- Paint the Perfect Portrait of Your Target Customer
There are fewer basic rules in content marketing more important than identifying correctly your customer persona. This in essence is who you are trying to reach with your products and services and what they want to read or what problems they are looking to solve. It’s the content marketing version of criminal profiling if you like! All the best marketing strategies begin by considering the needs of the customer and such needs can only be understood and targeted with a comprehensive understanding of just who these people really are. While there are too many methods for going about this to go into here, some include:
- Interviewing current customers and recognising unifying characteristics
- A/B testing of your site to see which pages yield better results and analysing why
- Progressive profiling of repeat visitors by offering downloads only after they give one or two pieces of information about themselves
- Social networking and offering competitions in response for completing surveys, for instance.
- Don’t be Shy with Using New Mediums!
Content need not all be traditional articles with key words and lists or problem solving tips. I mean, there is still a huge place for this type of content – in reality it is still the most important medium, perhaps – but there are times and places for experimentation and progression. One fantastic opportunity involves the use of video. As mobile technology advances, Wi-Fi improves and 4G arrives at more destinations across the country there is greater demand and appetite for video content. One area that is particularly suited to video content is at the very top of the content marketing funnel and branding. You could be sharing your overall brand values, the story behind the origin of your company or your company’s unique mission statement, whichever you choose your aim is to provide an immersive experience for your customers. Video is the perfect medium for this.
- Embrace the Weird
Sometimes, just sometimes it pays (at times massively) to lighten up. There are some cracking examples of companies who have used the social media medium to cook up a veritable storm of responses to some outrageously wacky posts. Obviously this is suitable only if your customer persona is deemed to have at least a smidgeon of a sense of humour (most do thankfully). One major company that gained a whole host of new followers thanks to a plethora of retweets and publicity is Innocent – as in the smoothie company. They recently celebrated International Penguin Day by posting an image of a Penguin alongside that of a Panda on Twitter accompanied by the following:
“It’s Penguin Awareness Day today, so it’s important you’re aware which animals are penguins and which animals are not penguins. The animal on the left is a penguin. The animal on the right, although similar in colour to a penguin, is actually a panda.”
That sort of innocent (sorry) humour is often a great ice-breaker for new followers and an entry point into feelings of empathy and endearment towards your brand.
- Measure your Content’s Success with Metrics
You may or may not create excellent, consistent and engaging content that is perfectly pitched at your customer persona, but how can you tell? Well, in addition to noticing a change in your traffic and lead generation figures there are a number of metrics that can prove invaluable in understanding if and why content is proving successful or otherwise. Using Google Analytics is a good idea and can prove very revealing, but again it is not the only tool. It helps to think of content marketing metrics in terms of four categories.
- Consumption metrics (the Google Analytics part)
- Sharing metrics (retweets, shares etc.)
- Lead generation metrics (new enquiries)
- Sales metrics (the bottom line).
- Address Specific Problems with your Content
This may sound obvious, but it takes a lot of skill, refinement and firstly research to begin to do this with success. Firstly, with the information you have gleaned from your customer profiling sit down and think about what problems are shared by the greatest number of your potential customers and how you can provide a clear, unique and concise voice to address this problem. If you stick to some very solid, consistent writing that offers clever ways of solving real problems then you can earn those much vaunted featured snippets above the search results on Google.