November 29, 2018
Successful sales begin long before a potential customer engages with your products. Today’s consumers are smart, looking to learn in order to make more informed buying decisions. Which companies capture these consumers’ attention and bring them back to the products in the long-run? It is the companies which have diverse content marketing strategies that allow their potential customers to engage with their brand before they even consider the products they may need.
To illustrate the path to success that companies like these follow, let’s dive into the things you should avoid when crafting your content marketing strategy for the coming year:
1. Don’t be product-centric, be educational. Be a thought leader. Great companies have great content which informs their readers about the answers they seek, without falling into constant self-promotion. As we know, consumers are smart and they will see beyond the subtleties that well-produced content will reveal to them.
Take a look at Personal Capital’s approach to creating content—this article on leveraging various credit card rewards programs to achieve one’s travel goals gives their readers a wealth of useful insights on a topic that is near to Personal Capital’s expertise, but refrains from pushing any sort of harsh advertisements head on. In fact, they only briefly plug one of their tracking tools in the second to last paragraph. Content like this constructs the company’s image in the consumer’s mind, leading to further engagement and, likely, sales in the future.
The same is true for Tourism Ireland, whose main focus is on promoting the travel destination vs booking a flight etc.
2. Don’t rely solely on organic traffic, take the extra steps to put your content in front of the audience. The companies which find the greatest success are the ones which work towards their customers, not laterally alongside them. This means utilizing content distribution strategies which ensure that your work is being seen widely and consistently by those who are likely to engage. If you want to hit your content marketing goals, you have to invest effort across platforms to increase your content marketing ROI.
3. Don’t create monotonous content, diversify. Don’t limit yourself to one medium. Dabble in written posts along with videos, white papers and webinars. When you present your audience with different looks and flavors, it keeps them hungry for more.
Who’s doing this well? Outreach.io is one example. It takes only a few seconds of examining their Resources page to see the different types of content they publish. Videos, webinars, reports, guides, infographics—this diversity in content is what keeps their visitors coming back.
Financial topics can be dry at times. Franklin Templeton uses diversified content with written and video content to engage consistently with their audience.
4. Don’t optimize towards the best CTR, focus on page-level metrics to gain insight into what really matters: true engagement. Scrolling velocity, scroll depth, time spent on page—these are all great indicators of the strength of your content because they show that users are engaging with it in depth and for longer than usual. When you know what content raises users’ page-level engagement, you can optimize towards these metrics that matter. For more on these sorts of metrics, read my blog post “Did They Read It?”
5. Don’t just make the sell, build a relationship. Utilize on-page actions to get the user’s name and start the conversation. Work bi-directionally so that you can target the users whose interest has been piqued and then keep them there. When you put out quality content regularly and users can subscribe and follow along in the future, they become a repeat customer—not with their money, but with their time. The consumers who keep coming back due to this are increasingly likely to lean towards investing cash along with their clicks if they feel they have garnered benefits outside the products you push.
Another example? Peloton caters to their audience with content that consistently ends with actions for the user to take to engage with other relevant Peloton content, connect with Peloton instructors (like this instructor-centric article features) or pursue useful Peloton products which relate to the content they’re tacked on to.
There are plenty of companies which are using their content marketing strategies effectively, but there are far more which aren’t. Look to the practices of the companies finding success to begin to craft your own strategy which will enable you to continuously raise the bar.
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Andrew Stark is EVP of Revenue for PulsePoint’s Healthcare Marketing Technology group, helping brands and agencies leverage the power of programmatic and content marketing to reach and engage physicians and consumers. Previously, Andrew was SVP, Content Solutions at PulsePoint, where he rant the company's content solutions business, which unites unique content programs, high-impact native ad solutions, and powerful audience insights for brands.
Prior to PulsePoint, Andrew was VP, Sales and Marketing for Examiner Media Group, and held executive positions at Metro Boston and Boston Now, 365 Media USA. Early in his career, Andrew served as CEO & Publisher at The SUNPOST, where he provided strategic leadership and shifted the publication's readership profile and perception, growing a small community weekly paper into a large regional player.
Andrew holds an MBA from the University of Miami.