Getting started with content marketing is not limited to those with the biggest budgets and teams. Technology is working in everyone’s favor to provide easy to use tools that make us all look like pros.
Businesses can now get content into the hands of their target audiences quickly, professionally, and in the channel of their choice. In other words, and as it’s coined here, right content, right customer, right time.
So what’s the hardest part of content marketing?
Without a doubt, the hardest part is:
- Rigidly focusing on understanding your target market so that you can deliver content that matters to them.
- Producing high quality content consistently rather than average content relentlessly.
Rigidly focusing on understanding your target market
As long as you have something relevant to say, there’s a tool to help you say it and look like a master of marketing while you’re doing it, but how do you determine what’s relevant and useful?
As Joe Pulizzi puts it in his book, Epic Content Marketing: How to Tell a Different Story, Break through the Clutter, and Win More Customers by Marketing Less,
Your customers don’t care about you, your products, or your services. They care about themselves. Content marketing is about creating interesting information your customers are passionate about so they actually pay attention to you.
Relevance is the lifeblood of content marketing. It’s what serves the goals and aspirations of your target market. That’s it – no more, no less. Eliminate everything else that clouds the waters. Understand your target market’s challenges, know what they want to gain, and offer support throughout the customer lifecycle, not just at the beginning. Your blog, your video, your Facebook live session, your white paper, indeed whatever form your content takes, must demonstrate that you understand what matters most to your target market.
If you don’t already know what your target audience cares about, focus on answering their questions, sharing your resources, and giving away your secrets. This is what convinces customers that you understand them which naturally leads them to the conclusion that you can help them.
Producing high quality content consistently
Robert Rose hits the nail on the head when he reminds us that we have a duty to deliver relevant, valuable, and compelling content, not just more content.
Our job, as marketers, is not to create more content. It has never been about that. It’s about creating the minimum amount of content with the maximum amount of behavior change in our customers.
Whether B2B or B2C, if content isn’t high quality, meaning useful, you’re going to fight an uphill battle driving profitable business growth because consumers of your content won’t be inspired to be loyal to you or motivated to buy from you.
High quality, behavior-changing content is about delivering what matters to your audience at the same time as demonstrating your brand personality, tone, story, and promise in a salient and thought-provoking manner.
The great news is you are probably further along than you think and may not even know it. The even better news is that if you aren’t, you can start developing your content marketing strategy with relative ease.
Here’s where I’d recommend starting:
- Write down the challenge/topic that matters most to your audience right now.
- Jot down 5-10 thoughts/answers that are associated.
- Choose the one media that you’re most comfortable with for your first attempts. There’s time to experiment with other media later when you have greater confidence. Some people are a natural in front of a camera and others can tell a story with pictures or words. Pick what appeals most to your skillset – blog, video, podcast, SlideShare, infographic, and so on.
- Search online for free/low cost tools, if needed.
- Start creating, experiment, and have fun!
- Publish and promote using all channels available to you.
- Make it easy for your audience to move between learning from you and buying from you – a brightly-colored button labelled Buy Now, Start Your Subscription, etc., or written/verbal instructions work well.
- Always include a prominent call to action for next steps.
- Start working on your next piece (back to #1).
And most importantly,
Audiences are not built overnight and it’s discouraging when you see that 3 people viewed your video or 12 people clicked on your blog and 8 of them are related to you (personal experience!) It typically takes time to develop a following, expand your exposure, and increase your sales. Focus on the quality of the engagement you receive rather than the quantity because it is these members of your audience that are most likely to do business with you.
Creating average content that isn’t designed with your audience in mind devalues your brand and wastes your time. Rigidly focusing on understanding your target market and producing high quality content consistently is a choice, a hard choice but nevertheless, a choice, that gets you in front of your audience. That’s a great start!