Creating winning content

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Time is one thing small businesses are not usually blessed with. Learn how to use the time you have to create engaging content that tells your story in a variety of media. This white paper is brought …

Time is one thing small businesses are not usually blessed with. Learn how to use the time you have to create engaging content that tells your story in a variety of media. This white paper is brought to you by Elon University's Interactive Media graduate program.

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  • 1. CREATING WINNING CONTENT: How local businesses can tell their story and win business Jessica Kingman & Kara O’Halloran
  • 2. WHAT IS CONTENT MARKETING? The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as “a mar- keting technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consis- tent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience--with the ob- jective of driving profitable customer action.1 ” Simply put, content marketing is creating and publishing beneficial content to gain customers. As opposed to selling a product or service, content marketing allows local businesses to curate valuable information to educate and inform consumers. The driving belief behind content marketing is that if companies consistently deliver worthwhile information, customers will reward them with not only their business, but their loyalty, as well. “ “ Simply put, content marketing is creating and publishing beneficial content to gain customers. WHY CONTENT MARKETING MATTERS 86% of B2C marketers use content marketing 68% of consumers spend time reading content from a brand they are interested in. 50% of consumers say content marketing has a positive impact on purchasing decisions 1. http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/what-is-content-marketing/ 2. http://visual.ly/how-content-marketing-affects-search-engine-rankings 3. http://www.exacttarget.com/blog/50-content-marketing-stats/
  • 3. WHITE PAPERS Content Marketing Tactics White papers are informational reports that educate readers on a particlar topic. This tool can provide a variety of benefits including, lead generation, brand awareness, improved SEO, and a more engaged social media audience4 . INFOGRAPHICS WEBINARS Infographics are an aesthetically compelling tool that combines text, design and analysis to easily convey complex data. These tools can help attract consumer attention, fuel social media sharing, attract SEO linkbacks, and increase brand awareness.6 Webinars are an immersive content marketing experience that can provide interactive experiences for participants. This tool offers a much wider reach in a more cost-effective manner than a live event and with recording options, they have the potential to hold long-term value.7 ARTICLES Articles are a content marketing tool that can live on-site or off-site. These media should demonstrate thought leadership on an industry-relevant topic and can provide a variety of benefits. 4. http://info.equinetmedia.com/blog/bid/146025/4-Benefits-of-Using-White-Papers-in-Your-Content-Marketing-Strategy 5. http://www.sproutcontent.com/blog/bid/193258/Why-Consistent-Blog-Content-Boosts-SEO-Builds-Authority 6. http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2013/11/insights-visual-content-infographics/ 7. http://marketeer.kapost.com/5-reasons-to-fit-webinars-into-your-content-marketing-strategy/ BLOGS On-site and off-site blogs should be considered the center of content marketing efforts. They not only support SEO and boost page rankings, but they can also drive sales. Aligning and optimizing blog content to a strategic marketing plan can enhance the effectiveness of this tool.5
  • 4. SOCIAL LISTENING “ “ By taking the time to do an environment surveillance plan, you gain the ability to see who is talking about your industry or company. Before you implement a content marketing strategy, you should always use a social listening tool, such as Social Mention, to help you grasp the current social environment of your customer. Your content needs to appear on the online communities that your target audience is currently using. Do your research. Find out where your customers are interacting online and push your content to these sites. If you have limited time and/or budget, ensure that your content shows up on relevant platforms so that sharing is available outside your circle of influence.11 By taking the time to do an environment surveillance plan, you gain the ability to see who is talking about your industry or company. Pay attention to the jargon or phrases your customers are using in these conversations and mimic them in your content.4 Ongoing listening efforts during content marketing campaigns is a must. Set up an RSS reader to track influencers, blogs, forums, and social networks that are consistently talking about your product/service category. Use free tools like Google Alerts and Twitter Search.Time. By using these tools, you can organize and analyze the current environment of your brand. Set aside time in the morning to check these tools and the daunting task of navigating the abundance of information online will be much more manageable.11 CREATING A SURVEILLANCE PLAN12 LISTEN DISCOVER MONITOR Customers, prospects, & competitors’ online conversations can provide invaluable insights New trends & platforms can provide unique opportunities to share content Tracking successes & failures of published content can influence further content direction 11. http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2011/11/tips-for-better-listening-content-marketing/ 12. http://www.salesforcemarketingcloud.com/blog/2013/01/6-ways-social-media-listening-drives-content-marketing/
