I couldn’t help myself. It’s that time of year to trot out pieces on trends for the year ahead and I have succumbed. But rather than trends, I opted to list some hopes, based on what makes for useful, relevant content. Nothing earth shattering here mind – just doing the basics well.
1. Focus on customer challenges
There is way too much noise when it comes to content, so how are you going to stand out from the rest? Make your content useful by addressing customer challenges. That means asking customers and prospects what they are working on and what keeps them up at night. Do this through talking to them or consider scaling it up by doing a piece of research. The key is to provide something that is relevant, timely and helpful.
2. Share insights and expertise
Most companies are very good at pushing their sales messages. What they are less good at is showing what they know, even though this is really important stuff. Share case studies, data and insights into the market you operate in. Every business is expert at something, has interesting data worth talking about and employs people who have deep understanding of the market. Tap into these resources – they help build brand credibility (see next point).
3. Provide credible information
Use data and research to support your thinking. Content that is supported by external references is more credible and can become thought leadership material. But make sure you check your references and link to the source. Much content marketing blindly copies research links that do not link to the source and there are two problems with this. Firstly and very importantly, you cannot be sure research is accurate and credible unless you have checked it out. If you can’t find the source, don’t use it. And secondly, your customers might want to check the source, so make it easier for them. It’s good practice.
4. Research frequency and channel
Information overload is a problem for everyone so you need to think about what to do about that. How about reviewing the frequency of your communications? Does an email newsletter need to be weekly or monthly or could it be published every six weeks? What’s the best channel for your audience and how often do you need to share there? When it’s hard to stand out from the competition the answer should not be to ramp up communications. By knowing who your customers are and what their challenges are you can be confident that less will be more.
5. Learn from your data
Rather than believe the hype around content marketing, start believing in your own data. This will tell you what content is working and will act as a guide for future content. The data will tell you whether a less is more approach is working.
Content marketing is a long game. It is about building up your credibility as an organisation. It’s important to remember that because instinctively, organisations will want to push sales messages. You don’t need to use content marketing to do that – you already have sophisticated sales processes so use them and continue to optimise them. When it comes to content marketing, think quality over quantity every time.
If you need help with your content in 2019 then get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org