January 19, 2016

Get Your Content Right in 2016, and Watch Your Leads Grow

Does your company insist on writing its own content for blogs, social media and the like? If so, your brand may be headed down a dark path if the skills within your organization for producing stellar content are limited. That is, consistent quality messaging and delivery is fundamental to the voice and image of your brand. Without it, the content reaching your audience’s ears may do little to generate leads or further sales objectives; it may even hurt your business.

Quality content that hits the mark is relevant and interesting to readers. That means you must commit to creating material that people want to read—which is somewhere between what brands have traditionally produced and the information that consumers actually care about.

To pinpoint effective content for your brand, you should start with a documented content marketing strategy. Someone at your company needs to hold the team accountable to this strategy throughout the year. It should address the spectrum of consumers in your sales funnel—from early to later stages. The strategy should encompass your mission, target audience and the value you intend to produce for your customers and your brand. Most importantly, it should define how to achieve and measure the accomplishment of your goals.

In this last regard, a great measure for ROI is the number of subscribers to your blog or newsletter. That is, building an audience for your content is key to meeting content marketing goals. Remember, once you build an audience, the sky’s the limit. An audience that has opted in to receiving your ongoing communications is a tremendous source for lead generation. An email subscription is your best controllable means for getting your message delivered to those fans most interested in your offerings.

Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), had this to say recently about subscription customers: “If you build engaged audience members who devour your content, and thus, trust and like you, they will begin to change their behavior. They will stay longer as customers. Or they will buy more. Or they will close faster.”

Also as mentioned above, your content strategy ought to match the various stages of the buyer’s journey. As Pulizzi has remarked, “Customers generally move along a clear path from awareness of the problem, to understanding of the solutions, to who sells it and why is one better for me.” So, you might want to shower early-stage buyers with research on their problem, and shower late-stage prospects with customer testimonials and pricing sheets, for example.

According to CMI research, here are common pitfalls to avoid as you craft content:

  • Don’t overly focus on your unique point of view. Your brand is the platform for the content you deliver, not the content itself. While your “voice” is important, differentiate your brand based on the usefulness of the content you produce, not your brand story so much—at least not early on.
  • Be careful that content volume doesn’t exceed content quality. Focus on publishing messages that set a high bar for excellence.
  • Don’t write content like you would a press release or advertising. Content marketing messages need to deliver authentic opinions and genuine passions—within the confines of defined brand guidelines.
  • Be sure to use content marketing to advance your social selling. Use your content to encourage interest and trust in your brand to attract new customers.

If you don’t have the in-house skills to ensure that you can consistently deliver high-quality content, turn now to a content strategy vendor to support your marketing campaigns in the new year. Take the bull by the horns in 2016 and acknowledge the skill sets you can leverage from outside your company to push your brand to the next level. 

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