When a business behemoth like Nike makes a bold move, we pay attention.
Over the past 18 months, the footwear giant shuttered many of its stores in key markets like the U.S., Canada, and Western Europe. The Covid-19 pandemic had crushed in-store business.
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So Nike decided to run a new game plan.
By shifting their focus from in-store client contact to online engagement, they scored a major win.
And they did it through content marketing.
The dust is still settling, but the pandemic has clearly changed the way we shop – perhaps forever.
Studies project the global content marketing industry will grow by over 16% and reach $138 Million in revenues by 2027.
Legendary entrepreneurs became successful by keeping a finger on the public pulse and anticipating the “next big thing”.
Smart marketers today are no different. They see the tectonic shift in consumer behavior – and they’re taking action.
They’re making use of content marketing strategies as both powerful marketing tools and surefire ways to connect with consumers.
By consistently delivering meaningful content, they enhance their online reputation, create a community, and generate brand advocacy.
Mapping it Out
Great content demands great delivery.
That’s where a content marketing strategy comes in. It’s a clear, carefully planned roadmap that details exactly how content will be deployed to engage and acquire customers.
As a marketer, you aim to provide your target audience with valuable content that triggers action. As you develop your content marketing strategy, ask yourself:
- Who will find my content relevant?
- What benefits will this target group derive from my content?
- How can I consistently provide distinctive and valuable content?
All About AIDA
Effective marketing sparks attention, garners interest, and creates conviction – in exactly that order.
That’s the acronym that sets out the four stages in the consumer journey:
- Attention (what is this?)
- Interest (I like this)
- Desire (I want this)
- Action (I’m going to get this)
The AIDA model is widely used by brands to help them customize and distribute their message to prospects at each stage of the consumer journey. As with a typical marketing funnel, consumers are prompted to take action at each stage, move on to the next, and finally make the decision to buy.
By creating campaigns and building your website around the AIDA model, you can very effectively design and direct your audience’s path to purchasing.
The Three “W”’s (and an “H”)
You want your content to be universally appealing, but generally, content marketing is most effective when it targets one primary audience.
So find your niche. Focus on the customer you feel you can best help with your content.
- Are there underserved groups that aren’t getting the information/product they want from other sources?
- Which consumer group is your business failing to get traction with? Could the right content resolve this?
- Could you actually become a leading source of information for this customer base? Being seen as a specialist in your field not only enhances your reputation – it’ll give you a boost in customer referrals.
The content you choose to deliver will depend on your objectives, and should do one of three things:
- Increase sales by supporting campaigns or product-driven goals
- Save costs by optimizing the performance and cost-efficiency of your other marketing strategies
- Grow your business by supporting new product lines or creating new revenue streams.
Along with knowing what your strategy will look like, it’s important to give thought to where it will live.
The right eCommerce platform allows you to conduct your business digitally and streamlines your operations. Even better – it significantly expands your audience reach and boosts your potential customer base.
There’s a multitude of potential tools for conveying your message – everything from blogs to videos to infographics.
But don’t throw it all at the wall to see what sticks.
Know your customer persona, understand their tastes and preferences – and deliver accordingly.
Finding the Right Mix
There’s no one-size-fits-all in content marketing, so it’s wise to include a diverse mix that will appeal to a wide swathe of your audience.
Your strategy doesn’t have to break the bank. Some wallet-friendly tips:
- Ensure your content is SEO-friendly. Over one-third of all website traffic derives from organic searches, so create blogs and articles built around keyword research.
- Consider repurposing published content to appeal to consumers who may prefer different formats. Turn an article into an infographic or slideshow. Clip and post usable snippets and images for social media.
- Put user-generated content to work by including it in your narrative. Comments, reviews, and photos boost legitimacy, garner trust, and enhance your reputation with your audience.
- If you’ve overlooked video SEO – reboot. Videos are powerful, cost-effective SEO tools. A video turns a “standard snippet” search result into a “rich snippet” – and Google likes rich snippets.
- Think outside the box to come up with creative ways to diversify. You have plenty of options. Consider building content marketing software, white labeling to other agencies, taking on outsourcing projects, or paying for leads.
Finger on the Pulse
Producing high-quality content – whatever the format - has been proven to drive more traffic and leads. Maintaining quality means keeping your material fresh and relevant to your audience.
But the impact of your chosen marketing tools will vary according to market trends, business cycles, and consumer tastes.
So it’s important to not merely implement the right content marketing strategy at the right time: you need to regularly monitor, measure, and adjust to get the results you want. That means:
- Analyzing and measuring funnel performance at each stage
- Assessing the impact of specific content elements on conversion
- Determining what type of content engages and holds your target audience
Knowing your audience, understanding what they need, and how you can meet that need will keep you ahead of the curve.
It worked for Nike.
Despite a global pandemic, they landed firmly on their fashionably clad feet with a content marketing strategy. So can you.
Take a page from their book. Stay nimble. Just do it.