How Authentic Content Can Help You Create Lasting Customer Relationships
Whoever said “content is king” couldn't have been more right.
Content marketing has become a central activity when it comes to digital marketing strategies.
The goal of content marketing is simple – creating authentic content for your business, not to promote your brand, but to make a lasting and engaging relationship with your customers.
Successful content marketing builds your brand's reputation and visibility as well as nets in links from authority websites.
We still live in a world where many brands don't honestly know how to engage in content marketing that can result in customer engagement.
Many activities go into optimising your content; it involves creating a strategy appropriate for your business, creating authentic content, promoting the material and then the engagement and conversion.
This is enough to overwhelm a person so much so that he or she begins to wonder what should come first.
Your audience must always come first.
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The Audience is the Hero of the Story
Remember, it doesn't matter what you want.
It matters what the audience wants.
According to the Content Marketing Institute, 90 per cent of top-performing B2B marketers are now prioritising their customers' needs before their company's message.
This was an alien concept just 10-15 years ago — now, it is one of the most critical business strategies.
Just consider the amount of content out there, which isn't driving customer engagement: businesses with thousands of videos on their YouTube channels with hardly any views, Facebook posts with little to no interactions and blog posts, which are not being shared or commented on by anybody.
It is a fact that businesses have done only minimal research on their potential customer base.
It is imperative that brands start trying to know their audience and understand the kind of role they play in their customers' lives for all types of marketing, but most specifically, content-driven marketing.
Here's what some of them can do.
Small startups can create authentic content that features their brand story, their brand attributes, and a brand promise (what customers can expect from their products and services) based on their customer base.
Older organisations should strive to get more data not just on their current customer base but also their future, prospective customers, primarily if they cater to a large market with diverse backgrounds.
These insights will help create a theme that they can apply to their content marketing strategies.
Brand attributes can then “filter” the content, (whether it is copywriting, media or channels), to make sure it is on-brand.
Some of the things you can do to create data-driven content are to find out what kind of keywords customers use to search for matters related to your business, what type of blog posts are they reading, and what pages in your website that have the most viewership and why.
You can also check out statistics and create polls and run surveys to get your audience's input.
The Quality of Your Blog Writing
Remember the not-so-good-old days of SEO when “grey hat” practices were the norm and any attempt to use a variation of a specific keyword was met with contempt?
The Hummingbird update came over five years ago, but many of these so-called modern blog content writers still do not understand the concept of semantic search, which looks at the context and meaning of the page, instead of emphasising repeated keywords.
Search engines have become so much smarter, and now they determine the topics covered in a page through not just the target keyword but through its variations, related terms, and synonyms, all appearing in the same content.
That is why it's best to go natural rather than stuffing the same keyword awkwardly throughout a single page.
If you want to create a variation of keywords, while keeping your content relevant at the same time, go to Google, type in your main keyword and scroll to the bottom to see the related terms it has come up with to put in your content.
Another thing businesses do is that they continue to create short blogs (less than 500 words) and expect that the content would lead to miraculous traffic.
Unfortunately, those days are in the past.
Today, Google views low content, with no media, as thin and flimsy, and hence doesn't help you get traffic.
There are some short blogs that do perform unexpectedly well, but they are an exception rather than the rule.
According to content marketing guru, Neil Patel, 2000+ word deep-diving blogs get more traffic, hands down, because they stand out from the clutter and comprehensively answer the audience — which is what Google aims for.
Many professional blog writers obsess over the length of their posts.
This needs to end.
You need to use as many words as it takes to tell your story in the best way possible.
These are the ones that turn to leads.
Another lousy practice businesses indulge in is that they focus on blog posts whenever they have free time on their hands, instead of keeping a steady stream of high-quality content going.
This type of erratic content posting is not going to endear you to Google.
The search engine prioritises fresh, updated, authentic content and gives higher placement and more traffic to websites that create and publish authentic content regularly.
One of the primary responsibilities of a content marketer is to deliver data-driven content regularly, which creates a positive relationship with the audience and helps build authority over time.
According to a study by HubSpot, websites that blogged 16 times or more during a month earned the most traffic, resulting in more leads.
Sites that only blogged 0-4 in a month got 3.5 times less traffic and 4.5 times fewer leads.
Hence, it is imperative you create a blogging schedule and make sure you stick to it.
Just remember, in your rush to produce authentic content, do not sacrifice quality.
High-Tech, Visual Content
Humans are beings of attraction, and with the rise in digital technology, attention spans are getting shorter, and it is getting increasingly harder to hook your audience.
If your audience is going to look at your content, it has to be visually appealing and better than the last experience they had with your website.
Let's be honest; how-to and instructional content is quite dry and can make a reader lose attention at a crucial moment.
If an audience finds your website boring, it is possible they might not come back a second time.
However, if your content has a few images and videos, it can receive up to 94 per cent more views, according to Content Marketing Platform, Skyword.
Inserting a few visuals can help you brighten up your website and make things interesting for your customers.
Even if you don't create entire videos, simply inserting memes and infographics into your text helps to break up the monotony and regain the viewer's attention.
Visuals don't just make content attractive to the audience, it also helps create a better understanding of the message, explain it faster, and clear the clutter of written words.
Many types of media can improve your content.
According to an analysis by Twitter, tweets with images get a 35 per cent increase in retweets and those with videos reach 28 per cent retweets.
Over 100 million hours of videos are watched on Facebook by half a billion people every day.
Scientific research also claims content with visuals is more memorable.
With the right visuals, you can create the right connections with your audience.
This connection is built upon emotions and gets stronger with each stimulating and creative visual.
Visuals don't just clarify a brand's message; they also cement its identity in the mind of the customer.
This will lead to increased familiarity between the brand and its target customer and will result in engagement and brand loyalty.
Create Authentic Content For Long-Term Relationships, Not Short-Term Benefits
Most content writers think the best way to attract an audience is to go viral.
Sure, your viral content will gain traction on social media; however, this type of material rarely influences long-term customer behaviour or makes you a trusted business in their eyes.
A massive chunk of the audience for this type of viral hype is often not the right audience.
It's OK to create viral content now and again but make sure you do not lose focus of your unique, in-depth content that delivers your message and makes you stand out from the crowd.
One of the worst ways to drive your customers away is to demand they participate in the services you are offering and push for conversion.
Content marketing is best when it offers something of value to the visitors without demanding something in return.
You only want their attention because that is what is going to kickstart a relationship with your company.
Brands can create value for themselves by offering a white paper for free, without asking a user to pay premium prices.
If they have a recorded webinar or a presentation slide, the audience can watch it without being told to register first.
This practice not just creates goodwill among customers but gives your audience a chance to view what you are offering.
If the customer likes the content, it might spur them to sign up for more premium, comprehensive content.
This type of call-to-action is much more tactful than shoving a form to fill up in your audience's face as soon as they arrive on the landing page.
It gives the customer an impression that the company is genuinely concerned about their needs and is helping them move forward to fulfil them.
You can ask for conversion later, but you don't have to force them.
Engagement Leads to Results
The secret to improving engagement – focus on creating an excellent brand experience.
Create authentic content for your readers, don't compromise on the quality of content, use visuals wisely, and remember slow and steady wins the race.
Follow these tips, and you'll soon have a library of excellent content that'll encourage brand loyalty.