Yes, the rumor you’ve heard is true. Today’s consumers have closed the door to traditional marketing.
They put on coffee or go to the toilet during the commercial break on TV, they ignore the ads in newspapers and make sure to block ads on the web when they surf. Talk about cheekiness when all you want is to tell them how amazing your products and services are …
So it’s just as good for us marketers to throw in the towel? To bite into the sour apple and start devoting ourselves to something else? Or is there a solution to consumers’ defiant behavior?
Yes, fortunately, there is a light in the tunnel. And the solution is called content marketing. Or content marketing as we can also say in Swedish.
You’ve probably heard of it – it’s a real trend word and there are few terms that are talked about so often in marketing these days. But if you feel a little unsure about what it really is, what benefit you and your company can have from it and how you go about succeeding, this article is what you need to get warm in your clothes.
What you will learn in this article
- What is content marketing and why should you use it?
- Which strategy is right for your business?
- Which platforms should you choose?
- Roles and responsibilities
- How do you succeed?
Table of contents with quick links what is content marketing? Why content marketing? Develop strategy and goals define goals and measure success get to know yourself integrate with your existing marketing strategy take the cord with you on the train you – a media housepet on small wins, in the beginning, choose the right platforms and toolsNecessary ingredients in your online presence not without my blog develop guidelines and educate everyone involved practice makes perfect roles and responsibilities of your team who you need an editor community manager content creator not forget to listen put your plan into action in the best way publishing calendar – your best friends your strengths writing for the web pictures are importantVideoAdapt the content to the platform achieve content marketing content
What is content marketing?
We go hard with the most basic question. What exactly is content marketing?
If you go online hunting, you will probably drown in definitions, but the most common explanation is probably this one from the Content Marketing Institute :
“Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience – and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
In other words, the purpose is to attract and retain customers by regularly creating and curating (ie sorting out interesting content created by others) to change or enhance consumer behavior. It is not a one-time effort but an ongoing process that should be integrated into your overall marketing strategy and where you yourself have control over the content.
It’s simply about communicating with your existing and potential customers without selling . It’s about marketing that does not disturb or interrupt them. It’s about delivering information that adds value and makes your customers smarter instead of pitching your products or services. The reward will sooner or later be purchase and loyalty (source: Content Marketing Institute).
Theory in all its glory, but what does this mean in practice ? Well, content marketing is photos, images, texts, videos, audio files. checklists, e-books, white papers – simply anything you create and publish online (such as your blog, social media, or newsletter) – to tell the story of your business. To tell you who you are and what you stand for.
And even though it seems that content marketing has become the hottest potato in marketing in Sweden recently, it is definitely not a newcomer. Content marketing has been around for years – in the form of print ads, radio commercials and TV commercials that have been a natural part of our media consumption for as long as we can remember.
What is new is the tools and opportunities for everyone to be part of the game. Small businesses can now challenge the big dragons without having to have a giant budget hidden in the mattress.
Why content marketing?
Today, content marketing is not a choice but more or less a must. But why is it so important?
The answer is the internet. It has changed the game plan for companies because nowadays consumers use the internet for the most part. When they are going to buy a new pram, renew the autumn wardrobe, find a restaurant to visit this weekend, hire a craftsman for the bathroom renovation – it all starts with the internet. Just go to yourself, how do you do?
People today, in most cases, go to a search engine, probably Google, and type in a query. And you want to be among the results that are then displayed. You want to be there so that you can talk about why someone should buy your product or hire you instead of your competitors. Right?
But my customers are not online, you might say. So I do not have to worry about the Internet. To quote Brasse in Five Ants, there are more than four elephants: Wrong, wrong, wrong!
Maybe you could get away with that excuse a couple of years ago, but definitely not now. Today, basically all target groups out there have a smartphone – from teenagers to pensioners. They all have access to the web and use it extensively to look for companies that can deliver your products or services. And if you have not created any content that makes people find you, that creates interest, engages and makes them want to buy from you, you will fall hopelessly behind.
That is the harsh reality. If you have not already done so, it is high time to jump on the content bandwagon and make content marketing a natural part of your marketing.
Develop strategy and goals
The foundation of successful content marketing and therefore the first step is to develop a strategy and determine what goals you have with it all.
