Gone are the days when businesses could rely on slick marketing campaigns and clever ads to drive sales. To conjure up new customers in today’s business world, your business must produce content – lots of relevant, fresh content that informs and educates your customers about the things they care about.
In an earlier this year, I talked about the most crucial keys to surviving in a content-centric world. You must invest in quality content, understand how social media can amplify it quickly and effectively, leverage your employees’ expertise and experience, and track your content’s movement through social media.
With content marketing continuing to explode and drive sales and profitability as never before, I want to revisit this topic again to discuss the latest data and trends.
Here are the keys to surviving in a content-centric world:
Invest in timely, informative and quality content
Consumers are hungry for information, but their attention spans are short and they expect content that speaks to them. That means it’s your job to develop customized, high-value content that answers the questions people want to know. It can’t be wrapped up in a slick marketing message; it must be genuinely informative.
Content can take many forms. It can be blog posts, articles, ebooks, slideshows, infographics and videos. The important thing is to share this content using a diversity of media, because each content piece will reach and speak to your customers in a different way.
Regardless of what you produce, your . To ensure it’s perceived that way, you should not schedule posts in advance and not post repeatedly about the same subject. You also must listen to and interact with your followers, and allow them to help you shape the conversation.
Understand the power of social media advocacy
It goes without saying that your content must be worthy of being shared by your audience. There is an art to being informative, intelligent and interesting while positioning your business effectively. Opt-in email newsletters and mailing lists have been a primary way for customers to reach customers, but the content in them typically isn’t shared with others, which has made email promotion a one-dimensional, dated and limited strategy.
By contrast, social media has inherently viral potential. It feels less intrusive to consumers, making it more likely to be shared – and consequently, your message is far more likely to be amplified.
Think about how effective word-of-mouth marketing is. On social media, word of mouth is amplified like wildfire, which can lead to strong brand awareness and huge sales.
Just must make sure that whatever you disseminate is high quality. Otherwise, it will be skipped over in the barrage of content streaming into your customers’ Facebook and Twitter news feeds every hour.
Tap into your employees’ expertise by making them employee advocates
Social media posting does not need to remain in the domain of your marketing department. You hired all of your employees for a reason, so let them share their knowledge about your business on social media. The best social businesses are developing subject-matter experts who write columns, articles, reviews, op-eds, blogs and other interactive, multimedia content that are compelling and fulfill your customers’ curiosity.
The problem many businesses have is that the current corporate environment does not encourage or provide incentives for them to share, and in fact, may even be dissuading them. Most employees like talking about what they do, and this authentic person-to-person communication creates more trust than buying impressions through media purchases. So it’s your job to change that culture and incentivize social-media use.
One of the best things you can do is to make sure your employees get to write about something they’re personally interested in. Brainstorm with them, and prompt them with the topics they’re currently working on.
Know what’s working
Your business could be creating the best content in the world, but if you don’t know which of your content pieces are gaining the most traction and why, you’re flying blind. My company, EveryoneSocial.com, provides a leading, easy-to-use platform on which your business can organize and keep track of all of its social-media content.
EveryoneSocial allows businesses to measure the reach, shares, engagement, traffic and clicks of your advocates in total, by group, and according to platform.
Having a social-media management platform also is a perfect way to get your employees engaged. EveryoneSocial allows everyone to share and comment on company content, post company-approved content and track relevant, related content in real time.
That means everyone in your business has the potential to become a thought leader and brand advocate, exponentially increasing your business’s reach.