MARKETING 101: How to write engaging content online
Along with many of your competitors, you've decided to get into content marketing to give your business a shot in the arm. You hope to create more buying interest among existing customers and to attract new customers by adopting this new strategy.
As traditional marketing tactics grow less effective, corporate marketing departments look for new ways to reach potential customers.
One of the most popular of these new strategies is content marketing, which Content Marketing Institute defines as the creation and distribution of useful and relevant content designed to engage the interest of potential customers. The ultimate goal of content marketing is to attract and retain customers.
Unfortunately, your company's fledgling content marketing efforts don't seem to be having the desired effect. Business is stagnating, even dropping off, and you're desperate to find a way to turn things around.
It's probably time to evaluate your content marketing campaign to see where it may have gone off the tracks. When you know what isn't working, you can fine-tune the strategy to eliminate weak spots.
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Here are some of the ways in which your content marketing strategy may be missing the mark:
Failure to accurately identify your audience
Although it would be nice to think that your products and services would appeal to everybody, in most cases that's not the case. Just as it's vital to pitch your product to those people most likely to be interested, it's important that your marketing content be directed to that target audience.
Content designed to appeal to everyone often ends up pleasing no one. You first should carefully identify the demographics of your market so that you can create content that appeals to their interests and concerns and then distribute via the proper channels to reach that market.
Don't try to say too much
Although members of your target audience may have a variety of interests and concerns in common, don't make the mistake of trying to address them all at the same time. In developing content, clearly identify relatively narrow topics that fall within that range of interests and concerns. Biting off more than you can chew by trying to take on multiple topics at once usually results in content that's too broad and nonspecific to engage readers. Incisive content that meaningfully explores a single topic comprehensively is much more likely to attract the interest of your target audience.
Just as it's important to clearly define your target audience, you need to pinpoint the distribution channels that are most likely to get your message to that audience. Developing high-quality content but failing to place it where it will do the most good is a waste of your time and money. Find out which online sites and blogs, print publications, and social media networks your audience most often uses and develop mutually beneficial arrangements with the owners of those channels.
By mutually beneficial, we're talking about producing well-written and engaging content in exchange for a place to publish it. Once you've found the right distribution channels to reach your target audience, make sure that you don't let the quality of your content slip or you might run the risk of losing them.
The Internet offers a staggeringly varied wealth of information -- and misinformation. The folks developing content for your business's marketing campaign must be able to tell the difference between the two. In developing content that will be distributed on your company's behalf, the creative team has to seek out only the most high-quality sources for their information. Facts should be checked and then double-checked. Your content marketing campaign can easily flounder if readers detect factual errors.
Poorly written content
No matter how carefully you identify your target audience and pinpoint the proper distribution channels to reach them, it will all come to naught if you don't give them well-produced content on interesting topics. Not everyone writes well. Your content marketing team may have an assortment of talented members, but some might write better than others. Let the best writers handle that end of the project, and assign others to carry out other equally important tasks that are vital to the eventual success of your content marketing campaign.
Hopefully, a careful evaluation of your current content marketing program will help you to find the weak spots that may be undermining your efforts.
If it's done right, content marketing can promote your company and its brands, leading to a hefty increase in sales.
About the author
Jay Fremont is a freelance author who writes extensively about a wide array of business and personal finance topics.
Microsoft: Building a secure foundation to drive NASCAR
Microsoft is a key partner of The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) and together they are driving ahead to create an inclusive and immersive new fan experience (FX).
These long-term partners have not only navigated the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic with the use of Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365, but are now looking to a future packed with virtual events to enhance the FX, well beyond NASCAR’S famous Daytona racetrack.
“Together, we've created a secure environment that's allowed for collaboration, but the future is all about the fans”, said Melinda Cook, General Manager for Microsoft South USA Commercial Business, who cited a culture of transparency, passion, adaptiveness, and a growth mindset as to why this alignment is so successful.”
“We've partnered to create a fluid, immersive experience for the users that is supported by a secure foundation with Microsoft in the background. We are focused on empowering and enabling customers and businesses, like NASCAR, to reach their full potential. We do this with our cloud platform which provides data insights and security.”
“Our cloud environment allows NASCAR to move forward with their digital transformation journey while we are in the background,” said Cook who highlights that Microsoft is helping NASCAR
- Empower employees productivity and collaboration
- Improve fan engagement and experience
- Improve environment security and IT productivity
- Improve racing operations
Microsoft Teams, which is part of the Microsoft 365 suite, enabled employees to work remotely, while staying productive, during the pandemic. “This allowed people to provide the same level of productivity with the use of video conference and instant messaging to collaborate on documents. Increased automation also allows the pit crews, IT, and the business to focus on safety, racing operations, and on the fan experience,” said Cook.
“We have started to innovate to create a more inclusive fanbase, this includes using Xbox to give people the experience of being a virtual racer or even leveraging some of the tools in Microsoft Teams to have a virtual ride along experience.”
“These environments are how we create a more inclusive and immersive experience for the fans. We're working on a virtual fan wall which allows people from new locations to participate in these events,” said Cook, who pointed out Microsoft was also helping bring legacy experiences alive from NASCAR’s archives.
“At Microsoft we can take it one level further by letting fans know what it's like to see the pit crew experience, the data and all the behind-the-scenes action. We will continue to improve automation with machine learning and artificial intelligence, from marketing to IT operations to finance to racing operations,” said Cook.
Christine Stoffel-Moffett, Vice President of Enterprise Technology at NASCAR, said: “Microsoft is one of our key partners. They have been instrumental in helping the NASCAR enterprise technology team re-architect our Microsoft systems to ensure an advanced level of security across our environment, contribute to our business outcomes, and focus on fan experience.”