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 brands want is an audience.
- Consumers are continuously scouring the internet for information about brands. What are they searching? It is content in any form.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 customers about its service. Consumers started giving negative feedback online. It spreads 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 their forums where users help other customers with issues related to Dell laptops. We can see how powerful content is when it comes to brands.Content generation has become so important these days that brands are investing in generating content that they can own. Audiences love brand stories and also follow brands online because they share engaging content.
Gamification is one such way where you have points system or a reward system by playing a game designed by the brand. They have leadership boards that show the progress of each consumer playing the game.
- Another example that I liked was the Mercedes-Benz Tweet Race, which happened a while back.There were leadership boards, and people started following people who participated in the race. Fans and others posted excellent content. Here is the link to that video. Do watch it.
- It falls into the category of Earned media. Another example is the forums like take 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 the first link that consumers get when they search for it. It is a daunting task for brands to stay on top. Organically for brands to stay on top, it would 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 as they would have other areas where they would rather invest. I still personally feel that this is a mistake that most companies make as they realize very late as to how relevant content generation is.
- A well maintained and regularly updated blog will bring in the audience if the content is good but the actual work begins here and a content strategy once you get an audience. Content marketing comes in later mainly because if you do not know what type of content your audience likes you will eventually lose all of 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 come to your website or blog.
- Build a schedule for the next three months at least.
- Figure out if the audience likes what you post.
- Develop ways to engage with them.
Now you have to figure out what Social media channels are relevant to you.
- Blogs, pod-casting, networking sites & website.
- As we can see, it takes a lot of patience and energy and time to get the strategy to work. Now after all this is done how do you ensure that when people search for content relevant to you, they find you first before any other brand.
- Here is where SEO(search engine optimization) comes into play. What does it mean, hold on before your brain starts thinking, what is this guy saying.
- 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.
- Your content no matter how good, has to have certain features to rank high on search engines. Two prominent features which most industry experts would agree with are
- It should be very relevant
- It shouldn’t be a duplicate.
- 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 are doomed(kidding).
- Don’t take it casually. There are a lot of type of audiences out there. 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.