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22 September 2015

Start Content Marketing RIGHT NOW with simple and effective steps

Customers - Don't control me, I'm SMART

Today customer wants to control everything rather than them to be controlled. As a buyer who doesn't get tired of receiving cold calls, T.V commercials i.e Push-Style Marketing. A bill board interrupts drivers irrespective of its mind blowing creativity and capability to grab customer's attention. Investments in such ads are huge but survival duration is too low.

The web is no more optional now. Similarly the content that reaches to customers is also not optional. Web has totally changed the rule of marketing and WHY NOT? IAMAI- KPMG report says India is expected to have 236 million mobile internet users by 2016. It further projects that mobile internet user base will reach 314 million by 2017. With more than 300 million internet users, India has second largest internet user base in the world.

 Whether its B2B or B2C the tech savvy, the smarter consumer is moving towards the internet for each and every detailed information. It doesn't matter whether a hairpin or a real estate product is being sold via the content, the moment they don't like the content, they either delete or unsubscribe.

CONTENT-MARKETING definition says "Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distribution valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience and ultimately to drive profitable customer-action".

Content-marketing provides media-type contents in exchange to customer's attention, permission to market a product to them, customer's valuable time. Various types of contents are:

 1. Blog Post:  Articles posted on your blog that speaks topics related to product, your company or  areas of subject matter expertise.

  2. Videos: A short video related to industries, product, services or it can also be used as a quick tip sharing, process related and a product demonstration.

  3. Ebooks, guides, whitepapers:  An electronic document to educate audience.  Generally its more visual with  graphs and charts.

  4. Webinar/Podcast: It’s a virtual seminar using webinar software tools such as Go To Webinar or WebEx. Podcast are similar but its audio only.

  5. Emails/Newsletters: It can be used to promote webinar, ebook, announce new case study, etc.

  6. Infographics/Images: Generally visually stimulating images containing graph and statistics. It can be used to communicates trends and share research results.

 Customers have either free access or paid to these contents that possess value.

Building Foundation for Content Marketing

Content-Marketing is a pull Strategy as opposed to a push Strategy. Our prospects and customers are not interested in our vision, mission statements or accolades; they just care about their needs, interests and businesses. The share-worthy information, relevant, valuable, educational content keeps audience-engaged. The foremost opportunity with content-marketing is that you get to show what you think. You have a tool to consistently connect with your customer by writing informative blog articles and sharing industry news. Your content should be so magnetic that it should always create a smart and loyal customers. Content-Marketing doesn’t help in creating lead but it nurtures a lead. It has the ability to keep audience engaged throughout the buying cycle. Content-Marketing’s work does not end at the point of sale. Your content should cover each of these stages showing your expertise and adding value to the relationship.

Picture shows the stages of buyer cycle source http://blog.marketing.ai/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/buyer-cycle.png

The video below will help you to know more about content-marketing

The power of word-of-mouth is immense. The goal of up selling and cross-selling can be easily achieved through it. The content should have a scope of the mentioned goal because its cheaper to sell to an existing rather than selling to a new one.

By publishing content for your valuable customers you can attract customers, prospects, journalists, influencers, bloggers and more. Advertising is losing its effectiveness because search engines and social networking sites are making easy reach.

Understand your audience: A research is mandatory in order to identify your customer’s problem or questions. The needs, wants and interests vary in each customer. 
The content should suffice the need of each and every customer going through your content.

Content-marketing is story telling. It is communicating with customers without selling. 

“Always the customer first” is content-marketing.
Sharing “the relevant” and  “the  valuable” is content-marketing.
CUSTOMERS CHOOSE YOU” is content-marketing.

Personified content: Content should speak face to face, but for this we need to ask 
   1. Target customers
   2. Their Interests
   3. Where do they go for information?
   4. Their pain points?
   5. Where they go for information?
   6. Barriers in making a decision?
   7. Which language and format they prefer?
   8. Gaps in information?

