A detailed content marketing strategy helps you utilise valuable content to attract the audience and convert those already interested in your products.
Yes, it is that time of the year again. Even if you are still carrying an umbrella under your arm, or using it depending on wherever you are, summer is gone. The long and very exciting festive season is already here.
You have big plans for yourself and your family. But what about your business? Have you deployed your content marketing strategy for the upcoming festive season?
How your content marketing strategy differs from advertising?
Content marketing is not a recent phenomenon, though its current face is very much a product of the internet age.
So what qualifies as content? What you are reading at the moment is a form of content. The images you glance through, videos you watch or audios you listen to are some of the other forms that you are exposed to almost every waking hour of your life. Generally, powerful content combines more than one format.
It is better not to confuse content marketing with simple advertising. It is true that in both the cases use of the different forms of content is somewhat similar. However, the following separates your efforts of content marketing from purely advertising your products.
- Content delivered this way is informative and highly useful.
- It has a firm focus on customer’s requirements.
- It has an existence outside your products and services. In other words, people can benefit from it even when they do not use your products or services.
Consider Nestlé’s efforts of winning their customers’ hearts (and palates).
The company has a ubiquitous presence in our kitchens. Whether you are a foodie or not you may have tasted Milkmaid in the past and used it in your desserts. If you have ever visited the Nestle Milkmaid site, you will know it is canned full of mouth-watering recipes. It also has videos of your favourite recipes. You can also share your recipes in the community section of the website.
To further pamper your taste buds, Nestle delivers you the content appropriate for the festive occasions, for different seasons or speed cooking. This is a fascinating example of using content to engage with the customers. And, the company is doing this long before content marketing became fashionable.
What are the different types of digital content to power your campaign?
Before you begin utilising content, just ponder over the following question for a minute:
- Why is your customer using your products and services? What are they trying to achieve?
- What problem are you helping them to solve?
Keep your focus on these two aspects. Create a content calendar that delivers to the end goal and adheres to it. You’ll never again need to fear delivering any irrelevant information to your audience.
Videos dominate the web world
According to Cisco, “a million minutes of video content will cross the network by 2021.” It will take 5 million years for anyone to watch all the videos posted on the internet.
Videos already dominate the internet traffic. As we have come to know, 7 out of 10 people like watching videos on the net. Many digital marketers have started vouching for videos as their preferred marketing channel. So which companies are capitalising the most on video content marketing?
Redbull is one of the major names. They combine visual content with written words. On the platter comes everything from adventurous to purely inspirational. Check out this video series titled The Fourth Phase by Travis Rice.
Don’t miss Dane Jackson and Rafa Ortiz’s breathtaking kayaking through the flying lava bombs and boiling water in Hawaii. You may also watch Redbull TV’s sports, adventure and culture sections.
If you think that producing video content is only for the big names, you are wrong. Jim Coudal and his team are doing a great job of producing informative and sometimes thought-provoking videos for Field Notes. Videos like Wood Type Forever! and Talkin’ Type are bound to be a great hit among enthusiasts of typography, design and handmade products.
In an interview with Jeffrey Zeldman, Jim Coudal describes the entire process to be a great fun. After watching the short videos, I am sure everyone will agree with him. Have you thought of including videos in your content marketing strategy yet?
Host webinars to increase brand following
Webinars turn out to be another great marketing tool for your company. It is great for sharing valuable information, tips and tricks. Webinars are particularly useful for increasing brand awareness and appealing to those who are sitting on the fence for long. You must give serious consideration to webinars as your pre-launch activity, if you are planning to introduce a new line of products soon.
One of the biggest benefits of this process is webinars are free to join in. Irrespective of their actual location, people can access these live or pre-recorded training right from their living rooms. Companies like Kissmetrics, Hubspot etc are making smart use of this medium.
If, as a business owner, you have not explored the power of webinars so far it is time for you to do so. One word of caution though. Include this on your second or third level of marketing activity. Give priority to creating worthy written content for your blog, newsletters, whitepapers and case studies first.
Content marketing strategy: Let images take a lead
Videos are certainly not the only type of visual content that appeals to the senses of many. Images do an equally good job at a fragment of a cost or, at times, no cost at all. Think of the growing popularity of Pinterest and
Instagram. They thrive on images. Many viewers simply love binging on these smashing photos.
Specific types of content, especially from B2C domain, do very well on these platforms. If you’re an artist, architect or designer you should start utilising these channels sooner than later. The same applies to those from the travel, hospitality and food industry.
Content marketing on Instagram: Post meaningful images
See how Tentsile, a tent company from the UK, is creating a steady brand following on Instagram. Ballet de l’Opéra in Paris never misses any opportunity to post mesmerizing dance poses of their performers.
B2B promotions are not exactly left behind. You only need to see the popularity of Mailchimp’s cool posts on Instagram. In a very smart move, they have also started embracing their users’ images.
Make a splash on Pinterest
Many brands have already made Pinterest their natural home. Fashion finds a great following on Pinterest. The mass adulation about Target and Nordstrom seem to say so. Etsy too is finding this platform good for its business. Those fond of handmade crafts will find DIY Network’s images simply fascinating.
There are other social media channels, including Facebook and Twitter, where images rule. And, don’t forget. You can also use your company blog to post great images of your products as well.
Tell a story with Infographics
Infographics are all the rage these days. Instead of using dull graphs add pizzazz to your content marketing efforts with infographics. Beautifully designed infographics tend to captivate even the most cynic person among your prospective buyers.
Infographics can easily be used by those belonging to the B2B as well as the B2C domain. They are widely circulated on the social media which increase the visibility of your brand. You will find customers much more involved with your products. Besides, there is no shortage of topics for you to dig into. They have become imperative to any goal-oriented content marketing strategy.
