Content marketing (marketing using videos, images, and articles) has become the most popular AND most effective way of putting your products or services in front of the broadest possible audience. Everyone from entrepreneurs to multi-national corporations are getting into the content marketing game!
2017 has been an excellent year for all internet-based marketing, but especially for content marketing. Here are a few trends that you should keep in mind the rest of the year:
More people surf the Internet and access social media using their mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) than computers. If your content isn’t designed to adapt to smaller screens, you’re going to lose a lot of viewers. You need to make sure your website/blog has a responsive design that can scale up or down according to the size of the device used. It should also be a mobile-friendly design that makes navigation easy for mobile users.
Internet users are becoming increasingly driven by the content they SEE rather than READ. While articles still have an important place (particularly for research or information), the visually appealing content (videos and images) have the highest chance of engagement. The more eye-catching the content, the higher the chance users will click on it and see what you have to say. Videos are particularly appealing—most people will take 20-30 seconds to watch a clever video that is beautiful and attention-grabbing.
While you may not like the way Facebook keeps changing up its algorithms and marketing policies, there’s no way to deny that Facebook is still the most used social media platform around. If you want to succeed, you need to learn how to use Facebook’s advertising options.
People may trust your brand, but they’ll trust other people’s opinions about your brand more than you realize. User-generated content like third-party reviews, unboxings, social shares, and comments on your products will be more influential than any blog post or video you can make.
The amount of content currently available online is mind-blowing; there’s far more out there than users will ever be able to see. You need to make sure your content is personalized according to your audience. That way, it will resonate with your target demographic in a way that the “general public” content never will.
Though you may have quality content, it does you no good if no one sees it. That’s where paid promotions come in handy. You’re not running an ad—you’re simply paying Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or YouTube to push your content to a broader audience. It’s a way to mix both content marketing and advertising highly effectively!
Creating quality content takes A LOT of hard work! Whether you hire a copywriter or do all the work yourself, it’s still an investment to create content to post to your website, blog, or social media platforms. Even harder is creating quality content that is unique, interesting, and hits the right marketing notes without being too “pushy” or “salesy”.
Here’s one tool a lot of people don’t tap into crowdsourcing. Instead of hiring out, you can use your readers to generate content to share. Instead of using your own one-way content, user-generated content encourages a two-way discussion that helps readers to feel more engaged with your brand. That engagement is what will lead to much better customer loyalty in the long run.
To encourage your users to create content:
Offer an incentive
Establish clear guidelines that are easy to follow
Be appreciative of anyone who produces content for you
Encourage regular contributions
Give your members independence
It takes time to get that user-generated content flowing in, but once you have it, you’ll find it’s highly effective for building a community.
Best of all, the user-generated content is marketing material that will appeal to other readers in a way that you never could. Think about it: why do so many companies use testimonials on their products or services? Instead of saying “Our product is this”, they use real-life people saying, “I love this product for X reasons!” Users are more likely to take the word of fellow users than that of the manufacturers trying to sell the product. (Why else do you think product reviews are prized so highly?)
The user-generated content will do the marketing for you. After all, it will show other users that you have a community that is engaged and interacting. Every piece of user-generated content—be it fan art, memes, photo collections, articles, or social media posts—showcases your product or service, but without your needing to put your spin on it. It’s a way of subtly marketing, one that doesn’t involve you.
The more you can encourage your users to generate content, the better. You should include it in your monthly marketing plans and find ways to promote the production of this content by your users. Have a “standing offer” that provides a discount or special deal every time your users produce something of value for you. Over time, you’ll find that it can be one of the best ways to generate quality content that appeals to a broader range of people—all without your needing to spend a single cent!