Define goals and measure success
What does successful content marketing really look like?
Unfortunately, not everyone has answered that question before they happily start creating and publishing content. But if you do not know what success looks like, how can you know you have achieved it?
First and foremost, we need to clarify that the goal of content marketing can look in many different ways. Sometimes it’s about making sure your product gets publicity, in other words creating “buzz” around it. Other times, the goal is to get more subscribers to your newsletter, get more followers on social media or more people watching your videos. There are also times when you simply want to sell like a thousand and make money – you are after all a company that needs to be profitable.
But no matter what the goal, it must be clear . It does not work with vague goals such as “increase sales” or “more followers on Instagram”. You need to make the success measures measurable – that you should increase sales by 15% or get 200 new followers on Instagram within 30 days. Otherwise, it is impossible to know if you have achieved them.
So take the time to set these goals and then make sure to measure them. What the measurement looks like depends on what opportunities your company has. Maybe you can use discount codes that you integrate into your content and that your business system can then track? Or use Google’s tools to create URLs where you can add tracking parameters to your links and then track them in Google Analytics?
Once you have obtained the result of your measurement, the next step is to evaluate what you have obtained. And here it is not enough to focus on the parts that were successful but also on what did not work.
Putting on the negative glasses and examining yourself is a prerequisite for getting better next time. Maybe it was not an article in text form your target audience wanted without a video? Maybe there was the wrong kind of motive for your photos on Facebook? Evaluate and then use what you have come up with to improve your goals.
Working with your content marketing goals is not a process with a beginning and an end but can be likened to a circle where you start by setting the goals, then measure them and then evaluate the measurement results and then go back and set better goals based on what you came up with in your evaluation.
The goal is to step by step change and optimize your content marketing for the better and find out if what you are doing is actually worth the effort or if you should put the finishing touches on something else. If you do not know clearly what success is, you will never find out the answer.
Get to know yourself
SVT has a program called “Who do you think you are?”.
As a content marketer, you should also ask yourself that question. You need to get to know yourself in order to know how to best communicate your content with your target audience. A small one-man company can e.g. not have the same approach as a large company with several thousand employees.
You have to find your own style and your own voice, both in terms of how you write and the visuals. What are you and what are you not? Are you going to be funny or serious? Personal or professional?
No matter what, you should always be yourself. Monkeying after someone else is not a good idea. Of course, you should be aware of what others are doing, including your competitors, but if you try to copy a style that does not suit you, it will not feel genuine but unnatural and artificial. This is what your customers notice. And the result is fewer deals.
So find out who you are and what you stand for. Then create content that goes hand in hand with this.
Integrate with your existing marketing strategy
One mistake many people make is to consider content marketing as an exciting new building block that you can only throw into your existing kit, ie the marketing campaigns you already have. Throw in some content marketing in our outdoor ads and in the TV commercials we run and it will be good.
While this approach may work, it is far from optimal. Content marketing should instead make an entry already in the planning stage for a new campaign. It should be integrated into everything else you do when it comes to marketing – not be a kind of festive topping that you throw on when everything is done.
In a small company, this process in most cases is not very complicated because it is often the same person (s) who take care of all the marketing. But in larger organizations, it may be necessary to tear down walls and really start collaborating. It does not work with separate departments where one handles print ads, one takes care of online marketing and a third handles PR. At the same time, no one really knows what the others are doing. Everyone must work together.
From the outside, you are one and the same organization, and your customers do not care that you have different departments internally. They see you as the only unit and you therefore need to act as such.
Take the cord with you on the train
Conducting successful content marketing will not be a dance on roses if you do not have the company’s management with you. And the bigger organization you work in, the harder – and more important – this is.
First, you need a budget. There are also a lot of decisions that have to be made during the work and sometimes it is also quick pucks that apply so that you do not have the opportunity to ask and anchor everything. Then you need to know that the management is behind you and backs you up in what you do.
If you are alone or few in the company, this management support is no problem, but in larger companies it can be a challenge. How do you go about making the management think that content marketing is important and something you should invest in?