Personified Keywords: Keyword research is must here. Eg: “piano class instead of musical class”. The customers very well know the specific use of keywords which they sought in searching too. Choose keywords as a direct answer to their search. 
   Identify goal: 
   1. Branding
   2. Awareness
   3. Attracting new customers
   4. Building credibility
   5. Educating prospects/customers
   6. Converting leads
   7. Enhancing Customer Service 

Metrics for Measuring Success

To measure ROI in content marketing, there are KPIs(Key Performance Indicators) which are specific and quantifiable. Irrespective of whether objective is achieved or not, these KPIs will throw a light on each step of content marketing.
                                                      Content Marketing Metrics

There are guideline principles for content marketing to get the most out of it. 
  • Give what the customers need – Lots of people have their own business blogs. Customers are least interested in knowing someone's business. They just want is a valuable content in exchange for their attention that can be knowledgeable, educating, entertaining etc. 
  • Help, Don’t Sell– People seek for article that benefit them, not that benefit the company or a brand. Occasionally we can promote a product  depending upon the circumstances. 
  • Jumping without a strategy -  Many companies make the mistake of skipping past the strategy and starting with the tactical. Avoid this by doing research on resources, metrics and your content’s role. 
  • Cornerstone Content -  Cornerstone content is content that can be categorized and archived in a way that’s easy for customers to find. The best part about cornerstone content is that it greatly increases the ROI of your content production. Each article brings a return on your investment over a long period of time. 
  • Educate customers for free – Give the value in advance. Go to some extra miles. 
  • Think niche -  Define a Target Audience and then develop a relevant content. The business who follows this are the winners. Tell a Good Story – Covey the message in a story form and connect the audience with reality.
  • Commit to Quality – Always aim for excellence content deliver. In the world of saturated data only such content works.
  • Don’t Fake – Be genuine, share real facts, be sincere and be authentic. Results will be at your doorstep.
  • Follow the rule of third -  To get the right amount of content types to your audience remember the rule of third. 1/3rd of your content should be original, 1/3rd should be licensed and  1/3rd should be user generated or influencer based. It can be adjusted as you move.
  • Winning with Visual content – Audience process visual information 60.000 times faster than text. Pairing text with appropriate visual content gives opportunities to win audiences.
Pitfalls in Content Marketing
Doing right thing at right time matters. Lets have a look at some pitfalls in content marketing.
  • Lack of Consistency – Content marketing is a long process that keeps on changing as per the circumstances. One needs to be consistent in delivering value without missing a moment.
  • Poor Quality– “Digital Sloppiness ” is unacceptable. Quality should be high and production should be rich.
  • Missing the entire Lifecycle – Content should be created to continuously engage your audience throughout the entire customer lifecycle, past the point of sale—from awareness to advocacy. Because ultimately, the end goal of content marketing and the reason for addressing each stage of the customer lifecycle is to continuously deliver valuable content that solidifies profitable, long-term customer relationships and brand advocates. 
  • Don’t view Content Marketing as means for SEO-  It’s true that content marketing done right can and will increase search rankings and drive web traffic. But SEO is an ancillary benefit of content marketing—a subset of your program.
  • Picking the wrong content type – Two key questions before starting up writing is 1) What sort of content will help me achieve my final goal? 2} Based on my and market analytics what type of content will keep audience engaged? Audience’s preferences matter here rather than personal preferences.
  • Failure to measure – It it difficult to measure your   content marketing’s effectiveness unless you measure its performance. If the goals are clearly  defined measuring ROI also becomes easier. Ultimately metrics will determine the rate of  success and failure.
  • Making content hard to access – Don’t make the visitors wait for too long to access your content.  Simplify the process for them to reach without any delay. 
  • Not Distributing your content – Effective distribution always helps in making campaigns successful. Don’t just post it on website. Do social media sharing, invest in SEO .
  • Not Engaging after Publishing -  Follow your content and keep track. Don’t just post and forget. Monitor your lead generation forms and check social media accounts. Make sure to include call to action in content itself.
  • Launching without clear goals – Before starting up with content writing, clearly define goals. Goals can be educating about product & services, lead conversion, brand awareness, shares, selling etc. Content without goal is just an art not marketing.

If a drop of water falls in a lake, there is no identity. But if it falls on a leaf of lotus, it shines like a pearl. Same is the case with content marketing. If a proper research is done to frame your content for the target audience and if they accept it full fledge your content can do wonders.  The benefits will not be all of sudden, its gradual but yes It would be life time.

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