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“Be there when your customers need you, not just when they ask for you” / Performics

by on November 16, 2012 in Apps, Apps & Software, FaceBook, Google, iPhone, Lead story, LinkedIn, London & South East, Metrics, Mobile, Mobile Marketing, Pinterest, Twitter, Websites

The Performics guide to content marketing: “Be there when your customers need you, not just when they ask for you”

High quality, relevant content is the key to encouraging your target audience to engage with your brand.  This is why Performics, the performance marketing agency owned by Publicis Groupe, treats its audience as ‘participants’, rather than consumers.

In this article Richard Kirk, Head of SEO at Performics’ European Hub in London, shares his content marketing expertise.  He answers some of the most frequently-asked questions in order to help your business make the most of this increasingly popular style of online marketing.

@rich_kirk

Head of SEO at Performics London. Mountaineer, skier, footballer and occasional cricketer.

What is ‘content marketing’ exactly?

Broadly speaking, content marketing is the practice of delivering something of value to your target audience which will make them feel positive about your brand.  For example, an online pet shop might give away an e-book called How to Build Your Own Rabbit Hutch, with the aim of helping out new rabbit owners.  The shop hasn’t sold those new owners anything yet, but it has introduced its brand in a fantastic way to a highly relevant group of people, paving the way for future purchases.

The mantra for content marketers is, “Be there when your customers need you, not just when they ask for you”.  If you sell stain removal products, it makes sense to have helpful content that is designed to help anyone who is desperately searching for ways to get red wine stains out of their carpet, rather than having a website which purely contains product information.  They might not have your product in their house so that content would be useless to them.

Why is it so popular?

Content marketing resonates with audiences because it is genuine.  Genuine content, be it in the form of apps, blog articles, e-books, podcasts, videos or text, will be interesting, useful, or entertaining for people in your target market.  We believe the reason genuine content gets this reaction is because most members of your audience realise that there are no sneaky shortcuts to getting it right.  Another feature of good content is that it should be honest.  If you only tell one side of a story to make your brand look amazing, the chances are you have not created good content and users will view it cycnically.

What’s more, having great content will power improved performance in earned media channels such as SEO and social media.  Marketers realise this and it’s a key reason for the growth of content marketing as a channel.

Is this style of marketing limited to big businesses?

No, not at all; any business – large or small – can benefit from content marketing; there are no real barriers to entry apart from your own imagination.  A good starting point is the questions your target audience are asking about the issue your brand deals with.

Can you give me an example of highly effective content marketing?

The biggest example of content marketing to date is probably the recent Red Bull Stratos project – Felix Baumgartner’s jump from the edge of space.  That has nothing whatsoever to do with product, just a belief that if you create something genuinely interesting, people will want to read about it, watch it and feel a part of it.  Experts estimate the project cost around 50m Euros over five years, but it has generated some of the most watched pieces of video in web history.  50m Euros was roughly what Liverpool paid for Andy Carroll – puts it in perspective!

Does content marketing deliver measurable benefits?

Yes, you can measure the benefits of content marketing with a decent web analytics setup.  Using cookies, you can differentiate between individuals who have engaged with your content marketing (for example, people who have read your company blog) and those who haven’t.  If you have defined goals for your website incorporated into your web analytics package, you will be able instantly to understand how content has contributed to these goals.

In the example used above, the pet shop owner would be able to understand the behaviour of people who downloaded the How to Build Your Own Rabbit Hutch e-book.  Questions such as “how much more likely are they to buy from the website compared to everyone else?” and “how much revenue has this e-book contributed to?” would be simple to answer.

In conclusion…

If a brand has really committed itself to placing the continual generation of good content at the heart of their marketing plan, then in all the instances I have seen, it leads to good ROI.  The Daily Mail was a national newspaper with average circulation in Britain five years ago, now it is one of the most read news platforms on the planet.  The step change to becoming a content marketing champion is rooted in a brand’s strategic decision to focus on comprehensive content generation around any topic people expressed an interest in through search or social discussion.

@rich_kirk

Head of SEO at Performics London. Mountaineer, skier, footballer and occasional cricketer.

photo credit: ifranz via photopin cc

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