There is no one-size-fits-all solution, but a good tip is to demonstrate what your competitors are doing when it comes to content marketing. It usually speeds up most people. And if you can not find any competitors, you can produce a number of good and inspiring examples of companies that are skilled in content marketing and tell you what opportunities (read: business) the same thing would create for your company.
You – a media house
– I’m not one who creates content, I sell used cars.
An extremely common argument when it comes to the new marketing reality. Most people are still stuck in the mindset that they only operate in the industry in which their products belong. Shoes, health food, heat pumps, wood products or whatever it may be.
That may also have been the case. Shoe stores operate in the shoe industry, heat pump manufacturers in the heat industry and so on. But not anymore. In today’s digital world, all companies in the media industry operate, whether they want to or not. Provided they want a piece of the digital cake that is. And by media I mean the production of content.
In other words, it is no longer just big dragons like Bonnier, Schibstedt, IDG and other big players that have a monopoly in the media field. Even you are a media house nowadays, it’s just chewing.
In the past, you needed to have a well-stocked bank account, a printing press, and large staffs to produce content and distribute it to people. No longer. We can thank technology for that. Today, a blog, a Twitter account or an app is enough and you are in the match and can call yourself a publicist .
Not bad, huh?
Content marketing has thus transformed all companies and organizations into media houses where we can easily and cost-effectively publish editorial content in the form of, for example, texts, images, presentations, videos and information graphics directly to our target group. With just a few mouse clicks, we have our own media channels that we run and have control over.
Being a publicist also means that you have to think like that. Especially when it comes to planning and foresight . Compare yourself with, for example, a magazine. They hardly sit a week before publication and ponder what they should write for articles. Instead, they plan the contents of their editions well in advance.
You have to act the same way. Sit down and plan for the next few months. Think about which important events are relevant. Maybe you should release a new product, launch a new service or arrange an event?
Then it’s high time to start planning and creating content that makes people curious and builds excitement for the upcoming event or product release. Photos on Instagram, videos on YouTube, blog posts and tweets that create interest – only the imagination sets the limits. And the closer the event gets, the more the scope of the content increases.
To keep track of all this content, it is not recommended that you try to keep everything in mind. Instead, your best friend is a publishing calendar and we will talk more about that later in the article.
Bet on small wins in the beginning
We are all children in the beginning, so are content marketers. And all this new content marketing can certainly feel overwhelming when you are a beginner. Where should you start, how should you succeed, how should you catch up? The questions and concerns can be many.
In order not to feel that you are drowning, it is advisable to start with something small and feel that you are mastering it. Choose something that you can do quickly and that does not cost much. Maybe you can take photos at your next fair and create a nice slide show with music from the photos? Or do short, simple video interviews with customers who try out your latest product using your smartphone?
If you feel that you can do this, your self-confidence increases and you can move on to greater content adventures. Small wins lead to big victories.
Choose the right platforms and tools
Now that you have your strategy, goals and planning in place, it’s time for the more tangible part of content marketing – platforms and tools.
Necessary ingredients in your online presence
Today, there are numerous tools and social networks out there. And there are constantly new platforms. Many of us do not have the time or resources to be everywhere, but there are a few important things that you should have in place before you start your content marketing. A solid online foundation, so to speak.
The first and most important thing is to have your own website . Your website acts as your home ground, the hub of your business, where you direct all traffic from other channels.
In addition to the website, you should also have an account on Facebook. Whatever you think of Facebook, it is, after all, by far the world’s largest social network. Having a presence there is therefore a good idea. Furthermore, I recommend that you have accounts on Instagram and Twitter, two other popular platforms in Sweden. Here, your customers are most likely ready to talk about your products, services and competitors.
If you are not there then they can not find you, they can not tag you, they can not do anything. And you can not find their discussions about you either. Not so successful, right? So before you start your investments in content marketing, make sure that you have laid a solid online foundation that you can then start from when you work with your content.
Not without my blog
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest in all glory – but if it is an ingredient that is absolutely necessary and a given starting point in your content mix, it is your own blog . And then I’m not talking about a free blog on e.g. Blogger or WordPress.com without a blog that you host yourself and let be an integral part of your website.
The easiest way is in my opinion to use WordPress to create the blog, but there are of course other publishing tools out there so find the one that suits you best.
