3 ingredients for success in content marketing

It is undeniable that new technologies have opened up a whole new world for marketing communications. Brands are now enabled to know consumers better and also to get closer to them in their messages. At the same time, this access to multiple sources of information has revolutionized consumer behaviour. The key change: consumers are now searching solutions to their problems by themselves before making a purchase decision.

In this context, brands are advised to shift their attention from traditional sales pitches to appropriate content at every phase of the buyer’s journey. The idea is to attract consumers with content that interests them rather than pushing out promotional messages. This is what we call  ‘content marketing’.

Here are 3 golden rules – or success ingredients – to bear in mind before building an effective content marketing strategy:

1. Know your audience

Imagine you do not have children and you enter a grocery shop where a sales person comes to you with a promotion for diapers. What will you think ? Probably you will think that this representative is just wasting his time with you. Maybe you will also slightly feel like you are just another number visiting the store and being shown the same promotion. In any case: offering irrelevant messages does not pay off.

There are multiple ways available for marketers to know their audience and define buyer’s personas in order to offer them relevant and useful content. To name just a few:

- Social listening :
This is the observation of what is being said on social media about your category, your brand or your product. Social listening helps identify consumer challenges and attitudes to better reach them.

- Information gathering from commercial teams :
Your commercial teams are the closest to your target audience and they can provide you with a lot of insightful information, like their preferred language, their education level, their daily issues, etc. All of these qualitative insights should help creating highly resonating content.

- Analytics :
Then, of course analytics can tell you a lot about your audience. Not only can you know when they go online, how often they visit your site and how active they are on social media. Analytics also reveal which contents are the most appreciated (most opened emails, most visited pages, etc.)

2. Show empathy

Now imagine that you tell your doctor that you do not feel good and he suggests you a whole list of medicines without asking you what your symptoms are. What will you think? There are high chances that you will just runaway and consult another doctor who will listen carefully to you, then propose you limited options with their pros and cons, and prescribe a final treatment.

Well, marketing has something to learn from medical practice in that instance! As a marketer producing content, ensure that you are addressing consumers with the relevant message for their buyer’s stage. Are they expressing a problem? Help them identify what the problem is. Are they looking to a solution to their problem? Show them alternatives. Are they finally considering buying something that will help them solve their problem? Then only, present your product and benefits.

3. Be authentic

A third ingredient to conclude: authenticity. What would you think if your friend sends you a poem written just for you and you find out later that is has been just copied-pasted? Also, how would you react if your colleague overly shows off to get promoted? As the trickery is noticed, cheaters are evinced.

Today, consumers have access to information from a variety of sources and they can confront the brand speeches to other consumer experiences. Being authentic in the content you offer is paramount as it is key to earn trust from your audience and ultimately building the relationship you want to have with them.

As a key take-away: remember to treat consumers online the way you would like to be treated in real-life. This will pay off! With these 3 success ingredients in mind, you should be ready to start thinking about your content strategy.