• Joel Rowbottom

Content marketing 101

Content marketing is on the rise, every marketer sees the value and wants to hop on the bandwagon. Many start writing without a plan, only to see limited reach and an even smaller amount that actually illicit any action. In this developing space, you need to know what you’re trying to achieve.


Content marketing is often used as the driver behind the core marketing strategy. It works as the awareness piece, that drives attention and traffic to the organisation. Often used as the precursor of an account based marketing strategy, content marketing is the gateway for moving people into your customer journeys, which can be automated.

What do you want readers to do after they’ve finished with the article? Are you looking to sell a certain product? Are you looking to raise the awareness of something? A clear plan of where they start and finish is critical.


Attention-grabbing headline

It doesn’t matter how good the article is, if no-one clicks on it. An attention-grabbing headline is pivotal in getting people in. But don’t lie, or use clickbait. If a reader feels like they’ve been conned into reading the article, their perception of your brand will be tarnished. A title that sums up the theme of the article and projects this in an interesting tone will attract them. For example, if this article was called “Best paint to watch dry” would you still have read it?


Relevance

This might be a given, but content must be relevant to the readers. Talking about concepts that are alien to them, is a quick way to turn them off and send them to your competitors. Make sure it’s a topic that they are either concerned about, or could be interested in. But their interest must still be aligned with your business, for example, there’s no point in talking about the best baker on The Great British Bake Off if you’re selling insurance, you might get people reading, but if they don’t buy anything what have you gained? Also, ensure there is something for them to take away with them. People read for entertainment, but also like to have something to show for their reading. With this, they are also more likely to talk about what they’ve taken away with someone else, and possibly cite you as the source.


Make sure the point you’re trying to convey sticks with them and isn’t lost.


When looking for actionable results from employing a content marketing strategy, your personal agenda needs to be put to one side. Your views and style might not be the preference of your readers, just because you like it, doesn’t mean they will. Simple A/B testing will be able to show you what is resonating with your customers.


Talk to your audience, not at them

If someone is choosing to read your article in their own time, they don’t want to feel like they are being lectured. A sense of conversation engages customers, answering potential questions and adding personality. Talking about situations they can relate to, and putting complex situations into layman’s terms allows a lower level of cognitive processing to be required, making it an easier read.


Persuasion theory

In any consumer-facing material, understanding how it will be processed by the reader is important. Knowing your target market allows you to understand how to target them, with the way you put your message across. The Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM) has received a lot of recognition for it’s application to content marketing. For more information on persuasion theory, click here.


Checklist

To help you with writing your own content, here’s a 4 part checklist to ensure you are taking the right steps for success.



Checklist Completed?

Attention-grabbing headline Y/N

Relevant topic Y/N

Tone Y/N

Takeaway Y/N


Conclusion

Standing out in the crowd, and keeping readers is critical. With the substantial amount of content being posted and shared on a daily basis, there is no space for anything that isn’t perfect.

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