Today’s consumers have shut off the traditional world of marketing. Like many consumers, you probably pay for Netflix or DVR to avoid commercials, subscribe to XM radio, often ignore magazine advertising and find pop-up ads annoying and distracting.

Rather than contribute to the noise, employ an approach that is truly helpful to your consumers.

Enter content marketing!

So, what exactly is content marketing?

Content marketing is creating and sharing valuable content with  a clearly defined target audience to increase engagement with the objective of driving profitable customer action.

Your first official step is to put your own agenda aside and put your prospect’s agenda at the forefront of your marketing campaign. After you’ve done that, here’s a few rules for your playbook:

1. Fulfill a need. Your content should answer some unmet need or question for your customer. It should be informative, educational or entertaining while telling a relevant, valuable story.

Whether it be jumping from space or cliff diving, Red Bull sponsors create mind-blowingly entertaining content for their thrill-seeking audience. Their groundbreaking Mission to the Edge of Space documentary tested the skill of one daredevil who broke the speed of sound in his supersonic free fall from space. Not only did this promotion glue viewers to their television screens during the all-access coverage, but his successful feat also served a key purpose in advancing aerospace engineering innovation.

2. Stay consistent. The great hallmark of a successful publisher is consistency. Whether you commit to daily posts or monthly e-newsletters, you must consistently deliver.

3. Be human. Find your voice and share it. If your company’s story is based on humor, then incorporate it into your next blog post, video or event.

In 15 Seconds of Smart, Farmer’s Insurance Group shares funny videos about avoiding major disasters. The content is short and sweet, perfect for keeping their buyers attention, yet it portrays a very clear message to the everyday human in each 15-second short. We all need reminders about simple safety techniques sometimes, so why not portray them in a humorous, engaging manner that appeals to the everyday human?

4. Take a stance. Content marketing is issues marketing. Pick a topic or theme that matters to your audience and stick to it. Don’t be afraid to take sides on matters that can position you and your company as an expert.

Towers Watson’s content keeps business professionals engaged through its thought-provoking articles on pressing business issues. The company’s online Knowledge Central database showcases thought-leadership and resources, interspersed with client success stories that link to relevant articles, solutions and topics for further reading.

5. Support your story with data. A strong story is compelling. A strong story supported by credible data is irresistible.

6. It’s not about you. The more you write about your company’s products or services, the less people will share and spread your story. It’s that simple. Share something that your audience can relate to in order to be perceived as a thought leader in your industry, not a mere peddler of goods or services.

Don’t waste your time and time on advertising without giving content marketing a try first. If your initial content marketing campaign is unsuccessful, try another approach until you hone in on the best content marketing strategy for your consumer. Don’t just add to the endless waste out there to sell your stuff. Give your customers something of value, something they can learn from, and something they will share.

 

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