What is Content Marketing?
Create, Publish and Share your Original Online Content
Content Marketing is the process of reaching your Target Customers by sharing online content. The objectives of Content Marketing include 1. Brand Awareness 2. Increase loyal Customer Base 3. Generate Business Leads and 4. Increase in Sales Revenue.
Step 1: Target Audience
Identify your Target Audience
Content is created for the Target Audience (Target Customers). The key for successful Online Content is the Impact it creates on the Target Audience. You should understand your Customers and their needs, specifically for valuable content. The objective is not to stimulate a new need for content, rather to connect with the already existent need in the minds of your target customers. You need to begin by defining your Target Customer Segment. This involves demographics like age, gender, geographic location, educational level, professional background, income bracket, family structure and lifestyle choices. Next, you need to understand the pain points and problems that your target customers are trying to deal with. These pain points and problems are your primary anchors for new content development. Your objective is to add ‘real value’ in the work and life of your target customers.
Step 2: Original Content
‘Your Story’ helps you differentiate and stand-out
Remember, you are addressing a thinking and aware target audience. Your audience already has access to an awesome amount of free online information on the topics you have in mind. So how do you develop Original Content, that means something to your audience? The most valuable starting point is Your Unique and Honest Contribution – your opinions, your experiences, your interpretations (of business and life) and most importantly your story. Your unique and individual insights into business and life, will help your stand-out and differentiate from the ‘me-too’s of the content world. Learn to believe in your unique opinions and interpretations, but keep them relevant and applicable to your target audience. Avoid self-indulgent thought streams. Real-life stories, anecdotes, experiences add originality and texture to your content. Don’t forget to add appropriate images and visual design elements to improve the speed and efficiency of communication. Always remember the objective of your content is – to connect with the real-life needs of your target audience.
Step 3: Publish & Promote
Ensure your Content reaches your Target Audience
Online content can be of various types: written text (blog, articles, newsletters, whitepapers), video, webinars, podcasts, etc. You should select relevant online marketing channels depending on your content type. So, the first step is, of course, to publish your content on the appropriate channels, following the relevant publishing guidelines. But that is just the starting point. To ensure that your content reaches your target audience you should employ supportive and back-up online promotional campaigns. For example, you can send a dedicated email campaign with a short description and a link to your published content. You could use various online social media like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter (and relevant groups on these media) to further ensure that your content reaches your target audience. You can also use these Social Media to expand your Customer base. The objective of publishing and promoting your content is to add value and elicit interest from your audience.
Step 4: Customer Engagement
Bilateral interactions to follow-up with your Clients
Once you have elicited the interest and curiosity of your target customers, you need to find ways to build constructively on this interest. This process of building mutual trust and long-term business relationship with your customers is called Customer Engagement. There are various aspects to the Customer Engagement Process. You can build on the value points in your online content that led to the client interest. You can expand and elaborate on various dimensions and solutions connected to the client’s problem. You can share novel and innovative approaches of evaluating the same situation. You can present latest advancements in technology and business models that can add real-life value to the client’s situation. Various channels of engaging with the client are:
1. Surveys & Current Requirement forms
2. Phone Calls addressing specific concerns
3. Online Social Media Engagement to highlight specific issues
4. Real-life events focused on client situations
5. Special Promotional Offers
These are just a few examples. You need to find engagement channels customized to your business, product, offering and client needs.
Step 5: Customer Conversion
Call to action for a business proposal or sales generation
Once you have genuinely engaged customers, you can think of ways of using customer conversion strategies. Customer conversion strategy depends on the original goal of your Content Marketing. For example, your content marketing goal might be increasing brand awareness, in which case you find ways of introducing your brand qualities that align with the customer engagement process. If your content marketing goal is increases sales revenue, you can focus on introducing meaningful sales points in the customer engagement process, at relevant steps. You need to map your Sales Process and find sales points that align with the specific customer requirements in the engagement process. Once you have your sales points aligned with the engagement process, you can introduce relevant online call-to-action points towards your business proposal or sales.
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