Content marketing can be entertaining, helpful, or informative, or perhaps it can solve your audience’s problem. One good test of content marketing is whether it helps your audience even if they never buy your product or service. Here’s what content marketing needs to be to develop customer commitment.
Content Marketing is Credible
When your marketing is credible, you build a relationship with your audience based on trust. When you gain their trust, you can influence their buying decisions. The more trustworthy your content experiences, the more effective your content marketing becomes.
It’s tempting to cram in a little bit about your product. But your audience has a finely tuned BS filter. (BS stands for blatant sales. No, really.) When that filter goes off, you start losing their trust.
If you can provide enough helpful information, you establish your company as the expert in the field. When you clearly describe the problem that needs to be solved and how you help solve it, your credibility goes sky high. Some of your audience will be able to consume your content and answer it on their own. Enough of them, however, will be unable or unwilling to tackle the problem on their own, and will engage with your services.
Content Marketing is Targeted
Successful marketing is targeted, and content marketing must be too. You can target with traditional approaches around demographics, but going deeper into personalization is the current move.
- Personas: Motivations and psychographics that could include even particular content factors such as learning style.
- Stages of the buyer’s journey: Someone just learning about the problem is not ready for a coupon. Your content needs to be carefully targeted based on where the buyer is in the journey to a purchase.
- Message resonance: You can target a message to an individual at the right stage in the buyer cycle, but it still might not resonate. A/B testing and multivariate testing allow you to identify effective messages when targeting to specific personas within a stage of the buyer’s journey.
It’s the marketers job to provide the right content in the right place to the right people.
Content Marketing is Differentiated
Most marketers believe that differentiation is about how their product or service is different from their competitors’ offerings. And it is. But it’s more than that. Differentiation is a difference that a market will pay for.
GoPro changed the camera market with a single differentiator: being able to take photography places it couldn’t previously go. They got their start by targeting surfers and athletes. Can you imagine if GoPro tried to market its camera to all photographers? It would have been a struggle to break into that market. It takes bravery, but you must be so focused on that small segment that you are differentiated for when you start your content marketing.
This is the case for content, as well. Your content can begin by describing and addressing the problems of your best customer base — if you can’t persuade those buyers with your content marketing, you aren’t going to persuade anyone else.
Content Marketing is Measurable
The fundamentals of content marketing haven’t changed. The medium has.
That’s the theory, anyway. In practice it’s complicated: the types of data we use to learn audience preferences are many and varied. Data comes at us at alarming speed, and it accumulates in huge volumes. The big data that content marketers need to use can be intimidating, especially to traditional marketers, but it can be summarized into four hallmarkers–known as the four Vs:
- Volume. This is the “big” part.
- Velocity. This extreme speed of incoming data has never been seen before.
- Variety. You have structured data coming from your metrics analysts in spreadsheet form. You have unstructured data coming from your keyword research and social listening, which starts out as plain text. You have A/B test data. You have user experience studies. It all comes together to produce meaning in different ways.
- Veracity. None of this matters unless you know you have accuracy.
It isn’t just enough to claim that content marketing is measurable. That data must be measured and put into action to improve the user experience. That’s where AI leads to exciting possibilities — the ability to automate changes based on user data so your experience just keeps getting better.
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