In our newsletter, blog posts and articles on LinkedIn, we have written about a vast range of topics over the past few years, incorporating a variety of contributors and sometimes experimenting with different styles and formats.
We work with hundreds of UK businesses in a diverse range of sectors including opticians, attractions, legal firms, independent schools, farm shops and care homes. Despite a fickle UK customer service attitude, in all its breadth and depth, and irrespective of a fluctuating economic marketplace, Shopper Anonymous has succeeded over a period of almost two decades. Why? Because one thing never changes. People like great customer service.
With so much involvement in so many different businesses, we have thought carefully about the ‘one thing’ you need to do in 2018 to drive your business to the next level. After much thought and discussion, our top tip for increasing your customer base would be content marketing.
Seth Godin, American author and former dot com business executive once said that “content marketing is the only marketing left.” Seth made a point of emphasising that marketers should be creating content that their audience cares about — not just re-purposed advertisements.
Content creation is not always easy. You cannot simply pick up a pen, or keyboard, and write a few lines about why your customer needs your services or products in their life. Nor can you go in for the hard sell and try to convince your customer why they MUST engage in a relationship with you. Content marketing requires a firm understanding of your audience and a vision which links your business goals to the nature and topic of your content.
If you are to launch into January determined to reap the benefits of a successful content marketing campaign you will need:
- a documented strategy,
- a clear understanding of your audience,
- creativity (or assistance from people who are creative!)
- meaningful goals and metrics,
- a willingness to experiment, and most importantly,
Creating A Great Content Strategy In Seven Successful Steps
There is an abundance of research about what makes great content and there are many courses and training modules on the science behind successful content marketing.
Rather than go into the intricacies, we have developed seven simple steps to get you started on, or to re-inspire, your content marketing strategy.
- Your message
What is your message? What would you like to offer your audience? Will your content be educational, informative, humorous, casual, friendly or professional? Do you wish to become a thought leader in your area of expertise? What can you offer your customer that will make them remember your name and want to look out for your next post or article?
- Consider your audience.
You might think that your content is gold dust, capable of changing lives, but it will fall flat if you are targeting the wrong audience.
- Focus on quality not quantity.
Your content may not make an impact if your reader is tuned out by the second paragraph. Google considers 200 words to be thin content and research points to the theory that 1200 words results in better leads. Whatever length your blog posts or articles are, make every word count.
- Deliver content that is different from your competitors.
Be original. Subscribe to many different blogs and newsletters, get a feel for the common themes, honour the relevance of seasonal, political, social or economic issues but be creative and be different.
- Deliver content consistently.
Two fantastic articles per year are not enough. Content marketing is a slow burn; you must deliver regular content over time so your customers learn to expect your newsletters or blogs and begin to value them.
- How to distribute your content?
Which platform is appropriate for you? You may be churning out outstanding masterpieces but if you are posting them all on LinkedIn and your customers don’t even have a profile, you are missing the mark. Facebook and Instagram continue to be successful channels for B2C, however LinkedIn will continue to dominate the B2B arena in 2018, especially now that it supports video.
- Which metrics will you use to measure the success of your content delivery?
Measuring traffic, (online or footfall), monitoring user demographics, assessing the reach of your content and the conversion rates must all be considered if you are to make accurate judgements on what works and what doesn’t.
It’s not as daunting a task as it seems. You are an expert in your field. Your customers appreciate you because of that. So simply take some time out, consider the seven steps above and write a draft. Always use a fresh pair of eyes to go over your article, then get it out there. Start small and develop as your confidence grows. Or make a commitment to using one of the thousands of content writers out there. By the end of 2018 you will have a wealth of content that could well be your most effective marketing strategy yet.