The reason why a blog is a must is above all that you have the opportunity to publish all kinds of content on it – text, images, audio, video, presentations, etc. In addition, all content that you publish on your blog is yours and you have control over it.
Do you publish something on a third-party platform, e.g. Facebook, it’s a fact that you have no control over it. Even if it does not feel likely, Facebook or any of the other services may actually disappear tomorrow and then your content will follow and be gone forever. Or suddenly they may start to charge or come up with something else that you do not appreciate. They own the platform and decide over it, not you. Therefore, it is a risky strategy to only build your web presence on borrowed land.
Develop guidelines and educate everyone involved
Something that is of the utmost importance when it comes to the work with content marketing – but perhaps not the most exciting part – is to set up clear guidelines and educate everyone who should be involved in the creation of content. And the larger the organization, the more important it is that everyone is on the same track so that you outwardly act as a unified unit.
What platforms should we be on? Who should publish what and when? What is appropriate to publish and what should we avoid? How do we respond if someone writes something negative about us on social media? Make sure that everything is clear and that everyone knows what applies.
If you have already started sweating, I can reassure you that you do not have to put together a rule book of several hundred pages for how you should behave in your content work. In many cases, a couple of pages are enough where you have established clear and distinct rules that everyone can understand. But the scope needed is of course dependent on what the company looks like – no two businesses are alike.
Also, do not forget that the guidelines may need to look different for different platforms – Facebook and Twitter are not the same thing – and that they should also specify how employees should behave privately in social media. You want to avoid finding a Facebook post from Peter in customer service where he spits bile over your business for anyone who wants to listen. Even if you communicate as a private person, you are still a representative of your workplace and should act accordingly.
If you need inspiration for what your guidelines should contain, a tip is to google, for example, “social media guidelines”. Then you are guaranteed to find many examples from other organizations that can give you help on the run.
Practice makes perfect
No one imagines that Usain Bolt became the world’s fastest man the first time he ran 100 meters. Or that Julia Roberts became one of Hollywood’s most popular actresses the first time she auditioned. And it is said that it took Thomas Edison 2,000 attempts to create a working light bulb. In other words, these masters had to fight hard to achieve their success. It required long and persistent training.
The same applies to you in your work with content marketing. Your first attempts will probably not be a success. And there is nothing to be sorry about – it’s perfectly normal when you’re a beginner at something. We are all children in the beginning.
Sadly, there is no magic formula to becoming a skilled content marketer overnight, but it’s a matter of rolling up your sleeves and creating, creating, creating. For every new text, photo, video or whatever content you produce, you will be a little better at what you do. So make sure to create as much as you can, do it regularly and be patient – sooner or later you will reach master status.
And do not take water over your head by trying to be the best on all platforms at once. Start with one, suggest the one you know is easiest for you, and master it before moving on to the next.
Roles and responsibilities in content marketing
For successful content marketing, clear and distinct roles and areas of responsibility are needed in the work. In large companies, several different people probably hold these roles, while you who are a solo entrepreneur or work in a small company will probably have to put on a couple more hats. But you’re probably used to
that … The roles we’ll discuss below are editor, community manager and content creator.
Why you need an editor
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin
It’s Monday at 9 and you and your colleagues have a morning meeting to plan this week’s content marketing work. Most of you look tired after the weekend and do not seem particularly charged to grab that brilliant content that will make the target audience love you.
– Well, you say. What are we doing this week? Can you blog something about the benefits of IT for public organizations, Johan?
– So, I’m not done with my part in the e-book about security that Anna and I would fix to our e-mail list. And besides, I have to come up with something smart for Twitter and LinkedIn, not much was done there last week. Can’t anyone else blog? Karin?
– Sure, I can blog, but then you can actually help me come up with a topic. And by the way, has anyone heard anything from Lars? He would finish fixing the layout to the infographic about this year’s IT trends that he and I are working on until yesterday, and I have not received anything in the email…
Does not sound like a dream scenario for a company that wants to work effectively with content marketing right? Hopefully it is not so bad with you, but still – it is of utmost importance that you have someone who has an iron grip on the content work.
