You really cannot discount the power of good content. It can move you, inspire you, give you the #feels, and yes even motivate you to become a fan, to buy, to become invested. Content comes in all shapes and sizes too—from a long, lengthy series of #hugot videos to a single tweet. Even fake news and memes—these pieces of content tell stories, which give us, the audience, something of value.
What is Meaningful Content and Why should I care?
But before I really get into Content Marketing, here’s a little something you need to know:
According to the Meaningful Brands study in 2017, majority of the people in the study (a whopping 300,000 respondents across 33 countries in 15 different industries), would not care if 74% of the brands just disappeared! In fact, 60% of the content produced by brands online is describes as “poor”, “irrelevant” or “failing to deliver”.
60% of content is CLUTTER. (1)
And as stated in Hootsuite’s We Are Social SEA Digital Snapshot of 2018, 40% of Filipino internet users have already installed an ad blocker of one kind or another. (2)
But fret not: there is a “71% correlation between content effectiveness and the the impact a brand has on our personal wellbeing and quality of life”, which simply means, the better your content, the higher the likelihood is that someone will find value in your brand.
I mean, 84% of the respondents expect brands to create content—so the ball is really in your court! (1)
4 Steps to Better Content
So, how do we make content that is meaningful and adds value to your audience? What do we do? How do we do it? To whom do we say it to?
Below I’ll detail some of the steps we’ve take in creating effective content marketing campaigns. And by effective, it means they generated the desired results, specifically: engagement, conversion and yes, even loyalty.
Step 1: Know Your Audience
Asking questions like, who are they? What do they like to do online? Are they younger or older? What are they passionate about? These are key questions you have to help you better plan the type of content you will produce.
Target Demographics are fine, but they are an archaic measurement tool for finding your audience in today’s digital landscape. Now, you don’t target an audience by going after age groups—there are audiences now that cross classification boundaries, and are usually led by their passion points.
Some examples of ‘tribes’ or audiences / groups of people with similar passions through differing demographic groups: Hardcore toy collectors, Star Wars geeks, nail art afficcionados, partyphiles, yes even your famed Spice Girls fans—all of them are different types of audiences that you can actually target.
If you go to a publisher today, that’s what they’ll give you: our audience is blah blah blah, between 20 to 39 years old, AB upper C, mostly from Metro Manila, blah blah blah. That’s fine… if you just want as many eyeballs as you can. But if you want meaningful engagement, do what Facebook does: it takes the audience targeting a step further and builds up on your demographic screening, asking, what else are these target people interested in?
So again, a demographic is fine, but how can you profile beyond demographics? GET UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL! Engage! Ask questions! Observe them while they are in your store, shopping.
Find out how they act and why they act that way. What motivates them. What excites them. What makes them click that like button, hit the share button. ‘Mema’ lang ba sila? Or do they actually have something valuable to contribute?
Once you identify that tribe, you find that suddenly, demographics are not as important.
Step 2: Plan Your Content (Don’t ‘Hard Sell’ Yourself)
Put content FIRST. NEVER put PRODUCT or BRAND in front of the user, because they will not see your content as value if there is nothing for you to offer.
I’m not saying that for every little thing you do on the internet, you should offer monetary rewards or something tangible to your audience (though that can work sometimes), I’m more referring to something of VALUE, which can be other forms.
“Only 5 to 10% of the content you share should be self-promotional; the rest should be compelling information and resources. This is generous, yes, but it also makes you look more authoritative and trustworthy.” The point of content marketing is NOT to swamp people with ads or pitches; it’s to give useful, relevant information. You actually don’t want to be caught in your audience’s “THEY’RE SELLING’ radar… so you should actually avoid putting a call to action that asks them to buy. (3)
You can brand the content. You can put your logo or your website or whatever on your content. But the moment you are asking someone to ‘BUY NOW’ or ‘SIGN UP HERE’ or ‘REGISTER TODAY’, you’re in danger of being irrelevant.
Like putting the words ‘Buy Now’ on a Banana. AVOID.
Step 3: Come Up with an Execution Strategy
There’s a TON of social media services and community platforms and publisher websites that when you start considering it EVERYTHING seems like a good choice and would be a good fit for showing your content onto it. Do I make a Facebook page? Do I engage daily on Twitter? Do I Instagram? Blog on Tumblr? Comment and answer on Reddit? Flood Pinterest with ideas? ETC. ETC. There are so many of them out there that it’s hard to keep track or to point out what best to use!
Stop! Take a breath! Step back! Now, relaaax…
Remember: NOT ALL PLATFORMS ARE CREATED EQUAL.
When you create a platform strategy to execute your content, keep in mind what these platforms are best known for, and use those to their advantage. Furthermore, you should try to avoid putting up the same kinds of content for the different platforms.
Each one should have a strategy.
For example, Facebook can be where you share articles, links, blogs and video. Twitter is your Q&A platform or where you converse with your audience. And then Instagram or pinterest, being a highly visual medium, can just be great photographs or short form videos. You can even plan out YouTube content reserved for content creators in your stable or say influencers you work with and even go as ‘old school’ as email newsletters, using them to remind lapsed customers that ‘hey, we’re still here.’ Even working with publishers and influencers will allow you (and them) the freedom to create content that is specific to their audience!
And if one platform isn’t working well, don’t be afraid to tweak it some more, or to cut it loose right away! It’s important though that once you find something that works, to build around that platform and strategy, refine it some more and keep engaging the audience there.
Step 4: Measure Your Results via Your Intended Goals
And last but not least, have a clear GOAL or OBJECTIVE in mind… and MEASURE your results.
For Facebook for example, if your goal was to increase awareness, then you can check to see if your Organic reach was doing well, regardless of how much paid reach you spent (and yes, sadly, in this day and age, you need to use paid reach in order for your content on Facebook to get anywhere).
Or another important metric you should be tracking: engagement. Like for example how many users who have seen your content actually engage with it. i.e. comment, like and share.
Engagement metrics differ from content to content, too. Like a video that needs to be engaging enough so that people watch it until the end. So part of your metric is, how many people actually complete watching the videos out of the total number of views.
But again, all these metrics wouldn’t make sense if your goals were different: if you wanted more people to buy your product or maybe your goal was to get people to sign up for your page, then you shouldn’t be tracking for reach alone, but also for engagement, click throughs and conversion.
Proper identifying of your goals (and corresponding KPIs) can spell the difference between a successful and unsuccessful campaign.
Remember: Don’t Rush Success
Finally, a word of warning: Please don’t think that having a content plan equals an overnight success—it takes time and effort to build up engagement.
According to Neil Patel, Content Marketing is “a long term strategy, based on building a strong relationship with your target audience by giving them high-quality content that is relevant to them on a consistent basis.” (4)
Keywords: long-term strategy, strong relationship, high-quality content, relevant, consistent.
None of the steps I detailed above are quick, single, sit-down sessions. Content Marketing requires a lot of planning and works even better as you tweak it further as you progress. But if you plan it out properly, clearly identify the audience you want to engage with, execute your content and refine your strategy while measuring the performance of your content, then you have a much greater chance of succeeding!
1) Meaningful Brands 2017
2) Hootsuite’s WeAreSocial - South East Asia Digital Snapshot of 2018
3) Forbes Magazine, 2016
4) Neil Patel - Co-Founder of KISSMetrics and Crazy Egg