Your customers are starving for fresh content. So feed them.
Content marketing has been around for decades. But with the rapid growth of social media, which keeps customers constantly engaged with your brand, it’s now crucial.
According to a study, 91 percent of business-to-business (B2B) marketers are already doing content marketing, and 33 percent spend a third of their budgets on it. Yet only 36 percent of those surveyed believe their content marketing is effective.
If you’re part of the 36 percent, we hope our guide to finding engaging content will erase your doubts about ineffective content marketing. But first, let’s review the basics.
Content Marketing Definition
Content marketing ranges from social media updates to Pinterest boards, e-newsletter stories, print articles, infographics and YouTube videos. Its purpose is to build brand credibility, legitimacy, and, most importantly, trust.
Quality content demonstrates expertise, improves search engine optimization (SEO), drives traffic to your website, paints a mental picture of your brand to customers, and has the capability to dramatically extend reach into target markets
Now that you know the fundamentals, try these tactics to find stories to lure new prospects, and to feed the hungry ones.
Leverage Case Studies and News from Major Customers
“Show, don’t tell.” You’ve heard it a thousand times. But it’s a lesson many brands and agencies don’t take to heart.
For example, industrial casters might seem boring to some, but not when they help build the Mars rover.
That was the approach we used for our client Hamilton Caster, a manufacturer of high-end, heavy industry equipment. NASA used Hamilton’s heavy-duty casters to build the Curiosity rover, the one exploring Mars right now.
One tiny nugget from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory turned into a priceless amount of publicity for our client. The story, “On Earth, the Mars Rover Rolls on Hamilton,” became an e-newsletter article, a press release and social-media fodder for everyone from distributors to competitors and consumers.
Put a Personal Spin on Your Brand
Let employees tell your brand’s story, like this example from our client Haag-Streit, a manufacturer of ophthalmic equipment.
For a trade show in Chicago, we interviewed a manager who lives there, and wrote a story on his favorite Windy City restaurants for the company’s monthly e-newsletter. Using his culinary wisdom, the blog post went viral on Twitter and Facebook, and put a name and friendly face on the organization.
Try these tactics to create your own personal brand stories:
- Involve your whole company. From IT professionals, to product managers and engineers, everyone has different insight and unique views that cater to a specific audience.
- Use trade shows, events and office happenings. Whether your company is attending a trade show, or you’re throwing a barbeque for a VP’s 20-year anniversary, use these opportunities for content. Don’t forget to take pictures to post on Facebook!
- Interview employees for profiles. Show a softer side of your company. Profile your sales team and share their favorite sports teams, hobbies and personal stories to build trust and loyalty with customers.
With these tips in mind, don’t forget what determines the success of any piece of content marketing: quality of writing, and social sharing.
Don’t Skimp on Quality Writing
Engaging content starts with a solid writer. Don’t leave it in the hands of a summer intern, or outsource to a hut in Djibouti. Poorly written content will shut down your customers. But insightful, well-written content has the opposite effect, and will entertain your prospects and establish a bond with them.
Consider a writer within your marketing department, or hire a talented freelancer or an agency to rev up the content engine.
Share Your Content on Social Media to Extend Reach
Distributing content on social media is as crucial as the content itself. Social sharing can dramatically increase your reach, and bring in new prospects. The more people reading your content, the more effective it is.
Once you have content to work with, encourage employees to share it on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Just make sure you define which platform to use:
- Facebook is perfect for office happenings and pictures. Remember: lighthearted. Nothing too serious.
- Twitter is best suited for consistent updates, like tweets about blog posts, news stories, press releases and more. Don’t forget to interact with your followers and share their content, too.
- LinkedIn is where you target prospects with niche blog posts and white papers, and direct them to a website or landing page to capture the lead.
- Pinterest is a photo-based social media platform. Use pictures to educate customers about your company – from product images to quirky shots from around the office.
For more information on social sharing, check out our infographic and see how the cycle can work for your brand.
Now that you have the basics down, and you can see that finding great content isn’t so hard, we think you’ll be able to feed your hungry customers a hefty dose of engaging content. But if this all seems like too much, you could always call Ideopia.