Growing up in the 1990s, I saw a lot of brands compete for commercial space on television. As you may know, television advertising comes with a hefty price tag. Back in the day, it was difficult for the little guys to breakthrough the noise. With the rise of social media in the past 10 years, small businesses now have a chance to go head to-head with the big fish. I know what you’re thinking; how do you stand out on social media when over 40 million companies are on Facebook alone? The answer: strategic content marketing.
I spoke with Nik Entwistle, founder of TK, an integrated marketing firm (US & UK), “Content marketing can be thought of as the science of engaging with people through media, especially social media platforms…Every brand should ask themselves if they would engage with the content they are creating, if they were the consumer.”
Here are some helpful tips to review before planning your first content marketing strategy:
1) Platform Selection
Before creating content, you have to think about your target demographic and where they spend the most time. It could be one platform or multiple platforms. For example, If you are trying to reach teens and preteens, Snapchat is a no brainer. Once you narrow down the right platform(s), it will be easier to figure out what type of content and media (videos, photos, memes, blogs, infographics, etc.) will produce the best results.
Content marketing is very different than traditional advertising. Storytelling is a great way to get your message across to your audience without feeling the pressure of a hard sell. In order to captivate your target demographic(s), you have to be relatable.
“Never be afraid to tap into emotions. We all have experienced love, lost, death, sickness or whatever else life throws at you. Tap into the emotional concept dealing with your audience,” Sedaria Williams, Founder of Airades PR.
Consumer attention spans are shorter than ever. Take a look at businesses that are winning on photo-based platforms like Instagram and Pinterest. They all have one thing in common; compelling visuals. Christine Rochelle, Digital Marketing Director of Lotus823 explained, “A compelling visual doesn’t mean asking your designer for an aesthetic that is ‘clean’ and ‘pops’ - it’s recognizing the visual elements that best speak to your audience and what emotions you want to invoke.”
In order to obtain potential customers, you have to think like a customer, and more importantly, search like one. Make it easy for potential customers to navigate and find your content. This is where SEO comes into play. I asked Diego Lomanto, CMO of Talent Inc. to elaborate, “Incorporate SEO keywords into every facet of your marketing efforts. Spend time and resources on long-form, data-driven content.”
Consistency is an important factor when planning your strategy. You have to give your audience a reason to check-in. Athleisure clothing line, Boy Meets Girl, is a phenomenal example. I interviewed Stacy Igel, the Founder & Designer, “We have a weekly muse on Boy Meets Girl, where we feature a person who is making a difference through their music, art, acting, dj’ing, anything. There are photo-shoots every week for the best quality images and I personally sit down and learn about our muse to create a great interview. This is a great way for consumers to attach themselves to the Boy Meets Girl brand.”
6) Breaking News
Twitter showed us the power of a trending topic. Your content should align with current trends as much as possible. According to Andrew Graham, founding partner of Clear, “It is easy for audiences to block ads, delete emails and ignore cold calls. News is one thing ― perhaps the only thing ― they won’t reflexively ignore. For this reason, companies should coat their ads, marketing, and ‘content’ with a thick veneer of news.”
7) Live Content
Live video content is the best way to reach your audience in real-time. However, it can be risky, since there is limited room for editing. Facebook Live has a new “Disable Comments” feature that helps put this concern to rest. Kristen Hinman, CEO and founder of Peare Media explained, “This new feature is great for a first-time broadcaster! The Internet can be intimidating, especially a live video, because people can comment or say anything they want. Turn off comments during your live broadcast and gain back control.”
8) Call to Action
Before you decide on a call to action, you have to think about the end goal. Sales increase? Spike in web traffic? More emails for your newsletter? More followers? You have to choose.
“We coach our clients to develop a brand story through compelling visuals and create a specific call to action whether it be driving consumers to e-commerce, sales incentives or promotional events,” Katie Reed, Founder of Reed Branding.
Don’t forget to include these two important words; please share. Never underestimate the power of the share/repost button. It’s one the best ways to heighten visibility and garner new customers.
9) Repurpose Content
How can I write an article on content marketing without mentioning the king, Gary Vaynerchuck, Founder of VaynerMedia. I don’t think anyone explains repurposing better than him:
“I’m about to get real meta on you: the article you’re about to read was made from a video, that was made from the making of an article, that was originally based off a video. What I just said right there is the infrastructure for a true content strategy.” Read Gary Vaynerchuck’s full article “Content, on Content, on Content” to learn more.
About the Author:
Jenny Miranda is the Founder & CEO of Jenny Miranda Public Relations, LLC (NYC) and the Editor-in-Chief of The Manhattanite News. www.JennyMirandaPR.com