connect with the product or service that your clients sell because they relate to what you’re saying to them. They want to feel that your copy is specifically crafted with their interests and needs in mind. In other words, it should feel personal.
The integration of ‘social’ into the digital marketing space has fostered content marketing. In this respect, any message, comment, question, image, video or presentation posted on a social media network constitutes content, in and of itself. In this new world of marketing, content is no longer itemized in terms of a case study, blog post or webinar, and doesn’t necessarily adhere to a certain length. The paradigm has shifted to accommodate a broad definition of content, regardless of whether it’s a 140 character Tweet or a 25 page white paper.
Your internet marketing plan
What is the most important element of an internet marketing plan? That is an easy answer. It’s your content marketing. If your business is a hotel, a tourist attraction, or the like, that depends more on attracting new customers, this is particularly true.
Many times the word ‘content’ translates to blog and Facebook posts when up for discussion. It’s actually much more than that.
The point of content is to get people to understand you have something that might just make sense for them, that you know what you’re talking about and that your approach can be trusted above all others.
Have you been frustrated with your social media interaction recently? Even if you’ve had the cleverest posts, you can’t seem to generate the social chatter that you deserve.
You may be discouraged due to the fact that your Facebook posts are getting buried within the newsfeed. Or it may be that your Tweets aren’t getting the coveted RT. Maybe it’s because your YouTube videos, which you’ve spent a lot of time creating, are getting very little views.
Here are some tips to help spice up your content and solidify your connections and engagement with customers:
Content plan example … create emotion
In his book Contagious, Wharton professor Jonah Berger showed that one of the key reasons people share content online is because it arouses a person’s emotion. His point … content has to go beyond just being useful; it has to be unforgettable. Rather than trying to churn out quantity, take the time to figure out what kind of emotions move your audience.
In doing so, it’s important to remember that not all emotion is created equal. In his research, Berger identifies that certain kinds of emotions – those that get people “aroused” like awe, passion, and anger – are much more likely to drive shares than those that make people feel toned down – like sadness, relaxation, or contentment.
Don’t be afraid to rock the boat.
Content plan for social media … personalization
Content must be personalized to increase its consumption and, more importantly, its influence. It must inspire the actions you desire. Your goal? Get the right information detail to the right decision maker on a just-in-time basis.
Be fast and simple
Long lead times for content development and publication across limited channels can lead to a slow and cumbersome creation process. That is the exact opposite of what content marketing is all about. The best content marketing needs to be as near real time as you can make it. Real-time marketing requires the urgency of broadcast news.
Understanding how to craft value in an interactive and always-on environment is critical to success. It’s a difficult thing to translate brand values, promise and efficacy across the terrain of modern channels of communication. In order to turn real-time moments into long-term success, brands need to be able to consistently translate their ideas into consumer value.
Often a reader’s first exposure to a business comes not from a slick: 60 second ad but from an obscure blog post on a very specific topic of interest turned up in a series of search engine inquiries. A major objective of your content marketing is to build a library that reaches into these corners of search. Content in this form starts the potential customer on their journey of discovery.
Tool for customer service
We are firm believers that word of mouth marketing is the best form of marketing and one of the best sources for memorable topics is customer service. Twitter has become a public facing customer service tool for good or bad and with it comes an entirely new level of service based content.
Content that teaches customers how to get more, how you really care for your customers, how to fix problems and how to find the answers to common challenges and functions has become an essential customer service utility.
In the world of creating customers and advocates, trust is everything. Obviously, the end game is that they ultimately trust the product, service, organization or solution they seek will address their needs, but the first line of trust is often formed based on the content they find or don’t find. Content marketing faces the same reader skepticism as traditional advertising. Therefore, being as helpful as possible is the only way to engage prospects to gain their trust and build meaningful relationships with them.
Ever since prospects learned that just about any claim an organization makes can be supported or contested with a simple search, the need to build content that offers proof of results has risen in importance. Getting at customer success stories in ways that describe the heart of what really matters is an essential form of necessary content.
Provide needed information
Both B2C and B2B customers do their homework online before purchasing. Therefore, you must provide the information they seek to enter the consideration set. This means product content, answers to customer questions, how-to’s, and ratings and reviews. If you don’t supply this content, someone else will and you lose.
Related post: 9 Ways Subway Blew a Direct Response to Social Comment
Product use support
Many marketers underestimate the value of information that supports customers with their products once they have it home. If your customer can’t use your product, they’ll either return it or not buy from you again. Neither is what you want, so be there whenever customers need your support.
Content is essential to a strong search optimization strategy to help your business get found on-line.
Remember this: as a business owner, it is extremely important to consider the logical and the emotional aspects of you target audience. It is also critical that you speak to both of those aspects. You must respect your target audience enough to understand that they are capable of making sound, rational decisions.
Often, if content marketing materials cause a business to fail, it is because one or the other is lacking. Hard work and dedication are certainly part of the mix but your thinking must include logic and emotion as well.
Lots of ideas here that can be easily replicated … which ones do you feel could benefit your business? Please post your comments below, offering questions or your own great examples of content marketing tips.
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Mike Schoultz is the founder of Digital Spark Marketing, a digital marketing and customer service agency. With 40 years of business experience, he blogs on topics that relate to improving the performance of your business. Find them on G+, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
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