Content marketing: How to engage audiences without babies, kittens or Kardashian derrières


You don’t need to go viral, replicate the Ice Bucket Challenge, or #BreakTheInternet to successfully market your products or services.

You just need to create seriously good content that gives your customers what they’re looking for. Knowing what they want and giving it to them is a much more effective marketing approach than trying to predict and cash in on the next Big Thing on the Internet.

So, how do you create good content?

  1. Be strategic.

  • Know your audiences. A bone-deep understanding of what makes your audience tick is the single most important ingredient in creating good content. What do they want and need? What problems and challenges do they have? What keeps them up at night? Use that insight to drive your content creation across channels. Walk in their shoes.
  • Craft compelling, credible messages. Identify three to five clear and powerful messages that resonate with your audiences. Keep these messages front and center in all your communications, and include proof points that substantiate your claims. Make sure your messages map back to supporting your brand, accomplishing your business objectives or meeting a customer need.
  • Make plans and follow through. If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you get there? Use content audits, marketing plans, and editorial calendars and measurement tools to facilitate content production and keep you on track. (We’ll go into these in a later post, so stay tuned.)
  1. Be where your customers are.

    With so many channels and hundreds of customer touch points, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Instead, think about the unprecedented opportunities you have to engage your customers at specific points in their journeys – with the right content, in the right place, at the right time. Plan your content to be repurposed across appropriate channels in multiple ways. Include good search keywords to make it findable.

  1. Be useful.

    What’s in it for me? Why should I care? That’s what your customers want to know. Answer their questions, whether it’s a simple price list or a comprehensive website providing in-depth solutions to problems. How does your product or service fill a need, solve a problem or make life easier? And do it better than the competition? Content that doesn’t pass the “so what?” test goes nowhere.

    For example, here’s a helpful infographic we created for our client Wimmer’s Diamonds that has been pinned more than 1,500 times.

Wedding Day Checklist

  1. Be customer centric.

    Your customer – not you – should be the star of your content. Avoid the mission-statement and features-only mindset. Give people information. Help them figure out what to do or where to go. Demonstrate how they can apply your content to be more effective, efficient and successful. Include clear next steps or calls to action.

    Take, for example, this BuzzFeed community post we wrote for our client SunButter. It has been shared hundreds of times on social media.

Allergy mom meme

  1. Be consumable.

    Good design and writing is essential in making your content readable and digestible. Add stories, images and video to make content more engaging. Keep it “snackable,” so it’s quick and easy to consume and share. Always remember, you’re talking to a real human being – think of your content as an ongoing conversation, not a one-and-done lecture.

In upcoming posts, we’ll focus on tools to keep your content marketing on track, such as content audits, marketing plans, and editorial calendars and measurement tools. If you want to learn more or talk about user experience now, contact us. We’d love to chat.


Mary Schieve

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