How To Win Customers With Great Content
Do you adopt a systematic, planned approach to your content marketing? Read on to find out why you should do so.
In order to win customers, you need to create valuable and interesting content. Firstly, you need to maintain a spreadsheet of content ideas/research. When you find a good article on the web that you think you could repurpose to suit your brand- by writing an even better article on the same topic - take the following steps:
- Categorise that article in your spreadsheet e.g. Facebook
- Add the date it was posted
- Write a brief description of what the article was about
- Include the URL
- Rank the article in terms of relevance and quality – a high score in both fields means that it is something you could seriously consider repurposing
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It’s a good idea to add filters to the title row of your spreadsheet so that you can filter on the basis of category, score for rank and score for quality. This will help you to sift through your spreadsheet of ideas quickly to find the most valuable information to you.
You also need to include columns on your spreadsheet for each of your online channels, e.g. Blog, Website, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Scoop.it etc.
You should indicate which online channel you are going to target with the desired content in the relevant column.
Once you have this overview available of your top content ideas and where you’re going to place them, you can start to think about how you’re going to write about the topic in question. Remember! Don’t plagiarise the original author of your source article. If you use any of their material be sure and reference them. A good place to start is to think about how your business adds value to the topic in question and to write your own content on that basis.
You could also consider the feedback your customer services teams are getting at the coalface. What are the recurring issues your clients are having? Think about putting together a series of articles based around your FAQ’s and expanding them to incorporate the feedback from your customer service team. If you do this, you will instantly succeed in generating a rich repository of valuable content that will help address the needs of your customers.
Winning Forms of Content
‘Top ten’ lists or indeed ‘Top Twenty’ lists are very popular in terms of readership and engagement on social media channels. The key thing is to have a number in your title!
‘How to’ content
Some of the most popular videos on YouTube are ‘How to’ videos. To revisit a point made earlier; why not think about a way in which your business adds values to a particular topic and produce a ‘How to’ video based on that message? Or produce a ‘How to video’ as an educational resource in relation to your product? Online training is increasingly popular among users. One simple method of delivery would be to conduct a live hangout in Google+ and to post a recording of it afterwards to your YouTube channel for users to view at a later stage.
Infographics, graphics which display detailed information in a visually appealing way, are a fantastic way of displaying a lot of information in an easily digestible format. Great tools for creating infographics include Easel.ly and GoAnimate.com (for animated infographics). Check out a great infographic on Content Marketing for SME’s from Digital Information World here.
For longer form content, white papers (detailed reports on a specific aspect of your business) are a great way of getting your brand’s message across. It can be particularly beneficial to offer a white paper as an incentive for an email sign up to your newsletter. This can help you to build a database of email subscribers to whom you can send targeted content.
Evergreen Content versus Short Term Content
It is worthwhile spending time researching topics which could be fleshed out into long-term, ‘Evergreen’ content. This is content that has a long ‘shelf-life’ and which users could potentially keep on coming back to refer to as a resource over a long period. Short term content does exactly what it says on the tin. It is content that refers to something that is ‘hot’ or topical right now, which has the potential to generate a lot of engagement while the subject is topical but which fades from popular memory once the ‘moment has passed.’
Don’t forget to include an Eye Catching Image
Accompanying your post with a good ‘eye catching’ image can go a long way towards acting as a ‘hook’ for potential likes, comments and shares from your followers/fans. In a busy newsfeed, an image that ‘stands out from the crowd’ can be the first step towards encouraging fans/followers to interact with your content.
Final Points to Remember
The key thing to remember with any form of content is that unless you add value to the user, it simply isn’t going to gain a lot of traction out there. If you do generate quality content that succeeds in addressing the needs of your fans/followers, chances are that they will reward you by becoming advocates for your brand and converting their peers to your brand in the process.
There are a number of excellent social media dashboards available, some starting at less than $25 per month which can help you schedule your posts across multiple social media platforms. Pooja Lohana lists 5 of the best out there, including Buffer, Hootsuite and Sprout Social in her post 5 Top Social Media Dashboards to Manage Your Social Accounts
Lilach Bullock penned an excellent article in relation to the decision as to whether to schedule the distribution of your content via social media channels or to engage in ‘real time conversations’ with fans/followers.
Her recommendation is to do a combination of both to optimise your content marketing. Scheduling your posts enables you to maintain an online presence 24/7 and can be very beneficial in terms of saving time and labour. However adding the personal touch by engaging with fans/followers in real time can generate a significant ROI and should not be ignored.
Getting your content right can be a challenge. The key thing to remember is that the secret to content success lies in preparation and planning. Quality content that genuinely adds value to your fans/followers and which is relevant to their needs will have a much more significant impact on them than content which is not targeted and which is not designed with specific customer personas in mind. If ‘content is king’, does your content marketing lay a claim to royalty?
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Jeff Bullas website post