In order to thrive you must know how to connect. Businesses cannot exist without the customers that support them. With the fast moving passage of new technology and digital platforms, brands have the ability to connect like never before. The challenge is that consumers are becoming receptive to highly engaging content that’s relevant to them as opposed to the marketing content that is generic and unappealing. Brands have the opportunity to say so much but engaging so little, audiences are learning how to skip, fast forward and ignore what does not benefit them.
Consumers no longer want to be talked at, they want to be communicated with. Everyone wants to know what’s in it for them, and content marketing is the perfect platform to communicate this.
It involves the strategy of producing information and content that builds trusts with your audience and could lead you to becoming a recognised leader in your industry. You must understand how to connect and build a genuine relationship with your audience and within the industry – and gaining a loyalty that leads to long lasting relationships and opportunities.
How does your business connect, build a relationship and gain brand loyalty when there is so much noise in the marketplace? In this blog post you will find out the best strategies to connect and engage with potential consumers and increase the opportunity to turn these relationships into loyal paying customers.
1. Know Your Audience
To truly engage with your audience, you have to first know who you are speaking to and what will be beneficial to them.
Research will help you learn about your target audience – what excites and engages them as well as what their challenges are so you can provide a suitable solution. Taking the opportunity to fill out a buyers persona would be the suggested first step so that you and your team can always speak to them in a way that counts and influences their decisions.
With the buyer’s persona, it is best if you can determine a single person, whether an individual or within a company, in which you can speak to. Name the person, add a picture, learn their likes and dislikes and truly understand them. Then, when you are curating your content, have this person in mind.
Other methods of knowing your audience include social listening, digging deep into data, knowing your metrics and what they mean.
It is equally important to observe and learn in person. Go out and watch, speak and listen to people about what their goals are and what pain points are prohibiting them from reaching that goal. That’s how real connections are built, and where you may find your truest insight.
2. Be Consistent
To achieve any form of success, consistency is key, and this rings just as true in creating content and engaging your audience.
Most people assume that consistency is synonymous with frequency but there is a difference.
Frequency is how often you post, which is equally important, but consistency means keeping to your strategy, your tone and your delivery schedule. Let’s say you’ve always been posting at the frequency of one article a week for a few weeks. It is not recommended, then, that you take a six-month long hiatus, and return hoping that nothing has changed. Your audience would have looked to other sources for the information and content they want.
Consistency in terms of tone is just as important because you want your audience to recognise the person who is speaking to them. This is also known as your brand voice. Imagine how odd it would be if every time you spoke to someone, they sounded different to you. It’s the same with content.
Another reason it’s important to be consistent is because Google is constantly looking for fresh, quality content. So, with consistent quality and frequent posting, you’ll have a higher probability of ranking higher on search engines, leading more traffic to your website.
This will lead your audience to begin to generate a stronger connection to your business and your brand. This in turn typically leads them to sign up for your mailing list providing them more details about your company or reminding them to consistently return to your website for more content you generate.
Just like personal relationships, it takes time to build anything trustworthy and meaningful. Consistency is definitely key to building a strong relationship.
3. Choose Quality Over Quantity
It is pointless to say a lot if it doesn’t mean much. Content shared with your audience should be made of substance and value. This is necessary not only to engage but to build your brand so it will be seen as a trusted source and thought leader.
“Quality content” is more than just a buzzword, it has so much to do with what you put out there. The subject you’re speaking about has to mean something to your audience. It has to either provide a solution, raise a new thought, answer a question, educate, provide a unique insight or at its very least, be of interest to your audience.
Quality content can also mean what you include in terms of visuals, videos, charts or graphs. Sometimes, a picture or infographic may help support the article but make sure you’re not simply adding an irrelevant image.
Good quality images can help the audience digest information better and, being visually-driven creatures, can help draw their attention. Visual content also leads to easier sharing, which will eventually attract a bigger audience.
Grammar is another important aspect to note when thinking about quality content. Typos, incoherent structure and grammar mistakes are a clear sign of the writer’s lack of care for the information provided to the audience. Content with grammar issues and typos are also less likely to be deemed trustworthy by your readers.
Google evaluates your content by using all of the information provided above and deems it trustworthy or otherwise. However, what Google can’t do that people can, is truly be engaged with what you write.
So, the most important note to remember when thinking about quality content are the individuals and businesses you engage with your writing. It’s not about search engines, it’s always about your readers.
