Bill Gates coined the phrase “content is king” way back in 1996 and this still holds true in the digital world today. Without content, companies cannot engage with their customers or even generate new leads and sales. But how does one go about developing impactful content best suited to a younger, more tech-savvy generation while not alienating end-users?
Content development, otherwise known as content marketing, revolves around creating something that is relevant and valuable to engage and retain prospective customers and identified target audiences. Essentially, it means writing something that people will find interesting to read.
Sounds simple, right?
Many people believe they can run a successful content marketing strategy by quickly doing it themselves, or outsourcing it, without it taking much resources. Unfortunately, for content marketing to be effective, it takes more than just stringing a few sentences together for your blog or creating a Twitter posting schedule. It takes time, effort, creativity and, of course, data.
Luckily though, we’ve broken it down for you – so that content marketing can be effective as a brand building and lead generation exercise, without giving you a headache or breaking the bank.
Step 1: Know Your Audience
It does not matter If you are Tata or Samsung, Amul or Reliance Communications, if you do not know who you are communicating to then no content generation strategy will be successful. This means to imagine yourself as a customer and what motivates them to buy your product or service as opposed to those of a competitor.
By putting the customer first, it means you will get a unique understanding of what defines them, what their likes and dislikes are, and what their concerns around the customer experience are when engaging with you on the platform of their choice. This also ensures you avoid making assumptions about them or simply repeating what others in your industry are saying.
Step 2: Building a Brand
As tempting as it is to do the hard sell when creating your content, the best advice is to rather focus on your brand. People have become incredibly sceptical about what they read online especially as more companies are waking up to content marketing.
Again, imagine yourself as an end user (which you are in any event). When you are searching for something to read online or want a company to address any questions you might have, do you really want a sales pitch? Instead, focus on being current with all aspects of your industry, identify the trends and highlight them, and raise awareness of any legal, security, or other issues that are challenging those in your sector.
This thought leadership positions you and your spokespeople as knowledgeable about the industry. By not doing the selling in these content pieces, you are also contributing to being viewed as a brand that can be trusted to provide impartial advice.
Step 3: Remember to be Relevant
As much as content is about being creative, it is also about being relevant. Building on the first two steps, you want to create something that reflects your understanding of the audience and is relevant to what your customer wants to know.
Forget about jargon, sales gimmicks, or industry buzz words. Make the content as real as possible for the person reading it. It is as much about telling a story as it is about building the ever elusive engagement with customers. This is also where being honest about your mistakes or problems with a product come in. If you view your products from the customer’s perspective, then you would do well to heed the frustrations they might experience with it.
And by creating relevant and engaging content, you must also be open to customer feedback. After all, this is what you want – to have people commenting, sharing, and giving their views on the information you provide.
Step 4: Make it Real
The final step is to create something that is real and relatable. This means using examples that people can identify with in their own lives. Your competitors might be doing traditional case studies and surveys, but you can do pieces that talk to the challenges people are facing and how your products can address those issues.
In many ways you can closely monitor how your competitors are communicating and learning from their failures (and successes). This is also where a hyper-local approach can be beneficial. Do not just write about what is happening in the country. Take it down to a state or even city level and find the things unique to where your customers live and work.
These tips purposely avoided going into the mechanics of content generation or the delivery methods used. It is all about getting the basics in place first and then building from there. Happy content generation!