When it comes to content marketing, there is a lot to know. Here are a few keywords to help familiarize yourself with the concept as well as targeting and content distribution.
- Ask—When identifying your target audience, ask lots of questions. The more you know about your target audience, the better content you’ll create.
- Buyer Personas—Creating target buyer personas is essential to your content marketing strategy. When you learn what makes them tick, document and share with your team so you are all on the same page. Want more on buyer personas? Click here (link to our buyer personas article).
- Customize—When you’ve outlined your buyer persona(s), write custom content that speaks to them. Custom content performs far better than content written for everyone. 82% of consumers feel more positive about a company after reading custom content (Demand Metric, 2014).
- Distribution—With a killer strategy and awesome content, you won’t want to drop the ball on distribution. Be sure you are using the correct distribution channels for your audience and evaluating them often so you don’t get lost.
- Evaluation—After you’ve identified your target audience(s), don’t leave them on the shelf. Take them down every so often and evaluate any changes for which you need to account.
- Format—Make sure your content is in the appropriate format(s). Failure to distribute content in the right format(s) could result in poor performance.
- Goals—In order to gauge the performance of your content, you need to set goals. Take a look at your buyer persona(s), set attainable goals, and evaluate them at least once a quarter for trends and progress.
- Hashtags—Find out what your target customer is talking about, or what timely topics are out there. Then join the conversation by creating content that speaks to those topics. Your target audience will take notice.
- Infographic—Visual content has proven to be far more effective than copy. In fact, 39% of B2B buyers identified that they share infographics on social media frequently (Demand Gen Report, 2014). That’s nearly half!
- Journalism—When writing content, think of yourself as a journalist. Your target customers are looking for relevant, easy-to-read stories that provide value and engage their attention. Read articles in your favorite publications, and take note. That’s what your target customers are looking for.
- Keywords—If you’ve identified your target customer(s) correctly, you’ll know what kind of information they are looking for. Use search functions on Twitter and Facebook to find out what’s relevant, and apply keywords to get your content noticed.
- Layman’s terms—Don’t make your content difficult to understand. Speak the language of your target audience. Stay away from jargon, or risk them tuning out whatever you’re trying to say.
- Mobile—Mobile devices are taking over. With the Apple Watch and similar devices, people expect content to adapt to their lifestyles. In the 2015 Internet Trends Report by KPCB, 87% of millennials say their smartphone never leaves their side, night or day. So in essence, mobile-friendly content = increased viewership.
- Nurture—If you plan to gather leads, be sure to nurture them. According to Demand Gen Report’s 2015 Lead Nurturing Benchmark Study, 25% of nurtured leads perform 20%-30% better than non-nurtured leads. Take it a step further and make it targeted content. Personalized emails generate up to six times higher revenue per email than do non-personalized emails (Experian Marketing Services, 2013 Email Market Study).
- Offer—Offer your target customers a discount, tip, or reason to come back to your brand. Many customers are motivated by a value exchange or, in other words, a tit-for-tat. So give them something they can’t refuse. You’ll be top of mind the next time they search for a product or service like yours.
- Plan ahead—If you’re running around trying to determine what piece of content you’ll distribute that day, your strategy isn’t fully baked. Make a plan, and use programs like HootSuite and Buffer to help schedule future posts. Planning ahead leaves you time to create more engaging and interesting content.
- Quantity vs. Quality—In today’s world, content is based on quality over quantity. If you have 1000 articles that are mediocre, you’ll lose every time to the brand that produces half the content with double the quality. People are looking for content that does something for them, not the same thing as everyone else.
- Relevance—74% of online consumers get frustrated with websites when content has nothing to do with their interests (Janrain, 2013). Enough said.
- Sales Cycle—One way to speak to your target audience is to identify parts of the sales cycle that match your product or service. There are challenges and questions at each stage that can inspire content and help guide your target customer through the process, which builds trust and credibility.
- Tracking—Keep an eye on how your content performs. Analytics from your site help you determine what content works well and what doesn’t. With that knowledge, you can continue on the path of success!
- User experience—When driving customers to content on your website, be sure it translates to a seamless user experience. Hard-to-navigate or difficult-to-read content is an immediate turnoff for customers. In fact, if content is not optimized, 79% of users will leave your site and will search for another site to complete their task (Experience Dynamics, 2015).
- Video—Don’t limit your content to text. Think of how you can use video to show your target audience what makes your brand different. The word “video” increases click-through rates by 65%, and reduces unsubscribes by 26% (Syndacast, 2014).
- White Papers—If nurturing leads is part of your strategy, consider white papers. You can use them to dive deeper into pain points your customer might have, which will help you establish credibility in your industry. 41% of B2B marketers identify white papers as being the most successful content tactic in their efforts (Demand Gen Report, 2015 Lead Nurturing Benchmark Study).
- X-Factor—Show your target consumer you have “it”—the gusto, expertise, credibility, and knowledge to be their trusted partner. When customers know and trust you, they want to do business with you.
- You—Don’t make your content all about you. Constant promotion can turn customers off in a heartbeat. To ensure trust is being built with your target audience, follow the 411 rule from Buffer: 4 pieces of relevant, original content from others, and 1 retweet for every 1 self-serving post.
- Zing—Put some zing in your content! If it’s boring to read, your target customers will jump ship to more interesting and engaging content, leaving you frustrated and confused.
Now that you are armed with the essentials of targeting and content distribution, you are ready to create a strong content marketing strategy that’s sure to generate results.
About Ebonn Hixson
Ebonn Hixson (@ebonny_sans_y) is Communications Director for Storylift (@getStorylift). The company’s Content Distribution Platform reaches over 200 million US readers and features the industry’s most advanced audience targeting capabilities. Ebonn promotes the platform & Storylift | The Magazine, which publishes research and innovative strategies to over 110,000 content marketing professionals each month.