A lot of marketing effort spent these days is on content marketing. This is largely because consumer behaviour has changed too. Today’s consumer is not swayed by ads alone. He has at his fingertips the tools he needs to research the product or service he wants. Brands have to now create visibility for themselves in this product search journey which involves social media, blogs, forums, news articles and video sites.
To compete in the content space is not easy because generating high quantity content in a big quantity takes time and money and it’s a continuous task. This may not be a luxury every company has at its disposal. So here’s our take on the least effort way to do content marketing!
First, let’s start with understanding the objective of a high-impact, low-cost content marketing campaign:
- SEO traffic – Content is one of the main ways to tell search engines that a site is the go-to place for a particular product/service. Google results give preference to in-depth, original content with rich media. You want to generate enough content targeting limited keywords so that you get a good rank in search results and generate enough organic traffic through it. It’s important to limit the keyword set so you can create enough focused content around those keywords.
- Brand visibility – When a potential customer is looking for a product or a service, you want him or her to come across your offering as well. You also want him to come across it in multiple places to create the impression that you are a frontrunner in his search and a top contender in that industry.
- Credibility – You also want him to feel like your brand is better than other brands after he is done with his research. This is especially tricky if he hasn’t heard of your brand before. In that scenario, you have to create a brand attitude by getting credibility from other brands through association. These brands can either be individuals such as industry influencers who talk positively about your brand or companies such as publications, review sites or other well known brands.
- Purchase intent – At the end of the day, all your effort needs to culminate into sales for your brand. You know someone is likely to be interested in your product or service if he has taken the effort of going through your content. Now you need to convert him by giving him a reason to come visit your website and buy your product or service.
Listing down the objectives of your content marketing campaign are important because that will ensure that you do not spend energy creating content that does not achieve these objectives. You also do not end up spending money on channels that do not achieve these goals. Every piece of content and every channel it is promoted on needs to achieve the above mentioned objectives.
The least effort way of doing content marketing is to be present in the customer journey and the customer journey more often than not, starts with a search.
Learn from search results
Most product discoveries start with a search on Google, Bing, Amazon or other top search engines and e-commerce portals in each country. If it’s an app, it starts in the iOS, Android or other app stores. The simplest way to be present in a customer’s journey is to search for the keywords related to your product or service and make a list of all the search results that come up. You can then categorize these search results into the following types:
Forums – Quora and Reddit are the top most ones but each country has its own forums that are ranked highly. For example, for a real estate related search in India, iref is one of the top ranked forums. Discussions on forums tend to be around either the topic or the brand, which may be either yours or the competitor’s. If the discussion is related to a topic, you can add your comment while mentioning that you represent your brand.
Sometimes if appropriate, you can request satisfied customers to post a positive review as well. Honesty is important here because a lack of it if caught, becomes a scar on your digital footprint forever. You can also start engaging discussions here. Content marketing doesn’t just have to be long articles or social media updates.
Review sites – Review sites can be a blessing or a curse (but mostly a curse). Its extremely unlikely that you won’t have any unhappy customers. Unhappy customers tend to vent on review sites and these pop up in search results very often. The best way to deal with this is to monitor the review sites in your industry often. Use a tool like mention.com if you want to streamline it. Have a process that ensures a quick reply (ideally within 24 hours) and go the extra mile to provide a satisfactory resolution.
Social media – Social media often forms an integral step in a consumer decision making process. Typically facebook, google reviews, twitter and linkedin are the main channels where unhappy customers vent their frustration. On social media, people are impatient and are looking for a resolution within 2 hours. A lot of these complaints can be avoided if the call centre or livechat provide a fast and satisfactory resolution. However, a majority of companies still haven’t adapted to the new reality where poor customer service can result in an exponential loss of future sales.
Here’s what you need to ensure a customer sees on social media:
- Posts relevant to either the brand, products or industry only – analyze posts with poor engagement to see what is not resonating with your audience
- Rich media, easy to digest content like videos, infographics
- Prompt replies to customer complaints starting the resolution process and ending the resolution process
- Positive posts from happy customers, influencers, media
News & blogs – A lot of publications such as techinasia allow guest blogs as long as they are not blatant promotions. Look up the PR rankings of such publications and post guest blogs on these. For ones that don’t accept guest blogs, reach out to the editor and request being included in a story. As long as you have an interesting angle, you may get a good response, especially if you approach the publication directly and not through a PR agency. A lot of these publications do sponsored posts so if you are spending on them, make sure you are spending money on a site that a large section of your target audience visits.
Apart from these channels, you also need to generate content for your own blog which needs to be informative, easy to read, rich-media heavy and periodic. A newsletter and a browser notification enables you to update regular readers with updates. A call to action banner on the blog page helps you monetize this traffic. You can now promote your blog article page through social media, forums as well as content marketing networks like Outbrain and Taboola to get the most out of your content.