Content Marketing to Drive Traffic and Get Conversions – What’s Your Story?
22 October 2014 Leave a comment
In previous posts I’ve shared various articles on digital marketing. The current post is about the core element of digital marketing, which is the content. What I often hear from my contacts is that they defined their objectives, their target audience and that they produced a lot of content, but have the feeling that they don’t create a real connection with their readers. So what could be the missing link here? They should package their content in stories, because stories relate to people. Let’s see how that works.
The Content Marketing Institute (CMI) is the leading global content marketing education and training organization. CMI teaches enterprise brands how to attract and retain customers through compelling, multi-channel storytelling. CMI’s Content Marketing World event, the largest content marketing-focused event, has been held in Cleveland, Ohio, USA, September 8-11, 2014. CMI also produces the bi-quarterly magazine Chief Content Officer, and provides strategic consulting and content marketing research for some of the best-known brands in the world.
Are you ready for Content Marketing?
Besides costing aspects, you have to be sure that you are ready for content marketing and that you have a clear idea of what you will publish about. There is no point in just writing about products you want to promote. You must also avoid thinking in terms of e-mail newsletters, Twitter or Facebook, and focus about the problem you are solving for the customer.
Some points you should consider are:
- Be seen as the leading experts in your market – Some level of authority is required to make your content valuable and effective
- Answer a need or question for your customer – Your customer is only interested in your content if it solves a problem they have
- Deliver your content consistently – Whether it is daily, twice a week, weekly or monthly, you need to deliver on a regular basis
- Avoid a sales tone – The more you promote yourself, the less value your content will have for your audience
- Deliver value – If you expect customers to consume your content, you must deliver value in it
- Set your goal – As a business, your goal is to become part of the content your customers consume on a regular basis
Define your Objective and Target Audience
Content is hardly a direct sales driver, not until it has established a level of trust in any case. It plays a supporting role through other channels to help build that trust that leads to a purchase. Quality content can also play a strong role in customer retention.
You need to focus on who you are producing your content for. In the short term your content should be written with one particular person in mind. This will keep it consistent and on track.
After that, define your Content
Once you know who you are writing for and what you want to achieve, you can make the choice over what you want to publish. You should also consider if your chosen content will work if you outsource it to a marketing agency. Does it require insider knowledge or can it be independently researched? This will help determine what level of resource or budget you will require.
Have in mind that technical content will take longer to produce, and therefore costs more or requires more resources. But it could also be of greater value to your audience, and provide a better return on your investment. The subject matter should be broad enough to allow for scope and variety, but should focus on your audiences interest at all times.
Your Content Marketing requires a Story to improve Engagement
You can have the most useful information in the world for your target market but if you don’t package it so your audience can understand, it’s useless. You literally have seconds to win your audience’s attention or they’re moving to the next thing.
How do you make your content stand out and grab your audience’s attention? Tell a good story. It provides an emotional connection and context that draws your audience in and makes them remember it. Storytelling is one of the most effective ways to connect with your audience through an authentic human experience.
Storytelling not only builds your brand authority and credibility, but also humanizes your brand. Construct your own stories and measure the results. It’s like trial and error, but keep trying until you find a story angle that works with your audience. The reality is, telling a story alone won’t turn you into a global brand overnight. The vast majority of businesses must constantly reinvent their stories and angles to compel their target audience. If you can’t do this, you will not achieve the gains you want.
Why Storytelling is so effective in Content Marketing
Since such a huge amount of content is produced on a daily basis, most of it fails to connect with readers. As a result, readers have become accustomed to skimming rather than reading. Here are some of the reasons why storytelling is such an effective strategy for content marketing:
- Cutting through the clutter by being different – Our minds only pay attention to content when they offer something different. Stories are always different and they distance themselves from standard advertisements
- Stories connect with authentic human experiences – They’re capable of connecting with us on a level standard content marketing can’t
- Stories don’t need to have a conclusive ending – Customers who enjoy your stories will want to find out what happens next, building excitement, energy, and anticipation
- Show, don’t tell – You claim that you understand the problems of customers, but saying so doesn’t accomplish anything. Through a story, you’re applying your claims to the real world. Storytelling will show your reader that you understand the problem and how your product solves it. This is why visual content is so effective in social media
- Storytelling enables you to show how your products solve problems – You don’t just tell about the benefits; you simply illustrate them, allowing your viewer to draw their own conclusions
- You can do it through multimedia – There are no limits to how you can tell a story and where you can tell this story. It can appeal to any audience of any age, which makes it one of the few universally effective content marketing tools.
Here’s my takeaway
Content is the heart of your business. So you start working on a content strategy. After defining your objective, your target audience and your content, you may find out that your content is not being discovered by readers. Most probably because you package your content in a standard way with rational benefits and other prove. Since so much content is being produced nowadays, your standard approach will not stand out. This is where storytelling comes in. It’s an approach that you need to reinvent over and over again until you find the right formula. Start with it today!
Now it’s your turn
What has been your experience with content marketing and storytelling? Share your experience or efforts in the comments.