Publishing engaging and high-quality content that transcends mediocrity, on a regular basis, is crucial for your brand to succeed. Especially in these times, when:
5,000 ads flash before each of us every single day
1.3 million pieces of content are shared on Facebook each minute
500 million tweets are feeding into Twitter every day
300 hours’ worth of video content is added to YouTube every minute
85 million videos and photos are uploaded on Instagram every day, and
70 million blog posts per month are published through WordPress alone.
Indeed, as Stacy Minero, who is Head of Brand Strategy for Twitter’s Fuel team, stated: consumers are drowning in choice and are consequently less responsive to shallow and intrusive forms of advertising than ever before.
The appeal and challenge of content marketing
Content marketing involves the production of online material without explicitly promoting a brand. Instead it stimulates interest through communicating a brand’s message in an educational and engaging manner. It is highly effective and it is here to stay.
The main appeal of content marketing is that contrary to display ads in magazines, on websites, television or billboards, it is non-intrusive and instead of being inserted into content, it is the content.
Furthermore, compared to paid search campaigns, content marketing costs up to 41% less per lead and companies that regularly blog have 434% more indexed pages than those who don’t. This increases their page rank and attracts 55% more online visitors on average.
Of course, as one of the key turns to happen in marketing over the last decade, by now the value of content marketing is widely recognised and according to research over 90% of businesses have adopted this strategy.
Moving towards high-quality content These numbers are compelling, yet they may also seem daunting to start-ups or established brands who are seeking to increase their readership amidst the clutter. Despair not, by producing high-quality content it is possible to compete substantially.
But how to move from mediocre to excellent content?
1. Devise a strategy
It is absolutely crucial to devise a documented strategy. This means building your plan on the basis of your answers to questions such as:
Who is your audience?
Where do they engage in content consumption?
Why would your content appeal to them?
What keywords and style will form the basis of your content?
How will you track the effectiveness of your content output?
2. Tailor your content
Generic content is no longer sufficient for a millennial audience. It is essential to develop a strategy in such a way that your brand’s unique story fills a gap. Be irreplaceable. To achieve this, go deep, write about specific and relevant topics and tailor content in such a way that it supplies customers’ needs or resolves your prospects’ pain points.
In a way, this is part of a brand’s positioning. Instead of merely shifting positions to increase market share, companies ought to speak to the minds of its clients and aim to what growth expert Paul Hughes calls mind share.
Initially, mind share can be defined as a state of top-of-mind awareness, indicating the extent to which an audience associates a service or product with a particular brand. However, mind share is not just a mental state, but rather the name of a living connection.
Achieving that requires businesses to shift their focus and connect to the lives of their clients, to approach them not as buyers but users and to stop thinking in terms of mere transactions, but relationships instead.
That connection is mind share and your content output should at all times be aimed at creating, expanding and establishing that connection. Mind share is the true objective of high-quality content.
3. Work from the root purpose
Build content around your brand’s root purpose and social cause. Contemporary consumers increasingly care about how a brand relates to social issues. As Minero stated, 75% of consumers want brands to contribute to their quality of life and 57% will buy or boycott a brand based on how it positions itself with regard to socio-political issues.
Indeed, as we learn from the Edelman Trust Barometer, people are putting less faith in political institutions and mainstream media and increasingly looking towards brands as ‘islands of stability’.
Associating with a brand which provides some form of moral compass is one way by which consumers are able to publicly express their social orientations and beliefs.
4. Build a narrative
Develop a coherent narrative and let the content tell your brand’s story in a mesmerising way. We must remember that people are naturally curious and when a narration is impressive, they are willing to commit to its consumption. Stories, as they do between friends or parents and children, evoke feelings of trust and a range of other emotions.
Indeed, combining research, statistics, emotions, imagery and personalised perspectives in a powerful narrative provides a brand with a human factor and leads readers to relate.
Lead with brand vision
Once the strategy is clear and your content output has taken on a distinctive form in substance and style, it is important to reach out to peers, even competitors, to genuinely assist and think through the problems facing your industry. This helps to build a good reputation. The brand vision should lead your content and your brand should be at the forefront of innovative practices.
Apart from blogs, vlogs, video streams or podcasts, engage in research and produce whitepapers to provide novel insights that are relevant to customers, peers and prospective partners.
In addition to engaging social media to enhance your brand’s credibility and visibility, make efforts to attend and host events so as to let your brand’s voice become an authentic participant in a larger conversation among mind sharing experts. Perhaps, in due time, having established yourself as not just a spokesperson for your brand but a thought leader in your industry, a well-written book is in order.
Moving towards high-quality content and establishing your brand as a leading player in the industry will significantly drive brand value. Not only will such a standing generate customer loyalty, but it will also attract talent to your company, improve public relations, and due to it being a cost-effective marketing strategy it will optimise your company’s marketing budget.
By doing so, your brand secures mind share which is the real objective of high-quality content. Achieving that requires developing a sense of corporate empathy, synchronicity and deep engagement with the hopes, dreams, concerns, fears and questions facing your customers and industry at large. The effort is great, but the rewards are greater.
In the end, generously investing time, energy and resources in high-quality content is one of the key elements to achieve and maintain your brand’s success.