When it comes to underpinning your digital marketing activity, it’s often said content is king. But why? More to the point, how is content defined?
Most simply put, content is the vehicle that carries the message about your brand, product or service. It can be delivered in anything from a social media banner to a blog post or video. Offline, content was traditionally seen on billboards, TV advertisements and leaflets. The opening up of online communication has made the creation and sharing of content more accessible, with professionals and amateurs alike sharing content through websites, social media and podcasts.
Beyond needing some form of content to tell your audiences all about your business and what it is you do, content can be used as a tool to drive awareness of your business or converting sales. How you use it, and more importantly the type of content you utilise, is dependent on where you are in your business growth stage. So, before you start penning thoughtful blogs or going live on Facebook, consider what it is you want and need your audiences to do.
One of the most common misconceptions about content is that if you create it, they will come. Not true. Creation is only the first step in making content work for you, 90% of the effort required is in how you put it to use.
If you want people to become familiar with your brand, easy to digest content is key. For example, video is perfect for communicating who you are and what you stand for as a business. Withhalf a billion videos being watched dailyon Facebook alone, you can’t argue with the efficacy of the numbers. Whether uploaded to YouTube, shared beyond, or posted live directly on Facebook or Instagram, video is a great vehicle through which to spread your message far and wide. How to do that is another question. Simply posting a video on your own website or social media channels only serves to speak to those who are already familiar with your business. To reach beyond requires some investment in both resources and budget.
Another example is social media advertising, seeding your content in groups and forums where your audiences amass in large numbers. Alternatively, investing in digital PR, where your content is shared on popular online news and magazine platforms. These are all ways to build better awareness of your business online.
Another expectation is that in sharing content, the comments, likes and share will immediately flood in. Asking yourself what purpose your content is there to serve will help determine what type of engagement you’re looking for. If it’s awareness you are seeking, then reach - the number of eyeballs looking at your piece of content - is your most important measure. For sales leads, you want click throughs to your website or the platform through which you capture potential customers data.
Comments, likes and shares on the other hand show the likelihood of potential interest in your business and brand. They also increase the likelihood of other potential customers seeing and showing interest in your brand. The content you use to generate this is all important. When informing or educating customers, blog posts or podcasts are powerful tools. When entertaining, the use of video, gifs or memes come into their own.
Ultimately, engagement through content is about the conversation you’re engaging your customers in, whether that’s on your own social media profile or the comments section of a new article you’ve had published. The key is to understand what you want your customers to think, feel and do and structure your content strategy accordingly.
Engagement is important for another reason, too. Search engines and social media platforms prioritise the sharing of content based on several criteria. One of these is the amount of comments, likes and shares received on new pieces of content. Knowing what is of interest to your audience and generating the clicks, likes and shares is essential. Your content is then more likely to reach and encourage new people to consider your businesses.
How and where you pitch that content is all important. A call to action, whether clicking through to a platform where you provide more information, capture data or sell products is essential. There are many ways to ensure your content is positioned in the right place at the right time to ensure the right people are finding you, considering you and buying your product or service.
Search engine optimisation is the most basic of these. Having key words embedded in your content is essential for ranking on search engines like Google, meaning more people are likely to find you. URLs, body copy, images, video tags and headers are all valuable commodities when it comes to SEO, as are pay per click ads. These allow you to jump to the top of search engines (and ahead of competitors) to bring more customers to your digital door.
The creation of content, balance of types used and targeting of customers is essential to making your content strategy work for you. But it’s the impactful positioning of your brand, business offering and appeal to your audiences that is the true art of nailing great content.
It is when reach, engagement and action marry to create a constant flow of potential business that you know you’ve cracked it.
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