At Indaba, we’re in the business of storytelling. And as brand builders, we know that the meat and potatoes of a successful marketing campaign lie in a single starting point: the content.
Content Marketing, for those who like it when we explain it like you’re five, is simply a strategic approach to marketing, one that focuses on the creation and distribution of valuable and relevant content. It’s communicating with your audience without selling anything. If that sounds too good to be true, it’s not. If it sounds like a smart idea, it is. It’s being a salesman without feeling intrusive. Unlike going door to door, asking people to buy a vacuum or a set of encyclopedias’, Content Marketing encourages people to come to you to buy a vacuum, naturally.
How? Who would we be if we didn’t show you how? Here are some tips of the trade we’ve picked up over the years.
Connect With Experience
We live in an information age. Everyone and their grandma has a Facebook account. Dogs have their own Instagram accounts (and are adulting better than you, probably), and five-year-olds can Google how to make playdough. Your content needs to be informative, sure, but more than anything, it needs to shift value from information to experience.
Your audience has never been more informed and, frankly, they’re likely overwhelmed by the amount of information out there. Catch their attention with a unique online experience. This doesn’t mean shouting louder than anyone to get your voice heard above the noise. It simply means creating compelling content that earns attention rather than saying what everyone else. Stories that are meaningful, that speak to personalized experiences, are the ones that will stand out, resonate with your audience, and connect them with your brand.
Beyoncé said it best when she said if you like it then you shoulda put a ring on it. If you want to execute a successful content marketing campaign for your brand, your content needs to come first. Marry yourself to it. Make it your priority. Commit to being a storyteller so your audience gets the best version of you and your brand.
It also means more than just writing content with the aim to create a viral sensation. Your content is your first impression maker. Wherever your audience is in their buying cycle, your content is their entryway. So, don’t just create content. Create content that is impactful, that provides meaning to your readers. At Indaba, we’re in the business of building relationships. And that’s exactly what your content needs to be doing: building trust and loyalty without the expectation of instant commercial return.
It’s important your brand be viewed as credible. Even though we live in a digital age, there is nothing more powerful than word of mouth, and this comes in the form of written testimonials.
Ask your clients to write a few sentences about your work – even if your clients aren’t household names, having a review of your services from some of your most prominent clients will do wonders for your content marketing. Client testimonials also establish trust with your audience, which lends a hand to building brand loyalty.
Have Your Work Featured
Having your work featured on blogs or sites that have an extensive following on social is the certifiable way to elevate your content marketing.
Not only does it increase your visibility, it establishes you as a credible brand, someone who is recognized in your industry for being authorities on a subject matter. You can do this with a major published or through influencer campaigns. Both will help you stand out as an authoritative voice as well as someone who has value in your industry. It will also help you increase traffic and build your reputation as a brand that carries clout.
We’ve said it before, but we’ll say it again: Don’t create content, leave it, and expect it will grow you some followers. That’s how you kill plants; it’s also how you kill your brand.
Nothing grows on its own. Except for Donald Trump’s hair. That’s still a complete mystery to us. Similarly, don’t expect that just because you have a lot of followers, you’re being successful at the social media wheelhouse. A successful content marketing strategy means paying attention to your following, taking part in conversations with them, and engaging with them on social. Reach new followers through engagement in the exact same authentic way you converse with your following: by having a conversation with them.
Everyone is doing content. Be the one who is doing content differently, saying something unique.
It takes a bit more digging and might mean more work, but the payoff is worth it. Look for opportunities to differentiate yourself from others in your field. The content marketing industry is chalk full of others all vying for everyone’s attention and in order to get your audience’s loyalty, you need to be doing something different. Take bold stances with your content to stand out. Your goal should be to stand out in people’s news feeds, gaining visibility but also traction at the same time.
With Content Marketing, it’s not how loud you’re shouting, it’s how well your content is shouted. How does that old adage go? You wouldn’t jump off a bridge just because everyone else was, would you? Take that, apply it to your brand, and execute creatively, uniquely, and always, always, always with a parachute.