Content marketing started out as a way for companies to increase trust between themselves and their audience, improve their SEO and establish themselves as thought leaders in their industry.
Now that the method has solidified its importance within companies digital strategies, brands are working on coming up with new and unique wants to make their content stand out, and more effectively communicate to their audiences.
In the past few years, content marketing has evolved way beyond blogging and social media marketing, and it takes careful planning and deliberate action to get their message across. When trying to gain loyalty and build a customer’s trust, there’s very little room for error when it comes to being transparent and responsive to potential clients or customers.
Here’s how six marketers are re-assessing their content strategies and coming up with new ways to optimize communication with their audience, make their content more personalized, refined and add more even value.
Producing hyper-personalized content
Personalizing content to make it relate more closely to the audience your targeting allows you to reach more specific segments of your audience and generate higher engagement.
Once you have a solid content marketing strategy and can measure particular metrics within your audience, it becomes easier to tailor your messages and create hyper-personalized campaigns that you know will resonate with your audience.
Nina Conseil, senior director of product and marketing at Affinion International recognized the importance of hyper-personalization and using data-driven strategies to target specific audience segments with content they want to see.
“The digital age has created both challenge and opportunities when it comes to businesses reaching customers. On the one hand, the explosion of new channels has opened up exciting new ways to engage with audiences and amplify brand messages. However, when every business has had the same idea, it’s increasingly hard to cut through the noise and stand out,” says Nina.
She believes that businesses can aggregate customer data across multiple touch points and gain unprecedented insight into their customers’ behavior, wants and needs.
“But data is only valuable if it can be gathered and interpreted in the right way. Brands need to use sophisticated data-driven marketing strategies to target consumers with relevant, engaging messages at opportune moments that are more likely to elicit conversion and interest than the blanket email communications of old,” she explains.
Charlotte Lock, Director of Marketing & Audiences for Content, Radio & Education at BBC also agrees that it’s crucial for companies to seize the opportunity to not only market what will unite audiences, but to create content that’s personally relevant to them.
“Our strategy focuses on getting the most relevant combination of BBC brands and content to each of our audience groups through their channel of choice to deliver greater value,” says Charlotte.
“Our approach combines data-driven recommendations with editorial curation. Having new direct channels to audiences allows us to ensure we target the right messages at the most relevant time and through the most relevant device to each of our signed-in audience members.”
Socia media automation tool, Schedugram, is working on a similar strategy by focusing their marketing efforts on adding more value and building a stronger relationship with their current users versus chasing prospective users.
“We’re giving our creative side projects a bigger push and focusing on creating more useful tools for our audience of social media marketers. We’re increasing our focus on building relationships and learning what our users want rather than just thinking about lead generation.” Says Dunja Lazic Schedugram’s VP of Marketing.
Valuable and engaging online content is the lifeblood of a good content marketing strategy.
While many companies’ initial reaction when starting a content strategy is to create written content and maybe a few images or infographics, there’s enormous value in building content that goes beyond words on a page.
A lot of marketers are incorporating video and webinars into their strategy as a way to provide value to their audience. Hosting or collaborating on webinars is also an excellent opportunity for marketers to initiate a call to action in an environment where they know the audience is already engaged.
Mark Street-Docherty, Chief Executive Officer of Elucigene, explains how their company is shifting their strategy to include more digital assets that will benefit their customers.
“A big change in our marketing strategy this year will be around product education. We’re working on increasing our webinars and online tutorials on top of our current marketing strategy.
Our product is dependent on individual and technical specialists that we market to in person,” says Mark. “Now we want to physically show them how to use our products online and make their life a lot easier.”
PerkBox, a tool that helps companies boost employee engagement and wellness, is also focusing their content strategy on incorporating more digital events and webinars to educate the masses on the importance of employee engagement.
“Our fun and insightful marketing collateral, events and digital webinars are all part of a marketing approach designed to educate as well as raise awareness of the importance employee engagement can have from the smallest business to the largest corporation,” says Alexandra Sanpera, Head of Public Relations at Perkbox.
Experimenting with chatbots
If you’re not already exploring using chatbots to interact with your audience and streamline community management, 2018 is the perfect year to start.
Chatbots can work with your content strategy to automate your response to interactions with your content and boost engagement in a new way that doesn’t rely on email. Facebook recently reported seeing over 100,000 monthly active bots on Messenger, opening up so many doors for new ways marketers can connect with audiences.
“We recently began using chatbots to qualify inbound leads from our content marketing. It’s made it so much easier to track the number of engagements and conversions based on conversations with the bot.
Adding the chatbot feature when someone downloads a piece of our content allows the MQL (marketing-qualified lead) conversion to come quicker from content that we promote using ads.
We’re excited to begin testing inbound AdWords using insights we’ve gotten from the chatbots,”
says Sheryl Joyce, director of marketing at Perfect Channel, a B2B marketplace helping corporate buyers access a B2C-like experience.
Building a good team
Content is a wildly valuable asset that requires consistency and expertise to achieve results that make the efforts worthwhile. A lot of companies realize the importance of investing in the right people to make sure their content strategies are as effective as possible. That means building a team dedicated to strategizing and producing content that converts.
Content marketing aside, building a team of experts benefits not only the department they serve but the company as a whole and contributes to long-term growth and employee retention.
“We’ve doubled the size of our marketing team over the last year to achieve this, and we’re very proud of the results so far. We now have PR and copywriting teams researching what content we should be talking about and identifying the most relevant topics,” explains Alexandra of Perkbox.
Content marketing is evolving from a new strategy brands used to earn more engagement and establish themselves as thought leaders, into a deliberate tactic for generating leads and improving communication with their audience.
As content cements itself as a legitimate strategy for growing a business, companies are putting more time and energy into their strategies and coming up with new and unique ways to make sure their strategies stand out and work specifically work for their audience.