Mastering Content Marketing: Boosting Brand Authority and Audience Engagement
11 September, 2023
In the vast expanse of the digital universe, where countless identical websites, mundane articles, and self-indulgent corporate jargon abound, there is one vessel that can navigate these treacherous waters with ease – compelling content. In his 2013 book, “Epic Content Marketing: How to Tell a Different Story, Break Through the Clutter, and Win More Customers by Marketing Less”, Joe Pulizzi succinctly defines this as content that satisfies a need, maintains consistency, possesses a unique and human voice, articulates a viewpoint, refrains from sales jargon and aligns with industry best practices.
Content marketing is a potent tool that bolsters your brand’s authority and expertise, engages your audience, and cultivates trust. It is a crucial instrument for attracting and retaining customers, boosting your SEO and driving traffic to your website. It works by educating, entertaining, and connecting with targeted audiences to drive sales, referrals and repeat purchases.
Successful marketing begins with understanding the competitive landscape. Identifying your main competitors and understanding their strengths and unique selling points is crucial. What differentiates them from the myriad of competitors in the market? How do they present themselves and cater to their clientele? This can be achieved by delving into their websites and understanding the language they utilize to attract business.
Next, evaluate your website and online marketing strategies. Is it customer-centric? Are you engaging in genuine conversations or merely spouting marketing jargon? Is your content authentic in its tone and message? Does it feel like advice from a friend over coffee or does it come across as shouting through a megaphone? Zack Kadish, in the Search Engine Journal, emphasizes the importance of understanding your target customers’ language. Conducting keyword searches ensures you are speaking the same language as your current and potential customers.
Moreover, does your content offer value? Every business needs a value proposition. What solutions are you offering to address customer problems? Is your content addressing their specific concerns and questions? Does it assist the buyer on their journey? As previously discussed, every buyer traverses what is termed the “buyer’s continuum.” It starts with brand unawareness and progresses to awareness, understanding, believability, trial, purchase and eventually repurchase and/or recommendation and referral. Compelling content guides the buyer along this journey, positioning the seller as irreplaceable.
It’s important to strike a balance between sounding professional and avoiding sounding robotic. Visitors should feel like they’re engaging in a conversation with a human being, not receiving a lecture from an emotionless machine. Kadish advises against relying solely on AI-generated content. While AI services such as ChatGPT can be used for research, schema creation or content ideation, it’s not recommended to have these services write your content entirely.
Is your content results-focused? Just like selecting keywords to attract attention, you need to consider what structure garners the most audience attention. Short-form video, ranging from 10-15 seconds to 5 minutes, is the answer. The rise in popularity of platforms like TikTok and Instagram has made this structure increasingly popular. Assure yourself that it aligns with what is already being used on Google, other platforms and what the competition is offering. Podcasts that share valuable content are another effective medium.
Every piece of content should guide the visitor to the next step. What is their call-to-action after consuming the content? Direct them towards the next step that will bring them closer to making a purchase. A popular method used by online marketers is the hub and spoke model. Choose a business line or service offered that your customers have indicated is the hub. Then generate “spoke” content composed of questions related to the hub subject.
After studying the competitive landscape, it’s time to chart a course that will attract potential buyers and encourage existing customers to return. Learn from the competition and similar businesses, but also identify their mistakes and shortcomings. That’s where you can differentiate yourself and stand out.
At the end of the day, visitors are not just numbers or potential sales. They’re people. When crafting content, it should be a conversation that can inspire, motivate, and convert. Navigate with purpose, sincerity, and genuine intention. After all, in this vast digital sea, the content that truly resonates is the one that’s authentic, value-packed, and human.