Win with Content for your Brand: Give away value and usefulness

5m to read / 

To win with your brand's content marketing strategy – give something away – for free!  Not prizes, not coupons. Value. What you need to do each and every time is to share content with your audience that is useful and valuable for them. That's how you create an experience that your target audience will enjoy, benefit from, and look forward for more. And be consistent with your generosity!

Content is hugely valuable in our currency of marketing today. How do you create a winning content plan for your brand? There are so many ways to use content to better market your products and services, to better connect to your target audiences, and engage consumers. Whichever way, whichever types of content you plan to create and share, remember that end-user value is critical.

As far as the types of content you can or should create, see Content Marketing Strategy: What kind of content should you create.

Overall, for your content strategy, read up on 6 ways to get Content Marketing done right.

No matter how you plan, and what you aim for, you'll need to keep in mind that  Customer Insights is your First Step in any form of Digital Marketing. This is particularly important for your content strategy. That's how you'll be able to work out what you need to 'give away' or share.

Content marketing is not a quick win

Content marketing isn't a quick play game. It takes time for a brand that uses content marketing to build trust and to be recognized as a source of useful, valuable, enjoyable and reliable information. You need to become a go-to brand for your audience and stay top of mind and in their focus on a continuum.

In real life for example, remember how you walked into a Home Depot to buy a box of nails to hang some new pictures, and the guy took a good half an hour of his time to show you the best way to hang picture frames? And you ended up buying a $45 hammer because that's how he got his nails in perfect? Now think of content as that half an hour of show and tell of How To content.

Gain your audience's trust and retain it

Become a trusted, valued resource by giving away something. People like freebies. And I don't mean prizes and discounts (although discounts help somewhere along the conversion funnel). Giving something away means sharing content that is so useful to your audience that it really benefits them in their daily lives. That's beyond a price tag to that give away. And, that's what builds loyalty to your content, to your brand.

How and what to give away

Once you have audience and customer insights, you can plan on how you will add that value. Obviously, it will have to do with what your brand, your product, your service has to offer.

For Starbucks, it's not about their latte's but about the experience and those moments and how to get there, how to relax, how to, how to, what to... For Chevrolet, it's where you can go on a long drive, rather than fuel efficiency and horsepower. If you sell software, give away your 'mindware' – your knowledge.

If your company repairs iPhones, put out short form videos and how to tips on common problems, and how people can fix it themselves. Sure, they won't come to you for that fix, but you're building trust right there. Educate your audience – become a resource. Gain authority and trust. You also might post on your blog, or create Facebook videos on neat hacks and How-to use all the features of the latest iPhone. Share unboxings that reveal hidden features. That's how you build leverage for the future. That's how your relationship begins.

Make sure that when you create content that is useful, you make it shareable. When someone likes what you've given away, they will give it away as well. To their friends – and that's how your message, your brand gets around. Use all the right sharing tools for social. Empower your content for sharing the value you create.

Not just about your brand, you can share the joy.

Useful, valuable content isn't necessarily built around just your brand or product. You should have the generosity of creating content that may involve other brands and bring your audience the benefit of a shared experience. In the airline industry it's called code-sharing.

If you are Nutella, for example, your content could be about the Nutella with banana experience. Remember the Mentos and Diet Coke videos that went ape-viral? That was a shared content story. And Mentos got that totally right, Coke didn't.

If your brand is a hospital, your content shouldn't be just about what to do in an emergency, or who's the best surgeon at your hospital. Create content on wellness. Sounds like counter productive to your business goals? If you were thinking of some really advanced surgery, wouldn't you immediately think of the Mayo Clinic?

When you give, do not expect return. Or expect return right away. Content is not a QR code which someone redeems and you sell your product. Over time, you become a brand or a product that someone automatically should think of when they're looking for a genuine sellable solution that you can provide. Because over time, you've inched past being just another, to building a relationship by proving solutions every day. That's the pot at the end of the rainbow.

That's something fundamental to content. The value. The usefulness. And that's the basics. That's Digital Marketing Strategies 101.

Please add your comments below, and do share it with friends. People like value, after all...

6 Easy Ways to Improve Facebook Engagement for Brands

2m to read /

How do you improve consumer interaction with your brand's Facebook posts? How do get your news feed to get better exposure and engagement? With social media becoming critical for brands in their marketing effort, engagement with followers and fans becomes key. Here are five easy ways to get better engagement on Facebook...

1.  Create relevant content that is shareable

You really need to understand your target audience and create content that resonates with them, which they share. That's how you increase exposure. Facebook calls this “thumb stopping” – when your audience stops scrolling and pauses to read your content. If they truly find your content adds value to them, they will feel an urge to share it. But getting to know your audience is key: 
Customer Insights is your First Step in Digital Marketing.

Shareable content could be breaking news, educational or instructional, funny, entertaining, or anything that they wouldn't find as trivial and common. This is the type of content that will make your audience look good to others when they share it. So, try to consistently post photos, videos, graphics, and written content that are relevant, that will make you unique on their the news feed, and make people want to share it right away.

2. Use variety in content types

Mix up content types to add spice to what you post. For example, a higher ratio of video content these days will help your visibility and improve engagement. To keep seeing the same types of photos week in week out is boring. Use listicles, text posts, graphics, GIFs, polls, live posts etc and vary the type often.

3. Ask your audience for engagement. Include a Call to Action.

Ask your audience to engage. Include a Call to Action like "Please share this" or "Please comment". When you create content that resonates, people will respond and do what you tell them. Make sure that your content motivates them o do what you ask them.

4. Track your post timing and change it a few times

Yes, you need to be consistent, but mixing up your post timings often gets better results because a whole different set of your audience gets to see it. Try posting at times outside business hours when people have a little more time and attention. Ideally, you should check how your posts have been performing based on post timings – and particularly when your audience is online.

5. Try Facebook Live. Use it as often as you can.

Video gets great results, but Facebook Live is absolutely a winner these days. Plan on doing Live broadcasts – start with say, one Facebook Live post a week.
Read this: How to use Facebook Live video like a pro. The essentials of getting it right.

6. Drive traffic to Facebook from your other social media

Plan to drive traffic to your Facebook page from your other social networks, your email marketing and your website. How? Click on the timestamp of your post – which will give you the URL of that particular post. Use a URL shortener like bitly or Google's and paste the short link into twitter, instagram, and your websites and other marketing tools.

These simple steps will help you improve how your brand gets better engagement on Facebook. That's basic social media marketing. That's Digital Marketing Strategies 101.

Now read these related posts:

• Here's how to Power up your Facebook engagement with Video

• 7 ways your brand can increase Facebook organic reach

Winning Content Strategy: Always share something valuable and useful