A few days back I sent a message to one of my friend about how she should see the context of the life and not the content of life which will make a huge difference in her life. (Am I being a motivational person? Maybe! :D)
But, through a marketing perspective let’s dive into this important aspect as people get confused about these two words – “Content” and “Context”.
Let’s go into Content Marketing which is a huge buzz word amongst Internet Marketers.
What is Content Marketing?
a form of marketing focused on creating, publishing, and distributing content for a targeted audience online. It is often used by businesses in order to:
- Attract attention and generate leads
- Expand their customer base
- Generate or increase online sales
- Increase brand awareness or credibility
- Engage an online community of users
So, it is a method of marketing where you treat your targeted audience with the utmost care by giving them relevant, high-quality content that improves their lives, business, relationship, etc., or you solve the problems the audience is facing.
It is a two-way profit exchange in a way – Targeted audience get what they want in a non-intrusive manner and appreciate your efforts and become familiar with you and have a positive attitude towards you/your brand. In return, you get high-quality customers with high LTV (Life Time Value) of customers who like you and think of you as a credible source and selling-power of your products increases as the targeted audience already know you are delivering high-quality content.
In India, I was highly impressed by an Indian Politician – Sushma Swaraj
Due to ill health, She is no longer in the present government. But when she was the Minister of External Affairs, She and her team were hyper-active on twitter resolving issues of the citizen.
Check out a few of the tweets, how she used to resolve issues of people.
Though she is affiliated with a political party and I’m not biasing about politics here. But she did commendable work and solved issues of public and that in turn made a positive impact on people and whatever other Political content she posted as well got a good response from her followers. So, this is the “Content Marketing” done right (maybe it was not for content marketing but you can take cues from this that caring for your customers gives you extra leverage to sell your product or promote your brand).
How to Make Content Marketing Work for You?
- Know the Problem of your target audience
- Write Innovative Articles or Make Innovative Videos
- Promote it via different media channels – Email, Social, youtube, etc.,
- You start getting the badge of authority and public trust that you post good content relevant to the audience
- The audience interacts with you more and gets more engaged
- Now Selling your product becomes synonymous with – money for old rope
This way is way much effective than just bombarding the audience with ads without any emotional connection with them in place and they don’t you. It’s hard to sell to new people but with content marketing, the whole scenario changes and that’s why big brands are going into this in a big way. It is estimated that Content marketing spending in 2020 would be around 2,120 Million Euros just in Europe alone.
But we should be aware that Rome was not built in a day. Content Marketing is a long process and with time and proper methodology in place, you can see cost-effective results. Initially, it is the audience getting to know you and building the trust and influence which takes months and then you start getting the results which are worth doing it. So, Content Marketing is a long term game. Below you will see how in 24 month period Content Marketing expenditure is way below Paid Search Marketing.
Now, Let’s dive deeper into the 6 points that were highlighted above.
Knowing the Problem of your target audience
Before knowing the problem of your audience, you should have ample information and idea about who your audience is. After that only you will be able to figure out what content to cater to them. It should be like you are inside their minds. Take for example your best friend – you have seen him from childhood what he likes and what he dislikes, what kind of girl he wants to marry or any other kind of things which you know and if for example, he got a problem and approached you – you would be able to to give him the best advice. Why? Because you know him so well and you could give some advice which will be relevant to him and he feels connected.
That what you have to do with your target audience.
Know your customers as much as your best friends and talk to them as you would to your best friend. If your beliefs, values, and attitudes towards their situation correlates then they feel the connection with you.
Basic Information to have about the audience is basically through these below points
- Demographics – Knowing about Gender, Age, Location, Language, Locality, etc., play an important role in molding the content. So research from your end is very important what that location people like what is their talking style, etc.,
- Crowd Segregation – You need to know exactly what type of crowd it is – few are forum lovers, few might be Instagram pics lovers, few might be active only on facebook, few may be active on twitter and few just google search and read articles. So, Know this as well about the audience so you can better attain their attention.
- The pattern they follow – If they are on facebook, check who they follow. If on twitter check what they follow and what kind of issues they raise, etc.,
Write Innovative Articles or Make Innovative Videos
You need not be good at writing but what matters the most is the laser focus you have on the topic. I wrote to one of my friend just 5 hours back a message
So, What I mean is you have to write or post things that are relevant to the audience and at the same time enticing to them. You have to brainstorm the ideas and research at various places about the topics, like what is trending at the moment with google trends, Pinterest is also a good place to look for inspiration and ideas. Btw, Brainstorming is similar to what used to happen in schools where the teacher used to give a word and every student had to stand up and give his point of view about it. So, If you have two or three close friends with the same inclination towards what you are doing, brainstorm with them.
