Does your content marketing inspire a loyal following or leave people cold? Do people really love what you do?
I personally can think of very few brands or businesses that I check out on a daily basis because of their content marketing whether it's a blog, Facebook Page, etc.
Working in the communications space, however, I have a bunch of daily must-reads (Mark, Gini, Mitch, Joe Jaffe and Joe Pulizzi) whose content marketing (blogs, podcasts, videos, eBooks, etc) really strikes a chord with me.
What unites these business bloggers for me is that they create something that I want to use, be inspired by and learn from. They're answering questions and engaging in debates that interest me and help with my own growth.
Does your blog, presence on Twitter, YouTube channel or online newsletter deliver that kind of quality? Does your content really drum up a loyal following of fans?
Cut the crap, Ditch the thinly-veiled sales pitch
I know as a business owner that you should never leave money on the table. We all need to make a sale to keep us going. But content marketing is not interruptive advertising. It's not about bombarding your potential audience or customers with content just for the sake of driving a sale. So stop doing that!
My experience on RyanAir the other day drove it home to me just how unsatisfactory interruptive marketing really is and left me very irritated. Predictably, RyanAir don't do anything to provide cool content that will interest me either. They're an example of a business that's (currently) thriving because they offer cheap flights. But you won't believe the amount of people I know that swear they'll never travel with them again.
Imagine if an airline had the number one travel blog on the Net and sold plane tickets costing slightly more than Ryanair. Imagine if the quality of that flight experience, along with a really cool in-flight magazine, and great service began to strike a chord with business people looking for a cheap flight with that little bit more luxury. And if said airline provided genuine tips for (business) people like me to get about and get the most out of international travel, they could really start to be noticed on the Net.
Throw in brilliant online customer service, quick responses and tips on Twitter and people like me who regularly spend a lot of money on air fares, will sit up and take notice.
In short, producing quality cool content marketing that really strikes a chord, along with great service, might just help me to really learn to love the whole travel experience again.
Create Loyal Followers
One of the major benefits of creating business content that your audience love is that if you're active online, you need brand ambassadors out there, working your corner of the Net.
If one of my favourite business bloggers is trounced online, I'd do what I can to help them combat that because over the months (and years) they've nurtured my trust and loyalty through the quality of the content they share. I wouldn't, however, go out and defend a brand or business that didn't give me anything other than a cold sale?
Where do you go from here?
You need to look carefully at your audience. Do they love what you do? Do they retweet, share and promote your best efforts online to their friends?
Don't forget that people trust recommendations from personal contacts far more than any form of advertising.
Your quality content, combined with great service, will help you help these people love your business and brand. Because the Net has made business global, you need these people. They'll defend you in a crisis, help spread the word about how great your business is, and teach you about where you're going wrong.
The reason to generate great content for your audience is because visitors to your website, Facebook Page, Twitter account and so on can do a lot to promote your business with genuine respect and compassion. And that goes a long way to help you grow.
How Do You Create Brilliant Content?
Mark Schafer recently talked about how chronically boring some bloggers have become. If you're business blog or B2B marketing communications leave your audience yawning â€“ or worse, clicking away, never to return again â€“ you're going to struggle to get your audience to love you.
- forget for a moment about repeating those tired old Tips posts,
- don't keep promoting the same old services under the disguise of content,
- try and vary the format for your delivery (text, video, audio) and
- look at the previous successes you've had.
Learn from your community about the content they love. And if you really don't know, why don't you just ask them?