The Blog at Prism Content Solutions
Navigating content marketing strategies.
Archive for the ‘Content’ Category
When you are planning a content marketing campaign, it is important to know whom you are trying to reach and in which ways your target audience interacts with you. Often you will use different content for different target groups, so it is important to chart beforehand those you wish to approach and which form of content you will use.
Types of Interaction
Marketing research and advisory company Forrester distinguishes between seven different types of interactors: creators, conversationalists, critics, collectors, joiners, spectators and inactives. If you determine beforehand whom your campaign will target, your chances for success will increase. If you want to start a discussion, for example, you might want to considering writing or posting a news item. This news item can be used to attract the attention of conversationalists and critics who will react to it. If you want to inform, on the other hand, it is better to target inactives (people who find you through Google), spectators (people who find you through newsletters or blogs), and collectors who will share your content on their own network.
Crossing the Line
Knowing which media outlet to target is difficult to anticipate and depends on many factors. Are you relevant? Does your story fit with the way this target group uses and experiences the channel? It is important to do market research about the channel and target group. One of the best ways to find out if something is relevant is by approaching a number of people who use it on a daily basis and asking them outright. If they don’t bring up any serious objections, you are on the right track, and you can go ahead with a brief testing campaign.
You can never be sure of the outcome of your actions, especially when it comes to approaching multiple online and print communities. By making sure that you are well prepared, studying the workings of the channel and its community, and making sure that you operate on their level, you can increase your chances of success.
Anything worth having takes effort, and digital marketing is no exception. Smart marketers aren’t investing in more content, though; they’re finding ways to better connect with the right audience, in the right place, at the right time.
Modern consumers face a deluge of content – from the minute they wake up until they fall asleep at night. More often than not, that content is delivered via the Internet… and sheer mass quantities are not cutting it. Customers are increasingly savvy and want to be attracted and engaged. Your job? To take a leadership position and show them things they may not have thought of before. As Henry Ford said, “If I listened to my customers, we’d still be riding horses.”
Build trust, engagement and relationships by creating something so interesting people didn’t even know they were looking for it. Put your customers in the mindset of how you could enrich their lives:
- Be consistent — Your digital marketing strategy will be more successful if you are consistent. Set a target each week, and stick to it!
- Collaborate — Use your network to get help. If you have a team working within your business, consider spreading the responsibility. This allows people to become more engaged within the company.
- Stay professional — Stay professional and on brand. Think about the topics and interests that will be most relevant for you. What have your competitors done? Are there industry examples that can be tweaked to suit your needs? Don’t forget to ask your audience for their suggestions and contributions.
- Stay Humble — It’s NOT possible to be an overnight success in the digital world. Stay motivated and keep going, even if it feels as though no one is paying attention. Experience will help you gain traction and build momentum.
In the not-so-distant past, families spent hours with the evening paper and read magazines cover to cover. But these days, attention spans are short. People like to engage in many things at once; in fact, your reader will look at your message an average of two seconds before moving on to something else. For better or worse, this has changed not only what people read, but how they read it.
How many times have you found an interesting article and marked it as something to “come back to” later? Whatever the reason, you never did. Maybe it was too long, or too busy-looking, or you just didn’t have the time. Follow these 3 steps to creating great content – and avoid the not-so-lucky “come back to” issue:
- Good content is personal. The best content is clear, concise, well-written and fluff-free. Convey to your audience the things that make you unique and worth listening to, but forget everything you learned in high school English. You’re not trying to win awards or get an “A”; you’re trying to be real. Write something that makes a point so that it is worth reading.
- Good content is actionable. The best content gives users a sense of how to apply your information. Leave your readers with questions – not by offering incomplete information, but by including material that causes the reader to reflect. People pick up non-fiction to learn how to become better or more engaged. Help your readers do the same.
- Good content is snappy. Accept that people scan articles rather than reading them in detail and work with this reality rather than fighting it. Structure your paragraphs in inverted pyramids: state your conclusion first, then support it with sentences that follow. This helps readers move easily from point to point and decide where they’d like to dive in more deeply. Or, use bulleted lists with bold headings. Bullet points make things “friendlier.” For skimmers and browsers, it makes content easier to read. For scrutinizers, bullets afford them more time to do so.