1. Mind maps
When the mind is focusing on an idea there are millions of thoughts that come in the mind and you forget most of them in a split of a second so Mind maps are very helpful. Have the central idea and branch it off with the suggestions you get or the flow of ideas that are coming in your mind. Write those down. Mind Maps tools are like the new generation Google Maps – They show you where you are and when you type the destination (Central idea) it shows multiple paths to take. But, it is your responsibility to think and know about potholes, problems, go by car or walk, etc.,
In brainstorming, there are 4 principles which we use to come up with the final answer –
- Focus on quantity
- Withhold criticism
- Welcoming unusual ideas, and
- Add up and improve those ideas.
You should watch some of the brainstorming videos of successful people adding one here, so you better understand how important it is. If it was important for Apple from the beginning, it ought to be important for you as well. Learn from people who are successful.
2. Fixing the Missing Parts – Gap Analysis
It is like going from point A to point B. How exactly to go is the gap that you have to fill.
There are two methods in Gap Analysis – Concrete and Conceptual
Concrete Gap analysis happens when there is actual data in your hands where you already have done the marketing and analyzing the things.
Conceptual Gap analysis happens when you are assuming things and coming up with ideas about how to go from point A to point B.
Digging deeper into the whole scenario why there is a gap, how to fill it and setting clear objectives makes you conquer it.
There are many tools to conquer it
3. SWOT ANALYSIS
It is an analysis of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats of your idea or marketing.
Where Strength and Weaknesses are the Internal factors of you.
Opportunities and Threats are External factors like technological changes, regulation changes, making more partnerships, not utilizing tools and methods predominant at that time when your competitor is using it and analyzing the effect of it.
How to Use SWOT Analysis
There are many templates available in the market for the SWOT Analysis – choose whatever suits you but the basic idea is to check about the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats in a visual form so you are clear about the patterns in your mind and can think concretely.
Internal factors are identifiable but external factors are hard to find and you need to search for relevant tools in the market to be ahead of everyone for example in affiliate marketing using – Adplexity to spy on others campaigns, getting smaller details from relationships built with Affiliate Manager to tell about traffic sources to promote an offer, or following your competitors move and see his mistakes and resolve it at your end etc.,
4. 5 Whys of Root Cause Analysis
Child’s mind is full of questions because it doesn’t know how something works and asks Why it is like that? Why the sky is blue? Why dad is fat? etc.,
This is the curiosity which you should have as well and if you ask these questions – Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? mostly you get the solution out of questioning in a sequential manner. There are many applications of it in every day of your life or aligning your marketing plan.
5. Starbursting Method
This method is similar to the 5 Whys of the Root Cause Analysis but very good at getting new ideas as you will be constantly asking questions before getting into the realm of solutions.
There are six questions that are asked in this method
Why, What, When, How, Who and Where.
It gives a clear picture and to come up with more ideas and if your idea is worth doing or not.
Promote your content via different media channels
“Even the most beautifully written, perfectly edited and well-designed books will fail if people aren’t made aware of them!” ––Linda Radke
That’s so true. Your content has to reach people without which it servers no meaning at all. It is like standing at the podium with zero people present and giving your speech.
Content Marketers use different platforms to promote their content and make their outreach wider. Let’s dive into the platforms most marketers use
Social Network Sites
- Facebook: More than 90% of Marketers use facebook. In promoting your content on facebook two things are very important – Well thought Photo/Video and Heading and sub-heading. If you are doing Facebook ads you have huge sets of demographics you can utilize and make use of their Facebook IQ Audience Insights and then analyzing who is engaging with your content, reading the comments of audiences questions and answering them and this will give you insights into what exactly to write next taking into consideration what audience wants.
- Twitter: Twitter is all about your personality and when they land on your twitter account they should know it is you or your brand. Let’s analyze Selena Gomez Twitter handle and learn few things
The first thing is the twitter handle so that user can readily search you as here in this example it is @selenagomez – make it as close to your name or brand name when creating the account.
The second thing is the Name itself – which is Selena Gomez and the blue badge you see after her name is after verification and having enough followers count.
Then there is the bio – where Selena has written – “I Can’t Get Enough is out now!” with the link and who are die-hard fans of Selena would notice that instantly and click on the link to the video.
