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Archive for January, 2014

Know Thy Customer – Targeting Your Audience for Meaningful Conversation

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Everybody is blogging and posting content to Twitter, Facebook, and Google+, but do you know your target customer? Do you have a clear idea of who your desired audience is and where they hang out online? Is your content attracting the right readers to promote your online brand?

Before embarking on a content marketing program, you should have a firm understanding of who you are trying to reach, what their interests are, and where to reach them.

  1. First, remember that you are not the customer. This may seem obvious, but too often marketing professionals inject too much of their own wants and desires into their perception of their customer. Put your own biases aside and think like your customer. Ask yourself what they want from your product or service. What are their points of pain? What does your customer want from your product or service? Once you answer those questions you will be in a better position to offer content that addresses customers’ desires and needs.
  2. Don’t try to sell to everyone. There is no way you can deliver content that everyone will love, or even like, so don’t try. Instead, find your market niche and stay focused. The more you focus on your target audience , the more successful you will be. It’s always better to use a laser-focused approach to hit your target than trying to cast a wider net. If you can pinpoint your target use a personalized approach, you will get greater returns from more loyal followers.
  3. Create a customer persona. The best way to make sure you are targeting the right customer is create an audience persona. This is a detailed profile of your audience/customer, including demographics (gender, age, income, etc.) and their behavioral patterns (expectations, concerns, what they expect from your brand, etc.). You want to create a clear portrait of who you want to reach, including shared pain points and concerns.

The more you understand about your audience, the easier it is to create content that speaks to them. If you can project yourself into your audience’s needs, wants, concerns, and desires, then you can promote a more meaningful online conversation.

If you are using content to generate sale leads (and who isn’t?), then see if you can project yourself into the customer’s journey through the buying process. What motivates their initial demand for your product or service? Where do they look for it? What criteria do they apply in making a buying decision? What makes your offering more or less attractive? Answers to these questions should give you some ideas of what to address through your online content, and where to post that content to get the right attention.

Now you can engage. Offer content that addresses concerns raised during the buyer’s journey. Talk about industry issues or approaches that make your company stand out over the competition. Offer case studies, using points that parallel customer concerns or challenges. If you strike the right chord, you will not only promote loyalty in your online following but you’ll enlist some brand evangelists who will comment, repost, and share the good word about you and your company.

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Written by Tom Woolf

January 23rd, 2014 at 4:44 pm

How Social Media Impacts Your Search Rankings

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Did you know that social signals increasingly are influencing search? In “Relationship Status: Social Signals and SEO are Officially an Item,” marketing strategist Janessa Magone writes “….there is now proof that social presence is essential when it comes to search engine optimization. Sites with a strong social presence and a high amount of social user engagement rank higher. The more likes, comments, and tweets you have on a site, the more powerful your SEO becomes.”

News outlet Bit Rebels also writes that “It’s not a secret that Google is implementing more and more influence into the number of plus ones, Facebook likes and shares, and Twitter retweets in their way of determining the influence and popularity of content.”. As more people like and share your content, the higher it will rank in search.

Create shareable content

As you develop your content strategy, consider the following content types that have proven to be ‘highly shareable.”

News: In addition posting news about your company, share news about your market or industry with your followers. Let’s face it, there’s so much being reported no one can keep up to date with all of the news. Help your followers by reporting on major announcements that impact them.

Case studies: Case studies are one of the best ways to show how others are using your products and services. They make your products “come alive.” Be sure to turn case studies into an interesting and entertaining story.

Videos: What better way to inform and entertain than video. To show how powerful video can be, consider these statistics from Social Times about the value of video:

  • Customers who watch videos of products or services are 85 percent more likely to make a purchase.
  • 68 percent of viewers share video links.
  • The average user’s visit to a text and image-based website lasts only 43 seconds; for a website with video, the average visit lasts 5 minutes and 50 seconds.

Images: Nothing capture our attention more than an image. Make sure you use visually compelling images that resonate with your followers and encourage them to share and add comments.

How-to-guides: We all turn to the Web for how-to information. Contribute to the cause with an easy to follow step-by-step guide. You’ll win lots of fans and shares.

Top 10 Lists: It’s not only David Letterman who attracts viewers to his top ten lists. Everybody loves ‘top 10s’ since they make things easy or easier to remember and can be quickly scanned.

Interviews: Boost your standing and credibility by interviewing an acknowledged expert in an area that is trending on social media channels and of importance to your followers.

Surveys or polls: Everyone has an opinion and loves to share it. Include surveys or polls in your content strategy to find out what your followers are thinking about your offerings or others.

Infographics: Transform a report into an engaging Infographic to make it easy for followers to digest your information.

SlideShare presentations: Turn any presentation into a SlideShare to add to your blog or other social media channels. A SlideShare presentation provides a good way to advance your thought leadership position and share your expertise; and it provides an easy way to get feedback.

Ensure content is likeable

If you want your content to pass the likeability test, make sure it’s:

  • Valuable to your audience and not just something you find interesting or that is overly promotional about your products and services;
  • Unique in offering a viewpoint or an opinion that challenges the status quo;
  • Engaging so that your audience asks a questions, makes a comment or adds more insight; and
  • Varied to maintain audience interest.

Remember, quality content will increase your search rankings in more ways than one.

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Written by Barbara Kohn

January 15th, 2014 at 10:47 pm

My Content Marketing Resolutions for 2014

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The New Year is always a good time for new beginnings, including an assessment of what you can do to improve your content marketing program. Here is a short list of New Year’s Resolutions for your content campaign:

  1. Create Regular Content – This is one that we plan to adopt here at Write On Content. You will note we have been sporadic in our blogging (like the shoemaker’s children, we seem to leave our own marketing needs to deal with later). Resolve to create a schedule and feed your content channels regularly. Consistency is the only way to build a following.
  2. Engage – Be sure your content is not only compelling, but engages your followers and encourages interaction. Resolve to promote a dialogue with your followers through whatever channels you use. Content should be the conversation starter, but the dialogue shouldn’t’ stop there.
  3. Mind Your Channels – Using the right outlets to reach your target audience is an ongoing effort. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn are probably on your radar. But are you using Quora, Reddit, or Pinterest? Are you just posting, or are you monitoring and commenting as well? Make a resolution to be more active where it counts in the year to come.
  4. Measure – Don’t rely on “gut feel” alone to determine how well your content marketing program is doing. Measure the results. Keep track of comments, Likes, and clickthroughs. Determine what topics have appeal for your audience and which channels get the most traction.
  5. Innovate – Successful content marketing campaigns are built around the concept of “rinse and repeat”; determine what works, refine it, and then keep using it. That doesn’t mean you should stop there. Continue to push the envelope and experiment with new content ideas, new engagement strategies, and new channels. Experiment so you can expand your content marketing palette and have more resources to draw from in the future.

Here’s wishing you a prosperous and successful 2014 filled with lots of followers and lots of leads.

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Written by Tom Woolf

January 9th, 2014 at 11:45 pm