1contentPeople have a longing for content that’s conceptually and thematically tailored to them, creative, contextual, always accessible, recognizable and simply relevant and interesting. However, feeding an audience with the right mix seems often complicated and requires a certain strategical approach.

As a start, you might want to take first a look again at your inventory to find out if it is still relevant to your audience, but most importantly you should check if you are really getting through to the right target group you are trying to reach. Because, what you find personally motivating or persuasive doesn’t necessarily mean that it is of interest to your customers and prospects.

Therefore, it is recommended to make use of available tools to identify the keywords and phrases your potential customers are using to find information when searching, aside from the huge number of social media monitoring tools offered to get insights into your consumers’ sentiment about issues, brands and news. Consider, for instance, demographics, psychographics or technographics, and combine the gained insights with what you get from search trends and social sentiment. The difference between the content you have and the content your audience needs is your gap analysis.

Define the value and goals of content marketing in the overall corporate strategy to be crystal clear in what you want to achieve - be it raising your recognition, introducing new products in the most effective manner, establishing thought leadership or generating sales leads. Content marketing should help win and engage new customers and deepen the loyalty of existing customers, besides resulting in higher brand equity and ROI, when getting the consumer emotionally hooked with what your content has to offer.

Define relevant content channels, since there are so many types of content, such as white papers, case studies, research articles, short texts (e.g. tweets and Facebook posts etc.), eBooks, videos, podcasts, presentations, infographics and photographs, that can be displayed on many channels, like PC, tablet, mobile phone, TV, print or online magazines.

Consider content marketing tools for support, since there is a wide range of solutions, platforms, and communities on the market, and choose wisely the most suitable for your individual needs, such as:

  • Content Management Systems, e.g. Typo3, Joomla, WordPress and other commercial solutions;
  • Blog software, e.g. in house solution, WordPress, Movable Type, etc.;
  • Social Media tools, e.g. Hootsuite, Twittdeck, Seesmic etc.;
  • Analytics / Social Media Monitoring, e.g. Google Analytics, Facebook Insights, Hootsuite, Sysomos, Radian6, BrandEye, etc.;
  • Newsletter solutions, e.g. MailChimp, ConstantContact, CleverReach, etc.;
  • Landing page platforms, e.g. Unbounce, Premise, etc.;
  • Survey platforms, e.g. SurveyMonkey, etc.

High frequency content should be published several times a day on social media platforms, blog posts at least weekly, and whitepapers, videos and podcasts at least once per quarter. In fact, the publishing frequency is highly individual and depends mainly on the type of company and its goals. Press releases, for instance, depend on events, campaigns and innovations, which means you have to evaluate the right frequency for your company with care. Content analysis should generally comprise of leads generated, costs per lead, number of blog readers, number of newsletter subscriptions, fans, followers, etc. On a daily business level, web and blog traffic, re-tweets, likes and share clicks, as well as click-through-rates (CTRs) are of importance.

Adding a human touch is equally important to get attention. Not only does it make your prospects feel like they know you and can trust you, but it will encourage them to become fans and promoters of your brand. You might want to consider storytelling to build customer loyalty, since our brains are far more engaged by storytelling than by cold, hard facts. Fact is that storytelling pleases the deeply rooted need of all humans to be entertained. So don’t be shy to make your audience laugh from time to time. Just make sure that your voice is in line with your company, your brand and the image you want to represent.

Last but not least, when you start to give your content more personality, please keep in mind that empathy on eye level is expected today, so reduce the unnatural "advertising slang" and talk to people in a very personal and respectful way. Armed with this information, you’re ready to create, maintain and govern your content marketing initiative.

By Daniela La Marca