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I HEART CONTENT

I HEART CONTENT
Posted: May 30, 2017
Categories: Marketing, Social Media
Comments: 0

Why content is the most powerful tool in building & maintaining your brand

They say “cash is king” but so is content in the world of marketing. PR & communications plans have evolved from the days when our focus was solely on press releases, print ads, radio and TV commercials and a website describing our products and services. Today, a good PR & Communications plan still incorporates these elements, but it is largely focused on content creation, distribution and management that goes beyond selling and into positioning your brand as an expert in the market. In fact, it may be more accurate to refer to these plans as content marketing plans; and they play an even bigger role in driving your overall marketing strategy.

With social media playing such an integral role in how we communicate and stay informed today, our focus on solution-driven content must take priority. Our goal should be to stimulate interest in our products and services by offering insightful information that solves the problems that keep our existing and prospective members up at nights. This is where thought leadership comes in and if this is done right your members will think of your credit union first when they decide to partner with an expert to get them over their hurdles.

What is Content Marketing?

The Content Marketing Institute (CMI) defines content marketing as “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.” The website goes on to say if you remove the relevant and valuable [from the content marketing definition above]; That’s the difference between content marketing and the other informational garbage you get from companies trying to sell you “stuff.” … That’s what makes content marketing so intriguing in today’s environment of thousands of marketing messages per person per day.” In other words, the objective is to create an expression of interest rather than one of annoyance when a member or prospect receives an e-mail, sees one of your posts on social media or gets a call from one of your representatives. This is even more important as statistics from PageFair show that “200 million+ people now use ad blockers, including about 16% of the U.S. population.”

 

In their 2016 Demand Generation Report, HubSpot reported that “96% of B2B buyers want content with more input from industry leaders” and statistics from Lenati shows that “67% of the typical buyer’s journey [is] now being done digitally and 9 out of 10 B2B buyers saying online content has a moderate to major effect on their purchasing decisions”. Additionally, Stratabeat reported that “80% of business decision makers prefer to get company information in a series of articles versus an advertisement.” So, there is a demand for content marketing as it is playing a huge role in the decision-making process. Why aren’t we all doing it? Good question …

Where do I start?

It is important that you contemplate the different stages (Awareness, Consideration and Decision) of the buyer’s journey when you are formulating your content strategy. Ensure that your messaging “speaks to” the various profiles that you have created to match the stages as they pertain to your product and service offerings.

Creation:

The creative process is usually the most challenging part, so an important point to remember is that all your content doesn’t have to be your creation just relevant to your audience.  However, you will have to create some of this relevant, valuable and solutions driven content on your own. Ask yourself “How will my members benefit?”. Sometimes the content will be information that will guide the decision-making process, at other times it will be something actionable and there are times when it will be insightful to get your members thinking way ahead into the future. You will decide what gets included and the ratio based on what you want to be known for. It is also important to incorporate “evergreen” content as much as possible. This is content that has a longer shelf life, so you can reuse and recycle during those slow creative periods.

Distribution:

Now you get to decide what goes where based on what works for your target market. The good news is that there are so many options. Some of these are listed below.

  • Blog - Remember to make it easy and quick to read. Use sub headings, bullet points etc. to make important points stand out.

  • Videos – They are easy to understand and can cross multiple barriers. Also, if you choose to use company representatives or clients, they will add credibility, but be sure to make videos professional, and most importantly, keep them short and informative.

  • Podcast – This is becoming a popular format to provide content and is often listened to while commuting. If you take this approach, be ready to commit to regularly scheduled podcasts (for example, weekly podcasts that are aired on Monday mornings).

  • Case Studies – Use these to show your members what you do, not just tell them. Success stories from similar clients are relatable and helps others to better understand the value of the partnership.

  • Infographics - These are liked and shared on social media 3x more than any other type of content according to MassPlanner.

It goes without saying that social media is your friend and workhorse in getting your content far and wide regardless of where it is housed and the format that it is in. There is a preferred channel for every demographic and it is much easier to measure how your content is being consumed. Additionally, in 2016, Statista reported that the number of social network users will grow to 2.7 billion by 2019. Plus, if you get employees on board as ambassadors/social media advocates in promoting your content, then you will be winning. (Read about Social Media Advocacy here)

Also, e-mails still work. However, please note that research from Experian shows that e-mails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened. So, get creative and give members a taste of what is in the e-mail if you want to stand out in their inbox.

Management:

Are your followers or friends engaged? Meaning, are people sharing your content? What is your bounce rate? This shows whether people are staying and reading other articles on your site/blog? What about your clickthrough rate? Are members opening your e-mails? The best part of managing your content on-line is being able to measure how well your campaigns are doing as the analytics are built-in.  

So, it’s time to get your plan together, get started and take advantage of the analytics to guide your business decisions. Remember that you must commit to whatever you decide to do as loyalty is built on consistency.

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Shelly-Ann Wilson Henry

Shelly-Ann Wilson HenryShelly-Ann Wilson Henry

In her role as PR & Communications Manager, Shelly-Ann plays a critical role in the development, distribution and management of the content that supports CSCU’s thought leadership agenda.

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