There’s big hoopla about Content Marketing nowadays, especially when you look at indigenous players such as Scoopwhoop, Arre, Netflix, AIB and others curating millions of likes and followers on social and owned media.
It wasn’t too many moons ago that I was watching this video on YouTube (another example of content marketing) presented by Content Marketing Institute founder Joe Pulizzi, elucidating some examples of content marketing and making some sense out of it.
Pulizzi’s main point was that content marketing, if we break it up into organised pieces, comprises of these elements:
Pulizzi reflects on the case study of a man who coaches how to raise chickens and his following on social media, all organically. On another hand, he talks about a designer who started as a blogger and now consults with Microsoft. The clear line is that if you can articulate what you are an expert in, produce quality and user-friendly content then you can market yourself.
When it comes to content marketing I have been put up to a few questions, by clients and peers, that I would like to share with my readers:
- How do we get the following on social media?
I’d go back to the basics here. I started a blog way back in 2005 called Mantrablogs (we did not have Google Analytics back then) and I wrote a pice a day on any random topic from restaurant experience to movies to politics. When I started I shared it regularly with my friends and family and made them subscribe the blog. They started participating, commenting, and sometimes downright arguing on the forum. Gradually, there were more readers – friends’ friends, relatives’ relatives, etc. At its peak, I was generating about a dozen comments in about an hour after publishing the post.
So, my humble advice is to go step by step. Make your first few loyal followers and they shall spread your blog, forum, channel, page or whatever through word of mouth, or shares on social media. Be sure that you make consistently quality content (even if that means a hell lot of research or writing with a writer’s block) and keep your readers engaged. If they ask you a question, answer back. If you have a point to make, reply immediately, or tag another friend or acquaintance who can make a contribution. If the content generates value, surely but gradually you will have a following.
Well, yes, if you have dollars to burn, do social media ads!
- How do I make my content discoverable?
That’s the best question I have had coming my way. You go to YouTube or Google or Quora and search. You find content that addresses your find. Google is far ahead in this space. It helps you create title tag and description tag so that you find relevant audience. With YouTube you can find the most relevant heading and description to make it discoverable.
Basic SEO guidelines if followed will bring you organic traffic. Splash a layover to subscribe to your content platform, or have a strategic CTA at the end of YouTube video to push forward the engagement. You don’t want your follower to just have one-time experience with your brand.
- Does Email Marketing work?
As Pulizzi says in the video Email marketing is most critical. Why? Because you control it unlike YouTube or Facebook where they change guidelines at their whims and each content that goes out has to be supported with promotion (money).
With email marketing comes the ownership of marketing communication. You control the user, and can engage him where he apparently stays the most – his inbox.
- Can we get customer acquisitions without paid media?
Yes, you can fundamentally. There are many examples in The Huffington Post, Buzzed, AIB, who have done that. However, it pays to enable paid media and get a few paid clicks. Remember, to have subscriptions visible.
The fact of the matter also is that very of content-producing platforms have come up due to organic mode. Most have to pump money or raise capital some way down the road to acquire more readers.
- What is the first step in content marketing?
The first step is create addictive content that your readers totally love to read and compelled to share. A clean, neat, contemporary UI and UX is uncompromisingly the first step in this regard. This will also create a brand recall and value.
Secondly, select your platform according to form of content. By the thumb rule, YouTube for videos, Instagram for image-driven, Facebook/Twitter for textual/visual. You can also select multi platforms according to the content you share. However, do not be on a specific platform for the heck of it. It is better to have a million followers on one that quarter million on 4.
As I have repeated many times, compel your subscribers to subscribe. Produce content that draws more likes, views, shares, etc. Innovation is another drumbeater. Sccopwhoop now produces Web series. Netflix which started as a third party content provider now produces exclusive and paid content. If you can go a step further, do that. Surprise your audience with something new to play with.