Although branding methods and content marketing secrets have changed over the decades, one thing remains consistent. Marketing strategists still spend the majority of their time trying to pick the brains of consumers and figure out what makes them tick.
They may be sitting in front of a computer screen in their home office or a whiteboard at a marketing strategy session, but the ultimate goal is the same: reaching the target audience and building a long-standing, mutually beneficial relationship.
However, marketing walks a fine line sometimes. If you’re too subtle, you may see potential customers slip through your fingers.
When it comes to reaching your target audience, it’s better to get their attention and then gently nudge them along by connecting with them on a meaningful level and building trust.
The best way to identify your target audience is to provide high-quality content that aims to solve and address their pain points.
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is content creation with intent. Whether you’re a solo entrepreneur or a large, multinational corporation, the key to grabbing and growing your market share is to cut through the competitive clutter and engage with your audience on an emotional level.
In order to achieve that, you need to create content that has meaning. What I have been preaching to digital marketers for years, you have to write that piece of content that connects you with the human element.
However, meaning is not the same from persona to persona. Even if a demographic has the same pain points, they may be at a different stage of their journey or looking for a different solution. Consumers are also more knowledgeable and empowered than ever before to make informed decisions about where to put their hard-earned, ever-shrinking disposable income.
It’s your job to demonstrate that your product or service is that solution.
Your content is often the first point of contact between you and your audience. Give them the why, where, and how of your brand by creating content that resonates.
Unlocking the Secrets of Branded Content Marketing
There is no one hack or secret code that automatically converts potential customers into brand loyalists.
Anyone who does finally figure that out will win the internet and have their name emblazoned atop the altar of marketing deities, putting names like John Mueller, Danny Sullivan, Lily Ray, and Alli Berry in the shadows.
There are, however, proven tips, tricks, and content marketing strategies that provide consistent, sustainable results.
A successful content marketing strategy plants a seed in the mind of the audience, and uses power words or images that evoke an emotional response.
Food and beverage brands do this effectively by presenting their products in a way that drives their audience to crave that juicy burger or ice-cold drink. How often have you seen a video clip of people walking on the beach, dancing the night away, or just sharing a quiet moment with someone they love and thought, “I want that, too,”?
That’s the power of content marketing.
There are several ways you can create compelling, emotionally engaging content that’s also consistently high in quality.
First, you have to get to know your core audience inside and out, and then parlay that information into a cohesive content marketing strategy. Next, take one or several of the following cues to unleash the power of your own plan or campaign.
1. Answer a question. One of the best ways to demonstrate that your brand is the solution is to answer a question. A good way to find out what people in your niche are wondering is to ask them. You could also start a search with a relevant keyword and “how to ” or “why”.
Find out what your audience wants to know and then give them the answer.
2. Give them some inspiration. In 2016, a devastating earthquake hit central Italy, leaving many buildings destroyed and families homeless. But amidst the rubble, a group of nuns from the town of Amatrice decided to take action.
Sister Marjana Lleshi and her fellow nuns set up a makeshift kitchen and began cooking meals for the local residents affected by the quake. They used all the ingredients they could find, often relying on donations from local businesses and farmers. They built the community that was needed.
Word of their efforts spread quickly, and soon the nuns were receiving support from all over Italy and even from abroad. With the help of volunteers and donations, they were able to serve over 5,000 meals a day – providing a much-needed source of comfort and community amidst the chaos.
But the nuns’ work didn’t stop there. They also began helping to clear the debris from the buildings and streets, working tirelessly day and night to make the town safe and livable once again.
Despite the danger and devastation all around them, Sister Marjana and her fellow nuns refused to give up. They continued to serve and care for the people of Amatrice, showing that even in the darkest of times, there is still hope and humanity to be found.
Their actions inspired many others to come together and help rebuild the town, and their selflessness and dedication have left a lasting impact on the community.
The ASPCA and many children’s charities also use this to great effect. No one wants to see a shivering animal or starving or sick child, and this very basic element of human nature, the need to protect and nurture compels us to want to help.
Inspiration needn’t compel sadness. Create content that inspires joy, nostalgia or any one of dozens of strong human emotions. It will forever link your brand in the minds of your audience to that emotion.
3. Infuse your content with passion. When you’re passionate about something, it shows. If you’re able to convey that through your content, you will inspire others to feel passionate about it, too.
Bear in mind that, in order to be effective and inspire trust, your content needs to be authentic and transparent. Marketing automation can take place once you’ve connected to your audience. People tend to stay away from content that seems contrived, false, or that just appears to be hopping on a trend with no connection or relevance to the brand or audience.
The Best Content Marketing Platforms
Driving traffic to your website is one thing, and it’s no small endeavor when you consider the sheer amount of content that’s uploaded and shared every day. However, you have to give your audience a reason to stay a while, return often, and share widely.
In other words, optimize your content for search engines, but create it for real people.
But, once you create the content, where do you put it? Where you promote your content is going to be just as important as where your target market is, including the queries and search results that affect the traffic to your site
One great thing about good content marketing is that it can be tailored or repurposed to suit a range of platforms. That old blog post can be given new life as a video short and posted on TikTok, IG Reels, and YouTube Shorts. A solid social media post can also be reformatted for email marketing or an email newsletter.
There’s even tech that can do some of the heavy lifting for you in terms of SEO, subject lines, and headers while you add the human touch that consumers crave so much in an increasingly automated, touchless, and faceless society.
Case Studies That Prove the Power of Content Marketing
What are the factors that compel emotion and create a bond between a brand and its customers? Think of the marketing efforts that moved you, whether that triggered emotion was anger, nostalgia, or simply FOMO.
There are multiple examples that range from TV commercials that hit you in the feels to articles and blog posts that inspire their audience to act.
For example, this article about collective farming brought attention to a little-known but important social issue. The content was so informative, compelling, and emotionally driven that the campaign actually went viral.
Just a few years ago, I wrote a blog post about a topic that I was passionate about. My strong emotional connection to the material resonated with my audience, and the post still receives attention to this day.
Are Your Content Marketing Efforts Getting Results?
If you’re looking to reach your target audience in a more strategic, efficient manner, content marketing is a proven branding method that gets great ROI. Start a blog and use the email list you’ve been building for years. Writing great blog posts works for every type of enterprise from startups and SMBs to large corporations and government entities.
However, not all of us have the time or the knowledge to create consistently compelling content, nor the understanding of different content marketing platforms. We’re too busy building client relationships.
Besides, there are so many platforms, ever-changing algorithms, and best practices it’s difficult for brands to keep up. Sometimes, you need little help from someone whose only job is to build your brand.
Partnering with content marketing specialists at Level343 will help you forge those strong relationships through their branding knowledge and experience. If you’re ready to put that expertise to work for your product or service, reach out and book a consultation today.