When I first heard the term, I had no idea what it was: it was all Greek to me. Now I know and here is the best professional definition of it I could find:
Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.
Using content marketing
I’m going to use content marketing to build a loyal audience, and this is how I’m going to do it:
Identify the target audience
Before I physically do anything, I need to figure out who my target audience is. Only then can I create content which I can direct at that, and only that, particular audience. I must identify my buyer persona and create the content specially in that light.
Decide on the type of content
Nowadays, people have a very limited attention span and entertaining videos are one of the most likely sources of content for which the public have the time, patience and energy. A video blog or ‘vlog’ on YouTube seems like the best option.
If the content is boring, it won’t take off. Simple. If I’m making a video, I have to make sure it’s been well thought about: what has to be said and how it has to be said, camera angle and shot length, video length, custom animations, graphics, call to action prompts, etc. The first few seconds are vital to capture audience attention, somewhat like a magazine front cover.
The frequency of the content is more important than I initially thought. The content has to be regular and frequent enough to keep the audience engaged. Think about it. When a soap opera skips a few episodes, the audience may be disappointed and stop watching. If your weekly newspaper doesn’t arrive when you expect it to, you might be disappointed and stop reading altogether. Consequently, if I don’t update my content when my audience expect it to be, I will lose them.
Getting audience attention is one thing, but audience retention is another. Catching a fish on a hook doesn’t really mean you’ve caught the fish. You need to reel the audience in, and that’s where the struggle takes place. My content has to get better and better each time I produce it. Each piece of good quality content, published on a consistently regular basis is like each time I turn the fishing reel, drawing in that big resistant fish. That fish, once close enough, becomes my customer, my loyal customer, my friend.
People will above all do business with people they like; that’s human nature. The idea of content marketing is to build trusting relationships. Social media helps build one-on-one relationships. Not only can your audience hear you, but you can hear them, too. The reason you love your parents is because they loved you first, and it’s only when you get older, after years and years, do you really appreciate all they’ve ever done. If your audience see that your business has a soul, they will show their appreciation for all you’ve done. But before you even get down to business, you’ve got to give. Give all you’ve got. Don’t hold back. Give them your whole hand, not just a finger.
Interact with your audience
Businesses never know who their truly loyal customers are: customers may be spending hundreds with you, but thousands elsewhere, perhaps even your competitor. By social engagement, you can interact with your audience and find out what they truly want. You can then use such feedback for content ideas and create relevant up-to-date content which you can direct personally towards your audience. Let your audience build your business.
Track your audience
We love customers with a big mouth. The ones who compliment are great, but the ones who criticise are better. Only with criticism can we improve. Therefore, those who are a real danger are the ones who are silent. The ones who express no interest in offering feedback. Have you satisfied them? Who knows. So, to really find out what interests your audience, it’s vital to use analytical tools to track trends. Tools which show how many times your content is being shared could be a goldmine of information. By knowing what is being shared and what isn’t, you’ll know what’s working and what isn’t. Most importantly, you’ll know what to improve to keep your audience engaged. Content marketing is all about customer engagement. Track your audience. Know your audience.