  • 5. HOW TO DRIVE CONTENT One of the first steps in effective content marketing for local businesses is de- termining the story and tone you want your brand to convey online. It’s important to know what your customers, audience or community are already talking about. Contributing to these conversations creates an active and engaged audience.8 Also, the content that you create should always directly serve your business goals. Creating content just for the sake of it is ineffective, as it doesn’t add any value for consumers.8 Social media engagement must be proactive instead of reactive. The ultimate goal is to nurture long-term relationships with customers, and one way of doing so is by developing a personality for your business online through strategic content creation.9 “ “ It’s important to know what your customers, audience or community are already talking about. Contributing to these conversations creates an active and engaged audience. CONTENT STORY IDEAS10 • Interview Someone • Examine case studies • Share your successes • Identify indirect content opportunities • Use visuals to tell a narrative • Write about your biggest challenges • Ask your readers • Write a review 8. http://www.copyblogger.com/content-marketing-goals/ 9. http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/how-to-develop-a-social-media-content-strategy/ 10. http://www.copyblogger.com/create-content-infographic/
  • 6. Thinking Big for Your Small Business Coca Cola© is without a doubt a beverage empire. It boasts being the most recognizable global brand as well as the world’s most valuable. Believe it or not, Coca Cola© ’s current content strategy and approach to digital marketing can work for local businesses. Jonathan Mildehall, VP Global Advertising Strategy and Creative Excellence created the 70/20/10 model for content development.13 THE 70/20/10 MODEL: 70% of the content that you create is low- risk. It should be solid, useful content that doesn’t take a lot of time to produce. 20% of your content creation should inno- vate based on what has worked so far. This content is more in-depth and takes more time, but resonates with a segment of your target audience. 10% of your content should be high-risk, experimental content. This area allows you to experiment, accepting that content developed in this area may fail. COCA COLA© CONTENT 2020 13. http://www.copyblogger.com/coca-cola-content-marketing/
  • 7. HOW TO CREATE EFFECTIVE CONTENT In order to fully grasp how to create effective content, it’s important to under- stand that content can be so much more than plain text. It can be blog posts, tweets, pins, videos, pictures, and infographics. Before you develop your content, however, you should reflect on your business goals and push your content accordingly16 . Strategic content development is increasingly important for local businesses, as it’s an inexpen- sive way to expose your message and your brand to your target audience. High quality content is able to both attract an audience and keep them engaged. This content should answer questions and/or address concerns that your customers may have about your company, your products, your services, and your competitors17 . But remember, success- ful content is both approachable and personable16 . Your audience wants to connect with a person, not a business. #1. #2. #3. #4. STRATEGIES Develop Concrete Objectives Do Research Prioritize Quality & Quanity Always Track Progress It’s imperative to plan your content around your goals. Make sure they are sufficiently outlined and prioritzed before moving forward with content creation.14 In order to separate your content from the rest, you must understand your audience and your competitors. Having a solid grasp on keyword opportunities will also help push your content even further.14 Updates to Google’s search algorithms enables it to distinguish quality websites. Thus, websites with quality content should rank higher than spammy ones.15 There are multiple opportunities to track the performance of your content marketing efforts. Use this data to continually improve your strategy and content.14 14. http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2013/09/improve-website-content-quality-drive-performance/ 15. http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2014/01/online-content-best-practices-for-2014/ 16. http://www.convinceandconvert.com/convince-convert-news/why-content-marketing-matters-to-me-and-should-to-you/ 17. http://www.shoutlet.com/blog/2013/05/six-stats-and-six-reasons-why-content-marketing-matters/
  • 8. CONCLUSION ABOUT THE AUTHORS KARA O’HALLORAN Interactive Media Professional @karaohalloran13 JESSICA KINGMAN Interactive Media Professional @jessicakingman Kara and Jessica have a passion for social media and content strategy. They are excited by successful marketing campaigns and dedicated to maintaining a pulse on the social media industry’s trends. The duo met while in graduate school at Elon University studying for their master degrees in Interactive Media. All local businesses should use content creation strategies to tell their story and promote their brand. Strong strategic marketing practices can not only attract social traffic, but can drive local leads. The trend in the advertising industry is shifting to open publishing platforms that make it easy for local businesses to leverage their content to win business. By understanding the power of content marketing and learning about the ways to drive and monitor content online, local businesses can capitalize on these inexpensive and timely marketing techniques to further their business.