That’s where the editor iscomes into the picture. He or she is the one who keeps order and knows exactly who should do what, when this should be done and makes sure that it is also done. A master of planning, quite simply. The editor is also the one who ensures that all content you produce stays within the framework you set for what you are allowed to do and not do, keeps track of that you follow the strategy and achieve the set goals.
The next important role after the editor is the one who is responsible for the company’s community . And what do I mean by community? Well, it’s all the communication that takes place online about your business. Comments on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube and all other channels. And of course also on your own blog.
The community manager is the company’s voice and face in all this communication. He or she is the one who answers questions or comments on e.g. Facebook. And also makes sure that the communication stays objective and defends you if it starts to blow lightly.
There is a lot that can happen in the web world and therefore not everyone can do this task. Therefore, be careful about who you choose. The person must have many different characteristics.
First and foremost, he or she must understand how to communicate with people – both those who love your business and those who for some reason ask you to pull your pepper grows. In the worst case, you can come across real online roles that get a kick out of throwing hatred at you, but these people must also be handled in a good way.
Of course, a community manager must also be able to write because communication on the internet takes place in writing, and fully understand the different platforms and what distinguishes them. Replying to someone on Twitter where you are limited to 140 characters requires a different type of communication than responding to a blog comment where you have the opportunity to embroider your text. That the person knows the companyand the brand fully and can your content marketing guidelines at its five fingers are other obvious features.
In addition, it is important that a community manager is always there . People’s patience just seems to get worse and worse, and they demand a quick response. They must get it – if nothing else, they must know when they can expect an answer. The important thing is that they do not feel ignored when they hear from you, because it will most likely bite you in the tail.
Summary: The person in charge of the company’s community has a key role. Choose the person with care.
Finally, we come to the role that perhaps feels most exciting when we talk about content marketing: creating the content itself.
Of course, how many people are involved in content creation varies from company to company, but no matter how many there are, it is important that everyone is trained in and fully understands the guidelines that you have set for your content work.
An important factor is also that you have the right person in the right place. Do not be too careful about the formal division of the company. If Stina at customer service is a fan of photography, then maybe she is responsible for all the photos you publish on the various platforms, even though she does not work in the marketing department. And your CEO does not have to be the one who runs the company blog if he or she neither likes nor is particularly good at writing.
In addition to the fact that the content creators are good at their task, it is also important with the motivation – that they really like to do it and are not forced. Real joy, that someone likes what they do, is noticeable. If, on the other hand, there is a lack of joy and genuineness, it is also noticeable. And the risk is that it will have a negative impact on your brand.
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Do not forget to listen
“Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you’d have preferred to talk.” – Doug Larson
– But you are not listening!
The above remark could just as easily be uttered by consumers to companies as a frustrated teenage parent to his rebellious son.
In the relationship between parent and teenager, we can probably accept that it is a period in this way, but when it comes to the companies’ progress in the online world, we could demand much more. This would not only make their target audience feel more appreciated and thus more benevolent but also help them become better content marketers.
We’ve talked about roles in content marketing and what these people should know for a good while now. But we have not yet touched on a particularly important characteristic of all roles: the ability to listen.
In fact, this is a scarce commodity today. Everyone wants to be seen, heard, be the one talking, but is there really anyone listening? And is it the case that once we listen, we do not do so with the intention of understanding the other, but we are really just waiting for our own turn to speak?
Big mistake when it comes to content marketing – and in real life for that matter.
Not taking in what is said also means that we miss the opportunity to actually act and improve things based on what we find out when we listen. For whom is it that can actually provide really valuable information about shortcomings or opportunities for improvement with your product or service?
Are your colleagues in the development department working on developing the product for three years, more or less isolated in their bubble? Or are it your customers, those who actually use the product in their everyday lives?
The same thing about your content – if you do not listen to what people think about your blog posts, e-books or Instagram photos, it is very difficult to get better. Anyone who does not listen but only drives on their own has only done half the job.
What do you do than to listen? Fortunately, there is a wide range of tools out there – both free and costly – that can help you with this. The tools inform you every time your company, your products, your industry, etc. are mentioned online so that you can quickly get into the discussion and show that you exist. If it does not feel relevant to use a tool, the least you can do is at least set up automatic searches on Google and Twitter, it does not cost a penny.
