With the internet, your potential customers have become more accessible than ever before. Search engines, social media, podcasts, and videos give your company or organization access to a massive market of consumers.
That said, access does not equal ease. With so many ways to engage, and so many people engaging, the online space is noisy and consumers have become jaded by advertisers.
One of the best long-term methods to reach your ideal client while not turning them off is through publishing content online. Content published online builds your company’s authority, brand awareness, and sales.
By reaching communities through content, your business can create brand advocates who will purchase your products for years, as well as recommend your products to their friends and family. They might learn from your blog or social media content, share your products with their followers, or make a purchase when you announce a new product line.
Content can be posted on your website or repurposed across platforms. It can be sent directly to your audience’s email inboxes. If they subscribe to your podcast, they can receive notifications every time you release a new episode.
Content helps your business or organization get:
- Increased exposure
- Stronger brand awareness
- Visibility and authority
Content is the versatile engine to run the online marketing of your business. Read on to discover what you need to know when publishing content online!
Lead with value.
Giving value (free information, advice, tips) builds the credibility of your business and keeps your company at the front of consumers’ minds.
Map the customer journey.
Content marketing is storytelling that brings customers through different stages. There are camps that say there are three stages, five stages, seven stages, and more. To keep it simple, we’re going to cover the first three that will bring customers in and get them to purchase.
This is the stage when potential customers learn about you and your business. Lead customers from this “Awareness” stage to the next stage with a call-to-action to subscribe to your newsletter. At this stage, the content can be:
- Tutorial (from searches through Google or Pinterest)
- Viral post (something people will share or retweet)
- Expert content or analysis reports
At this stage, potential customers already know about you and would consider buying from you. They are already in your circle. Content can be half educational and half promotional. You’ll reach customers at this stage via content such as newsletters, case studies, and podcasts.
At the decision stage, customers trust your business and are considering making a purchase from you. Content here isn’t to educate or build brand awareness. It’s to address the benefits of your products or services. At this stage, the call-to-action leads the customer to either make a purchase, get on a discovery/strategy call, or start a free trial.
Create a strategy.
A strategy is essential to ensuring your team reaches your goals.
- What is your goal(s) when publishing content? Make sure to make them SMART.
- What is the monetization plan?
- How are you going to achieve your goals?
- For every platform, set an audience intent. Does your audience look at Pinterest for inspiration? Instagram for tutorials? This will help you identify what you share and how you’ll format your content on those platforms for the best results.
Interact with your community. Use content as a way to interact with and engage your community!
Make them feel like they are part of something. Create content that gets them involved with what you stand for. Post community-generated content.
Become a category leader.
You can also use content to distinguish your business in your industry.
- How is your business different from the rest, and how can you create content that reflects that?
- What are common problems in your industry and what’s your spin on how to solve them?
- From your customers’ experience, what’s worked and what hasn’t?
- How has the industry changed from when you started to now? And what are your suggestions to change with it?
Have a brand style guide that covers brand voice and tone.
A brand style guide ensures that your team stays consistent when you publish. It can also be a frame of reference when you’re thinking about content pillars and the ideas underneath those pillars to publish.
- Voice: Think of the voice of your content as your personality.
- Are you fun and witty or serious and authoritative?
- How would you describe your company or org?
- What words do you use?
- Tone: Tone is a subtle difference – think of it as the mood of your writing. It focuses more on how you use the words and punctuation to make your point.
- Do you use I, we, us, etc?
- What’s the rhythm and length of paragraphs and sentences?
- How will the reader feel after reading the piece?
- Content Pillars: Content pillars are the basis of what you write about.
- A great way to go about finding your content pillars is to look at your three main services, products, and problems you solve.
- Then, under each main category list three subtopics you’d like to cover. For example, if the main category is marketing, the three subcategories that could be addressed are content marketing, email marketing, and social media marketing.
- Last, list three articles or other pieces of content you’d like to create for each subcategory. This gives you 15 ideas per main category to work off of.
When you are educational and helpful, customers move through the customer journey. When you go beyond publishing content about your products, customers start to see you as a part of their everyday lives beyond your products or services.
Social media gives us free access to a massive market, but the ocean is large and crowded. To break through, authors, business owners, and organizations need to have a focused plan of action when it comes to the content they share so it works hard for them to reach the people who matter most.
Through thoughtful, shareable content, you can build a timeless brand awareness that goes beyond the products or services you promote today and ensures you have advocates of your brand, whatever you create, for the future.