After that the profile picture which is important as well – Selena has kept it simple with her own photo here and if you are a brand you can put your brand logo there, for example, check the twitter handle of Coca Cola
Then the header image which is similar to cover photo on facebook showcases what is new as Selena shows may be a still photograph from the video – I’m not sure as haven’t seen the video but you get the idea that it gives you ample space to showcase something that is relevant to you.
Then there is location and website address that you can add as well which directs people to see more content about you or your brand.
Last, You see that Selena has pinned her tweet so that stays on top of other tweets – so the most important part of your content at the relevant time you can put on top to get the most attention from your audience. Proper hashtags play an important role in putting your twitter account in front of others. A good tool for hashtags generator is AllHashTags plus twitter ads are good for getting more followers and audience awareness.
- LinkedIn: Around 80% Business To Business (B2B) Marketers use Linkedin and around 50% Business To Customer (B2C) Marketers use it. So, it is clear that if you are a brand, a company or you have a website – you can build a really good network of people in the same area of work for example affiliate marketing, email marketing, etc.,
you should actually read the article by LinkedIn – Add Punch to Your LinkedIn Profile Using These Examples as Inspiration. Joining relevant groups and connections is what makes it relevant to businesses.
Video Sites & Streaming Sites
There are two main players in Videos – Youtube and Vimeo. Videos should be of short durations – long durations tend to become boring and give fatigue to viewers. Be to the point and have a catchy headline. After reaching a certain number of subscribers you can have your unique youtube channel URL as well as WatchMojo has it as https://www.youtube.com/user/WatchMojo/ . In earlier blog post as well I mentioned how to use youtube effectively – You can read it here.
There are live streaming websites as well – which mostly deal in live video game streaming, music streaming, creative content streaming as well. If you are into any of these then Twitch.tv is your thing. If you want to embed the videos on your websites then youtube have live streaming as well, then Vimeo also has https://livestream.com/.
Photo Sharing Websites
The main players in this are Instagram and Pinterest.
Adding stunning videos and photos on Instagram with great description and relevant content could drive the traffic to your website, increase your follower count and many Businesses are driving towards this as the engagement is really high with appropriate content. If it is your personal page and you have large active follower counts you would promote people’s product as well and earn money through that. Influencer marketing is on the rise and you shouldn’t miss the opportunity. I have written a detailed blog about it, you can find it here – How to perfectly do Instagram Influencer Marketing?
Pinterest is helpful to showcase your content and it is like a slowly moving turtle which will make you win the race eventually.
Let’s check one Pinterest account and see what they are doing to learn it.
You would see that it also has the same traits as that of twitter, with a similar header image, bio, website URL, etc., but the most important thing is the Keywords and Boards. You should have Boards with Keywords in it to be able to present yourself better when someone searches keywords like lifestyle, design etc., Use relevant categories for Boards as well.
When you pin your content be sure to add relevant keywords and a short description so that it can be shared on other platforms as well easily. And you can add a link back to your website or blog or Instagram etc., for your pin image and description.
Online communities and forums are very engaging and good for your content marketing strategy. Quora is a question-and-answer website where questions are asked, answered, and edited by Internet users in the form of opinions and upvotes are given to good answers.
So, creating an enticing profile is required in every media platform and it applies here as well.
Following topics which interest you and giving relevant answers to questions asked by users and making yourself an authority in this would take you miles. It’s a slow process but you gain credibility and can become an Influencer in your niche where you are good at and could promote yourself/your brand once in a while too if it makes sense in the question being asked.
Be engaged in it. Give upvotes and if you like someone’s answer share it as well. That’s how you build your own Rome too.
Same applies to niche forums.
Using these techniques you become an authority figure and people like you and publishing good content will get you more appreciation which wouldn’t have been possible if it was just doing blog posts without social media interaction.
And then if you want to sell your product as well, people will be more interested in buying you as you are a figure of trust, engagement and share their pain and problems and have given solutions to those.
Context Marketing is all about giving the right content at the right moment to the right audience. As told above as well about content – knowing your audience is very important and collecting data about every aspect which you can think of like when the audience is more active, when they are commenting the most, what content gets the most likes or visits, are they female readers or male readers, go to the profiles of audience and see what they like as well, etc.,
You might have different sets of the audiences as well, so you need to think about that as well and give importance to all those different sets of audiences and give relevant content so that they don’t abandon you.
Check about the SWOT Analysis and Starbursting Method I talked above and research more about it so you know your audience better. The more you read the more you learn.
Let me know if I was unclear on some topics and I will try to elaborate it in my next blog post.