Content marketing: getting the basics right

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The modern media consumer has developed quite a talent for zoning-out marketing messages intended to engage them across pretty much all platforms, be it television, radio or digital. Lives are busier and the choices are seemingly limitless.

The trick for business now is to stop shouting at their consumers with intrusive and interruptive advertising and focus instead on building relationships with their consumers. This ‘conversational’ non-interruptive approach has seen the rise of what’s become known as content marketing.

Earn the attention of consumers

The most effective way to get a customer’s attention is to earn it by engaging in conversation via content marketing. This, in simple terms, is the creation and distribution of relevant content or information to a defined target audience, over a long term, to build relationships and in turn profits.

Digital distribution channels such as social networks, blogs and websites have made it possible for brands to become content creators themselves rather than needing to sponsor traditional media channels. Business no longer has to rely on media publishers as the gateway or the gatekeeper to an audience.

A targeted approach

But while you can now be your own publisher, the question of quality becomes critical. Consumers want content that adds real value to their lives, which means not targeting them with thinly veiled sales speak. Think about the media you consume. Why is it that you visit a favourite website every day, or buy a particular magazine or your choice of newspaper? Useful, useable, desirable content is non-negotiable when it comes to engaging with your online community. The content you place on your site is what defines your brand to the world of customers and potential customers.

By providing visitors to your site with engaging and relevant news and information rather than simple “buy now!” messages, you are ensuring a better, more enjoyable and memorable user experience. This in turn means visitors to your digital real estate will linger longer and you’ll generate more referrals to your site.

It’s not a one-off though. A smattering of interesting pieces uploaded once and forgotten about will yield nothing. You must add new, interesting material to keep your existing audience tuned in and it’s also the best way to develop new audiences. The constant updating of content on your business site is of course also important for search engine optimisation. The internet is a crowded place – without a steady stream of updated content you risk your site being invisible to search engines.

Content marketing should form a key component of any business’ ongoing sales or customer retention strategy, and arguably also affords the greatest opportunity. Think of it as a long-term relationship – the more you put into it over time the more it grows and the more rewarding it becomes.

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