a marketing must: reach your customers through content

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Your company’s perceived image online is important, and managing it has become a must due to digital transformation – in fact, 85% of consumers go online to learn more about businesses[i]. Your brand identity deserves to be known, shared and promoted, but many customers are tired of “traditional marketing” tactics and are searching for more value from companies– enter content marketing.

Besides being one of the hottest growing customer experience trends this year (92% of marketers are now using it[ii]), content marketing is a way to improve your e-reputation by bringing valuable information to your customers. The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as:

“a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”

Generally speaking, it helps build brand awareness, trust and positive sentiment around your company by creating, curating and sharing information that is relevant and timely to your potential and current customers. It’s essentially a subtle way for your company to have a “human” connection with its clients; you deliver information that makes your customers smarter, and in return they invest in you.  This can be done through many types of tactics – blog posts, e-books, email newsletters, SlideShares, podcasts, videos, social media posts, white papers, etc.

For some examples of content marketing, check out the Ford Social Community, My Starbucks Idea, Kraft’s ifood assistant app or Accenture’s Podcasts.

And this will not be a short-lived trend – many large companies have already taken it mainstream by implementing plans to insure they can reach their customers through content marketing:

  • 67% of B2C and 73% of B2B organizations have someone in place to oversee content marketing strategy [iii]
  • 60% of B2C marketers and 58% of B2B marketers plan to increase their content budgets over the next 12 months[iv]
  • 30% of B2B marketing budgets on average are allocated to content marketing[v]
  • Forbes claims that the “top new marketing job title recruited and hired” in 2014 will be “Director of Content”[vi]

So, now that you’re convinced that adopting this method in your overall marketing strategy is the way to go, here are some tips for optimization.

consider the best content marketing distribution tactics for your business

As you can see below, there are many different types of tactics used when distributing content, the most common being social media for both B2B and B2C marketers. A breakdown of the different social media sites used shows that there are slight differences, though, depending on the type of customer:             

Once you have figured out the distribution aspects of content marketing, it is important to adapt your content so that it is attractive by keeping a few important ideas in mind:

  • Keep your message consistent across all distribution channels
  • Use infographics, videos and SlideShares in your content:
    • Posts with visuals receive 94% more page visits[vii]  and are social media ready and social media friendly
    • Wibbitz, the 2014 Netexplo winner is an example of the trend towards visual content & video
  • Adapt your content for mobile: Mobile usage will surpass desktop usage by 2015, so make sure your content is mobile-ready  (video accounts for 69% of mobile data traffic)[viii]
  • Focus on quality, not quantity: ensure that you articles and content are customer centric and shy away from content automation as much as possible
  • Tailor your content to fit your business and your customers: focus on industry trends, customer segments and needs, and create personalized content[ix]

Finally, once you implement a content marketing strategy that suits your company, you need to follow metrics to measure its level of success.  Some key metrics include:

  • Web traffic, time spent on website, SEO ranking
  • Social media sharing – Warning! This does not mean number of followers but rather the number of shares, retweets, or comments that your content has, the idea being to follow the level of customer engagement. So, make sure you have easy-to-click social sharing buttons on all of your product pages and blog articles.
  • Lead generation – We are now seeing more and more “Lead Nurturing” solutions integrated in CRM tools.
  • Sales
  • Brand awareness – LinkedIn is now offering to provide its clients with a Content Marketing Score in order to quantify the impact of their content on users

Content marketing is an emerging concept that is linked with the evolution of the customer journey due to the digital transformation. So, if you are ready to engage potential and current customers, develop customer loyalty and improve your e-reputation, consider taking advantage of once of the most exciting customer experience opportunities of 2014.

Christina

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[i] Local Consumer Review Survey 2012

[ii] Content Marketing Institute - CMI

[iii] Content Marketing Institute - CMI

[iv] Content Marketing Institute - CMI

[v] Content Marketing Institute - CMI

[vi] Forbes Content Marketing Trends, August 2013

[vii] Wishpond Blog, 2014

[viii] Mashable, April 2014

[ix] Content Marketing Institute - CMI

 

Christina Peterson

Christina is a Marketing and Innovation Consultant at Orange Consulting, a subsidiary of Orange Business Services.