There are thousands of articles, videos, and books out there, all eager to tell you the “secret” to effective content marketing. There’s a reason such resources are in high demand: 88% of all B2B businesses are investing in content marketing, along with 80% of B2C businesses. Of course folks are gonna want to know how to get it right.
Many of these resources focus on tactics and analytics. A great deal focus on management and tone. That’s a great starting point, but insufficient. Your strategy can be technically perfect and impeccably measured, but there’s an element to marketing along any channel that will always rely on subjective and immeasurable creativity and humanity. Guidance on how to excel in that facet of your marketing has always been difficult to form and process, but it’s sorely needed if you want your investment in content marketing to pay off.
This is where your sales team can be incredibly helpful. That might sound counterintuitive for some. After all, while sales and marketing teams should work with a great deal of synergy, it’s pretty common to see disconnect and even discord between the two camps. Still, your sales team will have valuable insight into your customer base, their preferences, and their personalities. That information is essential if you want to nail your content marketing.
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Why? Because the best way to excel in content marketing is to give your target audience something they’ll find valuable. Knowing who they are is the first step. The next is trying to put yourselves in their shoes, and then creating something that would mean something to you in that position.
If 4/5 of all companies are engaging in content marketing, that means your target audience is already being bombarded by content from all angles. You know the feeling. You’re a consumer. You see it in your inbox, on your social media feeds, in your search results. Your target audience does, too.
Now think about what content stands out to you in all that clamor. Is it the slick headline? The content stuffed with all the right keywords and links? The finely honed sales pitch? Probably not. Odds are it’s content that was designed with you in mind.
Putting yourself in the shoes of your target audience as you plot an editorial calendar is the best way to make sure your content stands out to them in the clamor, too. Instead of focusing solely on relevant search phrases and headlining best practices, think about how you can best be of service and appeal to the people for whom your content is intended. Think about how you and your brand can make their lives better or easier with the information you aggregate.
By all means, make sure you’re optimized and measured every step of the way, but if you want your content marketing to succeed, put the people in your audience before the numbers that represent them. Everything else will follow.
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