How to Build Your Brand with Content Marketing
Today’s consumers don’t like being sold to. We are bombarded by targeted ads so much so that we immediately put up our guard. We don’t trust what we are told and typically ignore the barrage of sales messages we get every day. So, what is a business owner to do? The solution is content marketing, which with a little effort and some creativity can effectively attract, nurture and retain customers without breaking the bank.
Become a “Go To” Resource for Customers
When done correctly, content marketing can be a powerful tool to either promote trust or keep the trust that has already been earned. It works like this. You create content that your prospects find interesting or useful by focusing on educating your audience rather than selling to them. After you get this content in front of your prospects on a regular basis, they see you as an authority on the topic. They may even share your content with their audiences.
For example, if you are marketing a home goods store, you could print a small booklet with recipes or home design tips that you give out to clients. If you are marketing a doctor’s office, think about providing a health and wellness checklist or healthy eating tips on your website. As a B2B office equipment manufacturer, Sharp provides relevant and useful blogs, videos and infographics for customers looking to learn more about Sharp’s products and services. For instance, since we sell copiers, we provide a printable flyer that can be tacked above the copier that details how to properly clean it. You can also download a useful checklist with tips on how to create the ideal hybrid workplace. We have several videos on how you can save money with managed print services, and our blogs cover everything from the basics of leasing to how to conduct yourself during a virtual business meeting.
Use a Variety of Media
I’m an avid reader. If I need to look up how to do something or why it’s important, I will pick an article before a video any day. Being a visual person, I tend to lean towards nicely laid out information vs. just words. Give me a well-drawn infographic and I will print it out and refer to it repeatedly. The rest of my family, however, are video learners and will watch a video demo over reading or even a graphic, every time. It’s no wonder that YouTube is the #2 search engine after Google.
Whether it’s a blog, infographic, flyer, case study, video or white paper, content marketing can take many forms. Because each person consumes content differently, it is smart to diversify and use a variety of media when trying to reach prospects. You can essentially say the same thing in a variety of ways. For instance, my team at Sharp does a lot of case studies, and whenever possible, we try to do a written case study as well as a video case study. The written version allows us to focus on the customer’s challenges and tell in detail how we provided a solution, while the video case study allows for footage that shows how those challenges were solved and how happy it made the customer. Both can be done for the same customer but tell the story differently. Pro tip: keep your videos short and snappy. Unless it is incredibly engaging, you will lose your audience after the first minute – let’s face it, attention spans are not what they used to be – also, social media channels, such as Instagram and Twitter, typically set a limit for video file size and length, so if you want to embed your video (a best practice) you will want to stay inside those parameters.
Another great medium is a regular blog. This is where you truly get to show prospects and existing customers how much of an industry expert you really are. It is important to remember that a blog should be used to inform, not advertise. Choose topics that your company is an expert on, then write about it. Your customers will appreciate it, especially if it is on a topic that is difficult to understand.
Promote Your Content
If you are on a budget, content promotion is best done by posting it to your website and then promoting through social media. When using social media, you can choose to do this organically or set a budget and target specific demographics. Whichever route you pick, it is important to remember to treat the content differently depending on your social media channel. For instance, when promoting those health tips on social media, try to include a teaser with just a few of the tips so that clients click on the link and go straight to your web page. And on YouTube, you can show a quick informative video with a link back to a blog post. When posting to social media, make sure to tag any relevant content creators, especially if their name has some cache in the industry. Tagging allows them to see your post and promote it to their channels, which gets it out to an even broader audience. This is especially useful if you are trying to grow your social media followers.
Content marketing can help build brand awareness that ultimately can lead to a sale. It can also help you retain existing customers, strengthen their loyalty, and position your company as an industry authority. If those benefits are appealing to you, now is a good time to start developing your company’s content marketing strategy.