When it comes to content marketing, success can sometimes be a mystery. Business owners new to this type of marketing may feel as if they will never understand what distinguishes a good content marketing campaign from a poor one, never know (in advance) the signs of success versus failure. First of all, that is what your content strategy team is for! However, there is one tried-and-true way to optimize your chances of creating a really great content marketing campaign that reaches your target audience and incentivizes them to work with you:
“Oh sure, that’s really simple,” you are probably thinking. “I never would have thought of that on my own. Thanks so much!” Hey, take it easy on us! We know you thought of that on your own, but we bet you haven’t fully figured out how to make it happen. Of course, the fine print of this process will depend on your personal target audience, but the key to giving the people what they want is to ask the people what they want. Once they tell you, then you give it to them.
Wondering how to reach “the people” so you can ask them? Here are three ways to find out exactly what your audience really wants to know, buy, and learn about:
If you already have an audience either in an email list or on social media, you can conduct a few surveys to find out what they wish they knew. You’ve probably seen other business owners putting posts on social media that say something to the effect of, “If you could learn one thing about [insert topic here], what would it be?” While this type of post is also often part of a promotional campaign, the answers tell the poster what the audience is seeking. Then, they simply provide that information to their audience.
One thing the self-publishing industry has made very clear time and again is that people love to see their own names in print. Today, “in print” does not have to mean in the glossy pages of a magazine or featured prominently on the cover of a bound book. It can just mean a tag on Facebook or Instagram, or a call-out in a blog. Place individual audience members with their own great content or creative ideas front and center in your own content and you will soon see more people joining up and interacting with you (sometimes by buying your products or services, sometimes by serving as additional marketing resources by sharing your stuff) in hopes of experiencing the same.
Often, we meet new content marketers who adamantly insist that their content speaks for itself. “I don’t need infographics or to pay some photographer for a great image!” they insist. “My blog is plain and simple because my content is just that good.” OK, but the fact of the matter is that fewer people will find your plain-text content (no matter how wonderful) than if you spend just a little time on the design side of things. And when it comes to spreading the word about your business? Well, let’s take a look at just one statistic: A blog post with an image gets 94% more views than one without, even if it is the exact same blog post. So … let the designers on your content marketing team have their say and don’t just give the people what they want. Show it to them as well!
If this all sounds complicated and intimidating, don’t worry. The key is to develop a working, productive content strategy that you can replicate over and over again. While you should be open to evolution in this process, a lot of what works for you once will work many times over and should simply become part of your recurring content strategy. An experienced content strategist will be able to help you develop, implement, maintain, and refine your personal content strategy to the best effect.
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