Founder and President of Netwave Interactive Marketing, a branding, strategic and creative marketing agency.
In a previous article, I suggested that advertising should be viewed as an ongoing investment. That’s because it can continue to introduce you to new and potential customers.
I've found that the key to seeing a return on your advertising investment is to pair it with an ongoing content strategy. When someone sees your ad, your work has only begun. You've created awareness. Now you need to showcase your value to your prospects.
Here are a few tips to consistently produce engaging content that creates and maintains a conversation around your brand.
Segment Your Audience
One of the great things about content marketing — and digital marketing as a whole — is that you can filter different prospects to different types of content. When consumers click on an ad for a new mobile banking tool, for example, the bank can then re-target them with follow-up ads related to other digital tools, since they have indicated an interest in digital banking. Meanwhile, users who click on a different ad for, say, mortgages, can be sent content related to rates, mortgage calculators and alternative financing options.
Rather than speaking to the masses, segmenting your audience helps you zero in on the best opportunities to convert. Start by identifying who you want to reach with your content. From there, keep your segments organized, and develop a content strategy tailored to each one. For example, some groups might be particularly receptive to Instagram posts, while others spend more of their time on LinkedIn. Maybe you even have a segment that is willing to download a deep thought leadership piece, such as a white paper, in exchange for their email address.
Commit To Quality (i.e., Relevancy)
You’ve spent advertising dollars to attract highly qualified prospects. Don’t waste the investment by following up with bland, generic content.
Quality content often requires input from the experts within your company and incorporates brand messaging, multimedia and user experience. You don’t necessarily need the experts to write the content; you just need them to buy into taking 15 to 30 minutes out of their day to provide the information to your marketing team (and, more precisely, a content writer). Think beyond the static blog article — quality content can include video snippets, infographics and other formats besides plain text.
To ensure that your content is relevant, refer back to your audience segments. What is helpful to them? Are they looking for information or entertainment? Where are they in their buyer journey, and what will empower them to take the next step? The more you can understand their needs, the more trust and familiarity you'll be able to build.
We live in an age where people are more receptive to advertising than you might expect.
According to the Content Marketing Institute, "61% of U.S. online consumers have made a purchase based on recommendations from a blog," so it's safe to say that helpful, informative content isn’t usually considered spam. It’s something that many consumers increasingly seek to help guide their buying decisions. They will continue to visit your website, read your blog articles, open your email blasts and generally listen to you as long as you’re earning your credibility and their trust.
Most companies can manage to create great content for a week, a month or maybe even a year. The challenge is keeping up with it for good. At times, it can be as simple as updating an old blog post with new, timely information. Nevertheless, content is very much a creative endeavor that may require a dedicated team, including a copywriter, graphic designer, photographer, videographer and content manager.
Targeted, quality content alone may not be enough to sustain your content marketing efforts. Be resourceful, and develop an ecosystem of content that can be repurposed and cross-referenced in many ways. One blog article might lend itself to 10 more articles on smaller topics. Every article can be converted into an email blast. The 11 articles you've now created could generate 50 social media posts highlighting even smaller points within the smaller topics. Drilling down enables you to branch out and get more mileage from each piece of content you create.
All of this sounds hard because it often is. But you can feel better about your advertising spending when you’re building an audience of dedicated followers rather than relying on instant conversions from a given ad or campaign.