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Content marketing: the fundamental ingredient for differentiating your brand

Content marketing: the fundamental ingredient for differentiating your brand

By Gemma Manning

The rise of technology, digital engagement and automation has caused much hype in the business and marketing world. As a result, many business leaders are investing in technology and digital as the core part of their marketing strategies and primary communication channels, yet not capitalising upon the power of the brand message and strategic content marketing.

To stand out in this world where companies have the technology to automate their marketing, but not necessarily the right content to fuel their digital marketing strategies, leaders need a deeper understanding and appreciation of the customer experience and marketing from both a digital and content perspective.

So, what exactly is content marketing?

Content marketing is an area of strategic marketing that involves creating on-brand content that is targeted to different audience and key buyer persona groups. Content is an art – something that many companies struggle with. In fact, while 92% of leaders view content as a business asset, 70% don’t have an integrated content strategy in place.

Through both written and digital content, the aim of content marketing is to attract the attention of an organisation’s target audience, as well as drive customer engagement, brand attachment and ultimately sales.

Content marketing includes the sharing of relevant tips, advice and other valuable information as a means of converting your audience into loyal clients. It’s important to produce a depth and range of (consistent) content across multiple platforms. This will help you establish a reputation as a trusted and expert resource in your field, rather than just a provider of products and services.

If businesses deliver consistent and valuable information to clients, they engage more meaningfully with the organisation and become loyal brand advocates. So, instead of ‘selling’ products and services through an ad on a billboard, for example, you are delivering in-depth information and a set of values that make your audience more intelligent, more connected, more engaged all while converting them into buyers.

How do you create compelling and engaging content? By focusing on delivering strategic, relevant and valuable information that will capture your audience’s interest and attention. This will help you build trust and credibility as an expert in your industry. Here are my three top tips for leaders, to help you capitalise upon the power of content marketing and deliver meaningful information to your target audience.

1. Know your audience.

It’s surprisingly common for leaders to be focused on marketing tools and technologies, and far less concerned about the content that sits inside them.

Content marketing should be strategic and strongly aligned with your customer engagement strategy. It’s not about churning out content for the sake of ticking the content marketing box. (This approach only results in your customers getting inundated with irrelevant messages and deleting every email from your company or throwing your material away.)

At M&C, we work closely with global companies who have found that pushing out global messages and content to local markets is ineffective, making it hard for them to break through and be successful. Always localise your content to ensure that it’s relevant and meaningful for your audience, as well as aligned with your brand.

2. Know what your brand stands for.

To get content marketing right, it’s crucial to deep-dive into the values, mission, and purpose of your organisation. If these concepts are unclear to you, they will be unclear to your customers – and without a clear vision and purpose, engagement and revenue will be significantly reduced. Know the value of your brand from your customer’s perspective.

3. Tell powerful stories.

Sharing powerful and immersive stories is one of the most effective strategies for driving greater engagement with your brand.

According to marketing expert Ann Gynn, effective content falls into three key areas: practical (help me get what I need), educational (teach me), and emotional (entertain me). To get your brand messaging right, it’s important to reshape your format, tone, and style according to what you’re trying to achieve, and what will best suit your target audience.

In today’s digital world, multimedia content is a must. Remember that content marketing can be both written and digital. To ensure your audience can engage with your content on the go, provide a brand story that’s mobile-friendly and add visuals, video and sound. Video is a particularly attractive, versatile, and shareable medium for engaging your audience.

This article was first published in The CEO Magazine.

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