Content Marketing as a Utility for Customers
Content Marketing is everywhere now. Brands use content to help keep followers engaged with them, keep customers in consideration mode, and to keep existing customers loyal to the brand. The trouble is, we’ve reached a point where the sheer volume of content has created so much noise that simply sharing content is not enough. For brands that are considering a Content Marketing strategy it’s important to clearly define the goals of doing before launching right in. A Utility Content strategy is highly recommended.
If you look at the recent epidemic of false news from shady sources during the US Presidential election, where the goal was to influence voters regarding who to elect, the outcome can be considered a success when the Content Creator’s preferred candidate wins. Amongst the target audience the response to the content has created enough influence to help them decide which candidate to choose. If you’re wondering how Fake News affected to the US Election, look no further than Content Marketing run-a-muk by Russian web developers “AKA: Hackers” who found places to host the content and promoted it on all available networks. Including Facebook. Or Fakebook. News was no longer reliable because the domains it was served from we’re not credible resources.
When it comes time to deploy a Content Strategy for a global brand, it shouldn’t be out of the question to look at examples of influence beyond your own industry. There has most likely been another brand in a different market who has overcome a similar challenge that you can study and determine how to craft your own. The strategy must be your own, it cannot be a blatant copy of a brand in your own industry.
Here are the top three things we consider in a Content Marketing strategy:
Traffic- This is a traffic game pure and simple, TRAFFIC TO YOUR SITE must be the number one focus of any content strategy. The goal for First Tracks is to always beat PPC rates for new traffic of qualified leads in your market or industry. If you’re paying $5/click for traffic on advertising, a brand can usually reduce that PPC cost by up to 85% by simply deploying a content marketing strategy. Not only that, in many cases the traffic is more highly qualified than ad traffic. Content Marketing visitors remain in the consideration funnel on average 30% longer than ad traffic visitors. That’s just at the first point of contact. A tactful re-marketing campaign can help bring customers further down the commerce pathway by serving a mix of ads and content to the same qualified lead.
Native Content also fits into this bucket, and First Tracks has developed specific strategy for this type of Content Marketing. It does require a strategic direct-to-publisher agreements and therefore fits into the paid media / advertising strategy and is separate from this specific traffic funnel.
Relevance- This means relevance on the very customer level, not just on an interest base. Content must be relevant to the intended consumer of it. Sure, a target might be someone who is interested in Skiing and so serving them skiing content is a reasonable direction. However, when you look further at the interests of all skiers, there are so many other layers to the onion that is your qualified customer lead. “Free your heel, free your mind” may not resonate with someone who watches World Cup skiing, or it may get a good chuckle, it just depends on how it’s framed up. But it’s these nuances that exist when you dig deeper into what skiing means to the target that HAVE TO have relevance. All the best Content Marketing is well timed, and evokes an intended response in the consumer of it.
Utility- Is this information useful to the target? Can this content endure the test of time, it’s utility is in it’s evergreen nature, content that can serve for years to come. This really comes into play when it comes time to re-surface content at intervals throughout the year. All utility content CAN BE re-surfaced without much investment on the landing page. Creating Utility Content is so important when you’re playing the long game of content marketing.
Viral Content is not Utility Content and you get no guarantees when you try to produce a “viral” video. Viewers determine how viral it is when it’s share-worthy, the idea of creating a viral video is misguided, create great content then it will be shared.
Brands are crazy about video nowadays, and they want to host on YouTube, which can be a very good strategy for brands. If you do use YouTube as your player you must have a curation strategy specifically for the platform. If you aren’t doing any curation on YouTube directly, start immediately. Using YouTube is totally fine, you just need to allocate resources to optimizing your channel.
In most cases there’s nothing better than really good copy and photographs that have utility. A poorly produced video may have all the elements of utility but can sometimes negatively impact brand image. Don’t just do it, do it well.