It’s the dawning of the Age of Aquarius. A time ruled by awareness, when information is readily available and secrets are a thing of the past. According to author Yogi Bhajan Ph.D,, it’s a time when “the greatest power will be your Word.”
Gone are the days that marketing people can spin a message to the consumer’s advantage. Here are the days of social media and immediate electronic response, where complete transparency is expected.
The marketing world is seeing this shift first hand. We recently spoke with Ed Hinde, lead principle of Healthy Living Marketing, a relationship management company for Better for You brands, to get his insight into the importance of keeping it real.
So Ed...What do content marketers need to know today?You must be candid and honest with today’s discerning and skeptical customers. You are likely talking to a highly educated audience that tends to be more social and traveled, and has high expectations for transparency. And really, why would you want to be anything other than transparent and candid? It’s so much simpler when you can call a spade a spade.
What are the benefits of content marketing?Content marketing has significantly higher return on investment because you’re engaging an audience that speaks to intellect, passion, and commitment. It’s more time and labor intensive that buying media, but if you commit to it and see it through, you’ll see the benefits.
How do I tell MY story?Every company and brand exists for a reason. I’d like to believe the reason isn’t just to sell stuff, so you have to be careful in how you tell your story because you run the risk of being unauthentic. For example, Non-GMO and organic brands have set criteria to support them, unlike artisan and natural brands that may not be deemed authentic.
Start with your own brand and what is uniquely different. A well thought through brand should subscribe to certain principles and market positions. You should have a strong and authentic story built upon personal passions. Get clear on what is important to you and articulate it through content marketing. A content style guide approach is absolutely a great way to start.
How do you know what to publish?Healthy Living Marketing is dedicated to creating a healthier world. To create branded content, we chat with registered dieticians, wellness coordinators, and policy makers who are vested in making the world a healthier place. We work hard and consistently to be a part of the ongoing dialogue of things that are important to us. We can get on our soapbox and find others authentically interested in the same topics. It gives us a really wide platform to embrace content, repurpose it, create it and pass it on.
Talk to experts in your field to create original, branded content based on current trends, information and statistics. Interview the authorities and change makers in your industry and leverage their input to develop original content. This will give you a broader platform to create, reuse and distribute content that is newsworthy and highly sharable.
Where should custom content be published?Start by creating branding content. Then, use social media applications to engage others when you repurpose that content. Consistency is key for Twitter. Facebook lets your audience capture your content and pass it along.
A key aspect of sharing content comes down to the quality of the content. When you agree to be an equal part of the conversation, you’ll get right kind of people to respond and interact in your content marketing efforts. But first, create your own content and then lead people to the content through these feeds. Social media applications are a means to an end.
How does content marketing create leads?The more we understand who people are, what motivates them, and what drives their interest, the better we can carry on relevant conversations (and ultimately create brand followers). Our goal is to distill the conversation down to the individual and get to know what’s unique about them.
Landing pages can take the conversation off of social media to help glean some insight on an individual. With landing pages, you can use forms to collect information on lifestyle interests and demographics and then provide relevant content to those clusters. The content should be relevant to who these people are and what drives their interest and motivates them. Check out this example of 3 companies using content marketing to create leads.
Any last tips?
Brands have to think of themselves as being a publisher. Think about what is unique in your brand and how you can take on that persona. Think about how you can create and utilize branded content to your advantage.