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 on more on attracting new customers; this is particularly true. It should be all about making lasting connections.
Related post: 12 Fundamental Laws of Content Marketing
Many times the word “content” translates to blog and Facebook posts when up for discussion. It’s much more than that.
Successful content marketing is about creating a connection between your audience and your brand.
This doesn’t mean just throwing content at them. It means creating content that they truly value—content that serves their needs and addresses their biggest pain points. This type of content is much easier to create when it’s informed and driven by empathy.
As Dr. Brené Brown notes, “Empathy is feeling with people.”
When you put yourself in your audience’s shoes, it becomes easier to acknowledge their struggles and think critically about the best solutions. That’s why empathetic content marketing is such a powerful strategy for both B2B and B2C.
The skill of writing is to create a context in which other people can think.
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.
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 to their interests and needs in mind. In other words, it should feel personal.
Here are some tips to help spice up your content and solidify your connections with customers:
Check your values at the door
I’m often guilty of this. I think that because I wouldn’t spend X amount of dollars for a top-end coffee machine, trip to Fiji or the latest convenience food, that no one else would either. A marketing copywriter owes his client the skill and objectivity to think that his client is selling the most desirable product or service on the planet.
In the modern world of business, it is useless to be a creative, original thinker unless you can also sell what you create.
Cleverness doesn’t sell products and services. Original thinking in marketing is great, but not just for the sake of being witty or clever. If you aren’t thinking about connecting with your audience, building trust and marketing your products or services when you sit down to write, you need to reexamine your motivations.
Learn everything you can know about your topic (and your audience) before you write. Stuff your conscious mind with information. Do lots of research and take notes. Many notes and ideas to connect with other ideas.
Then unleash your unconscious mind, and see what bubbles up. Create content that will be helpful, insightful, or interesting for your target audience.
Marketing without selling
This may sound counter-intuitive, but your story travels further the less you mention your brand. This idea stems from the fact that Web readers are tired of being constantly bombarded with overt brand marketing. Instead of writing buy me, buy me, the market in a way that makes your reader want to reach for your client’s brand without being asked.
Speak the language of your audience
If you’re trying to persuade people to do something, or buy something, you should use their language, the language they use every day, the language in which they think.
It is vitally important that we research and understand how our prospect thinks, speak, and search, so that we can use that language in our headlines, blog posts, sales letters, and eBooks. The better we understand how our readers think, the better we’ll be able to connect with them (and persuade them).
Add visual interest
Just because you’re a marketing type doesn’t mean that you only deal with words. Adding compelling images and videos to your copy can increase reader interest, attract more “shares” and keep site visitors on your page long enough to read your content.
Research and testing
Marketing people who ignore research are as dangerous as generals who ignore decodes of enemy signals.
If you’ve done the research to understand what your audience needs (and the language they use), you’d be a fool to ignore that information. Use it every way you can, and let your research shape your decisions about your content, sales letters, products, emails, and social networking campaigns.
Never stop testing, and your marketing will never stop improving.
Making lasting connections … let users form their opinions
They will be anyway. In other words: Don’t say how great you are. Instead, tell a story about how what you do can make the client look great. Anyone can say they’re better, smarter, and number one. What can you claim that’s different from everyone else?
Get close and use emotion
Do not address your readers as though they were gathered together as a herd in a stadium. When people read your copy, they are alone. Pretend you are writing to each of them a letter on behalf of your client. Connect with your reader on a personal level.
Reveal a bit. Everyone likes a good story. Companies and corporations are not people, but they are comprised of people. There’s a story there somewhere. Find yours. It’ll make you more human and enable your target audience to pull down the BS guard a bit.
There isn’t any significant difference between the various brands of bread, or butter, or eggs. They are all about the same. And so are the cake mixes and the detergents, and the green beans. The client who dedicates his advertising to building the most sharply defined personality for his brand will get the largest share of the market.
You want your product or service to have a unique selling proposition — a public personality that defines who you are and what you do. And the more sharply defined that personality is, the more successful you will be as a content marketer.
Think different — the best thinkers often do.
Use headlines that grab attention
On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the content. So spend the bulk of your thinking and effort on your headline.
Here at Digital Spark Marketing, we stress the importance of writing great headlines. Make sure to continually hone your headline writing skills to lift your blog posts and content marketing to the next level.
Never use tricky or irrelevant headlines. People read too quickly to get your meaning. They will certainly not re-read.
Simple headlines are better.
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 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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