Content marketing works – period.
There are endless reasons why content marketing should be at the core of your marketing strategy and why it is essential to the success of your business. If properly executed, content marketing can position your organisation as credible, increase the visibility of your brand and educate your customers.
We spend our days creating content for a variety of clients and have learned the hard way what works and what does not. Here are four simple principles that can help guide you when you set out to create meaningful content for your business.
- A picture paints a 1000 words
Integrate your content with captivating visual elements – research shows that content with appealing and relevant images get 94% more total views than content without (HubSpot). They also provide added SEO value. Whether you are shooting your own original images or using a stock image site, if you want your content to be seen – and read – it is essential that you focus just as much on the quality of your visual elements as you do your written.
- Sharing is caring
Keep social media platforms in mind when creating content. LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook are among the most common social media platforms used by businesses to market themselves or their services. They work primarily because they allow for content to be shared. Research shows that people share for a variety of reasons: social validation; entertainment; or just because it’s interesting! Another key reason people share, is if the content contains some practical relevance. A study by the New York Times Insights on the Psychology of Sharing shows that 94% of people rated the usefulness of the content before passing it on – because people share to enrich the lives of others. Publishing content that is informative and valuable to your consumers therefore will increase the chances that it will be shared. Bear in mind, as social media is an interactive channel, engagement with your followers is imperative to maximise the reach of your content and allows you to connect with your audience.
- Don’t be shy
One of South Africa’s content marketing pioneers, Sam Wilson, once said to me: Never underestimate the power of originality. She’s right. Though it may seem fairly obvious – generating high-quality, original content is a vital aspect of creating a strong content marketing strategy. Unique, fresh content being published on your website positions your brand as a leader in your field and ensures that you are three-dimensional in a flat land. Fresh content has the power to build brand equity, particularly if it adds value for consumers and helps solve a need. So how to do this? Greg Satell, writing in Harvard Business Review urges brands to think of themselves as publishers. “If you can’t create a compelling experience, it doesn’t really matter what your content strategy is: it will fail,” he says. Like publishers, you have to think about what creates meaning for your audience and you need to be the one spotting the trend not responding to it. It’s about scouting for new ideas, shaping them, and finding new ways to express and deliver them. And he also suggests you keep trying new things – even if they fall flat at the very least they may spark a conversation with your target market that might help you learn something new about what to do next time.
So from now on – when you hear the phrase ‘content is king’ – remember why!