Wednesday, October 7, 2015
The dos and don'ts of content marketing from the experts
Would you like to boost your business blog or experiment with online video? Content marketing – from online tutorials to an active Twitter feed – is an effective tool for building awareness of your company. In our live Q&A, our expert panel discussed the trends, mistakes and tried-and-tested approaches that small businesses should consider when developing a content marketing strategy.
Our first question came in from reader Jonathan Paxton, who was looking for advice on attracting a global audience through content. Karen Webber, marketing director at content marketing agency Axonn Media, said: “My top tip would be to not expect the same content to engage people in each territory.” However, she added that all content should promote one brand message, while being sensitive to cultural differences.
Sammy Todd, marketing manager at the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM), said: “Talking about things that matter to each of your target markets is key. But this doesn’t always mean creating new content from scratch each time – just knowing what local angle to exploit.”
Social media is vital for growing awareness in new markets, and making sure your content reaches your target audience. Vicky Stewart, head of business development at content marketing agency Seven, added that social networks are a great way of seeing which types of content are most popular, then using that insight to tweak your content strategy.
With many big brands using content marketing, how do small businesses cut through the noise? Webber said the first step was deciding what you want your content to achieve. “Who are you trying to engage and spur to action? How will you measure success?” she asked.
Todd suggested finding a niche, “an area that isn’t being exploited elsewhere”. She advised business owners to establish their company as an industry expert. She also pointed out that effective use of SEO is vital for making sure your content is read.
Walsh added that content should tell a business’s story, both the good and bad. “Share insights that you may be a little uncomfortable sharing.” While you might want to promote all the good things about your business, content that reveals your startup mistakes and how you have overcome them can give your brand authenticity.
How about video, one reader asked – if it’s the future of content marketing, how do small businesses with a limited budget make it work?
Anna Cusden, communications director of Look Fabulous Forever – which has used YouTube videos and blog posts to build a solid customer base – said: “Video is something that’s been central to the success of our business. Our makeup tutorials are made on a very small budget – small studio, real women as models, one cameraman and one makeup artist,” she said. “I suppose it’s about working as creatively as possible and maybe finding people who will be sympathetic to your business aims and not charge you a fortune.”
One reader asked how small businesses can use content marketing to inspire consumer trust. Mike Hollingbery, founder of BozBoz, a creative digital agency in Brighton, suggested bringing customers into your content strategy by including user-generated content (tweets, comments and reviews from customers and potential customers) in your marketing. “If customers feel invested in what you do and share your ethos for why you do it, they will become emotionally invested.”
Mark Hopkins, marketing director at Kia Motors (UK) LTD, echoed this sentiment. He said: “Put people at the heart of your [online marketing] conversations – consumers relate much better to discussions based on human insight and emotion, so bring that to the foreground.”
Seven’s Vicky Stewart added that companies should admit their mistakes in order to build trust. “Saying sorry is always a good starting point for any brand that hasn’t put their customers first,” she said.
Nick Taimitarha asked: “How can you find the best topics [for content] that prospective customers will want to read?” Kim Willis, strategy director at content marketing agency Cedar, suggested two questions to get started: “What are they [the customer] interested in and passionate about?, and what does your business have authority in? If a topic ticks both those boxes, it’s a good start.”
Cusden shared her approach: “We often ask our customers directly what they would like to see in our content. Not only does it make them feel included, it also helps us come up with ideas.”
This Q&A sparked an interesting discussion on Twitter. One of a number of questions that came in from our followers was: “In a world where large organisations are spending millions on their content marketing, how can small businesses compete?”
Carla Bradman, marketing manager at Paramount Properties, pointed out where SMEs have an edge. “One advantage a small business has is the speed in which they can react. Those managing content marketing at a small business can usually get access to the directors for approval (if even needed at all) and comment at the drop of a hat.”
Todd had some good tips for organising your content creation in a small team: “One thing that really helped me to start from scratch with a small budget was to create a content roadmap ... a forward view of all the content we plan to create and curate over the next few months, which is organised by overarching themes that are relevant to our audience.”
Source : http://bit.ly/1Ol08n9