This stuff really works!
See?! You got to the end of this piece. Incorporate these tips into your writing, and people will read your material and engage in your content. It’s not just the words you write – it’s how they look and where you put them. Good luck!
Repurposing content isn’t stealing someone else’s work. Rather, at its most basic level, repurposing content is a way to adapt your material to the different ways people consume it – text, audio and video. For example, you might take a newsletter article and turn it into a blog post. Or, you could extract a snippet from your company’s magazine and post it to your home page. You get the idea.
Content is king. You’ve heard it 100 times, but the fact is – it can be difficult to create interesting, relevant content day after day. If you’re a small business, or working with a new brand, establishing fresh, relevant content from scratch can seem overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be. Chances are, you already have content you can spin into information that’s appropriate for a variety of media outlets.
But first, a warning: repurposing content is not a cure-all for creating the right content the first time. If content is not relevant, remarkable or compelling, repurposing won’t necessarily make it so. Great content has five features: it’s easy to find, read, understand, act on and share. This year, create a plan that will guide your efforts to take a piece of original content and present it in different media through various distribution channels:
- Know your audience. Think intelligently about repurposing your content by knowing who your audience is. Your audience is the “why” behind repurposing, and you want your content to appeal to different interests, personality types and learning styles. Keep it fresh by repurposing it in different forms of media.
- Select something that has garnered interest already. Think of three ways you can repurpose your content. Need some help? Take a newsletter article, break it into sections and rework the content for your audience. Also consider website posts, blogs, “best-of” lists, Twitter chats and even video. Done well, these can become more conversational examinations of an issue while giving you the chance to link to even more supporting information.
- Share information that’s unique to your business. You spend more time paying attention to news about your industry than your customers do. Take time to share the good “stuff,” and you will quickly become the go-to source for news about what’s happening in your world.
- Promote as you would any other content. Ask readers for their feedback, and then monitor your analytics to get an idea of what worked and what didn’t. Over time, the kinds of repurposed content that yielded the best results can be tracked and made part of your overall marketing process.
Your brand needs to stand out. It has to be different, memorable, engaging … a message that motivates your customers with easy buying decisions: “YES! We want to contact this company today!”
Strategic brand identity is the art of moving customers to a place where they trust you and your business. As they shop, customers compare brands, but are they likely to place you in their competitive set? Taking the logic a step further – are you simply one of their options, or are you the standard?
If you attract your audience with a brand promise that speaks to their core philosophy, you will both surprise and delight them. And when you do this, your company will be noticed. Customers then become your brand champions.
So … how do you engage prospects and customers in a way that makes them stand up and say, “Wow – I want that!”? Here are three simple steps:
Invest in your audience. Don’t try to be everything to everyone. Deeply understand your best customers, and then ask yourself how your business is uniquely capable of filling their needs. Focus on delivering a delightful experience to these best customers, and more are sure to come your way.
Be consistent. Branding and marketing are tied together, and the one thing they have in common is the need for consistency. Today’s wide range of communications must be unified though a comprehensive approach to type, color, imagery and design. Once these elements are in place, move forward, step back and evaluate, and then proceed. Today’s brand management is a dynamic process that requires active participation.
Do something unexpected. Show investment and personality by doing something above-and-beyond in a way that is useful and effective. Let your personality come through in your messaging and graphics; by showing a “softer side,” you’ll create a stronger connection with your audience. And a strong connection means a stronger brand.
Finally, remember that no branding strategy succeeds overnight, and changes in strategy (because you learned this or that just yesterday) amounts to no strategy at all. So while you want to engage those inside and outside your organization, you also need to have conviction in – and the strength to stay with – a branding strategy long enough to see how it will perform.
Successful marketers learn early on that buying begins in the mind. The first hurdle: Get your prospect’s attention. From there, your goal is to convince your audience you can satisfy their specific needs. The next hurdle? Time! On average, your future client might look at your promotional material maybe two seconds before moving on to something else.
