Content Is King

 

Content is king. It’s what we’ve heard since online marketing was in its infant phases. Now in the year 2020, online marketing has evolved into a multi-hundred-billion-dollar industry and the view of content, as Darwin would concur, must evolve alongside it. Content is pieces of information that is available electronically, whether it be blog posts, articles, visual contents such as videos and pictures, etc. They are used to direct traffic to a site or create awareness for a brand. Though original and effective content are still king, the most effective saying in today’s day and age is trust is king.

When a customer is deciding between 2 or more companies who sell the same product, trust in the brand becomes critical. We, as humans, do tend to prefer brands we know, but awareness of a brand is not enough to create trust between the customer and the company. You probably haven’t heard the word ethos since your, overly dull and monotonous, English teacher in high school forced you to know the difference between ethos, pathos, and logos. I plan to keep this section short and sweet to not put you to sleep like he or she once did. That being said, let me refresh your memory a bit. Ethos is the appeal to authority, honesty, and credibility of the person (or company in this case) speaking or writing. It is what builds trust between a customer and a company when content marketing is done well. Aristotle, the Greek philosopher, and originator of ethos thought the key component of effective ethos was disinterested goodwill. Disinterested goodwill is a combination of likability and selflessness. In the context of business and online marketing it is the idea of putting out quality content that is so good you could have charged money for it. The audience of this effective content received value without paying a single penny. Not only does this bring traction to your website or blog, but also demonstrates your authority with your content rather than claiming to be an “expert.” In short you are walking the walk, not talking the talk. Not only does this build trust in the type of masterful content you provide, but also plants a seed in the customers mind about what you would be able to do for them if money were involved. 

Once your content has attracted the intended target audience, never be shy with your potential customer about what is in it for you. It builds trust to come out and tell people the deal for both sides of the transaction. You would never go to a grocery store that doesn’t display their prices on their items. You would want to know exactly what you are paying for and that should not change when you are on the other side of the business deal.

As we continue down the path of trust within online marketing, the next stop is copywriting. To create great pieces of copywriting you must have a great copy and content strategy. This strategy will, firstly, build your expertise and authority, secondly it will inspire and motivate your audience, and lastly build knowledge of your business, connection to your values and personality, and ultimately trust. Most content creators and copywriters get stuck on the first two and forget to create the connection with their audience with the third, which is usually their demise. People nowadays want to feel a connection and want to feel heard. The audience needs to know you won’t bait them in and leave them hanging once they hand over their money. One way to make this evident in your copywriting is to write conversationally. You need to sound human because if you sound robotic you will build a wall between you and your audience and scare them away. Imagine the readers are coming to you, nervous looking for advice on a problem they are facing. A warm human interaction will win them over every time over a robotic reply. Why do you think so many companies are changing back to human phone operators over the archaic robotic operators? State Farm even created a whole brand based on this idea. They are always there for you, wearing khakis, like a good neighbor. I know that high school English teachers will roll over in his or her grave when I tell you this but it’s okay to use contractions and it’s okay to break a few grammar rules. Say “I’m” instead of saying “I am.” Start a sentence with “But” and have one sentence paragraphs. This mimics the way we naturally speak and portrays a human interaction. Another important factor is you must also add your personality to the piece. This could mean making a reference to a TV show or even expressing your love for dogs within the piece. Adding personality will want people to continue the conversation further and it adds trust knowing that another human is behind that keyboard adding a few spices in the mix. 

Another way to add trust to your copy is to make the next steps clear. Don’t ever tease or suggest a solution for the problem, only to make them run around like a chicken with its head cut off to figure out what to do next. You must ask yourself as you read back through your copy if you have clear CTA’s throughout your copy, if your site makes it easy for the reader to figure out how to work with you, if you share how you can serve them, and if you make any offers. You must let them know what happens after they take you up on your offer. All these build trust too. 

