One of the reasons that great content marketing can be tricky for people who live and die by the metrics of banner ads and conversion rates is that, at its heart, effective content marketing is about telling really great stories that connects with audience. How do you tell stories about your business? Let's talk.
Get personal, but make sure it’s the right kind of personal
Customers love to see behind the scenes of a business, or hear authentic stories about how the CEO uses the company's products. While the occasional story about the COO's dogs or the CFO's kids can be interesting if it's relevant, too much of it will leave customers shrugging, in the end.
When you're crafting your company's online story, make sure that you're paying attention to the difference between your personal social media presence, and the social media presence of your position within the company. If you're not sure of the difference, it may be better to hire someone to take care of this facet of your online marketing for you.
There's no shame in outsourcing your marketing, by the way. It's not something everyone is naturally good at, and even if you're quite good at creating ad campaigns and catchy slogans, the kind of interactions that create positive reactions on social media and blogs are completely different than that kind of marketing. Hiring an expert means that your company is more likely to succeed, and that's a good thing.
Know your audience, and talk to them specifically
If you're writing blog posts that will be read by 20-30 something lovers of fountain pens, that audience may be completely different than if you're writing a press release announcing the new album that's been cut by a brand new metal band. If you've done your marketing research, you'll know exactly who your target audience is, and you'll be able to precisely target them with your language, sharing, and image choices.
As always: if you think you're marketing to everyone, you're wrong. Start over at the beginning.
Tell stories that matter
If you want your stories to be shared, then they need to connect with your audience in an emotional way. That's not to say that they need to be manipulative, but they do need to offer something. Customers share links and posts on social media because they:
- Are interested, and want their followers to be interested too
- Are angry, and want to get their followers upset as well
- Are laughing, and want to make their followers laugh
- Are impressed by a deal or offering, and want to share that with their followers and friends.
Are you seeing a trend? Customers feel an emotion, and share that emotion with their followers.
And don't be swayed by the fact that some people are quicker to share angry or upsetting posts than happy or cheerful ones. Associating your company with negative news is a losing proposition in the long term.
When you share a great story with your customers, you can achieve that holy grail of customer engagement, organic reach. This means that your post or story is being shared by customers, and is therefore reaching people outside of your normal sphere. It means new eyes on your products and new reaches for your information and brand.
When you craft a high quality story for your company, you create an entity that people can feel passionate about in a way that they don't about a more utilitarian product. After all, there's very little that's truly original in our modern world. The way to make your company irreplaceable to your customers is by creating an authentic and compelling story that encourages them to come back, time and again.