Why you should master Content Marketing
To sum up, for those readers who are busy rushing from one blog to another, mastering content marketing is literally how well you understand your target audience in order to deliver measurable success from what you share that gives them (your potential new customers) distinct value over and above what the core services and products your business offers. Ultimately, you want to create a funnel of owned media and an owned audience that allows you to steer them to becoming a valued customer.
Now if the above is all too brief and confusing and needs to explained then read on:
Marketing has changed over the last few years and more recently I hear more and more companies and marketing ‘experts’ state the importance of content marketing and the value behind buidling an audience in order to sell to. So, how is this done?
Content today online is everywhere, no matter what you search for there is an answer for it online from not just a descriptive page on Wikipedia, but they’ll be a dedicated Twitter account, blogs on people’s websites, explanatory videos on YouTube, someone live streaming a Q&A on Periscope and a stack load of images on Google search – What this tells us is that we have immense choice online to discover no matter what we are looking for. As a business we are always looking to be found and many of us will have adopted the thought process of advertising our business, promotions, discounts offers and more in order to attract attention which for short term gain is great and often rewarding, but what about long term? How do you gather an audience online that is yours to market to at any given time?
How do we build an audience that has a long term value? No matter what business you are in, I am sure you understand the audience you are looking for, as an estate agent you are seeking those looking to move property, be it buying and selling or renting, if you supply websites to estate agents then it is obviously estate agents you are looking for so if you know your audience then you surely will have studied what engages these audiences too?
Outside of what your client directly needs from you, how can they be entertained, educated and engaged by content you deliver to capture them them within a collective space so that you can continue to grab their attention and build strong brand awareness?
I see it as two ways you can achieve this. Firstly we have social media, not only has it many benefits and options, but the most important part that I see it offers is it allows you to orchistrate audiences within a location they are happy to follow / like / engage. What better way to reach a target audience than by channels that nearly everyone of the audience you are looking to reach will have accessible to them, ie Facebook will have a high percentage of the people you are looking already signed up to using their social platform and on top of that, Facebook app will be on nearly every mobile / smart phone / tablet / PC of your target audience meaning that you have direct access to them 24/7. What will determine your success of course is if these users on Facebook are liking your brand enough in order to be following you (ie liking your business page), no follows means no engagement. This is where the content comes in to play and sharing content that does not necessarily promote your business, but deals with a request from your target audience. As an Estate Agent, over and above new property listsings, what about sharing land scaping tips, how to French polish furniture, installing open fireplaces, a guide to when you should be planting bulbs in the garden, free online seminars on tax saving ideas for landlords – It does not have to be directly applicable to your business.
Imagine you are selling high valued homes in Sussex, then what about a dedicated channel in installing and maintaining swimming pools which indirectly will be something that your target audience will have in mind? Cover the topic in full from infographics to interviews with local suppliers, showcase the best designs and get your audience to vote on them, guide people on costs and options on indoor and outdoor. Now swimming pools is not estate agency right, but if you have the most comprehensive page on Facebook for swimming pools in the UK or at least in your county, then you are driving target traffic, your own content will be shared and listed by Google so that within a short period of time no matter who is looking for swimming pools (I would say these people will have higher valued homes) will come past your page and their eyes will see your brand – Your estate agency, despite advising on swimming pools, is getting seen by home owners.
The other way I see that you can achieve success with content marketing is by creating the central hub, ie the unique place you own that anyone goes to for more information on a set subject that has value for you business. The best way for me to describe this is by the website you are on now, Estate Agent Networking, a platform that I created from scratch with the idea in mind that estate agents across the UK need a central place to come in order to find out more about key marketing tips in the industry. This concept has been backed up now by a strong social media audience and has evolved itself, due to it’s users requirements, into one of the major UK platforms for latest property news, marketing advice, interviews, reviews and much more. So, what about yourself, as an estate agent or industry service provider, how do you create your own version of this, how can you get a community online that becomes your own, how do you build your own central hub?
Time and effort is key of course so from the outset that has to be in your mind, but it is seeking out a need from your client that you would like to address and it does not have to be directly associated with your current business as we explained above re swimming pools. We could look to create something similar to Estate Agent Networking, a unique platform with information that your target audience needs, you will need to build it with unique content and use the likes of social media to draw in an audience. Now, we would also stretch this to a forum style website, an app or the likes of a free downloadable eBook. What these options enable us to do is to specifically target an audience who have a certain interest and build a business around it – A free to download App which could have extensions which are paid for, a free to download eBook that offers extras at a set cost. Your goal may not be return investment by way of money, but it could simly be brand awareness so these options can prove highly beneficial to increase your brand awareness. Ie, Free downloadable eBook of the top 1,000 tips on building a better website for your estate agency or an App that allows you to design your own swimmingpool to suit your garden layout (you could co build this with your local swimmingpool supplier).
It is all about a target audience and how they find you online, I have always looked to build concepts online that share valuable information in return for building me a loyal and target following / subscription database – This allows me an audience that I can market to 24/7 and enables me to build my brand.