A natural consequence of listening is of course also to respond to what is said about you. In other words, the listening process is a two-stage rocket, and answering is something you must not forget.
If someone says that he or she does not have a function in your product, thank you for the feedback and announce that you will think about this at the next update. Does anyone say that they had a terrible experience when they visited your playground, regret what happened and ask if there is anything you can do to put everything right? And remember to also respond with a thank you to positive calls that your business is great.
In short, show that you are human and personal, that you listen and respond. People like it and you will be rewarded accordingly. In addition, as I said, you can benefit from what you find out and get better yourself.
Put your plan into action in the best way
When we have all the roles and responsibilities ready for us, it’s time to talk about how you work with content marketing in the best way in practice.
Publishing calendar – your best friend
As I said, planning is a must for successful content work, and the first thing a company should provide is a publishing calendar.
Then you have a sharp tool in your hand, a tool that has changed the lives of the content departments. Which turned the most confused and messy content marketing organizations into highly effective and structured content marketing machines.
The tool will help you create the best possible content in the shortest possible time and mean that you always know what to do, who should do it and when it should be done. In addition, it helps you keep your target audience engaged because it ensures that your content does not stagnate, feel monotonous, or too random. Sounds like the best invention since sliced bread, right?
Briefly described, the publishing calendar is a calendar that specifies what content your company should publish for a certain period of time. And it does not have to be as complicated as you might think – it works great with e.g. a spreadsheet in Excel or Google Docs. Although of course there are a number of programs out there that simplify it all.
But the fact is that in the beginning, something as simple as the calendar below is enough. A simple chart in tabular form that you can draw on a plain piece of paper or a white board.
As you can see, you write down all the days of the week on one shoulder (Saturday and Sunday you can skip if you want, but remember that in most services it is possible to timed posts so that you do not have to sit in place during the weekend) . On the other axis, write the different channels you use for your content, in this case blog, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.
Then you figure out how often you should publish on the different platforms. On Twitter or Instagram, you may consider it appropriate to publish several times a day and then you can if you find it easier to put two ticks in these boxes (or how many times a day you now consider appropriate). If you want, you can also draw small symbols in the different boxes depending on the type of content you want to publish – text, image, video, etc.
Apparently you can do it as easily or as advanced as you want – the main thing is that you understand how the calendar works and that this planning thing does not deter you but is done. Over time, you will get better at it and both yourself and your future structured content marketing work will thank you. Never again will you have to wake up one morning and have no idea what kind of content to publish today.
Use your strengths
Above all, investing in what you are good at and think is fun , ie your strengths, is one of the best ways to create really good content.
You have probably experienced the difference in job satisfaction when you work with something you like compared to something you have to do but dislike. In the first case, it is easy to forget time and space, while in the second case, bored, you count the minutes until you can go home. The same thing is with content marketing.
Content marketing is, as I said, a long-term job that takes both time and effort and there are guaranteed to be days when you would rather study paint that dries than create content. Days when you have to force yourself to do what you are supposed to. Then doing something that you are good at and like will make these valleys much easier to handle.
So you who do not already know what your strengths are, should immediately start researching yourself to become aware of these. Are articles in text form your thing? Or do you do best in the company of a camera and should therefore invest in video? Maybe your visual eye is your biggest asset so you should focus on images? No matter what strengths you have, it is important that you are aware of them so that you can direct your energy correctly.
Starting with your strengths is therefore a good idea to give you a solid foundation to stand on. But when you get warm in your clothes, you should also dare to go outside your comfort zone and try other types of content. In the long run, you can not completely lock yourself in your favorite content – it will be monotonous and annoying for both you and your target group.
Going out on unknown seas can sometimes bring happy surprises – you may have hidden talents that you will not discover if you do not dare to try. And remember that you do not have to publish everything you create – if it feels unsuccessful, you can leave it in the trash instead of on the web.
Sharp web writers succeed in the content world
A basic skill you as a content marketer must have is to be able to write for the web.
It’s easy to believe that this knowledge is only needed if you are primarily going to write blog posts, but the fact is that you need to be a skilled writer no matter what type of content you create.