Just like you and and pretty much everyone else, your prospective clients are short on time. Think about your reader’s perspective: He or she may not want your product or service (at least, not yet!), and this person isn’t eager to give you any of his or her hard-earned money.
These days, electronic communication — e-newsletters, social media, digital signage — is a popular and effective way to tell others what your business can do for them. However, there is a significant value in reinforcing your message with print products. By directing your content along multiple avenues — i.e., mailing print versions of your HTML newsletter or distributing hard-copy fliers of an upcoming event you’ve also posted on Facebook — you increase the likelihood your message will 1) be received, and 2) make an impact.
But isn’t print obsolete? Not at all. Mail is actually invited into a home or business better than any other marketing medium. Ninety-eight percent of consumers bring in their mail on the day it’s delivered, and 77% sort through it immediately. Print newsletters offer easy reading, and customers can keep them for future reads during their “down time.”
Magnifying your message by broadcasting it in print as well as online doesn’t mean you have to do twice the work. With the right content management partners, businesses find they can easily repurpose images, articles and events with minimal effort on their part. Often, that extra effort involves just the click of a button! The payoff? Additional platforms for sharing your content, which build upon each other to strengthen your brand.
A member of the Prism team was delighted to come across this picture on the Facebook page of one of our partners, Towne Properties. Not only does it feature a cute dog, but it also showcases the newsletter Prism Content Solutions produces for these apartment communities.
The caption describes the little dog, named Marco, as reviewing that location’s newsletter. With this one picture on Facebook, the apartment community was able to tell their audience the following:
1. We’re fun.
2. We allow pets.
3. We provide our residents with a full-color newsletter so they can be up to date on ongoing events.
Doesn’t that make you want to live there?
As you develop your content marketing strategy, you eventually have to make the call: Digital or print?
“Print?” you may ask. “People still do that?” (The answer, of course, is yes, though that landscape has changed.) However, digital media, while seemingly faster and cheaper, has its own set of challenges. (“Look! We can set up a company Facebook page for free! But … how do we manage it?”)
OK, so, what do you do? Think about these three points.
- Content: What is your content? If it’s long-form text, print may be best. For small “bites” of information, like a timely image or an event notification, digital could work well.
- Audience: Who are you trying to reach? If your audience is tech-savvy (read: younger), digital is pretty standard. But if your audience is older, or if you just sense they are “old school,” print can make a stronger impression.
- Goal: What do you want to achieve? Do you want to keep your audience updated on the more time-sensitive goings-on of your business? Digital, with its faster turnaround, is key. However, in this age of distraction, people sometimes experience “information overload” and begin to tune out electronic media. That’s when something like a physical postcard or newsletter can create the real connection you want.
If you’re still not sure which avenue is best, then … try both! Repurpose the same content in both a print and digital format. With the right content management tools and a well-planned strategy, this can be done quickly and easily. The more channels you have, the more people you reach.
What is content, anyway?
Content is a message you want to share. It can be written or spoken words, an image, a video — even an idea.
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is sharing useful information with prospective clients. You could describe a content marketing strategy as an “indirect ad campaign.”
It’s different from straight-up advertising in that it’s not a blatant invitation to buy something. Rather, content marketing provides a little insight about a product or service while the audience (ideally) perceives less pressure to buy.
What is good — i.e., effective — content marketing?
Good content marketing attracts potential clients; really good content marketing transforms potential clients into new ones. It happens all the time:
- A retirement community shares an article about their successful Memorial Day Barbecue. This cheerful story spurs a reader to consider that particular retirement home for their loved one.
- A retailer describes an upcoming free in-store event in their e-newsletter. Extra details, like the mention of complimentary snacks, convince readers to attend, increasing traffic to the store — and increasing sales.
- An apartment community posts photos of their residents’ volunteer service project on their Facebook page. These images of fellowship inspire a prospective tenant to choose that community over the community’s competitor, which hasn’t shared content to stand out from the rest.
Check back soon to learn ways to create your own interesting and valuable content to promote your business.