The pervasiveness of Internet connectivity and mobile devices means that buyers are more in control of the research process than ever. Rather than be influenced by ads or beautiful marketing product shots, consumers are now turning to reviews, influencers, and a variety of sources on the Internet before deciding on a product or service.
It is hence unsurprising that marketers are spending more resources on content marketing than ever, as they seek to get a word and hopefully create a positive impression of their brand. We turn to LinkedIn’s Guide to Content Marketing in for some tips on achieving content marketing success.
Start with the end results
Content marketing is not an end in itself, but merely a tool that marketers use to draw attention to their brand and products. It is hence important to start by documenting what you hope to achieve, according to the LinkedIn report. A suggested approach is to capture all the desired outcomes and mapping them to measure the effectiveness of the content.
In a similar vein, the content that is created doesn’t necessarily have to be limited to blog posts either. Due to the inherent cost of content creation, content should be repurposed for reuse across the various channels. This may require constant testing and experimentation to find out what works, and what doesn’t.
Understand your targeted audience
It may not be immediately obvious, but different industry sectors, company types, decision-making processes – and even in the product and services that you are promoting, can result in dramatic differences in terms of the audience to reach out to. In a nutshell, there is no right answer or template to follow.
On this front, organizations need to start by creating a profile or persona of the ideal buyer. This can be broadly categorized in terms of the influencers, decision makers and even those who will do the implementation. The latter is also important as their thoughts and feedback are typically sought as part of the decision-making process.
Be helpful and relevant
Relevant and helpful insights are the heart of any successful content strategy, notes the report, which advised against “focusing on making a sale at every turn”. While this may appear counterintuitive to the typical sales manager, the truth is that potential customers who are helped will trust a brand more, which can greatly ease them along the sales funnel.
Executing the strategy
The goal of content is to reach and nurture prospects before ultimately driving them to become a customer, notes the report. This means that the early stages of the relationship should be focused on establishing reach and gaining mindshare, as opposed to clinching sales outright.
The key performance indicator (KPI) could still be measured in terms of a number of inquiries or marketing qualified leads. With content that is distributed on social media for instance, marketers should keep a close eye on the available metrics and use that as part of a continual process to tweak the next piece of content. Only by doing this can they be sure that the content resonates with their target audience.