Lastly, I implore you to change all your “I”’s to “you” and “we.” You do not write copy for you; you write it for your audience. With copywriting, you are serving your audience. To reference Story Brand by Donald Miller, the potential buyer should always feel like the hero of the story and you are serving as their mentor. You are there to solve the potential buyer’s problems and show them their potential. It is okay to take yourself out of the spotlight every once in a while.

To become an effective content creator, you must generate valuable, rich, and actionable content. As the internet continues to grow older your target audience continues to grow sick and tired of disruptive and pushy social media ads. Whether the content you choose is blogs, articles, or visual content, your content must be digestible information. 41% of the content marketing challenge is how to produce the types of content that engages prospective clients and customers. In the competitive content market, you must not only stand-out, but consistently stand out. Over half of the most effective content makers put out new content several times a week, if not every day. Garyvee, a prominent social media content marketer, preaches this consistency mentality, saying “If you are not producing 100 pieces of content … every single day you are leaving the greatest opportunity in the world on the table.” Though this may be a hyperbole, you see the point. According to Blogger.com 6.7 million people blog on blogger sites, while roughly 1.2 million people blog on their self-hosted sites. On average there are over 2 million blogs posted each day. There are plentiful amounts of competition in whatever content marketplace you choose to enter. I am pointing this out to you to prove that without marketing and promoting your articles, videos, blogs, etc., you will not be succeeding in online marketing. The “write it and they will come” days are decades behind us if there were even those days in the first place. To market your content properly you must focus on your target audience’s persona. A persona is a fictional representation of your ideal customer, based on real data about your customer demographics and online behavior, along with educated speculation about their personal histories, motivations, and concerns. There are many sites that can give you a general overview of these statistics, but to gain in depth knowledge the assistance of an outsourced marketing firm can do wonders. Your focus should be to create original content that connects, interests, and builds a communication relationship with your target market to produce potential buyers.

A great starting point to creating valuable original content for customers is to brainstorm ideas and topics. Whether it be a group of 8-15 people bouncing ideas off each other or me, myself, and I, you must create an environment where ideas, mundane or innovative, can be freely presented and discussed. Once you have landed on a topic you want to share to your audience you need to concentrate on writing an attention-grabbing headline. Eight out of ten people will read your headline, but fewer than 3 of the ten people will read the rest of you piece of work and share it according to Copyblogger Media, so you must seize their attention and keep it long enough for them to read the content you worked tirelessly on. If content is not your cup of tea or you don’t want to take your attention away from the day to day within your business, a route you can take is to hire an outsource content creation company. When working with an outsource content creation company you must present them with a definite objective so they know what you are looking for and set a budget so you will not have to have a dreadful talk with your accountant. The most important thing you must look for though is passion. A passionate writer or content creator will help grow your business and it will be evident in his or her work. Outsourcing continues to become more popular in the business world as the global outsourcing of services grew from $87.5 billion in 2008 to $104.6 billion in 2014 and continues to grow each year according to Statistica. Lastly, but most importantly, you most promote your content. Yes, I am aware we just talked about this, but that is how important it. It’s very easy to start a website or blog, the real trick is attracting regular viewers or readers. When asked about their top priority, the main goal of 25% of CEOs is to attract the right audience with every piece of information they put out. For long-term marketing everyone is aware of the impacts of SEOs. But for marketing with instant results I would recommend blog outreach. This means getting across to people with influence in public relations and the social media space. A recent study found 61% of online shoppers made purchases based on blogger recommendations. It may feel awkward at first, but everyone who you look up to in your industry was once where you are at. It never hurts to reach out and engage with those you look up to and I encourage you to do so.

Content marketing is a tricky world to dissect, but very profitable once you put all the pieces together. The first and most important piece is gaining trust from your potential and current customers. If they trust you and your business, they will choose you every time over the competition. You can create trust through your content and copywriting in many ways. You must remain original and true to your values when creating content and be overly consistent when putting it out on the web. If you have any additional questions regarding content marketing, we at Alpine Point Media are happy to help provide answers and solutions.

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