By Lynn Manternach/Consulting

Have you been waiting for an invite to the cool new marketing approach, a.k.a. content marketing? Consider yourself invited.

You’ve probably heard content marketing is kind of a big deal. Everybody’s doing it. So, what exactly is it again? Simply put, content marketing is communicating with potential customers in a way that they actually enjoy paying attention to, and demonstrating that you can be trusted.

Making it happen takes a little work, but it’s worth the effort. It’s a little bit like planning a party. Here are some tips to help you get started.

You need a theme. When it comes to content marketing, your goal is not to just generate a lot of content; it’s to generate content that helps build your brand. That means you have to understand what your brand is, and where you’re going with your content strategy. The key to effective content marketing is to understand what interests and engages your audience, and how that connects to your brand.

Stay focused on your guests. Why are you having a party? It’s because you want your guests to have a great time, and maybe share a little bit about yourself and what you love along the way.

There’s a lot of content out there. Actually, there’s a lot of really lousy content out there. You don’t just need content, you need content that is worth reading. If you don’t have a strong writer to generate your content, partner with a writer who has strong skills. There are a lot of really talented freelance writers in our area. They provide the writing skills, you provide the content.

So what is good content? That’s up to your readers to decide. To increase the likelihood of having people read your content:

  • Craft an interesting and informative headline
  • Make sure your content is authentically useful, focusing on problems that are relevant to your audience
  • Keep it brief, formatted to engage and hold attention
  • Make it at least somewhat entertaining whenever possible

 

Spruce the place up a bit. Most people take the time to clean their home before inviting guests over. You should do the same for the home you’ve chosen for your content. Have you updated your website lately? If your site still looks like a word art experiment from 2005, even the most engaging prose will be ignored. Appearances matter and an ugly, amateurish or cluttered design will cast an unflattering light on your content and your credibility.

Welcome your guests. Make it easy for people to get from your content to your product. This is content marketing, after all, so eventually you need to get to the marketing part.

If you’ve managed to stay focused on connecting your brand to content that interests and engages your audience, your readers know exactly what your business is. Make it easy for them to get from your content to more information about you and your product or service.  Make it easy for them to buy, if that’s what they want to do.

Get social. As you can see, content marketing doesn’t start with collecting Facebook likes and Twitter followers. You need to build the foundation first. Take the time to clearly understand and articulate your brand, generate relevant and engaging content before you
invite your guests over. Welcome them, entertain them, let them know you’re glad they came. And if they want to buy your product or services, make it as convenient as possible to complete that transaction. Ask them if they had a good time, stay in touch, and invite them back, along with a few friends, if they’d like.

Social media audiences will start talking about you as soon as you give them something worth talking about. Take your time, and do it right. And enjoy the party.