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7 Ways to Engage Your Audience with Marketing Content

By Meghan SullivanFeb 25, 2014

Content StrategyBy now, we all know the reasons content marketing has flourished as a marketing strategy and a full-time profession. With advanced technology that puts information at consumers' fingertips, they are in complete control of the buying process, whether in B2B or B2C setting. They search for solutions, answers to questions, fixes for problems, detailed product information and user reviews, and often consume all of that content before taking any step toward making a purchase or talking to a company representative.

This creates a huge opportunity for marketing teams to create all kinds of content their target audiences are searching for and find useful! As part of your content strategic planning, you will want to ensure you’re addressing the various things you can do with marketing content. This post will explore seven.

Before You Start Planning...

It’s critical to take the steps you need to fully understand your Buyer Personas. Talk to your salespeople about the kinds of questions they get at each stage of working with a prospect—from their first questions to the questions asked just before making the purchase, or even after. Talk to customers, too. Ask them what information they found useful—or wish they had—as they considered purchases.

Also, remember you have multiple delivery mechanisms for content of all types. Some might work better than others depending on the purpose, but a diverse library of content is going to appeal to the largest number of potential buyers. Think in terms of eBooks, quick guides, infographics, slide decks, videos, photos, blog posts and emails.

Having said that, here are seven things you can do with marketing content to engage and nurture your audience:

Inform

Content marketing is a great way to make your audience aware of goings-on. We advise clients to publish blog posts (or, when fitting, other types of content) when they are going to be at a trade show, doing public speaking or hosting a webinar. You can provide details and compelling reasons for your audience to check out whatever it is you’re bringing to their attention.

Example: A simple example, but here at Kuno we use our blog as one channel to let our followers know about webinars we’re hosting. It’s a great way to get the word out.

Educate

I’d argue this is the most valuable type of content you can publish. Teach your readers how to do something that will help them achieve whatever goals they have. Share best practices from your vantage point as a product/service provider.

Example: No surprise, but HubSpot really gets content marketing. HubSpot offers training on things that have nothing directly to do with its software, but is just helpful for its target audience of marketers. My favorite example is its Microsoft Excel training for Marketers. While not a part of its software, this is incredibly valuable content for marketers!

Advise

Every day, thousands of people will take to the Internet to search for solutions to a problem. Here is your opportunity to offer some words of wisdom or advice, especially if you or someone on your team is experienced in a particular area.

Example: HubSpot gives us a nice example with the advice it offers Millennials on building a successful career. Again, not directly related to its software, but HubSpot understands Millennials are an important target audience now and in the future, so it takes the time to give them some worthwhile reading.

Argue

Some of the most interesting debates I’ve ever followed have taken place in the blogosphere, with well-known thought leaders each taking a position on a controversial topic or one that’s hotly debated. Every point of view is unique, important and adds to the discussion.

Example: Earlier this year, Mark Shaeffer published a blog post about content saturation and the problems it could cause marketers in the near future. His post spurred quite a fascinating debate, with responses coming from all corners of the marketing world including Joe Pulizzi, Marcus Sheridan and our very own John McTigue. The best part about this debate is how much readers learned not only from each post, but from the comments. It was an industry-wide learning experience.

Explain

Use your blog or even an email to tell your audience why something has happened or why a decision has been made.

Example: Last year, the app Buffer experienced a security breach that caused user accounts to post spam. Because Buffer handled the issue quickly and calmly, users were delighted and even left messages expressing thanks and well wishes. Use your blog, social media accounts and other communication methods to swiftly address anything that creates questions or confusion in the marketplace. It’s common for misinformation to spread, creating speculation and misinformed reactions. When those situations arise, it’s best to address it directly and promptly. Follow crisis communications best practices of hopping on it quickly and saying exactly what happened, why it happened, and what the resolution is or will be.

Overcome

Your sales team can help with this one. There are usually several common objections it faces when talking to potential clients. Address these in your content to nip those objections in the bud before they even hit the sales team. They’ll appreciate it!

Example: A common objective our business development team has to overcome here at Kuno is budget-related. Our EVP John addressed those frequently asked questions in a blog post to help our potential clients get the budgetary wheels turning early on.

Train

Content creation shouldn’t only target leads or customers you don’t have yet! Don’t forget your bottom-funnel leads or user groups; offer these folks training and/or best practices content for your product.

Example: MAC Cosmetics has a series of makeup tutorial videos featuring real-life makeup artists. While it might be obvious to a professional how to best use MAC products, an amateur applying makeup at home might not know, so these tutorials are a great way to learn new techniques for using the company’s products. This type of content builds long-term relationships with clients who continue to engage with your brand even after they’ve bought your product.

There are several more ways you can use marketing content to engage with your target audiences. What are some of the ways you’ve used content marketing? Leave a comment below!

Sales & Marketing Align Blog Post

photo credit: birgerking

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