Graphs like these have an educative purpose too. The World Bank uses the same to create awareness about the interdependence between energy and water.
You have learned some of the most engaging ways companies are using graphics. Hire a pro graphic designer and give your graphs wings to fly.
Make a point with amazing slideshows
Slideshows are a permanent feature of your board meetings. Can you make use of them for your customers? For sure, you can.
See how Fine Homes & Estates used slides to release its buyer’s guide in Honolulu, Hawaii. If a magnificent glimpse of Hawaii is not enough, revel into this show. It shares crucial tips and tricks about renting a holiday house.
See the Invisible Side of Design revealed by Vitaly Friedman. You can also follow the cue of digital product leader Luke Wroblewski. He not only uses slideshows but also converts them into pdfs for his readers’ benefit.
Add variety with Podcasts
Well, it is not only the visual content that is selling big time. Successful podcast series from Tim Ferriss, Gary Vaynerchuk, Brian Clark and his team are creating ripples across the globe.
For you, this could become the most effective way to communicate with your audience (cue AskPat). Tell your brand story, share experiences with the brand evangelists or interview prominent personalities from other areas of life.
Written content: The core of your content marketing strategy
Aside from the images, this is one of the oldest and most essential forms of content. Despite the influx of multimedia content, written words have not lost its power. They still remain at the very heart of any successful content marketing strategy. It is also one of the most basic forms of content that yield enormous value to your audience (and the search engines).
Can you imagine a website without any written words on it? Perhaps not! Not yet anyway. Product copies and blog posts are the soul of your website. But they are not the only form of written content for you to have. To exploit the full potential of content marketing, publish whitepapers and case studies.
For blogging and design inspirations, check Design Better. We already talked about the delectable recipes shared by Nestle. You will find The Home Depot blog full of worthy suggestions and home décor ideas.
Conduct expert interviews and publish them in your blog. Include interviews of your key stakeholders and prominent customers. Showcase your expertise through educative posts.
Whole Food Market has two separate blogs. One is called “Whole Story.” The company uses it to share the recipes and suggestions for the health-conscious consumer. The other one is CEO John Mackey’s blog which is reserved for interviews and his daily musings.
Though forums have lost some of its sheen in the recent years, it still remains a worthy way to build lasting customer relationship. Caterpillar has one such forum for its customers. However, maintaining such a forum might be difficult if you don’t have dedicated staffs for doing so.
Fun posts and quizzes
With posts like “How Many Disney Animated Classics Have You Seen” or “Which Tangled Character Are You” Disney has made quizzes a part of its content marketing repertoire.
Content marketing with good ol’ emails
I hope you have already started collecting your leads’ emails. Now it is time to share some worthy content with them. Newsletters are the best possible way of staying in touch with your followers, offer attractive discounts, give access to new products in the testing or pre-launch phase or simply conduct occasional surveys.
The Business of Fashion newsletter is a must subscribe for the followers of the fashion world. Dezeen’s chic newsletters are bound to catch your attention. MyFonts publishes an interview based newsletter at regular intervals. Newsletters written and shared by Ramit Sethi and James Altucher are full of entrepreneurial wisdom and advice.
Content marketing tips for the festive season
You have got a fair idea about the different types of content. Now, how would you incorporate the festive mood in them? After all, it would be unpardonable if you fail to show your warmth and gratitude during this special time of the year.
So be ready with your content marketing strategy for the festive season. It is one of the best possible ways to show your generosity.
Email your best wishes to your valued customers on the eve of any festive occasion. Use a combination of videos and blog posts to get your message across a broader section of the audience. Keep it light-hearted and avoid all kinds of company jargon.
Animated video is another great option. It tends to bring the child out of every one of us. Consider creating a photo montage during these festive occasions and post it on your blog. Publish shareable images and messages on social media platform and encourage your followers to share those in their circle of friends.
Encourage greater interaction with your website visitors by requesting them to contribute photographs and messages. Publish the best photos or photos with messages on your Instagram, Pinterest and other photo sharing channels. You can also arrange a contest and send small gifts to the winners.
Suggest fun ideas for parties, weekend getaways, camping holidays and other such like activities prior to special occasions like Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year. Online retailers, create a smart content marketing strategy for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Here are some of the best festive content marketing examples to get you started.
Booking.com’s “haunted hotels” and Nike’s “Run for Your Life” on the eve of Halloween could be a great source of inspiration for you. Food Network publishes Thanksgiving recipes on its website as well as on Youtube.
US census bureau’s Halloween by Numbers is a fantastic example of using the occasion to put the message across.
Diwali is another major fall festival. Mark it on your calendar to brighten up the lives of many during the festival of light. Keep a track of the regional festivals. Don’t forget to give something back to the community. Give everyone a reason to cheer about.
You do not need to create complicated programs every time. Sometimes a video with a simple and heartfelt message will have a greater impact than any of the hoopla created by your short-lived promotional activities.
Once content is published online
Too many quality contents perish due to their lack of visibility. Whether it is a blog post or a 7-minutes’ video every piece of content requires promotion. Use your social channels and encourage customers to share your content with their network. Reach out to the brand champions and request them to share your posts.
Depending upon the suitableness of the proposition, request affiliates to promote your content. Request for a direct link. When feasible, conduct a PR outreach. During your speaking engagements, share snippets of the relevant content with your audience.
Unless you have a loyal following already, it may take some time to build momentum. Don’t be impatient. A well planned content marketing strategy never goes in vain. A concerted effort in this regard is known to pay off in as little as 90 days’ time.