The Social Observer

The Social Media Marketing Blog by SNHU Students

No, Not All Content Is Created Equal – A Guide for Creating Influential Content as Part Of Your Marketing Strategy

Regardless of the size of your business or the industry you are in, if you are trying to market your product(s), brand(s), and/or company you have likely heard the statement “Content Is King”. And, once you heard this, you may have thought to yourself:

“Why is Content King?”

“I have a small business with little to no resources, can I really develop my own content / content strategy?”

“I created great content but nothing happened, I don’t get it, what am I doing wrong?”

“I posted great content both on my website and on social media, now what?”

Well, worry no longer. The following post will attempt to answer all of your questions regarding content, is it right for you, what you should consider when developing the content and content strategy and maybe even more important what not to do.

So, Why Does Content Wear the Crown?

If you think about it, marketing content (also known as marketing collateral in the past) has always been part of marketing strategies, be it content developed for print, TV, radio, etc. However, “times are a changing”, and with change and progress come new types of marketing strategies. With what seems to be the takeover of marketing by platforms such as web, mobile and social networks, gone are the days of outbound marketing. Marketers have shifted their marketing strategies to be more inbound in nature, attempting to interact and engage with their target audience – i.e. talk with their target audience and not just talk to them.

So, with this in mind, let’s discuss what exactly is Content Marketing in today’s terms, and why is it so important to the way you market your business. First, check out the following video:

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJiWCa4LnpI

So, as you have seen, the theory behind content marketing is that it helps a company with:

  • Engaging with their target audience
  • Creating brand awareness
  • Building trust with the target audience
  • Positioning the company as an authority in the industry

Sounds Easy Enough, Let’s Create It and Post it and Be Done With It, Right? Wrong.

So now we know why developing content is important. However, there is a lot to consider when developing content, after all not all content is created equal. To develop truly great content, one should consider the following factors:

Don’t Forget Your Business Goals and Other Marketing Strategies – Similar to other marketing strategies, Content marketing is no different. The content you develop should tie to your business goals and objectives. Furthermore, assuming content marketing is not your sole marketing strategy, one should also consider all other strategies, tools and platforms when developing the content. Remember, the content you develop should consider Search Engine Marketing (i.e. SEO and PPC), Social Media Marketing, Public Relations, Sales Enablement and Inbound Marketing. All of these aspects can and should be impacted by the content you develop.

The 80/20 Rule – In the past marketing content was all about simply promoting your products and brands. Those days are gone. Given the interactive nature of today’s marketing landscape consumers now have deciding power of what they want to see, hear and read. It is critical that you don’t just try and promote your product, brand or company. Develop content that is of use to your readers, something they need, or want, something they find funny or interesting – something that will make them want to read more and share what they just read. One way to think about this is to use the 80/20 rule. The following image does a great job at summarizing this method:

social-media-8020-rule_522d087a3d4fa_w540

How Often Should You Post – Some people thing the more the better. With content it really is all about quality over quantity. Spread your posts, find the right frequency that works best for your audience, and does not become an annoyance.

Types of Content You Should Consider – Keep in mind, there are multiple types of content you can leverage to promote your product(s), brand(s) and/or company. A few example of content types beyond your regular write-ups worth considering include infographics, animated gifs, cartoons, videos, embedded tweets, and slide-shares.

What about Owned vs. Paid vs. Earned? Yet another area to consider – should you used only owned content (i.e. content you developed yourself) or is it worth investing in paid media? Paid media is third party content that helps create immediate traffic. This is especially good for new companies looking to generate brand awareness with a new target audience. If they leverage the two types of media successfully, they may even be able to generate earned media, which is content generated by their audience / followers / fans, as seen in the image below:

Eaned-vs-Paid-Media

Remember Not All Platforms Are Used by The Same People – Segmentation is still alive and kicking. Remember, different demographics use different social platforms, which in turn means you may want / need to create different types of content for each of the platforms you leverage in your marketing strategy.

But Wait, There Is More… Who Else Rules The Marketing Kingdom?

Be sure you keep the design of your content in mind when developing it, as some may say if content is king, design is the messenger. Be sure to consider things such as page layout, image formatting, colors, the overall tone of your content’s voice, etc.

Equally important is the context in which your content is written. It is not just enough to create good content, it needs to be delivered in the right context, otherwise it may result in no impact, or perhaps a negative impact.

Finally, don’t forget distribution. Similar to design and context, there have been those who consider how you distribute your content to be the queen of the content marketing kingdom.

One last word of caution…

Now that you understand the importance of content marketing and have an idea of the important factors to keep in mind when developing said content I want to leave you with one last word of caution. Just because you developed great content and post it, it does not mean that your target audience will immidetly come and purchase your product or brands, or become loyal customers. As Rand Fishkin from MOZ states in the following video a good content strategy takes time and resources:

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXZet0SYJnA&feature=player_embedded

The five key takeaways from Fishkin’s video are:

  1. You need to plan for the required time and effort needed….
  2. Don’t give up too early…. It takes time and multiple rounds of engaging your target audience with quality content….
  3. Don’t forget SEO…. Content marketing is not just a viral effort. Yes, that is part of it, but it is also here to help your overall SEO efforts….
  4. Don’t be overly optimistic or pessimistic about your content marketing – Hope for the best and plan for the worst.
  5. Don’t miscalculate conversions and/or assisted conversions…. Assisted conversions, also known as micro-conversions can in time lead to an actual (macro) conversion.

 

If you are interested in more tips about content strategies, please read this and this or watch this video.

 

Category: Social Media Marketing 201