Content marketing is becoming more of a challenge as more marketers get in the saddle and more of them do a better job of it.
Here are some simple content marketing tips to help you gain ground over your competitors.
Common sense content marketing tips
Every marketing initiative you take should tell your customers and prospects you understand their interests and priorities. How do you approach the thorny task of creating content that resonates beautifully with your audience?
54% of B2B marketers say content marketing is a tough nut to crack
The Content Marketing Institute says a disturbing 54% of B2B marketers find creating engaging content a challenge. But writing content to meet customers and prospects’ expectations and needs needn’t be a nightmare, especially when you take it step by logical step. Here’s how.
Setting a solid content marketing goal
Without a goal in mind, you won’t know whether you’ve achieved the right impact. Do you want your next piece of content to spark conversations, build brand awareness, get people to buy, give permission to collect their data or generate some other kind of response?
Identify one key goal, ideally something that dovetails with your marketing strategy, then extrapolate from there to pin down the desired results. At its simplest, it might look something like this:
- Campaign – email 10,000 prospects with a special offer
- Goal – generate 0.2% response in the form of 20 sales
Learning about your audience
Now you know what you want to do, how are you going to do it?
Knowing your audience is the best way to ensure the content you create resonates powerfully, whether it’s relevant, timely, evergreen, fresh or even revolutionary. Start by looking at what your social media communities are saying. What are they focusing on right now? Is a trending topic taking the stage? What’s the latest news in your sector and the newest developments in your industry? What do people love and hate? What do they need, what drives them nuts, what inspires them?
It’s worth analysing current conversations using social media monitoring tools. It’ll save you a lot of time and aggravation, revealing what your target audience is talking about, who they’re discussing it with and highlighting emerging patterns. Meltwater, for example, analyses social media coverage to deliver insight into customer engagement:
- Scans literally billions of social media conversations, extracting relevant stories
- Tracks the market, revealing your impact and providing strategic insight into trends and market performance
- Connects you with key influencers and drives conversations in any channel
- Compares your brand, measuring your performance against competitors
Industry reports are another useful port of call, shedding light on your target audience and providing extra nuggets of precious marketing-led information: shopping habits, event marketing opportunities, all manner of tiny details that eventually build a picture of people’s expectations, wants, needs, fears and desires. Then there’s the local, national and international news, the papers and trade publications, all excellent sources of knowledge. Weave it all together and you should be much better placed to hit the ground running.
What does integrated marketing mean in 2015?
What is integrated marketing? Originally defined by the American Association of Advertising Agencies in 1989, it’s all about “achieving the objectives of a marketing campaign through a well-coordinated use of different promotional methods intended to reinforce each other.”
The whole is bigger and better than the sum of the parts
Delivering the same message in the same way across multiple media has a bigger impact than sending out a different message to each medium, or the same message expressed differently each time. If you’ve ever seen a TV ad, spotted a poster at the bus stop offering the same message, heard it on the radio, received an email about it and seen it shared on social media, that’s an integrated campaign.
Integrated marketing then and now
When I took my first baby-steps into direct marketing in 1990, big budget integrated marketing typically consisted of TV ads, off the page press and magazine advertising, a poster campaign, perhaps a radio ad campaign and a load of direct mail. Small budget integrated activity was much the same but on a lesser scale, excluding national TV advertising as far too expensive.
In 2015 things couldn’t look more different. Now an integrated marketing campaign for a blue chip organisation will also include a top notch website packed with an ever-growing collection of brilliant content. Plus online direct response ads, paid search engine advertising like Google’s AdWords, optimised video on YouTube, a raft of social media presences and more. The same goes for the littler fish with lower marketing budgets, again on a smaller scale.
It looks like things are a whole lot more complicated. But there’s also much more potential. And digital marketing is often as cheap as chips. An email campaign, for example, costs next to nothing compared to a fully-fledged direct mail campaign costing £1 a go.
Mobile-only web access exceeds desktop in the USA
Britain did it first. Now it’s the turn of the USA, which has just passed the tipping point with more adult users accessing the web via mobile devices than desktops. The research, by comScore, reveals the flip happened because “the desktop-only population has drastically declined”.
It makes perfect sense. Millions of people sit at computers all day for work, me included, but millions more don’t. The rest access the internet via mobiles and tablets.
Having said that, the desktop machine is highly unlikely to disappear. There’s no way I could write copy using a tiny, weeny screen and keypad. Desktops are still crucial for workplace productivity. And it’s also clear people prefer to shop online at a bigger screen. According to comScore 87% of US digital commerce comes from desktops, despite mobile devices being used for online shopping 60% of the time.
What does it mean for cross-Atlantic B2B marketers?
If you operate in the UK, it’s high time you made your website mobile friendly. The same goes if you have a US audience.
Not being mobile friendly won’t affect your search positions for searches by desktop users. But when small screen users type or speak search queries into Google, mobile-accessible websites will take priority over yours in the search results. If your site performs particularly badly on a small screen, it will probably disappear into the SERPs nether regions, never to be found again by anyone with anything smaller than a desktop machine.