Why do we connect with some brands and feel indifferent about the rest? You might feel like certain brands evoke the person you’d like to be while on holiday, or the kind of person quietly working towards their dream job.
Like with friends we choose to spend time with, we’re drawn to certain brands because they speak to us on a level we understand and this creates a powerful connection that goes beyond the product or service be offered. This, at its core, is effective content marketing.
“Put simply, content marketing is the conversation that you and your audience both want to have,” explains Lisa Paton, director of content marketing agency Carnaby + Company. “It’s about finding the connections between what you want to say about your brand or business, and what your audience wants to hear.”
Which makes sense, because as we all know, there’s nothing that builds rapport better than a good conversation.
“Yes, it’s about storytelling – everybody loves a good story,” Lisa adds. “But whether you choose to inspire, entertain or educate your audience (or all three) what makes any good story meaningful and memorable is resonance. So it’s also about really getting to know your customers, being mindful of relevance, and then understanding how you can bring genuine value to their brand experience to help grow your business.”
Great content marketing doesn’t just have to have a “buy me!” or “try me today!” push for customers – it can be as simple as increasing audience reach, brand visibility, or positioning your brand as a thought leader in a certain space, all of which will eventually (and hopefully) lead to a boost in sales and fans. But when you’re just starting out and most of your budget has already been burnt on office stationery, should you be investing in picking up some serious skills in the area of content marketing?
“I actually think it’s easier for small businesses to tell their own story, as you are in complete control of the narrative – and consistency is actually really important,” Lisa explains. “It helps people to understand what you stand for and know what they can expect from you.”
Lisa points out that your customers’ expectations aren’t just about the end product. But, seriously, what if you’ve actually blown the budget on cute pens?
“If you don’t have much to spend, you should be prepared to invest your time instead – both in working out your content strategy and then in bringing it to life in cohesive and consistent ways. And you can do this cost-effectively.”
First, Lisa suggests thinking about content in as many different ways as you can. “Think one story, three or four ways. Just about any content can be sliced and diced for different social channels – whether it’s words or images. Likewise, a series of related blog posts over time can combine to become a great ‘ultimate guide’. So there are lots of clever ways to refresh and recycle.”
Lisa also suggests not wasting time trying to be a brand that you’re not – not only does it fail to ring true to your followers, it’s actually a bit of a waste of your precious, money-tight time.
“The best blogs are based on experience and you will always find it quicker, easier (and more authentic) to write about things that you know,” Lisa explains. “So don’t try and be an expert in everything.”
To find out more about the magic of content marketing, grab tickets to Lisa’s Masterclass, Content Marketing 101 at Collective Hub HQ on 4th July, 2017. Tickets are limited – click here for more details.