Your images need strong captions and your videos need sharp scripts. Not to mention social media – to create a committed community on e.g. Twitter or Facebook, you need to be able to seduce people with the written word. What you write must also be adapted for the web and screen reading, a communication that requires something other than the one that takes place offline on e.g. paper.
The first step to becoming a skilled web writer and copywriter for the web is to communicate like a real human, not a robot. Too many people who write in the service fall into the trap of hiding in an internal technical language with complicated terms or throw themselves with the latest trends in the belief that people do not perceive them as professionals otherwise.
Nothing could be more wrong. In addition to the fact that with this language strategy you risk being perceived as rigid and sad, there is also a danger that people will hardly understand what you are saying. The result will be regardless of whether they ignore you. So if you want to reach your target audience, my advice is that you quickly bury this “corporate bullshit” and communicate with your target audience in a simple and personal way that shows that you understand them. Which shows that you are like them.
Another pitfall for the web communicator is to be overly focused on sales. The reason is that today’s marketing has developed from being a one-way communication, where companies in solitary majesty trumpeted their messages regardless of whether the consumer wanted to listen or not, to become a two-way communication between company and consumer. Marketing to the masses in the hope of catching enough fish on the hook no longer works.
Of course, the ultimate goal of your content marketing should be to create a business, it is not a charity you are doing, but today you have to get a different contact with people. You have to see the process as more long-term than fast pucks. Start by building relationships with your target audience. Make them like you. Ask interesting questions, say good morning, thank them for being there, inspire them with good quotes, ask how you can help them – only the imagination sets the limits.
The keyword is commitment.
“Content is King but engagement is queen, and the lady rules the house!” – Mari Smith
This type of content engages and nurtures your relationships, which means that sooner or later the sale will come by itself without you repeatedly shouting “come and buy!”. And think about what you think about companies that basically only publish sales messages on social media – is it a company you like to follow?
And you, as I said, do not forget to listen to what your target audience says and be sure to answer them. In short – show that you care. That you are an ordinary person. It will take you much further than the salesperson type with an inexhaustible supply of industry talk and trend words.
Images is the content marketer’s best friend
There are certain types of content that require more attention than others. And perhaps the most important type of content today is images, so our visual friends deserve their own headline.
A picture is worth a thousand words. It may be one of the most worn-out clichés out there, but that does not make it any less true.
We, humans, are visual beings. We love pictures, to see things instead of having them described. This is something you should keep in mind in your content marketing – no matter what type of content you produce, be sure to include images. Namely, it is images that above all make people share content – and sharing, to go viral, is every marketer’s wet dream.
Just think of social media. They just get more and more visual. Twitter, which was previously only text-based, now allows photos in your tweets. And it has certainly paid off.
Today we are not only visual beings but also scrolling beings. With breathtaking speed, we scroll through the feeds on our various social media. And if you go to yourself, what is it that makes you nod and stop scrolling? Isn’t that the next update on three lines? No, it’s pictures – at least if you’re like me.
So include photos or photos when you publish content on social media. And as I said, also make sure that all the content you create on your website or blog, for example, contains some type of image. Namely, it is these images that Facebook and others. downloads when someone shares your content – and when this happens, you of course want your content to show itself from its best side.
If you can afford it, feel free to hire a professional photographer for your photos. But do not forget that we all now have a good camera in our pocket in the form of our smartphones that we can take pictures with. So be sure to take photos as soon as your breath catches. It can e.g. be a photo from your office, an event, your store or your product. People love to get a peek behind the scenes and what may seem boring and mundane to you can be exciting for someone else. The important thing is to dare and not lock yourself in that you must have professional photos to be able to publish something.
Video – the new black in content marketing
As I said, we can not talk about content without attaching great importance to the visual. We have already made clear how important this is with pictures, but we must not forget about video. We, humans, love to watch things and that’s exactly what you do you see or hear someone talk in a video.
- 55% watch videos online every day – 78% do it every week
- 75% of business executives watch work-related videos every week
- 57% of internet traffic today consists of video – in 2018 that figure is predicted to have increased to 79%
- 52% of marketers believe that video marketing is effective for both brand awareness, creating leads and engaging the target audience
- The word “video” in the subject line of a newsletter increases the opening frequency by 19%, the clickthrough rate by 65% and decreases the number who stop subscribing by 26%.
