Beginners guide to content marketing

Content marketing is “telling a story before the sales message;” according to Keith Hernandez, a brand strategist for Buzzfeed. You’ve probably heard the phrase “content is king” (if you haven’t, then you really need to keep reading). In one minute, 43 million videos are viewed, there are 174 000 scrolls on Instagram, 481 000 tweets are sent, 24 million snaps are created and 25 000 Gifs are sent.* Content isn’t just king; content is everything. It can revolutionize your marketing game. Here are the basics of strong content marketing.

 

Have a strategy


Content marketing, when used correctly, is a great tool that brands can use to tell their story, create conversation and generate leads. But a lot of marketers struggle with reaping the rewards of their content marketing efforts because they don’t have a solid content marketing strategy. A good content marketing strategy should detail your goals, how the content you create will help you achieve those goals, your target audience, how the content that you create will speak to them, the platforms that you’re going to use and who is going to create the content that will be shared. Answering these questions will focus your content marketing activities.

 

Evoke emotion


The content that you put out should make people feel something. People are more likely to share content that makes them smile, laugh, or reflect. Content that tugs at the heartstrings is easier to remember and results in better brand recall.

As we’ve mentioned, content marketing is story-telling. All good stories detail a conflict, and a solution. What problem is your product or service solving? Make that problem real and relatable to readers. By making this problem, or the conflict, more tangible, you’re showing readers that they, too, have a problem, an inconvenience, or a conflict in their own lives that needs solving.

After outlining this problem you can begin to plug your company’s solution – the product or service you offer. Remember to use emotive language. When detailing the problem in the story, use words like ‘difficult’, ‘labour’, and ‘exhausting’. Then when you outline the solution (your product or service) use the opposite words – words like ‘user-friendly’, ‘easy’, and ‘energising’.

The best way to evoke emotion is to tell stories about people whose lives have been changed by your company. It moves away from the generic sales vibe content marketing can so easily fall into and introduces a human aspect that can really hook your audience.

 

Be audience and brand specific


You can be as emotive as you want, but if the content you’re putting out doesn’t speak to your industry or your audience, you’re wasting time. The content you put out has to speak to the industry that you are in and it has to be relevant to the audience in that particular space. This means that your tone and the type of visual content that you put out has to be relevant in order to connect to your target audience. Remember that content platforms are your space for expressing your brand identity and personality. Those are the things that give you a competitive edge in a cutthroat market. If you use content marketing to align your company with certain values, you will successfully use it as a vessel for telling your brand story. And that’s what will convert site visitors in to customers.

 

*Visual Capitalist, Desjardins; 2018

Jessica Evans is a final-year Journalism and Media Studies student at Rhodes University. While she has experience in lifestyle and science writing, she has developed an interest in branding, HKLM’s speciality. She joined HKLM for a week and diverted her writing and editing skills towards a beat totally new to her. Jessica hopes to gain experience as a copywriter and to build her knowledge of the world of brands.

Jessica Evans

Jessica Evans is a final-year Journalism and Media Studies student at Rhodes University. While she has experience in lifestyle and science writing, she has developed an interest in branding, HKLM’s speciality. She joined HKLM for a week and diverted her writing and editing skills towards a beat totally new to her. Jessica hopes to gain experience as a copywriter and to build her knowledge of the world of brands.

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