Content was crowned king back in 1996 by Bill Gates and its reign continues today, but if you think King Content only rules the Land of Blog, think again. Content's command is vast and powerful. Here are three marketing tactics that benefit from custom content.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search engines are smart, and getting smarter all the time. It takes a lot more than a website stuffed with keywords in the metadata to boost your ranking. It takes content. Content improves your SEO by filling your webpages with the long-tail keyword phrases your customers are searching for. This is why content created for the customer and not the product is so important. Some of your potential customers may be searching for your brand or product by name, but more often they're searching for an answer to a question.
Imagine you're the parent of a toddler. Your little one has been suffering chronic ear infections, and your pediatrician has recommended seeing a specialist. Your child may even need surgery. You're worried, anxious and unsure. What do you do? You Google.
Pediatric Surgery Centers understands that parents of children facing surgery, even a simple outpatient procedure, often want to gather as much information as they can beforehand. It helps them feel more confident and secure, and those feelings get passed down to the child. So when PSC redesigned its website, it put parent-friendly content upfront. Blogs that answered the questions parents were likely to be searching for, such as What is ear tube surgery and How can I prepare my child for surgery. Then the surgery center took its content strategy further, reinventing its FAQ into a Caregiver Info section that is both helpful and friendly. The result is a website that reflect PSC's commitment to its patients and their caregivers, providing quality information that is easy to find.
Content needs social and social needs content. But not just any content will do. It's critical for brands to understand that social is a vehicle made for people to communicate. (Thus, the term social.) If your social media strategy is to post pictures of your products with a clever headline, don't be surprised if fans start to ignore your posts or worse, unlike your page. Social isn't about you. It's not about your product. Social is about your customers. Which means your social content needs to come from the crossroads of your brand's values and your customers' interests.
For a winning example of social media content, look to the swoosh. Nike has mastered customer engagement through social content with their Instagram strategy, which puts inspiration and motivation first and product second. Maybe even third. Every image is a moment in an athlete's life, and each invites the viewer to feel the emotion of that moment. Several different Instagram accounts, targeted to specific sports and activities, feed into the main Nike account, and while each has its own vibe they all share the same inspirational and aspirational quality. Nike also invites its fans to join in campaigns, creating a community feeling rarely achieved by pushing product.
Email marketing is simply any communication you have with your customer via email. If you do any business online, most likely you already engage in some form of email marketing. Typically, this includes sending your customers coupons, promo codes and other special offers. But emails of this type are plagued with low open rates and poor click-through engagement. Why? One reason is they offer no brand/customer relationship. The communication is purely transactional. They might as well say, "We want you to buy something. Here's a coupon."
Custom content offers a better solution: a real relationship with your customer. For example, let's say your company is a mid-size pet store chain. Along with providing quality pet supplies, it partners with a local shelter for adoption days and low-cost vaccinations. The company does not have an online e-commerce option, but it does send promotional emails to customers.
In the above scenario, customers only view your company as a provider of product or service. They do not yet rely on your brand for information; they do not see your brand as a partner in their pet's overall health, happiness and well-being. Now consider changing those emails to include custom content. First, segment your audiences by pet type. Then, include a short article before the coupon. Household Plants And Your Cat, Why Dogs Chew Your Shoes, and even 5 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Your Pet Turtle. Now you're promoting a relationship first, and the coupon feels like a natural extension of that relationship.
Want to deepen that relationship even more? Ask for success stories from your company's adoption events, and feature them in emails. Your company's community activism becomes an emotionally compelling part of your content marketing. Now when your customers think of your brand, they'll have so many warm fuzzies it'll be like a puppy and kitten party in their heart.
Yes, we included this picture based solely on cuteness. But c'mon ... isn't it worth it? Puppy and kitten party. You're welcome.