In today’s day and age, it is paramount that every company has a content strategy or is at least planning to have one. The most important thing that brands need is an audience.
- Consumers are continuously scouring the internet for information about products and services. For consumers it is information and for us it is content. This is important because it is what potential consumers believe to be true until proven otherwise. Why has this become so important for brands these days?
- Let us take the example of Dell. It had serious issues with its customer service. Consumers gave tons of negative feedback online. It spread like wildfire. It is the power of User-generated content. So how did Dell deal with this? They listened to what their consumers were saying about their brand online. Now, look at where they are. They have a forum where users help other customers with issues related to Dell products. We can see how powerful content is when it comes to using it effectively. Content generation has become so important these days that brands are investing in it. Audiences love brand stories and also follow brands online because they share engaging content and content that they can relate to.
Gamification is one way to captivate users and keep them coming back for more. You have a points system or a reward system which is awarded bu playing a game or doing an activity. They have leadership boards that show the progress of each user playing the game.
- One campaign that I liked was the Mercedes-Benz Tweet Race. There were leadership boards, and people started following people who participated in the race. Fans and others posted excellent content also known as user-generated content. Here is the link to that campaign. Do watch it.
- It falls into the category of Earned media. Another example is Zomato. It rewards its users with points when they give feedback.
- Now when you say strategy, I would say that brands who want their names to be at the top of the search. It is a daunting task for brands to stay on top. Organically for brands to stay on top, it should be via Earned and Owned media.
- In today’s world, I would say Earned media is the only way to go if you have succeeded in developing good content on your own. What Startups and SMB’s do commonly is they don’t want to invest in content and would invest it elsewhere. I still personally feel that this is a mistake that most companies make as they realize very late as to how important content generation is.
- A well maintained and regularly updated blog will bring in the audience if the content is good. The actual work begins here and a strong content strategy should be your focal point. Content marketing comes in later mainly because if you do not know what type of content your audience is interested in you will eventually lose them. I would suggest the following basic content strategy approach to ensure your investment is being well spent.
- Know your audience: where they are active, what are their likes and wants, why do they visit your website or blog.
- Build a content schedule for the next three months at least.
- Figure out if they like what you post.
- Develop ways to engage with them.
Now you have to figure out what Social media channels are relevant to you.
- Blogs, podcasting, networking sites & website.
- As we can see, it takes a lot of patience, energy and time to get the strategy to work. Now after all of this is done how do you ensure when people search for content relevant to what you offer, they find you first before any other brand.
- Here is where SEO(search engine optimization) comes into play. What does it mean?
- Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s unpaid results—often referred to as “natural,” organic,” or “earned” results. (Source:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Search_engine_optimization)
- Your content no matter how good, has to have certain features to rank higher on search engines. Two prominent features are
- It should be very relevant
- It shouldn’t be a replica or similar to other content out there.
- Interesting fact: the average attention span of humans has come down to less than 9’s. If your content doesn’t appeal to the audience in the first 9s then you haven’t targeted the right audience.
- Don’t take it casually. At a broader level, I divided them up into two huge groups.
- Those that come to your website because they like what you post and who have the patience to read through than most. The other, who come via referrals.
- If you can capture that kind of information, i.e., the reason as to why they visit and the source of their visit to your website, then I would say that you are moving in the right direction.
- Some of my personal favorite quotes in the field of content marketing are
- Good content marketing makes a person stop, read, think, and behave differently.”― Joe Pulizzi,
- Content is the reason search began in the first place. ~Lee Odden
This is why Content Strategy and SEO are a match made in heaven. One completes the other.