Content Marketing: Developing great content for your customers

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Today content is everywhere. From the small and crisp message to the long storyline.

In this article you will read how you use content marketing as a power channel for your target group and which mistakes you have to avoid. 

What is content marketing and why do I need it?

I regularly read something about content marketing and that it should be so important. Above all, such a story should be told, and not just a sales text boringly written down. I would like to know what this content marketing actually is, whether it is only written content. 

Why do I need content and content marketing and how does it actually work? Content marketing was initially mocked as the next hype in the marketing universe. It is much more than a short-term rescue for companies. 

Rather, content marketing can be described as the core of a successful digital transformation. With the right content, a continuous customer journey, long-term binding and cross-channel playout are only possible in the first place. 

That's what content marketing is all about

Content marketing is by no means a new discipline of inbound marketing. If we look around a little in the past, we can see examples like John Deere’s, who had been informing their customers about trends and methods since 1895 with their customer magazine “The Furrow”, on how they could do better (agriculture) business. A skilful move in the communication strategy, with the aim of building a sustainable brand. 
 
Dr. Oetker also understood early on that small packets of baking powder and the like sell much better when they serve as a direct message for recipes and content. Marketing with content is not primarily about putting one’s own products in the right light and “hammering” them into the customer’s attention in an obtrusive and advertising way. 
 
Rather, it is important to create an informative and value-creating portfolio of content that supports potential customers either at an event, in response to a specific need or in the search for a solution. This content can be in written, graphic, audio, video or other form. 

Figures, data and facts about Content Marketing

According to Forrester, nearly all content marketers are struggling to produce truly new customer engaging content that is relevant to lead generation.
The Social Media Examiner Report highlights the most common content formats currently in use. 
Colleagues from Business to Community have found that around 90 percent of marketers confirm that interactive content sets them apart from their competitors. 

4 mistakes you should avoid with content marketing

Direct and obvious sales pitches in content

It’s understandable that you want to create content that also drives the actual conversions. BUT: If your sales pitch dominates the content, it will distract your potential customers from the usefulness and added value. Instead, they will search and find more useful content that is less interspersed with advertising elsewhere.

Purely hypothetical customers Personas

“Company founder in the automotive industry. 28 – 35 years old. Lives in Munich, not married and without children. Fights with his marketing.” Surely you have already heard of the importance of buyer personas, customer personas or similar. But if the example here is similar to your idea of a persona, then you probably don’t know your customers at all. This requires going much deeper and understanding the challenges and motivations in a customer’s life in order to create content they want to see. How you can enrich your customer persona with much more information can be found in our article on What customers want.

Published Content = Content Marketing

You have done a great research, interviewed your customers and now understand very well what they want to see of you. Afterwards you produced a great content, for example a small video or an info graphic. Then the piece of content was published on your Youtube channel or your website and …. that’s it. NO. Only half the work is done with pure publishing. The placement, the so-called “seeding” of the content to the places and media your potential customers consume, is the almost even more important step. We recommend a 20/80 rule: 20% of the time for creating, 80% of the time for placing.

You don’t understand The Funnel

When you create content, whether graphical, video, audio or textual, you should be aware of where it is used in your marketing funnel. If it is about the attention at the beginning, the understanding of the importance, or the content accompanies even deeper in the sales funnel even up to the actual purchase. 

Classification of content marketing in the marketing context

Content Marketing throughout the Marketing Funnel

In Marketing Funnel as a whole, the activities you carry out with Content Marketing are usually located between Top of the Funnel and the middle range. In addition, content is also placed at the bottom of the funnel or after the purchase in order not to suddenly interrupt the customer trip.
 
The focus here is on measures to ensure that (potential) customers first become aware of you and your solutions and want to learn more about you. 

Immediate impact on sustainability

Content marketing takes time and, compared to sales, for example, does not have a strong immediate impulse that encourages purchase.
 
The reverberation is strongly increasing over time due to the influence on other inbound channels such as search engine optimization (SEO) as soon as your content gains attention. 
Content Marketing Portfolio

Classification in the channel portfolio

When you build your portfolio of channels and actions, content marketing actions will typically act as networks for potential customers.
 
This channel therefore works best in combination with the extremely targeted spears and the seeds to be planted. 

4 frequently underestimated tips and hacks in content marketing

Answer the questions of your target group

How often do you look for what your target group types in search engines like Google in a certain situation and in relation to your business? What events arise in the working or private life of your potential customers, what needs arise from them, what solutions do your customers look for in order to become aware of your offer later on? Find out the questions and answer them with your content.

Use your content again

Every day, brand new content is an almost impossible challenge, which you can face with either a lot of effort in time or money, but don’t have to. It’s also worth checking the content you’ve already created regularly to see what can be updated and re-placed in front of your target audience’s searching eyes. 

Streamline your content creation process

A very good way to make your process for creating new content more efficient is to keep an editorial calendar. Plan your calendar in advance on a regular basis, such as quarterly or semi-annually. At regular intervals it makes sense to review the process in order to identify bottlenecks and to highlight them.

Measure your progress

Measuring your progress and results of your content strategy shows you how well the content you have created works. If your content is web-based, the backbone of your tracking capabilities is typically an analytics tool that you should use. Check the KPI’s at regular intervals to adjust your strategy. 

The following key figures are important for content marketing

Monthly page views

This key figure measures the number of hits on a single page of your website, for example your Engineering as Marketing tool. If your visitor first looks at the home page, then at the about page and finally at your targeted content element, this will be evaluated as 3 page views, but only as 1 session.

Average length of stay

The length of stay provides information on how long a visitor remains on the page of your specifically placed content, for example, during the visit, i.e. how intensively the website’s content interests the user. 

Bounce rate

The bounce rate is a percentage of how many of your website visitors leave a page without interaction.
Number of returning users
The returning users provide information on how relevant the visitors find your content or to what extent they consider the expectations to be true. Indirectly, an indicator of your reach.

Get going

The creation and placement of content, the frequently forgotten seeding, has a promising effect if your content answers the questions of your desired target group and is not just a sales text. 
 
Inbound marketing can be found almost throughout the entire marketing funnel, from the initial attention, through understanding, to the purchase and beyond. If you knit a compelling story out of the many content elements, then you’re laying the foundation for throwing out a web with which you can draw the attention of potential customers to yourself. So file your content marketing strategy in a sustainable way, whether in B2B or B2C.
 
And now: Find out which questions you should answer with content in order to achieve your goals online and offline, and test different media for it, because it doesn’t always have to be “just” a blog article. Even more extensive content such as studies, whitepapers or even e-books can be considered.

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As a growth marketing expert and customer developer, I experience every day how important a customer-centric corporate culture is. 

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