The number one goal of content marketing is to create and distribute valuable, relevant and consistent content that will attract and acquire a clearly defined audience.
The purpose is not merely to get consumers’ attention, but to drive profitable customer action. Read the seven reasons why these companies and more have successfully succeeded in driving sales via content marketing.
Craft headlines that are sure to make headway
It seems that people cannot go anywhere without their smart phones, tablets, or laptops. Each of which is constantly connecting with the worldwide web, leaving every image, article, video and social media platform right at your fingertips. With so much to choose from, it becomes that much more imperative to make sure your article stands out and rises above the rest. Your best bet is to:
- Put a Number on It
- Use Rhyming & Alliteration
- Opt for How To’s, Complete Guides, What No One Tells You About…, Tips, etc.
- Pathos: Surprise, amaze, incredible, heart-breaking, life-changing
Prime Example: Buzzfeed
Buzzfeed does an incredible job of incorporating the above-mentioned tactics into their headline strategy, guaranteeing user attention. People generally like the idea that there is a limit or expectation to how much information they will take in from an article, which explains the desirability of using numbers. Rhyming and alliteration make for fluid statements, while personal stories, testimonials, and struggles are an extremely relatable way to connect with your audience and gain valuable engagement. Last but not least, by emphasizing how inclusive, innovative, and far-reaching your information is, the more interested readers will be.
Remember: Not just any-old image will do
Everyone’s heard the saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” but it’s certainly possible that the quote isn’t entirely accurate. Maybe you can only come up with 148 words to describe an image of this morning’s coffee stain on your new shirt, but the point is that high-quality, relevant images can do the work so you don’t have to use 148 words, or ‘a thousand’ for those who are optimistic. With this in mind, attach an image that you believe sends the most effective, intuitive message to your audience, one that is large so that it’s hard to miss and clear so that they can’t miss the point.
With great recipes and a funny personality, We Are Not Martha would be a successful blog, pictures or not. However, it is the inclusion of her high-resolution photos, most of which are drool-worthy or hunger-inspiring, that takes her blog and it’s recipes to another level. Since people respond tend to respond more emotionally to images than a string of words, her decadent photos of all that she makes takes you step-by-step through the cooking process, and certainly builds up excitement for what is to come!
Don’t let users get lazy, call them to action!
Too often businesses are able to bring users to check out their websites, only to have them leave moments later. Why is this? The reason is that many companies fail to recognize the significance of using Call-to-Actions, which is an attempt to generate an immediate response from the audience.
Rather than idling the website aimlessly, why not give users something to think about? Maybe they should download your eBooks, or try a free month-long trial of your product? By asking something of your audience, you can generate more leads and product participation, each of which will force users to scrutinize your good or service further.
Prime Example: Netflix
Netflix integrates call to actions, like the one above: “Watch TV shows & movies anytime, anywhere.” Simple and to the point, the slogan emphasizes how flexible the application is, while also mentioning that the site has essentially all that one would look for in terms of video entertainment. At $7.99 a month, the service seems like a bargain, and the intuitive “Start Your Free Month,” tab is too.
Always empower those who power you
Our guiding principle is to make people love your brand, but what exactly does that entail? This is not an instance where you hire someone to give out free hugs and high-fives to every customer accrued. Instead, the aim is to invigorate your audience by convincing them that they can be a better version of themselves if your brand was part of their life.
Prime Example: Apple
Understand that user sharing really is caring
When something of interest is found on the Internet, that interest usually doesn’t stop there. What used to spread through word of mouth and written letters can now spread simply and rapidly through hyperlink. The easier you make it to share, the more likely people will do just that.
Prime Example: YouTube
YouTube is an excellent example of a company that has made its content accessible to virtually anyone anywhere with one of the larger selections of social media platforms that I’ve seen. It extends sharing options beyond the standard 3-4 platforms (usually some combination of Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Email) to offer 13 opportunities including reddit, StumbleUpon and even foreign social networks like Russia’s Odnoklassniki and Europe’s VK. Given that YouTube’s most viewed video of all time (Psy’s “Gangnam Style”) has surpassed the 2 billion views mark, I would say it’s working.
Optimize and leverage product-related topics
There are variety of general topics that interest people, whether it’s the NFL Superbowl, the FIFA World Cup, the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, the 4th of July or music festivals. Though each may be an event or a holiday, there are a number of connotations and associations that develop whether it’s consciously or not. As an example, the Fourth of July not only represents the fourth day of the month of July, but rather it brews up images of hot dogs and burgers, fireworks and no work, as well as red, white and blue. Companies that understand how their target audience thinks, knows how to make the most of associations such as these by capitalizing on an event or concept that will further the initiative of their product.
Prime Example: Free People
Free People, a popular women’s fashion clothing company, has its own blog in which many of the posts include images of models wearing their clothing. In this way, it becomes difficult for the user to separate an article on music festivals from the Free People clothing the model is sporting in the included image. Therefore, associate yourself!
Recycle content by relating the past to the present
Sometimes we forgot that things from the past can still be useful in the present. Despite a blog post or advertisement being days or months or even years old, they continue to represent an interest or demonstrated expertise on a given topic that was once, and can still be, of interest to your target audience. More often than not, two topics can be intertwined such that your most recent focus could incorporate a previous one. For instance, a food blog may have a recipe for red velvet cake with a hyperlink to a cream cheese frosting recipe that had been posted well beforehand.
In much the same way, company blogs or website articles can be linked to previous blog posts or online articles so that the single present piece being shared has many embedded hyperlinks that will direct users to further pieces. By doing so, your company not only appears to have a better understanding of a broader range of topics, but it also indicates that you’ve thought of all the possibilities and more.
Prime Example: WikiHow
WikiHow has become a premier destination for those trying to learn how to do everything from bake the perfect homemade apple pie to the many who would like to learn a thing or two about being happy (shown in the photo above). You can see that the number one step to “being happy” is to “be optimistic.” For those on the above page who also think they could use some insight into being optimistic, they can click on the phrase so that they’ll be directed to a similarly structured how to guide. In this way, WikiHow knows which topics will be of interest to users based on their intended searches. By hyperlinking topics to an entirely different, but related topic, the site ensures that even more engagement will occur.
Someone somewhere said that you should learn from the best, and in today’s times, the best being corporate giants like Apple, Netflix, YouTube, to name a few.
Written by Marketing intern Alison Takahashi English and Psychology majors at Boston College (Class of 2016).