Should I include content marketing in my promotional plan?
Regardless of whether you are selling products or services, to businesses or consumers, content marketing may help achieve your commercial goals. Content marketing can raise awareness and understanding of your brand, identify, cultivate and nurture prospects, strengthen customer loyalty, improve retention and help to position you as experts in your field. Managing Director Lisa Whellams takes a brief look at this growing form of marketing.
At The Niblett Whellams Partnership, we get asked ‘What is content marketing?’ and ‘Should we be doing it?’ Content marketing is the production and dissemination of marketing which, while not overtly commercial, can help to arouse interest in your brand. It may take the form of an article, webinar, video, case study, infographic, e-book or guide. The ‘content’ needs to offer valuable information that readers in your target audience will find of interest and relevance in their daily lives. The material is generally, but not always, distributed on digital platforms, such as your website or blog.
According to the Content Marketing Institute’s 2018 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends research, more than 70 per cent of business-to-business marketers surveyed ‘could demonstrate, with metrics, how content marketing had increased audience engagement and their number of leads’. The report also concludes that the success rate was higher for companies with a written content marketing strategy, compared to those with a verbal strategy or no strategy at all.
Before taking up your quill, here are a few pointers to consider:
Background and aims
Consider your business situation, competitor activity and market conditions. What are the current and potential challenges faced by your customers? How can your business help address these? Do you have a unique offering? Evaluate all your available communication channels. These might include owned (eg your website), earned (eg media mentions, customer reviews) and paid media (eg advertising).
Purpose and target audience
What are you hoping to achieve? Your objective could be to increase your brand awareness and understanding, encourage online engagement with your customers or generate sales leads. Who are you aiming at? You may wish to segment your audience by demographics or behaviour and use different channels or messages for each.
Will you employ in-house resources or external marketers to manage the content marketing programme? Who will write the copy? Is any design required for the finished ‘product’? Don’t forget to get the company’s subject matter experts onboard – their input will be key to producing high quality content.
Which types of content will you distribute for each segment and in what format? Consider producing a ‘content calendar’ for an easily accessible, at-a-glance view of your entire campaign including categories, timelines and other key considerations. Try to avoid topics which are saturated. Publish original and authentic content to help establish your niche. Maintain consistency across all content with messaging, language and tone of voice.
When and where?
Decide upon the frequency for each segment within your target audience. A combination of contemporary and ‘evergreen’ content works best to maintain momentum. Have you agreed which online platform will host the content – your website or blog or a third-party site? Think about the methods you will be using to promote the content online (your social media pages, email, paid search, search engine optimisation) or offline (such as display advertising, leaflets, mailings etc).
Keep reviewing your goals and agree a set of simple metrics to make sure your campaign is on track. Remember: content marketing is a long-term activity and needs appropriate investment in time, budget and professional resources.
If you would like help with any of the topics explored above, please get in touch with The Niblett Whellams Partnership today.