The morph of traditional marketing in to content marketing tells us one key fact: consumers want a second hand source in which to read about a brand or product. Self-promotion may have gotten a reader’s attention in the past but with the evolution of the internet, consumers are evolving as well.
The audiences we are trying to reach want to hear about us via word of mouth. And guess whose mouths are the most influential? The bloggers! Here is a great article that uses research to show how and why bloggers are key influencers.
What it comes down to: consumers trust bloggers, not brands and some marketers and PR firms are struggling to keep up. In the event that you or your brand fall in to the “struggling category,” don’t worry, just keep reading.
After all, content marketing is so new that it’s barely being taught in colleges, so in order to not become “outdated marketers,” our marketing education has been one of self-direction and our “professors” are other bloggers.
You know you are keeping up with modern day marketing and promoting your brand via word of mouth if your marketing strategy encompasses the following 5 key components.
1. You are getting the bloggers on your side.
First and foremost, blogger outreach should be your priority. Like I said, they are your brand’s biggest influencers.
To educate yourself more on blogger outreach here are some great resources:
-The Blogger Outreach Equation: an article from SEOmoz
-This guide by Kristi Hines on blogger outreach
-A detailed post from Zemanta on how to start a blogger outreach campaign
2. You have a blog for your company or brand.
Having a blog that is an authority on a topic associated with your brand or your client’s brand is a must. When your consumers or potential consumers can look to you as an expert on a topic, you are suddenly viewed as a trustworthy source.
With that said, your blog needs be kept up with. Readers will lose interest if your posts are sparse, even if the few posts you have are good. Along that note though, never put up content just to put up content. A good rule of thumb is two or three quality posts per week. Having guest bloggers help you out with this some of the time is a good idea.
Something else to keep in mind is that your blog should not be very self-promotional. For example, if you are an online clothing shop your blog is about fashion. Of course you can mention your own clothing line but the blog shouldn’t only be about your clothing.
3. Content creation is at the top of your list of priorities.
Since consumers are researching brands and products to educate themselves, content that promotes (subtly) your brand should be widespread across the web.
Because content creation is crucial, it’s also cited as the number one challenge that marketers face which leads me to the fourth component of successful modern marketing.
4. You are bundling your content.
Bundling content means that you are spreading one idea across many platforms. One idea should get you many of the following: multiple blog posts, a SlideShare presentation, a bunch of tweets, some Facebook posts, an e-book, an infographic, a webinar, a newsletter article, and an e-magazine article.
5. You engage and are easy to engage with.
When someone stops by your blog or a post you wrote for another site, you need to make it easy for readers to keep reading your content. This means that all articles on your blog need to have widgets that allow your readers to join your social media channels. Articles on other sites should have information in your author’s bio that allow the readers to follow you on Twitter and check out your blog.
Creating these engagement/social media channels for your brand isn’t enough, though. You also should actively engage with your audience and bloggers that you reach out to.
Always remember to track the success of your content marketing strategy with detailed spread sheets so that you know what type of content works as well as which blogs brought your site traffic.