Your company is filled with people who believe in what you’re selling. You have a group of marketing cheerleaders always excited to pump up your brand. And you spend a lot of money promoting your latest products across a bunch of different channels.
Here’s the thing: There’s no reason why anyone else should care. But you can change that if you alter the way you speak to your audience.
Advertising messages bombard everyone every day and the old storytelling tricks are just that. It’s time to spike your messaging with honesty, authenticity and compelling storytelling so you can be heard above the white noise. We all know people love stories, so start telling more of the ones your audience wants.
This starts when your brand invests in content creation and content marketing in order to produce more valuable content. By doing so, you become a publisher of your brand’s stories, not just a promoter of your brand’s products, and you’ll keep up with the latest digital marketing developments for SEO and business social media.
More Companies Focusing On Content Marketing
Content marketing through social media is a top priority for companies right now. An Altimeter report from 2013 showed that 57% of respondents are focused on content marketing first, whereas this follows a 2010 survey in which content marketing wasn’t even on the list. While there’s a surge in interest, there’s also a lack of clear leadership, organization and strategy around content marketing, according to the report.
If you can harness the power of content marketing with a detailed strategy, you can influence people’s perception of your brand and drive more business to your company.
Content management tools exist that enable you to track the ROI of your content as part of a cohesive plan to produce, share, generate leads and monitor your content’s impact using social media. This way, you’re able to identify the type of content your audience wants and provide more of it. It’s an audience-centric approach that allows you to create content that will be shared on social media and generate leads while improving your visibility on search engines and bolstering your inbound marketing initiatives.
What Type of Content is Valuable?
News, how-to pieces, entertainment and emotional storytelling through words, video and audio all can help separate your brand from the competition while enabling you to bring more of your company’s personality to the fore. Such content needs to be generated frequently and consistently, which requires a team of producers that continues to create based on analytics and your overall content marketing strategy.
Take a financial institution as an example. Products and services don’t differ much among them. But showing people how to use them most effectively and showing them the results through personal stories will create a deeper connection between the financial institution and its audience. This can translate into a financial education blog that addresses various topics every week or a personal finance podcast. A branded online TV channel could be another option. The people who conduct business with the financial institution also can provide personal stories that help define the brand. This can be a short video chronicling a family’s first home purchased with the financial institution’s home loan, for example. Any content that personalizes a product or service will impact people more than simply telling them why a product is great using surface-level messaging.
Whose Content Marketing Strategy Stands Out?
Mint does a good job humanizing its product offerings. While there’s a specific product, an online budgeting tool, the company enhances its brand value with financial education articles and videos that everyone can use before they even sign up for the budgeting tool. Once visitors access this financial management information, Mint.com makes it easy to sign up and start using their financial tracking, categorization and goal-setting services.
Author Jeff Benedict takes a smart approach to content management. Though you may not consider him a business in the traditional sense, he certainly has a brand as one of the most accomplished non-fiction writers in the country. His writing topics include college football, eminent domain, religion, business, food safety and more. His website blends personal photos of his travels around the country and the people he meets; blog posts that reveal glimpses of his family life and the daily demands of writing that show him as an accessible, everyday guy; short videos of his media appearances and him discussing the writing process for certain projects; and links to his stories published in magazines and newspapers.
As a result, his audience sees a well-rounded, personable guy with various interests. That approach humanizes him, and he becomes much more interesting than a byline on a book he’s trying to sell.
Imagine an independent coffee roasting company or craft brewery bursting with interesting personalities and creative people. You can spend a lot of time and energy telling the audience your coffee is rich or your beer is flavorful, but that doesn’t get someone to take the initial step of tasting it. Consider how much more powerful your messaging would be if your audience glimpsed a behind-the-scenes view of your company through videos, or if you provided instructional pieces that explain how to make a better cup of coffee at home or what types of food and beer pairings to try based on different beer styles. You do this because at the heart of your company is a group of people who love drinking good coffee and good beer, and these are conversations you have with your friends outside of work. This is information that people can use immediately, not just traditional marketing speak to be ignored.
Using this approach, Deep Eddy Vodka, a small-batch distillery in Austin, Texas, delivers a brand experience far beyond their smooth vodka. They entice their audience with multimedia features and stories on their retro-style website. A photo gallery shows Deep Eddy Vodka’s presence at events such as South by Southwest, blues festivals, barbecue competitions and other gatherings. Another section of the site includes videos that explain the distilling process and introduces the founders of the company discussing their vision with plenty of personality. There’s also a recipe section for at-home mixologists. The entire presentation appeals to people interested in good times and honest drinks.
Cater to Your Audience and Track the Results
The point is to think more like your audience when publishing content and figure out how to tailor your business expertise into valuable information. Then disseminate that information through social media channels with a strategy that tracks the most impactful content and the leads generated and then converted.
ZAG Interactive can create a content production and management strategy for your company that enables you to connect with your audience through interesting stories and information that people will appreciate.
Doug Malan is the senior copywriter at ZAG Interactive.