Great marketing needs great content: content required
Gurus of Marketing Peter Drucker and Philip Kotler, amongst many others, have consistently professed the importance of the customer in any business – the customer is king. The customer should be at the centre of product design and development, operations, customer servicing, marketing and communications. They are at the heart of a business – or at least they should be in a customer-centric business. Without them your business will certainly struggle to exist!
If customer is king, content must be queen
As a starting point you must design your customer journey – a journey that will see prospects become aware of you, engage with you and finally become a customer where you can, hopefully, foster a long-term relationship. In previous articles we have written about segmentation and niche marketing and the importance of marketing planning – being clear as to what your plan is for growing your business or becoming more profitable. But, you can segment and plan until your heart’s content, if you don’t get the content of your communications right throughout the journey then the rest of your marketing efforts are unlikely to pack the punch they should. Therefore, if the customer is king then content must be queen?
Through segmentation you gain a better understanding of customers and prospects. Marketing planning provides the framework from which to build a plan that meets your business objectives, outlines your target audience, defines where and when you will communicate and what your key messages will be. So, with key messages in mind let’s dig a little deeper into the importance of content.
Let’s start by defining what we mean by content marketing. The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as:
“a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action”.
It’s amazing how many companies churn out communications in an effort to consistently distribute valuable relevant content, but customers find the information too technical to understand – therefore lacks relevance, or not timely or is just not relevant at all. But how do you find topics that are relevant to your audience?
Coming up with content ideas can be a daunting task, but if approached with the following pointers your will soon have a bank of content to use across your suite of communications.
5 ideas for generating content ideas:
- Start by looking for ideas close to home. Talk to people in your business that regularly interact with customers (existing or prospects) and ask them what they are discussing – try to understand what challenges your customers perceive they have and why they are contacting your business. There will be some nuggets in these conversations that can be worked up into your communications.
- Consider your business plan for the next year. Do you have something to shout about? Do you have any launches coming up? Are you staff taking more qualifications? Is it your company’s anniversary? What’s happening in your world in the coming months? Perhaps best done as a group exercise but if you start asking these questions you’ll soon have lots of relevant content that’s specific to your business, industry and your customer.
- Do some research and have a look at what people in your industry are talking about. You can find this on social media, trade press, email newsletters you may have subscribed to or in the vast array of social media sites that don the world-wide web. You can’t just copy and paste content you find but it can give ideas for you to write content that can also incorporate your opinions and the key messages you’d like to get out to your customers.
- If you are delivering content via digital media, the use digital analytics to find out what communications and topics get the best results. You can use this insight to then generate more content along the same theme or even re-use or re-package the content in different media or send to target audiences that haven’t already received it. Much of marketing is about testing and learning; to learn you must look at the results you get from the communications you issue.
- Create an online survey – easily done using something like SurveyMonkey – and get it onto your website, send it out in your e-newsletters, cover it in your blog and share it on social media. Keep the survey short and people shouldn’t be put off completing it. Then the fun part, look at what the results tell you! You should get several different ideas to write about from the results and use the results in your content. This content will not only be new information it will also be relevant and insightful.
Communication is a key part of the marketing mix
As we’ve said, you must communicate with customers and prospects throughout their journey with you – from raising awareness to maintaining relationships. Great marketing is impossible without great content.
Create a runway of activity populated with great relevant content and execute it well to keep your customers interested and satisfied. And if you’re looking for more customers then, as quoted by Kotler, “the best advertising is done by satisfied customers”.
Happy creating! Love Jane x
Jane Cuthbertson is a Chartered Marketer based in Stirling, Scotland. She is a natural problem solver with a keen eye to maximise any opportunities. She has a passion for putting herself in the buyers’ shoes to truly understand their needs and expectations. With a diverse marketing background, she specialises in setting strategic marketing plans with long-term goals and is skilled in implementing integrated marketing programmes that deliver sales results.
Main picture credit: Kaboompics.com