Your prospects are tuning out ads and fending off sales pitches. Here are 7 ways to reach them using content instead.
The new year is a great time to take action and help your company reach its sales and marketing goals. But before you set out to plan those new marketing campaigns, it’s important to take stock of what did and didn’t work in 2017 so you don’t repeat your mistakes. No matter what your industry, chances are good that content marketing was one of your most effective tools.
Content is king
According to a study by Media Dynamics, Inc., customers are shown more than 5,000 ads and brand messages per day, so it’s no surprise that content marketing is becoming one of the most successful strategies for reaching the consumer. People are tired of having traditional outbound ads forced on them, so when a brand steps in with authentic, useful content, consumers can’t get enough. That’s probably why content marketing generates six times the conversion rates of traditional marketing methods.
It’s easy to segment your content marketing to maximize your own conversion rates. Start by creating content based on your product or service, and then use content to target each of your strongest-performing buyer personas. To get even more specific, focus on the various pain points that these buyers are looking to address. According to Curata, 41 percent of marketers have increased the number and quality of their sales leads by utilizing content curation.
While there’s no denying the effectiveness of content marketing, it’s a broad term. Content comes in many different shapes and sizes and can require varying degrees of upfront investment. To improve your reach and generate more sales leads in 2018, focus on these seven forms of content.
1. Create a company blog. You should already have one, but if you don’t, then join the club and make 2018 the year you finally start that company blog. HubSpot notes that 53 percent of marketers cite blog content as their top priority for inbound marketing.
Putting blog content to work is a great strategy. Content Marketing Institute reports that more than three-quarters of all internet users read some form of blog, and they aren’t just passive observers. When given a recommendation by a favored blog, 61 percent of U.S. consumers made a purchase, which is probably why small businesses with a blog enjoy 126 percent more lead growth than their peers that don’t.
2. Use brand journalism. Part of what gives your brand a sense of authenticity is a strong focus on storytelling. Brand journalism is simply about keeping your audience up to date on the story of your company.
Companies such as PowerPost are making brand journalism easier by providing software that coordinates content publishing across a wide range of channels. They also help with content creation so it doesn’t take up your or your employees’ valuable time. After all, content marketing isn’t helping your bottom line if it gets in the way of running your business.
3. Add video content. According to Cisco, 82 percent of all internet traffic by 2021 will be video. It’s taking over the internet, but it’s especially significant in the social media sphere. When it comes to content, an Animoto survey found that customers prefer viewing a video 4 times more than reading text. This hasn’t escaped the attention of marketers — almost 70 percent say they’re ramping up spending on video production.
4. Curate content from influencers. Word of mouth is one of the most effective types of marketing, and online influencers can amplify that approach with powerful megaphones. YouTube is an especially effective means for influencers to reach their audiences — 70 percent of teenagers on YouTube relate to their favorite influencers better than conventional celebrities. According to a 2017 poll by PMYB, 28 percent of marketing managers reported that influencer marketing was their fast-growing method of acquiring customers online.
5. Spice up statistics with infographics. Customers prefer video over text, but an infographic allows information to be digested even faster. Infographics draw customers in quickly while communicating several paragraphs’ worth of messaging in a single visual, and the appeal is undeniable. On social media, infographics are shared and liked three times more often than other content varieties, according to research compiled by Lucidpress.
6. Employ Google AdSense. This advertising tool from Google puts display ads on websites that pay a commission each time they’re clicked. Google automatically scans your website content so it can display the most relevant advertising, meaning some ads are worth more than $1 per click for the website owner. AdSense is a great way to monetize a blog, yielding dollars that you can then reinvest in content generation.
7. Create an online course. If your business has expertise in a particular area, sharing it with your audience will help you gain a loyal following. If you’re not sure where to start, there are a number of marketplaces for online courses worth checking out, and certain software solutions can make the process of putting together a course simpler for you and your students.
Whether you rolled out a content marketing strategy for the first time in 2017 or you’ve been utilizing this marketing gold mine for years, there are many ways to optimize your content marketing performance in the coming year. Using some of these tools and techniques can help you generate more leads and acquire more customers, but remember that consistency is crucial when it comes to content marketing. Put in the time and effort, and you’ll reap the rewards.
Chirag Kulkarni is the Chief Marketing Officer of Medly, a digital pharmacy. Forbes ranked him one of the top 25 marketers and he’s helped brands like Expedia increase their revenue on the web.