Know your audience
If you don’t know your audience, find out who they are. What age are they? What gender? Where do they live, both in the real world and online? Where do they go, digitally and in person? What budget do they have? Which of your products or services will appeal to them most?
If you have an established customer base, you will have a clearer idea of how they consume information. To find out more, conduct surveys via newsletter or polls and offer incentives for responses, such as a discount voucher or priority access to a new product or service.
Decide what you want your content to achieve
Clarify your goals. Do you want to build a rapport with your audience, present your business as an authority, build trust, raise awareness about your brand, launch a new product or publicise an event? Be clear about the message you want to convey, as this will dictate the length, style and content of the text you create.
Tailor your method of delivery
Tailor your delivery method to the target market. Will they respond to a direct email or posts on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or Instagram? Or a combination? Would a leaflet or brochure delivered through the door work better? Or an advert in the local newspaper? Don’t underestimate the ‘old school’ approach; as has been demonstrated in the music industry, while it is great to have the latest technology to bring you every song ever written, there has been a surge in people wanting the physical experience of a beautiful album cover and a vintage LP to play on an old record player, too. So, make sure you consider all the different ways to reach your customers. Bear in mind that people often need to see an advert seven times before they absorb what it is about, let alone act to buy based on it. Often a combination of approaches through different channels will reinforce your brand and message.
Make your text fit
It is vital that what you write resonates with the target audience and fits the chosen method of delivery. If you are a new business, selling your products and services will be easier once you have worked to build awareness and trust in your brand. Your initial efforts with content should focus on building a website with useful and informative content that is kept up to date and, ideally, features a regular feed of blog content. As you populate your site with great content, start to share it via the appropriate channels for your audience. This will present you as an authority in your chosen field and elevate you above competitor organisations. Over time, you will build visibility of, and trust in, your brand.
If you are an established brand, it is important to maintain your good reputation, retain customers and build upon the brand awareness you have achieved. Keep generating and sharing useful content, as that will reinforce your standing in the eyes of loyal clients and encourage them to be eager ambassadors for your brand. A happy customer will gladly share their experience with friends and colleagues.
Once your generous knowledge sharing has become a way of life for your company, you can introduce your products and services to your now loyal fanbase. People buy from people they know and trust, and it takes time for them to know and trust you. When they do, they will be more receptive to your offering because they see you as a friend and not a faceless company.
Put the customer first
Always put the customers first and do your best to offer solutions to the problems they face. Listen to feedback from them and improve your processes and products based on what they tell you. Then highlight these valuable insights in your next batch of marketing materials. If one person has had an issue, the chances are that there are more out there with the same problem who would like to know that you can solve it. Do good work and communicate it to the wider world. If done well, content marketing can bring customers to you, keep them with you and even turn them into natural evangelists for your brand.
It takes hard work to create and disseminate an effective content plan, but your perseverance will pay off.