Entertain, educate, engage: reaching and keeping your customers through meaningful content

18th May 2017

Compelling content is something we’re passionate about here at the Pod – and we’re not alone in understanding its value; our industry has been talking about the role of content in marketing for some time now.  The reason for the enduring importance of content is simple: consumer behaviour and expectation has evolved. In today’s hyper-competitive marketplace, businesses no longer have the luxury of a passive audience to direct marketing material at. The pitch has become a conversation and customer relationships can make or break a business. In 2017, your customer is informed, connected, and expects to be engaged. Both consumer and business brands must now rise to the challenge and provide their customers with content they’ll care about. The most forward-facing businesses are already doing this at every step of their customer journey. Content marketing is here to stay, and as technology advances and opportunities to reach the customer change and grow, content will remain central to an integrated and coherent marketing strategy.

With this in mind, here are our three top tips for developing a successful content strategy:

Make it relevant and timely

Your customer will typically be bombarded with marketing messages throughout their day. This means you’ll only cut through the noise if you give them information they need or want. A great place to start is by giving them content they can really use – information that answers their questions or addresses a need –  with one eye always on the events happening in their lives and how your content links to this.

When planning content, it’s crucial to think also about the stage at which that content will reach a customer and what you are trying to achieve; is the aim awareness building or sales conversion? Be sure not to rush your customer through the sales funnel; work instead to build up familiarity with and trust in your brand - in an overcrowded marketplace, emotional connection to a brand can make all the difference. This leads us to the next point…

Never forget who you’re talking to

Whatever your business and whether you are B2C or B2B, you are always talking to an individual. In B2B marketing, forgetting the person within the business is a common pitfall. You should aim to have oversight not only of what is relevant to your customer’s business and to them as a professional, but also to get an idea of what will appeal to and resonate with them on a personal level.

Your customer is likely to be short on time and have multiple demands on their focus. Keep your content punchy and don’t forget to complement your copy with relevant and attention grabbing imagery that will draw your customer in. If you’re using video, think about innovative ways to get your message across in under two minutes wherever possible. Most importantly of all: keep it simple! Whilst your tone of voice and in some cases the language you use may be dictated by your brand guidelines, it’s important not to let your brand personality get lost behind technical or overly-formal language.

Spread the word

When you begin crafting your content, it’s vital to know how you plan to use it and to adapt length, wording, tone and focus accordingly. However, when it comes to getting your content out there, don’t be afraid to cast your net wide. Make use of all channels which are relevant to your customer base - but think editorial instead of adverts; blog copy instead of e-shots; testimonials, Q&A and case studies, instead of disconnected lists of features and benefits.

However else you reach your customers, almost every business should also have a social presence.  Choose your platforms carefully and make sure they are properly monitored and maintained. Done well, social media can provide a brilliant way to combine proactive and reactive messages, amplify your reach through influencers in your marketplace, get your content seen, and drive traffic back to your website. All of this applies to B2B as well as B2C businesses, even those more traditional organisations that might not have approached marketing via social media before.

Interested in finding out more? We’ve created a detailed guide to creating your own content plan, which takes a look at how businesses can use compelling content to activate the sales funnel. Download your copy here.