You've probably already heard of content marketing. Whether on social networks, at a conference, or in the marketing press, it is a new-gen communication lever that is developing at high speed. Powered by the blogosphere and its influencers, the concept has been adopted and adapted by many companies.
The principle? Develop your content to distinguish your voice, DNA, and values in a world already overcrowded with promotional messages. In short, content marketing focuses on the creation and distribution of high-value content to attract and keep an audience, convert them into leads, and then into customers. We live in an interruption marketing.
Display, scroll, push notifications: advertising content is everywhere, and it tires of viewers whose attention time has gone from 12 to 8 seconds in a few years–that's less than the goldfish! Add to this the multiplication of screens, the diversity of interfaces, and the exponential growth of web content. Websites, blogs, social networks: on average, we are exposed to 3500 promotional messages per day.
Where the web has long favored quantity–more content, therefore better SEO, therefore more visibility–it is now obvious that, to interest, it is necessary to offer quality content. So obvious that a recent study shows that the content marketing market is expected to reach $300 billion by 2023. In this ocean of content, how to stand out? Here are the 7 golden rules for developing relevant, sustainable, and progressive content marketing.
1 Identify your target
What target? The first step in a content strategy is to define your target audience: who is your brand aimed at? Should your content keep your audience, conquer a different target, or both? Are you more into B2B or B2C?
The persons. To better represent your target, build personas. Derived from marketing strategies, these fictitious representations of the ideal customer are based both on marketing research and on existing data of your customers. A brand is aimed at a maximum of one, two, or three personas: it is very difficult to manage more.
2 Don't be afraid to adopt a creative editorial line!
The editorial charter. This is the most important step in the content strategy: it helps to identify which type of content to produce and which tone to adopt.
Depending on your DNA, your values, your expertise, and the image you want to convey, the editorial charter should define the tone of your content, the themes to be addressed, and the value to add to your content to stand out and pique the interest of your audience. 75% of consumers are driven by common values: build a content strategy by communicating on it!
Illustrated example. You sign, a company specializing in electronic signatures, has the mojo to make life easier for its customers. Rather than developing business content and an electronic signature, the start-up launched the blog "Simple as hello".
The idea is to promote services that simplify the lives of its customers. The chosen language territory is therefore simplicity–one of the founding values of their product - and the editorial line favors the DNA of the brand to the product for a very effective result. Not bad, right?
The content mapping. An editorial schedule is built and must be respected to guarantee a balanced editorial strategy. The principle is simple: publish regularly–at least 4 pieces of content per month–and diversely. For a relevant editorial strategy, your content must address your personas, so know how to combine extremely targeted content with more general topics. Diversity is the key, but only if it is not random!
3 Spy on the competition
The importance of the day before. In a slightly more politically correct language, we call it "doing the watch". Monitoring makes up at least 50% of a content strategy: it makes it possible to see trends emerge, to better calibrate readers' expectations in the face of new practices, and to stay up to date in your perimeter. Look at what your competitors are doing, get inspired by what you like, and what makes you want to click: you are your first consumer!
In practice. Sign up for newsletters, follow specialized accounts on social networks, attend conferences, scrutinize the market leaders but do not neglect the very inventive minor players, and compare the success of your respective campaigns (but do it on equal terms!).
Dare. Adapt to your audience and new uses: it is a mistake to believe that creative formats, such as stop-motion, for example, are the prerogative of B2C, or are aimed only at millennials. Just as influencer marketing is not just for luxury, fashion, and beauty brands on Instagram, the seriousness of your business does not imprison you in standardized communication.
8 billion Facebook videos are viewed per day (yes, per day!). The audience is very strong: you will inevitably touch yours.
4 Vary your formats
2 seconds: this is the time to decide whether to consume () content: it must be attractive! The title, the catchphrase, the visual: each element that makes up it must be inlaid to be consumed.
This is called editorialization. Use quotes, punchlines, stop motion, and gits to better captivate your reader. The cinema graph is also a very attractive promotional format that works very well: it animates a unique element on the freeze-frame. Guaranteed immediate audience focus.
Editorial and creativity. Editorial content is excellent for SEO and for developing substantive content. Blog, newsletter, white paper, press release, landing page: everything you write potentially makes up editorial content. Creative content is the one that engages your audience the most in snack content–very short and very visual content to broadcast, for example, on social networks.
Don't put all your eggs in one basket. The first rule of content creation is not to limit yourself to a single type of content: mix editorial and creative, snack content and long format, series, and infographics.
Mobile-first. This is the sacred rule of web 2.0. Today, most content is consumed on mobile: responsive design has become o-bi-go-tire!
Personalize. The last rule of content marketing: be inspired by what works in others, but don't copy: personalize! Adding your trademark is essential, since it will make up the branding of the content, and will be part of a more global strategy.
5 Content marketing is above all marketing
Call to action. It should always be borne in mind that content creation and distribution are part of a strategy: one of the primary objectives of your content platform is to quantify your audience and their interest in you!
For this, it is important to integrate content with high added value, such as white papers or case studies, for example. For the user, this premium content will only be available if he gives you his personal information (email address, company, phone number ...). This trick will allow you to build a qualified database and establish a list of prospects while transmitting your expertise and strengthening your legitimacy.
Cross-Linking. Yes, crosslinking is good for SEO–but not that. It also allows you to know where your customers are going once such content is consumed.
To encourage them to stay, boost your strategy by adding relevant internal links: something that doesn't have to be difficult in a well-crafted editorial strategy. Indeed, crosslinking can also be the fire test for your content.
Are you having trouble placing internal links while your content is well developed? This means that you are addressing too different topics and that it is difficult to engage your audience in several articles. You could almost insert an internal link per paragraph? Bingo!
Good content is effective content. Use Talk walker to monitor the web and social networks, Graphy Stories to expect the editorial trends of tomorrow, Google Analytics to track your traffic and your audience, Buzzsumo to find the most popular keywords that will ensure you a good SEO, and Mention to monitor your e-reputation.
6 Your content marketing must engage!
Setting up a content strategy also means ensuring the engagement of your audience. Come again? Different stages of optimization of this diffusion exist.
- Growth Hacking. Put a link to your white paper, webinar, or blog in your email signature. Promote your collaborations. Post-op-ads on LinkedIn.
- They paid. On social networks, sponsorship today allows, for a few euros, to better target your potential audience by collecting its users precisely.
- Advocacy marketing. Content recommended by a friend is much more likely to be engaging than if it comes from a brand.
7 Have an obsession with numbers
Measure and adapt. That's where it all plays out. To better optimize your content strategy, you need to know how to measure and make quick decisions. Build your reporting tool to fit your needs.
Look at your key figures. Number of page views, average time spent on a page, bounce rate, social media reach, etc.: measure acquisition precisely to know where your traffic is coming from, where your leads are coming from and cut off investments that are not working.
A €150 Facebook campaign that does not generate any traffic to your site can be cut quickly. That's €100 in savings that you can inject into the LinkedIn campaign, which works much better. Sponsorship is not just a cost: it must be a profitable investment. In the deployment of a content marketing strategy, 10% of the content produced generates 90% of your traffic.
The imbalance is certainly huge, but this does not mean that the remaining 90% are useless: they will generate the notoriety of the 10%. With such statistics, content marketing is a communication lever that is experiencing a spectacular rise, until it represents the biggest marketing vector for companies in 2022–and it's not about to stop!