Content marketing is sustainable, cost effective and builds trust
CONTENT MARKETING SERVICES, AUCKLAND: Content marketing is creating content that is useful to your audience because it informs or educates or inspires the recipients.
You may choose to ‘package’ that content in, for example, the form of articles, blogs, video, podcasts and infographics, and publish it across a variety of channels like Facebook, LinkedIn, your blog, the local newspaper, YouTube or email.
In New Zealand we have a smaller audience and fewer channels to reach our audience. For example, in other countries like the UK, Australia and the United States, the numbers are so big that it’s easy to win reasonable audience numbers. While in New Zealand there is more competition for fewer ‘eyeballs. Fortunately, most of the competition is average; it’s DIY.
Quality always rises, and the same applies to content. Quality content marketing will differentiate your offering and result in deeper engagement with your customer or potential customers.
Why does content marketing work?
The reason why content marketing is so effective is because it addresses the audience’s needs, problems and questions – in other words, it is about them; it is about things that are interesting and relevant to them.
The result is that your customers develop positive feelings and perceptions about you or your brand because you’re demonstrating that you understand them, that you care and that you are an expert worthy of trust.
Advertising, on the other hand, is more of a conversation about you and how good you are. Good advertising will discuss benefits, but most advertising doesn’t do that; most advertising says, ‘look at me’ and ‘spend your money with me’.
The problem with advertising is that people can, and do, avoid it. What’s the longest five seconds of your life? Waiting to click ‘Skip Ad’ on YouTube.
TV remotes, Ad blockers and built ‘mute’ buttons on browsers all help to kill the effectiveness of adverts – particularly the intrusive ones.
Advertising has its place, but it is not content marketing.
How to create good quality content
Here are 8 factors that could help you create content that achieves greater cut through.
1. Adds value: It is educational, informative, or inspirational (sometimes it entertains too);
2. Relevant: It is relevant because it addresses the problems, needs, questions and aspirations of your audience. Good content is not about you. It’s about your customers or audience.
3. Timely: It is timely to this day, this week, this month or this year. If your content would be at home a year ago, or five years ago, it is not relevant.
4. Local: It is local to your audience. If your customers or your ‘public’ live and work here in New Zealand, or even if they are only in Auckland or Wellington or Ranfurly, your content should address that audience by referencing local place names, examples, news and events to add relevance.
5. Valuable: There’s tons of content out there. The Internet is swimming with information, education and inspiration.
The good news is most of it is re-hashed, unoriginal and lacking in substance because it doesn’t get down into the nitty gritty of a piece that is authentically trying to connect with the audience.
List articles are an excellent example of poor content, but everybody’s doing them because everybody’s doing them.
If your content is the same as what everybody else is producing, it is not valuable. For example, in New Zealand Kiwibank, Westpac and ASB provide video content on ‘how to write a business plan’. The video adds value, but it is not valuable because everybody’s offering it.
6. Expert: Interview an expert to add depth and credibility to your stories, videos, blogs and podcasts. Influencers love to influence.
7. Examples: Use examples of real people, real events and real names. Examples add richness and credibility to your content. They also allow you to use local references in your work.
8. Differentiates: Content that has mission will differentiate you in the eyes of your audience. All good publishers have a ‘mission’ statement that helps define the type and context of content they publish.
For example, Time’s mission is to tell the news through people. Life magazine’s mission was to tell the news through photographs and Newstalk ZB’s mission statement is “Great conversations start here”.
A simple view of the content marketing process
Step 1 – Position your content to be different. Give yourself a mission. Westforce Credit Union, based in Auckland, had a mission to help parents in the lower socio-economic areas of the city – some parts of west and central Auckland all the way up to Whangarei – to eliminate financial illiteracy in children.
Step 2 – Write your content (even videos need scripts). Base it on your customer’s needs, problems and questions. Make it local. Try to base it on current affairs to add relevancy.
For example, the small New Zealand town of Cromwell was in the press recently because a Facebook Group called ‘Shit Towns of New Zealand’ described it as the ‘toilet bowl of the south’. It was an ideal opportunity to create some content that went along with the satire or to show why it isn’t true.
Step 3 – Put your content into production. For example, podcasts need to be recorded. Bear in mind that good graphic design is essential for credibility.
Step 4 – Publish your content on your website.
Step 5 – Promote your content on social media and various other channels, such as a content discovery platform Outbrain.
Step 6 – Repurpose your content into a press release and pitch it to media to maximise your exposure.
Step 7 – Evaluate and measure how your content was received and consumed. This will help you understand what’s working and what isn’t and adjust accordingly.
Content marketing distribution channels in New Zealand
Content marketing channels are ‘avenues’ – not just websites – where you can publish, post or broadcast your stories, videos and podcasts to get attention from the highest possible number of people.
There are essentially three types of channels that you can use to reach your audience:
Owned Media – includes those channels you have direct control over. For example, your website, blog and any microsites you may choose to set-up. Other effective owned channels for distributing your content include newsletters (print or email), email itself and even snail mail postcards and letters.
Free social media platforms can also be defined as owned media because you can edit, change or shut them down at any time. For example, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter.
Bought Media – channels include those where you have to pay for exposure. For example, native advertisements, sponsored posts, content discovery platforms or boosting your content on Facebook or publishing through LinkedIn’s content marketing platform.
Advertorials published in the local newspaper or in a magazine are also an example of bought media. You could also choose to promote your content with a paid email blast – called an eDM – to the subscribers of a particular magazine or website.
Native advertising is paid for articles, videos or podcasts published on a media site and badged, or identified, as sponsored. Most media outlets make an attempt to ensure the content educates or informs the audience.
There was a time when native ads referred to messages that were more overtly commercial, like advertorials, while sponsored content was a bit more objective and useful to the audience, but both terms have now become quite blurred.
NZME’s native advertising, or sponsored content, product is called Brand Insight. Fairfax Media calls its native advertising product ‘Brand Discover’. Both don’t come cheap.
Earned Media – applies to your content that gets published for free by a mainstream media website, newspaper, magazine, radio or television station. Public relations are the ideal vehicle for earning media exposure. Write a newsworthy press release and pitch it to a local media outlet, like Idealog, and if they think it’s good enough and they publish it, you’ve earned media.
Earned media may also include your content that goes viral or gets shared by your audience because they’re acting as publishers by syndicating or promoting your content.
Effective content marketing focuses on your owned media but achieves a good mix of all three to increase your exposure and reach.