Content marketing has become an unavoidable endeavour for any business that wants to create and nurture an online audience. With people's aversion to ads, both digital and conventional, increasing at a steady rate, content marketing is the new way to go for any business. Not only is content cheaper and easier to disseminate, it draws higher engagement, traffic, and conversions than its traditional counterparts. But digital marketers often mistake content marketing as a form of advertising, while it is anything but. If all the content your brand releases is geared towards selling to an audience, it's never going to have the desired effect of converting them into paying customers. Giving, then, should be the driving force behind a content marketing strategy. And here are a few ways you can follow this rationale:
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The 80/20 rule
A universal principle that is applicable in a diverse range of fields, the 80/20 rule is essential for content marketers to implement. Put simply, the rule states that 80 percent of the content you create should be targeted towards your audience while only 20 percent should promote your brand. On social media, where people have short attention spans and a barrage of information to sift through, constantly promoting your product or services makes your audience view your brand as just another money-making machine. And if that’s your brand's image in the eyes of its audience, it's going to get very few, if any, customers as a result of its content marketing efforts.
That's why the majority of your content should be geared towards your audience; content like infographics and appealing images are more likeable than a blog post extolling your brand's virtues. Even when you do post promotional content about your brand, include information about how your business can benefit its customers. Also include clear calls-to-action that allow interested viewers to do exactly what you want them to do, whether it is to sign up for a newsletter, buy a product, or download an app.
Educate, entertain, and engage
If only 20 out of a 100 posts are about the brand, how can content marketing be effective? It may not seem to make too much sense but think about this: your competitors are most probably using social media to scour for customers too and the audience has to choose between multiple options while making a purchase. Why should they choose you and not your rivals? That's where brand credibility and authenticity come into play. Customers will invariably buy from businesses they view as trustworthy and reliable, which is exactly what you should aim to achieve with content marketing. Regularly posting content that either educates or entertains (depending on your business) increases your brand awareness and likeability among social media users.
If your business solves a particular problem prevalent among working professionals, for instance, you should post infographics and blog posts detailing the problem and how it can be solved. Once your audience begins associating that niche with your brand, only then should you inform them about how your product or service can help them — this method of acquiring customers is far more effective than a direct sales pitch. Similarly, the most effective way to engage with younger audiences is posting entertaining visual content focused on the customers rather than the brand. If users actually like what you're showing them, they won't hesitate to share the content on social media; thereby bolstering your brand's reach without any expenditure.
Content that aims to genuinely help people will be considerably more effective in converting them into leads and customers than content that only promotes a brand. And every marketer should keep this in mind before creating a content marketing strategy.