Below is an interesting item from an article in ShutterStock about new marketing terms for 2016, "10 Up-and-Coming Marketing Terms You Need to Know".
What really stood out to us is how you can no longer separate your brand from your content and vice versa. Here's # 2 from their list, "Content Brand":
2. Content Brand
Content marketing is no longer a suggested marketing approach; if you aren’t creating original, useful, and interesting content for your users, then your brand will be left behind.
The future of content marketing means a shift from branded content to content brands. The basic difference is that branded content is meant to push a product or service, while a content brand is meant to build a relationship with an audience...
Content Branding Benefits
Engaging in content marketing (creating and sharing content for strategic purposes) has several important brand-building benefits:
- Shows current expertise in your field
- Provides recent and frequent material to Google
- Promotes your business goals
- Intersects with customers at multiple stages and places of their search
- Puts more material out there for potential customers to discover
Doing all of the above helps increase sales, build valuable and long lasting relationships which is all part of brand value.
Create Good Content Fast
A common complaint we hear is that it takes too long to create content. Writing good content is a time investment, but the best way to do this is to plan ahead.
Planning your content topics in advance also helps you plan content that serves your strategic goals and appeals to your audience's interests.
If you put out about one article about a month that's only 10 or 12 articles in a year you need to write. With the topic ideas here those 10 to 12 articles can be developed easily. And with the repurposing suggestions below they can be turned into many media forms and placed on additonal sites to maximizes views and lead generation.
Make Your Content Meet Your Goals
Goals and topics for your content strategy can come from events in your typical year:
- Seasonal – Need to sell remaining seasonal goods before next season
- Regular Sales – Set sales events buyers have come to expect
- Model Year Closeouts – Sell remaining inventory before new improved models arrive
- Holidays – Fourth of July, Christmas, End of Summer sales
- Tax Time – Push of services before tax year closes or after refunds arrive
- End of Fiscal Year - Increase or decrease cash flow for business tax reasons
Now add in how prospects are searching to solve their problems and there are many more topics to choose from.
Be the Solution To Customer Problems
The first time many prospects will reach you is when they're researching a problem they're trying to solve. At this point your content should be about their issues and have an initial introduction to your solution for their problems.
Potential customers searching for an answer might not even know your company or product exists yet, so create material that covers the problems they're experiencing and then invite them to your learn more about your product or service in a sales channel you have more control over such as your website, call center or social media page.
Understand Customer Pain Points
To get inside your prospective customer's head, think of their "Pain Points" - what are the symptoms of the problems they are trying solve? Here are a few examples from the typical consumer journey:
- "Treatment for toenail fungus"
- "How to tie a windsor knot"
- "Most romantic honeymoon vacations"
- "The most elegant way to set a holiday table"
- "Best gas mileage in a family-size SUV"
Go Wide and Deep on Content Topics
The honeymoon vacation spot example above might be an obvious content topic for a tropical vacation site or destination, but it could also be a topic for a wedding dress designer, men's tuxedo rental, wedding planner or florist.
Why? Because the target audience is planning a wedding. Although it might seem a little off topic for these other businesses, it can build brand value in their minds of their customers by showing their deep knowledge and understanding of the wedding planning experience.
This article could also be given to a partner who specializes in honeymoon travel for mutual referrals. Finding topics to write about shouldn't be hard if you think about the aspects of your brand now and the ways it can be expanded to add value to prospects and customers.
Be The Best Alternative - Comparison Stage
As your audience becomes more knowledge, hopefully they come to see you as a potential solution. At this point, you can create material that highlights or strengths and favorable characteristics compared to your competitors. In other words, your content can be more (but not all) about you.
- Problem-solving products and capabilities
- Company history, legacy, reviews, credentials
- Media mentions of company and testimonials from satisfied customers
- Explanations and comparisons of your various products
- Your product advantages versus alternatives
- Your product benefits to customer (not features)
Closing the Deal - Final Search Stage
As people are in the final decision-making stages it’s important to offer details and assurances to get them to select you over the competition.
Now is a great time to use video and detailed information to answer their final questions. This is also when customer service and social media become more important as prospects seek answers from the company directly.
Content topic ideas for decision-making stage:
• Product specifications
• How-to-use videos
• Evidence of results
• Customer testimonials
• Promotions like sales, bundles, seasonal discounts, etc
Build Your Brand with Content Marketing
Repurpose Your Content for Visibility and Consumability
Another quick and easy way to get more use out of the content you've created is to repurpose it for different media. Uploading new forms of content allows you to increase your distribution for more visibility.
From Written Form to Presentation, Audio and Video
We usually start with written content and make that the longest and most fleshed out source having data, resources and photos.
From Word to PDF
On Mac and Windows computers you can save a Word document as as PDF in the "Save As" file menu. Once a document is in PDF format it can be uploaded to PDF sharing sites relevant to your topic to attract backlinks and traffic.
Document to Presentation
From a written article, it's easy to take headings, key points and photos and put them into a presentation (either Keynote or PowerPoint) which can then be shared with business partners, on public sites like SlideShare.net.
Presentation Slideshow to Video to MP3 Audio File
Once the material is in PowerPoint or Keynote you can record a voiceover track as you advance the slides manually then save the file as a video and upload it to your website, YouTube, Vimeo and give it to third party sites and interested partners.
From Video to Audio
With a recorded video in hand, you can use a video program like iMovie to isolate and save the voiceover only as an MP3 file and make that available on your website and as a podcast.
Big Brands Are Everywhere In All Forms
As you can see it's not that hard to take one written article, turn it into multiple media formats that meet your customers' needs and make your brand look like a ubiquitous knowledge powerhouse.