Content is key to interacting with your readers or customers, according to Shai Aharony, CEO of Reboot Online. He says it’s your best chance to show off your knowledge, expertise, or ethos.
Content is still the best way to connect with your customers or potential customers because it allows you to have a conversation with them. This is especially true online, where they are spending more and more of their time.
Having great content for your marketing campaign is important because it focuses on the customers instead of the company. This type of marketing is more effective because it catches the attention of potential customers instead of interrupting them. The content should be more about them and what they want instead of being focused on the company.
Content marketing is different from traditional advertising because it provides information, entertainment, and education instead of just trying to get people to buy something. It is also available when people want it, rather than forcing it on them.
According to Olenski, “traditional marketing” is no longer effective because customers can get information from many different sources. Advertising used to be the most expensive form of marketing, but now brands are providing relevant content to customers throughout the entire process of making a purchase.
What kind of content works best and why?
Hannah Smith, author of Distilled, writes about the importance of designing content that is based on specific goals. Having goals for your content helps to ensure that what you create is purposeful and useful.
She explains that in order to succeed, most websites will need four key types of content:
Content to entertain
Entertaining content is often funny, highly shareable, and able to quickly transform a company into a group of people just like the audience.
This aspect of just like me can be crucial in building trust and separating the true fans from the random visitors. As Hannah explains:
Entertaining content does not necessarily have to be directly related to your products or services, but it does need to be appealing to your target audience.
Content to educate
Content that is created specifically to educate achieves the same goals as content to entertain, but it is often the next step in showing readers and potential users why your website or product is worth sticking around for. While content to entertain appeals to a reader’s emotions, content to educate appeals to their rationality.
Content to inspire
Can inspiration be contagious? When something you publish is received well by others and gets passed along quickly, it can be contagious.
Inspiration can told through different ways such as a picture or verbally.
The best inspiration often comes from case studies, customer testimonials, and stories of failures and challenges that successful people have faced.
Content to convert
Content that is created for the purpose of conversion is typically designed to encourage a reader to take some sort of action, for example subscribing to a newsletter, taking a free e-course, or purchasing a product.
7 keys to help your business succeed in content marketing
As you think about and plan your online marketing strategy, Dan Steiner, CEO of Elite Legal Marketing, suggests making content the central core of that strategy, because it reaches customers in at least seven key ways:
- Answer Questions – When your content answers your consumers’ questions, your website may land at the top of their search results, putting you at the forefront of the very people you’re trying to reach. Along with answering their questions, you can also give them information about your business and the products or services you offer.
- Establishing Yourself as the Expert (Thought Leadership) – Your high-quality content has a significant impact on SEO and search engine ranking for a couple of reasons. First, unique content published on a regular basis, containing internal links to other relevant content and strategically placed keywords helps a website rank organically for relevant search terms and keywords. Naturally, that higher ranking ultimately exposes your content to more consumers searching for content on that topic.
- Speaking Directly to Customers – As you create content your customers find helpful, you establish a connection with them and they feel as though they are having or can have a dialog with you. Blog posts, videos, webinars, or personalized responses that directly answer their questions demonstrate that you care about them.
You can increase your company’s expertise by creating videos that show how to do something related to your industry. For example, if you own a flooring company, you could make a series of videos about how to replace a hardwood floor. This will make potential customers feel more confident about contacting you to do the job.
- Encourage Loyalty – Not only does content have the power to engage your customers, but it can also instill trust as they consider whether to buy a product from or hire you for the services you provide.
If you regularly provide content that potential customers can read, watch, or listen to, they will be more likely to develop a loyalty to your brand over time. Your blog posts or podcasts give you the opportunity to connect with customers and build loyalty by engaging them on business challenges, community involvement, and social issues.
- Open a Dialogue – Dovetailing off the previous point, your content can and should give you the opportunity to begin a conversation with your customers or potential clients as they comment on your blog or social media posts. You can gain valuable insight from their interaction as well as answer their questions and even complaints. As they see you taking their comments and feedback seriously, that builds loyalty and keeps the dialogue – and the business – flowing your way.
- Keep Content Flowing and Accessible – Research shows that nearly three out of four customers prefer getting information from articles or blogs rather than ads. As you regularly update your blog and other pertinent information, you are putting content online where customers can find it and you can share a greater amount of content than you could in an ad. Because customers are more likely to research online when they’re looking for a particular product or service they will also be more likely to buy from you rather than one of your competitors if you have great content along with a sound content marketing strategy.
