Happy 2016! Everybody have their trees down and the glitter swept up? I’ll admit I saw a stray piece of glitter today in my kitchen, stuck quite insistently to the back splash behind the cooktop of all places. As we jump, crawl or trudge our way into the new year I thought we’d revisit content marketing.
Content Marketing is Promotion Masquerading as Education
At it’s core, content marketing is education. It’s the provision of meaningful and educational content to your customers, potential customers and maybe even investors or other interested parties. Using content marketing sounds new, but really, it’s not new. Anyone worth their salt has been using content marketing for ages. We just simply used to call it strategic marketing, meaning it was thoughtfully planned against and probably consistent with other similar messages (also called branding). Content marketing is getting more popular, because quite frankly, most of us are too smart to be marketed to in any other way. You can’t inundate my TV because –haha– I’m watching on DVR or via NETFLIX. You can’t spam me because, well, it’s illegal (and even if you do make it thru to my inbox — neener neener neener — I don’t have to read you.)
So now marketing must simply be smart.
Telling the Stories that Make You an Expert
- Tell the Stories of Your Product: Most products have developed over time. Even the newest of gadgets probably started out a little different in the initial prototypes. Tell your customers about that. Now admittedly you probably don’t need to go into detail about how the first one caught on fire in your mom’s basement and that the cat for some reason can’t meow anymore, but tell us why you changed it. Presumably, you heard from potential customers about features they wanted added or removed. Doing this shows that you listen. It helps customers understand how to use your product and what need it solves and can be a key part of your content marketing strategy.
- Tell the Stories of Your Customer: This is my all-time favorite. I love to build customer profiles for my clients. Last summer I outlined several ways to use customer stories in your marketing efforts. If you missed it, click here to read it. I think you probably need three or four Customer Profiles in your collateral plan. Better to do three or four really good ones than eight to ten that aren’t rich enough in content to cover off the customer in enough detail. (Note: Cutting a profile too narrow can actually be isolating to readers instead of inviting.)
- Tell the Stories of Your Industry: This one can be tricky because by telling the story of the industry you’re potentially promoting your competitors. So while, it has to be done carefully, raising all boats is a strategy that can be very helpful, especially in an emerging space. Take for example an organic produce market, by touting the benefits of fresh fruits and veggies as compared to those trucked and flown in from other countries; you could successfully encourage your customers to shop more locally. But, you may not convince them to drive out of their way to visit your store. But chances are that the message will resonate, and that viral marketing will prevail. As more and more people discover the need for local, organic shops, you’ll benefit as well.
- Tell the story of your future: It is a new year! Time to be excited about what’s coming, especially while everyone is planning resolutions. You likely have a few resolutions for your products. Make them part of your 2016 content marketing efforts. People will find it interesting, and they may want to check back in to see how well you fared over the course of the year. This helps you grow your followers, and keep them engaged.
Showing yourself to be an expert is a great way to amp up your content marketing. Whether you were the first to market or most recent in a long line, you likely have experience that your potential customers will find engaging. Tell your story — if you give it a try, Tweet me @jrfoster75231 to share! I promise to give you a retweet.
Best Wishes for a Phenomenal 2016!