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Five content marketing tips

PUBLISHED: 10:34 05 August 2015 | UPDATED: 10:34 05 August 2015

5 tips for creating good material

5 tips for creating good material

Archant

By Trevor Isherwood, Managing Director, Isherwood + Company

It has been widely reported that if you want to grow your business you have to invest in content marketing. We’re told that companies of all sizes simply cannot afford to ignore it any longer. Customers and prospects expect it, they are hungry for your messages and they want to ‘engage’. The world is getting swamped with content marketing services from ‘Content Farms’ of freelance copywriters to ‘Rich Media Content’ from film producers to ‘Branded Content Providers’ such as contract publishers.

Beyond the hype some of this is true. Done well across paid, earned and owned media, content marketing can be one of the most effective ways to connect with customers and prospects and to differentiate from your competitors.

With this in mind remember that just about everyone has jumped on the content bandwagon. That means one of the biggest problems companies and their customers are facing today is an absolute deluge of content, much of it merely re-purposed from other sources and adding little value. The customer response has been to apply stronger filters and to reduce the volume of these messages getting through. In reality for a small or medium sized business, you might be the only person really reading your content. The point of content marketing is to get customers and prospects to lower their defenses for a while so that we can start a conversation that hopefully leads to conversion, what’s happening however is seemingly the opposite.

When it comes to developing and implementing content marketing strategies, it’s easy to make some assumptions and just start writing about the subject you know best: your business. So if you haven’t had much time or energy for content marketing before it doesn’t take long to run out of steam or become disillusioned when people don’t read, share, comment on or ‘like’ what you produce. Before making any major decisions on content marketing we recommend to spend time learning from people who know marketing best, so here are a few pointers from us:

1. Answer questions your prospects and customers ask.

The buying process these days almost always starts with Google. Consumers of all kinds type in a question and will find an answer. Will it be your answer they discover? These question and answer type pieces should drive the content on your blog and drive traffic to your website to bring people into your own branded space.

2. Tell better stories.

Stories help explain who you are, why you’re different and what you stand for. Customers and prospects aren’t looking to be sold to, but they do want to understand the company they are buying from. Associated with this is the need to write great headlines. Ever increasing amounts of content is consumed on mobile devices and on a small screen your headline has to work even harder.

3. Stay consistent.

Make sure you keep a thread or theme running through your material, as well as using consistent language and maintaining consistent points of view. Developing a content calendar and defining a ‘tone of voice’ can help. In more technical areas creating and maintaining a glossary of terms you will consistently apply is also helpful.

4. Think about content promotion.

A lot of companies still create their content first, and only then think about how to promote it. If you start by thinking of about who would help amplify your content and why, then you’ll create more relevant and better targeted material that will reach more people. If you don’t know why someone will want to read, comment and share your content then it’s better not to waste time on it.

5. Let employees generate content.

Encouraging employees, in particular any experts in your teams, to contribute their own stories and material can be a very effective way to expand your content and reach new groups of people. Beyond that, employee generated content builds stronger relationships within your teams, creating topics of conversation and employee buy-in to what different parts of your firm are trying to achieve. Employee content is also a great way to tell some of the most authentic stories about your company and build your brand. This must always be done ethically and employees must clearly state their affiliation with the company. For more information on this we recommend to visit www.keepsocialhonest.com.

Isherwood + Company is a marketing agency based in Devon, working with clients locally, nationally and internationally. Just 10 months old, Isherwood + Company was founded by Trevor Isherwood, a Chartered Marketer who has over 20 years experience with some of the world’s leading brands. For more information about services and clients please visit www.isherwood.co.uk.

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