When was the last time you really believed an advert? You know, all those businesses that bang on about how you won’t be disappointed and how they are basically the best thing ever.
There was a time when Victor Kiam could come on the TV and tell people how great Remington shavers were and - remarkably - lots of people thought: ‘He seems reasonable, rich and well-presented, maybe I’ll buy one’.
Today people have become so saturated with advertising of all types. Maybe they have just become wiser, maybe they’ve had too many bad experiences with people promising the Earth and not following through. Whatever the reason, “the hard sell” is liable to make people switch off or, at worst, actually become annoyed and mistrust what you’re saying.
This is why content marketing has become a much more effective way of communicating with your customers. Content marketing uses a variety of different formats to show people you know what you’re talking about, rather than just telling them and expecting them to believe it.
Content marketing is like having a clued up mate
Imagine you’ve got a friend called Bob. Bob knows a lot about cars. When you’re going to look at a secondhand car you get Bob to come with you. You need to fix something, you ask Bob how to do it. A mechanic quotes you a price, you refer to Bob to see if it’s reasonable.
Now, imagine Bob started doing a little side trade in spare car parts. Would you be more likely to buy from Bob or someone who you just found on Ebay who told you they were totally kosher and 10 per cent cheaper?
Through the correct use of content marketing you can be like Bob. When people think about a problem they have to solve or a product they need to buy they should think of your business as the solution.
Why are you special and how can you help?
Creating good content is about telling good stories and giving people genuinely helpful and interesting information. So, it follows that as a business you need to think of the special stories you have to tell and the specific help you can offer.
The key is get back to the fundamentals of what makes your business special and why you do it. The content you produce needs to reflect this.
Maybe you’re an artisan cheesemaker who can tell the story of how your head of production spent their holiday in France hunting for the perfect brie. Right away this shows people that your top cheesemaker really cares about what they do (even in their free time!) and it’s a chance to demonstrate all the fascinating facts about brie, their journey and their depth of knowledge of the subject. Maybe you’re a wealth management company with lots of great advice to give people about how to prepare for inheritance tax. Why not put together a series of video interviews with your expert team?
Five cool things about content marketing
It attracts traffic to your website and gets people to stay there longer. Google loves a website that is regularly updated. What’s more, if you write the content in the right way people are more likely to find it when they’re searching for things on the internet (things like ‘What’s the best brie in France?’ or ‘How can I prepare for inheritance tax?’). As well as having more people stumble on your website when they’re searching the internet, the people who visit directly are more likely to stay for longer if there is interesting content for them to interact with.
It grows your newsletter subscriptions. If people like one piece of content you produce, they may well be interested in another. This means it’s a great way to grow your subscriber database. You can even segment your audiences and the kind of content they’re interested in to send them information specifically tailored to them. This all helps warm people up to convert them into potential customers.
It feeds social media. Do you ever sit there thinking that you really should post something on social media but you can’t think what? Having a good content strategy helps put this problem to bed as you’ve always got something interesting to share with your followers.
You don’t even have to do it. Campaigns where you invite customers to submit their own content about your business are a great way to build trust and spread your influence. Let potential customers see others enjoying your products or achieving something they aspire to.
And, of course, it’s important to remember that content is not just blogging. Yes, blogs are great, but there are lots of other mediums to use as well. We’ve already mentioned video, but there are also podcasts and infographics, you might even think about producing a regular magazine or writing a book. Lego even went as far as making a series of films which had the handy effect of grossing £900m worldwide but were also basically long-form content marketing that people paid to watch.
The most important rule of content is…
...make sure it’s good! The content you put out there has to add value for your customers. They have to feel it is worth their while interacting with it or that they are getting a little bit of something for free (whether that’s advice or just a nice piece of writing, great photo or cool video).
We can help
At Platinum Live we know it’s not easy running your own business and finding the time to put together a content plan. That’s why we’re here to help you through the process.
If you want to talk about how we can help then get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org