Popular marketing buzzwords in 2017 have included things like niche content, storytelling, and branding — all which have an essential place in today’s landscape for creating brand awareness and engaging consumers. Although it’s easy to get lost in analytics and big data — or any other trend for that matter — content is still a foundational part of marketing. Content provides information and targets audiences; and is a powerful and effective way to drive consumers right down the funnel.
Plus, it keeps customers coming back and looking for more when done right. The question becomes: How do you create truly interesting and engaging content? Some of the answers exist in five straightforward tips.
Tip #1: Know Yourself
It’s almost impossible to create effective content without knowing who you are as a business and what you want to achieve. How do most people get to know someone (including themselves)? Questions. When you decide to take on a more thorough and insightful approach to crafting content, you should ask yourself and/or your team some thought-provoking questions.
- Who do we want to reach?
- What overall marketing goals do we have this month/quarter/year?
- Do we have established style, tone, and brand guidelines?
- What does my target audience do online? Where are they?
- Are our buyer personas accurate?
- Which of our content is performing best? Which is performing the worst?
- What are competitors doing? Are we missing something?
- Do we have the right tools, resources, and channels for our content?
- Are we consistent? If not, do we have a calendar?
Answering these questions allows you to fine-tune your strategy. It gives you a clear, strong voice that has more potential to stand out and separate yourself from all of the noise.
Tip #2: Make it Valuable
What is valuable to consumers — it’s an age-old question. Luckily, it’s easier than ever to determine. Value is as simple as addressing a consumer’s needs. Maybe you sell tools. If you do, offer some excellent DIY projects and how-to videos. An HVAC company can offer an annual maintenance checklist. Some of your most engaging content can be inspired by unaddressed needs. This is where other marketing tools become crucial; like data, analytics, customer interviews, and surveys.
Tip #3: Offer Proof
In a time of alternative facts and fake news, people want proof. For example, how does it affect you to know that according to an infographic from IMPACT, B2B marketers say that blogs will still be the most critical content to success, and that long-form blogs generate nine times more leads than short-form? It makes you want to invest in some good long-form blogs, right? The key is finding reputable sources, citations, and stats. Keep it current; a general rule of thumb is no older than two years for a study or stat. Providing the proof gives you credibility during the currently incredulous climate.
Tip #4: Create Personal Connection
Guinness nailed personal connection in their ad “Empty Chair”. It combined storytelling, brand awareness, brand mission, and stellar content that engaged consumers on a deeply personal level. Providing a personal connection isn’t solely done by tugging on heartstrings — it can be achieved through other methods as well. Offer personality and personal stories, or acknowledge consumer frustrations and how to handle them. Speak to your audience, and speak in a way that makes them feel like they are a part of the team.
Tip #5: Stand Out in Depth and Quality
How many articles do you have to read on the same subject before landing on one that gives you new, fresh information that answers all your questions? Unfortunately, it can take more time than you want to spend. Take the time and invest some budget into depth and quality. Your key goals should be specific, thorough, and useful to your consumers. It’s even better if you can provide less obvious answers that solve more complex problems — in other words, content that isn’t easily found elsewhere. By focusing on that kind of depth, you set yourself apart as a thought leader and authority. This attracts a steady following and loyal patronage.
Content is still a valid part of marketing, and one that needs more care than last-minute, slapped-together ideas. In following a few tips, you may begin to see measurable results.
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