4. Engage With Your Audience
Humans crave interaction, so it’s important to make your audience a part of your story. There are multiple ways of doing this and allowing them to feel like they are a part of your brand and show them that they matter to you.
Asking them for their feedback, comments or even their thoughts opens up the avenue for communication to flow both ways. This makes them feel like their voice and opinions are valued and allows you to learn more about your audience and gain insights into how and what they think.
When your audience does provide feedback, you need to set aside time to respond and have a discussion with them. This is a great way to connect and show that there is a person behind the brand and not just a corporation.
Challenges and contests can add a bit of fun and help you to engage with your audience. It can be your way of rewarding them for following your brand; but be sure to create something your audience will want to be a part of. Make it clear, within reach, reflective of your brand and easily accessible for the audience.
Giving away freebies are another way of keeping your audience intrigued. These freebies don’t always have to be tangible prizes or rewards, it can be as simple as a valuable tip or a software tool.
E-books, research material, slide presentations, downloadable videos or an app are just a few ideas of what can be presented as a freebie. In exchange for these, you stand to gain more data about your audience. This helps build that relationship potentially converting your readers into future customers.
5. Switch It Up
While your core strategy may be to use written content, don’t be afraid to explore other mediums. Your audience is constantly looking for something new and interesting, and providing something unexpected has the potential to make a great impact.
Your content is a complete body of work made up of different parts. Different content can serve different purposes but you need all of it build a complete picture for your audience.
Your content can educate by providing a solution, a new approach or even background information about your company and what your brand stands for. This can be a great way to build brand affinity and you can achieve this through newsletters, white papers, seminars and FAQs.
Once your audience is aware of your brand, the next step is to build trust. Content such as reviews, testimonials, how-to(s) and articles, whether written by you or about you, should be shared with your audience.
When you have a following, you need to keep your audience informed and interested. Infographics, checklists, guides, webinars, e-books, blog posts, social media and giveaways are some of the great ways you can do this.
Switching up your content is also a great way to speak to your audience at different stages of their readership and purchase interest. When they are ready to convert, you need to provide results and data-driven case studies in the written or video form. As a result of providing dynamic content through the nurturing process, it enables a 3 dimensional understanding for your audience making it even easier to convert your viewer to leads.
Together, these various forms of content serve as tools to educate, inform, create interest and move your audience from simply being aware of your brand to being prospects and eventually, consumers. It is important to utilise these at the right time and you can do so by making sure that you have your content marketing strategy* done right.
6. Instruct The Next Step
When you’ve got someone interested, don’t leave them hanging. If you’ve guided your audience along the journey and engaged them in your various content, it is essential to offer them the next step. Your content alone is not enough to turn someone into a loyal customer, it has to be proven by action.
This can be done via contact forms, mailing list sign-ups or even by guiding them to the next link. Lead them down a desirable path and provide clear directions on what they should do next to keep the momentum and engagement going.
There are many ways to get your audience to click a link but they are all dependent on a great call-to-action (CTA). This is the reason your CTA language needs to be clear, specific and provide a benefit. For example, instead of saying “Buy now!”, your CTA could read, “Click to save 50%”. This simple, but effective, change is more likely spark the interest of your audience.
It’s also the simple, but often overlooked specifics, that are important when it comes to providing a CTA. You need to have the CTA placed prominently without being intrusive and without interrupting the reader’s flow. CTAs are best inserted at the end of the article or at the top right hand corner of the page.
You also need them to standout from the rest of the content. Choosing the right colour, design and visuals could make or break your conversion rate, so choose wisely and be sure to test its impact after launch and modify if needed.
At the end of the day, you want your content to cause action and provide results, so don’t let the small but important role of the CTA be something you overlook.
Creating a content marketing strategy that works for you
There are so many ways to incorporate content marketing into your business and the sooner you get onboard with it, the quicker you will see the results it can bring to your business.
If you’re looking to design a strategy that truly converts well for your business and your audience, these steps are a great first step for customer engagement.
If you feel your company or team is overwhelmed doing the day-to-day operations of the business, it is best to engage a team of content marketing specialist to work as a conscientious extension of your team. This team should have a solid understanding of your company goals and set plans into motion to help you get there while you focus on perfecting your company’s offerings and performance.
A good content marketing strategy is one that understands where your business stands, what it needs to achieve and who it needs to speak to. It is one aspect that can develop long-term relationships with your current and future customers, and most importantly, it is built on trust by providing valuable, informative and quality content.
Learn more about how to engage your audience and increase your lead generation by a minimum of 17% in less than 30 days.