“Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action" (Source: Content Marketing Institute).
Content is not just information you can serve up. The people who buy from you want a solution. They have a problem they hope you can fix, but they also want to feel heard, respected and valued. And, they want to feel good about you and your company. You have to give them a chance to get to know you. You want to develop a connection with them.
I want to break down the content marketing trends for 2022 into three segments: storytelling, education and personalization.
The first thing to think about is why you are creating this content. Remember, you are helping people solve a problem.
Remember the old writing rule: show, don’t tell. Telling a customer how great you are will not make them believe you. Showing them will prove it to them. Weaving a story around your product, brand, and successes will build an emotional connection between you and your customers. This includes using great photos. After all, a great picture is worth a thousand words.
Here is an example for water treatment dealers: You’ve probably heard me tell this story during one of my lectures. When my son was much younger he was involved in kids’ baseball. I had the team over after a game for pizza and soda. I had put the food and drinks out so the kids and parents could help themselves. Which, they did. Then one of the kids came up to me and asked for a glass of water because, he said, my water tasted so good.
That is the kind of testimonial a dealer dreams of. But, how do you use it as content? This is a perfect example of a relevant social media post. It uses storytelling and a photo to convey the point that filtered water tastes so good.
This goes hand in hand with storytelling. We know that an educated customer is more likely to purchase. When we talk about content, this is where we offer actual information about our product or service to educate the client. We are helping them solve their problem. In this case we are educating, rather than selling.
Our content needs to educate by showing a personal connection. Here’s an example: “We bought a water conditioner because it eliminated the rust on our sidewalk. This way I was never embarrassed when company came to my door for holiday. Not only that, the same water conditioner made my hair shine. That’s because when it eliminated the minerals in the water, it also helped balance my hair’s pH level. Now my hair feels silky, smooth and healthy.“
Nowadays, consumers really look for what we call social proof before they make a purchase. By social proof, we mean the phenomenon that based on the fact that it’s easier to buy things or trust companies if we know that other people already have. Think reviews and influencers.
Reviews can help educate consumers on your products and services. Reviewers usually talk about their specific experiences in their reviews. This becomes an easy and respected way for potential customers to learn more about what you offer. You are educating them about your product, not just trying to sell them a service.
The term personalization can be used in a couple of different ways. In the most basic sense, personalization can be using someone’s name in communications. Example: Dear Dale.
We like when people know our name (I’m dating myself, but do you remember the TV show Cheers? People liked Cheers because it was a place “where everybody knows my name”). Sure, response increases exponentially when you personalize your marketing by name. However, it is not just about the name. You also know something about this person. You know their audience segment. It’s not just Dear Dale –— but it is Dear Dale who lives in a certain area, has a specific household composition, a particular income level a home of a certain value.
Because you know more about “Dear Dale” then just her name, you can market to her in a more personal way. For example, Dale may have teens in the household and live in a zip-code where you know the water is full of calcium and other hard-water chemicals. Because you know this, you might tailor the marketing to Dale to focus on providing a softer water experience for her family. You might use a photo of a happy family with shining hair. You might offer a great smelling, alkaline-free shampoo as your CTA (call to action).
Dale is not the only person in your dealership’s territory like this. However, by focusing in on Dale’s attributes, we can find other people who look just like her. This is how we use audience segmentation to personalize. This is the way we target the right marketing lists and grow our marketing campaign.
This concept works for direct mail, email and digital marketing campaigns, but it also works in terms of creating personalized content.
First, let us think retargeting. If someone has clicked on one of your online ads and lives in a specific area, then you know something about them and can serve an ad for a specific product.
Back to Data Dale. She has clicked on an ad shown on a recipe page. You know her zip code and household composition. The retargeting ad she will be served will focus on a soft water solution. The image may be a family; the CTA may be the alkaline-free shampoo.
Do you blog? Great content is vital if you want your blog to be noticed. Let us circle back to audience segmentation. We are breaking up our universe into different market segments. Can you segment your blog and the content you are providing for those segments? When you write with a group in mind, it becomes very personalized. It helps you communicate with customers and extend your outreach into your prospect market.
Great Content Ups Your SERP
Great content enhances your SERP (search engine results page) visibility.
The SERP is the page that a search engine returns after a user submits a search query. In addition to organic search results, search engine results pages usually include paid search and pay-per-click (PPC) ads.
When you provide great content, your company will come up when someone searches. If your water treatment company is offering awesome, relevant content, you will show up at the top of the page, without having to spend all your adverting dollars on PPC ads.
Last comment: The value of solid content will become even more important than ever before with Google’s new algorithms for 2022. Make sure you are ready for it!