- Selling Through Content – Content can serve as your most effective sales tool, especially if you incorporate photos or short videos into your online posts.
If you have a product-related business, you can use content marketing by posting a video showing how to use the product, or by writing a blog post explaining the product’s benefits. If your business is based on providing services, you can use content marketing by posting photos of your staff helping customers, or by writing a blog post explaining how your services can help people solve their problems. The goal of content marketing is to show potential customers how your business can help them, so that they will come to you when they need your products or services.
5 Types of Content To Experiment With on Your Blog
Images are a very powerful tool when it comes to learning for human beings. Studies have shown that after three days, a person would retain only 10-20 percent of written or spoken information but almost 65 percent of visual information. This is because humans are, by a large majority, visual learners.
The study found that illustrations in a text can help with comprehension, both in the short and long term.
This is why readers enjoy looking at infographics and are more likely to remember the information. Therefore, using infographics is an effective way to relay your brand message. They are easy to understand, visually appealing, and can be entertaining. When you have a lot of data or numbers, infographics are especially helpful in getting your point across.
Brands and bloggers are now discovering what women’s magazines have known for a long time: Lists are effective. And top 10 lists are even more effective.
Isaac and Schindler found that the terms ending in zero or five were the most popular when searching for a “top” number on Google.
In a journal article, the authors argue that people tend to group things into round numbers and view anything outside that groups as inferior. They state that the difference between items ranked number 10 and number 11 feels significant, even when it might be minimal or unknown.
In an interview with Co.Design, they say,
led to the impression that if it’s not in the top 10, it’s not as good. The idea is that numbers are usually considered to be equal, but they’re not.
What does this mean for you?
- Create lists.
- Create more lists.
- Keep creating lists.
If you’re looking to write a popular blog post, a list is a great way to go. 30% of all blog posts are lists, so you’re sure to please your readers.
Case studies and success stories
People are naturally attracted to stories, and the advantages of storytelling are well-known.
The best kinds of stories almost always follow a three-act structure, a model used in screenwriting that divides a fictional narrative into three parts:
- The setup: This is where the world is created and the level set for what people are expected to do, be like, and behave like. This act shows what normal life looks like in this world and by the end of act one, something happens to disrupt this normal life and cause our protagonist to jump into action or make a decision.
- The confrontation: The second act is where our protagonist must find solutions to his or her problems, only to keep finding bigger problems and bigger bottlenecks. The protagonist does not yet have the skills or experience, perhaps even the confidence, to deal with the problems that are thrown in his or her way. In order for the protagonist to succeed, they must learn a new skill, have a new experience, or have a eureka moment that elevates them to the level they need to be in order to make their world right again.
- The resolution: This is the final act. The story is brought to its most intense moment and the final climax. Victory has arrived, and the protagonist and other characters have a new sense of who they are.
Why am I telling you about storytelling?
If you tell your customers’ and users’ stories with all the details of their successes and struggles, you will create a strong connection with your audience.
People will want to hear about the great features of your product, and you should share that with them. But you should also try sharing stories about people who have overcome their personal demons to build businesses, finding mentors along the way and eventually reaching the top. Share the trials and tribulations of your customers and users, and tell them about your own journey as well.
Case studies are mainly used for storytelling, so it can be helpful to use that to your advantage.
When creating a how-to guide on your website, consider making it longer than 1500 words. Thorough guides are more likely to be read and shared.
According to Medium’s research, an ideal blog post should be a 7-minute read, which is approximately 1,600 words.
A blog post can be thought of as a list with two to three points that are explored in-depth.
It’s no surprise that social media is driven by emotion. So if you want to connect with your audience through your content, it’s important to make an emotional connection.
Personal stories come in many shapes and forms:
- Personal essays: Stories told through the lens of an experience you’ve had in your life that taught you something or changed you as a person.
- Opinions/rants: Handle this one with care, but sometimes, going against the grain and taking a stand against a position everyone else is taking can be a good way to get some attention and share your ideas and theories with the rest of the world. A very good example of this is James Altucher, who is known for his controversial ideas on why not to buy a house or invest in your 401k.
- Inspirational tales: Whether yours or someone else’s, the best way to engage emotion is to show or tell someone that touches them deeply. A lot of inspirational stories have a way of doing this. Educating your audience is a fantastic goal. Inspiring them to take action on what you’ve taught them might be an even better one.