Content marketing is a crucial part of a marketing strategy. In fact, 70% of marketers are actively investing in content marketing. Yet, when it comes to measuring the success of a content marketing strategy, the most common measurement is total sales. As great as content marketing is at driving leads from target audiences, much more goes into and can come from content marketing than just leads.
What was once a driving factor for marketing teams is now an outdated approach, not yielding the same results marketers previously saw. Today, people are looking to connect with brands, as nine out of 10 people buy from companies they follow on social media. Marketing teams must revamp their strategies to speak to their audiences, add value and ultimately generate conversations.
How can companies shift from a conversion-focused strategy to connections instead? Teams need to go back to the basics – making connections with their audience and key members within their industry. Here are four ways marketing teams can breathe life into their content marketing strategies.
Educate with Expert Insights
Being a content marketer is hard. From drafting a blog post to producing a podcast or recording a webinar, every piece of content delivered on behalf of your brand has to provide value to your audience. This is where educational content comes into play.
Educational posts provide valuable insight to your audience as they receive the necessary information while simultaneously positioning your brand and spokespeople as thought leaders in the industry. This is what makes educational content so effective for companies. To make this work, you as the content creator aren’t required to know anything and everything about the industry, but you can – and should – team up with industry experts to conduct interviews and provide actionable insight to your viewers.
Combine Education with Entertainment
People love internet content and it’s not going away anytime soon as there are new articles, social media posts, videos and memes posted every day. However, with this form of digestible information, we are seeing changes in the habits of audience consumption. According to HubSpot, people want to see more social media posts, videos, online classes, research content, blogs and podcasts.
Understanding these needs tells marketers that their audiences want more educational content while also prioritizing visual platforms such as utilizing social media platforms for distributing content. Marketing teams can use both educational and visual content, such as infographics with stats, tips, or steps, audiograms of podcast episodes, video tutorials, webinars with experts and more to meet these modern needs.
Inspire Action from Your Audience
Pumping out content after content with no true actionable insight is not enough. Content for audiences needs to do more than provide facts, opinions and data points – it needs to have useful next steps that individuals or businesses can take and put into motion right away. This is why we are seeing educational content as a high priority for audiences – people are looking for insight to improve themselves, their lifestyles, their businesses and more.
A great way to provide these valuable insights for audiences is to inspire them to take action. One of the best ways to do this is through both success and tribulation stories — highlighting trials, failures, successes and important lessons for others to take and learn from.
Inspiration is a powerful tool and being a source of inspiration provides greater connections and can eventually lead to increased chances of audiences turning into devoted customers or clients.
Start Conversations that Matter
Starting conversations that matter does not mean that all content has to start with politics. Instead, that content can spring from a simple question about a current event, topic or sharing your brand’s stance or POV (point of view) on an issue, trend or whatever you see fit.
For example, start a social media poll asking what followers are currently struggling with. Take the time to engage with audiences and see what they think or concerns they have that you as a brand can address and assist with. Using this approach provides greater engagement, better understanding of followers’ interests, fuels conversations and provides feedback for enhancing your content strategy.
Content marketers should take a step back and look at successful brands in today’s environment. By doing so, they will see one simple theme emerge again and again: relationships. Companies are putting greater emphasis on humanizing their brands. They’re focusing on meaningful conversations and building connections beyond just a business-to-business relationship and without the sole goal of generating leads. As a result, they are creating communities amongst audiences and building loyalty before people turn into customers.