No doubt you should jump on the online video bandwagon too, right?
An obstacle is unfortunately that the word video usually gives a lot of scare hiccups. Because we automatically think that video means that you have to stand in front of the camera yourself. But it does not have to be you who is the main character in your videos – you can turn the tables (or rather the camera) instead and film someone else. It can be a happy customer, someone you meet at a trade fair or a colleague who is more attached to the lens lock than you.
Another objection when it comes to video is usually that it is expensive. And it has also been once upon a time, but no longer. We have previously talked about the fact that you now have a full-featured camera in your pocket in the form of your smartphone – in the same way, you also have good video production equipment. Who could have imagined that a couple of years ago? The development has certainly gone in a positive direction for those who want to become their own media producer.
The common argument is that your customers do not watch the video, we can also puncture quite easily. YouTubers today the world’s second-largest search engine after its owner Google. That all your customers would belong to the minority who do not watch using this site is therefore not very likely. People turn to YouTube for answers to their questions and this is where you should be with the answers.
Video on Facebook is also increasing every day and today is up to the same levels as YouTube. Instagram is another popular platform for moving images (if you can stick to a maximum of 30 seconds). Here is your target group and in other words, you have many great opportunities to spread your video works today.
In summary – you do not need to be in your videos yourself, it does not cost the shirt and your customers will appreciate it. In other words, there is no doubt that video should be included in your content mix. If you need inspiration, YouTube – and especially Vimeo – are excellent sites to visit.
And you, do not forget to be careful with the sound. There is nothing that can lower an otherwise excellent video as poor sound quality. You can also export the sound from the video and upload it to, for example, SoundCloud.
Adapt the content to the platform
There are plenty of platforms to publish content on. New social networks and services are constantly emerging. As you have probably noticed, it is often possible to connect these automatically – e.g. your posts on Instagram are also automatically published on Facebook.
Making it easy for yourself and using these features is of course tempting, but I advise you not to. The reason is that different platforms have different possibilities and work differently. An image that is primarily published on Twitter and created to fit there may not do as well on Facebook when the same version is posted there. One reason is that you can publish significantly more text on Facebook than on Twitter.
Therefore, it is better that you customize the same image and then upload it directly to Facebook with a longer text instead of letting the Twitter version be published automatically. In addition, this gives your followers variety – the risk is that they will otherwise get tired of you when they see the exact same thing on both Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. (provided they follow you everywhere of course). So all platforms have their own culture and you need to adapt to get the best results.
But even if you have to adapt to each platform, do not hesitate to reuse your content in different places. We have already mentioned that a picture can be uploaded on both Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. But it does not stop there – why not upload the image to Pinterest and Flickr as well? And if you have more images, you can also reuse them on YouTube by creating a slide show video with one of the services out there, such as Animoto. And do not forget the possibilities that exist on Google+, everyone’s favorite search engine social network.
By recycling content, even though you say no to automation, you can still save time. The time you can use to create even better content.
Achieve content marketing content
Now we’ve reached the end of the article and it’s time to tie the knot and give you a few words along the way.
An important thing to have with you is that content marketing is a long-term marketing strategy. It may take some time before you see results from your efforts. And once you succeed, you can unfortunately not sit back and enjoy the success – for the day you stop creating new content, you immediately risk losing the tailwind you have achieved.
Perseverance is thus a virtue in the content world. On the other hand, everything you have created is left out there on the web and works for you around the clock, all year round. In other words, nothing you do is in vain. Eventually you have put together a powerful content army and suddenly someone finds you through something that you may have created several months ago and even forgotten. You never know when it’s going to happen.
Also, do not forget to keep an eye on what others are doing – both your competitors and other companies who are skilled in content. Do not copy them, but study how they work and get inspiration for your own creations.
And perhaps most important of all for success – remember to have fun. Pick out the child in you who once loved to create – to draw, write short stories, etc. If you like what you do, it will be easier to find the excitement in the work with content marketing – and also easier to cope with the days when the work feels heavy. Of course, you have to make money for your company, it is not a playhouse we are talking about, but if the joy is there, the road to the shops will be much nicer.
The final word is, therefore: Content should be built out of joy.
Big good luck!