If you want to build a following for your brand that’s genuine, earnest, and customer-centric, creating an optimized content marketing strategy is the way to go. Instead of using paid ads or spending money to get your content in front of the right audience, you create content that’s valuable, gives insight, and helps users solve their problems.
Content marketing helps businesses reach their goals and connect with their audience. Research from 2018 shows that 91 percent of B2B marketers use content marketing to reach customers. On top of that, 86 percent of marketers consider it a key strategy to use to improve business. It’s just that effective.
When trying to grow and expand your brand, it’s essential to come up with new ways to spice up your content marketing so you don’t lose interest with your audience and always have something insightful to share. Some of the bigger well-known brands do the best job with their content marketing strategies and give other brands something to think about in terms of how they can improve to cater to their audience better.
Let’s look at four lessons marketers everywhere can learn from big brands and their content marketing strategies.
1. Use content to build your brand
The best way to gain a loyal following and build brand credibility is through your content. If it’s informative, offers value, and helps readers with their pain points, your brand will become a leader in its industry. Your content is what positions you as an expert in your niche and that your audience trusts for reliable information.
Can you imagine trying to start a business without first promoting your products and services? There’s no way you could expect an influx of visitors to your website and tons of sales if no one trusts you as a brand first. That’s why it’s important to gain that trust from your target audience before convincing them to buy your products. When they see you’re a credible business, they’ll move down the conversion funnel and turn into loyal customers.
Take the beauty brand Glossier, for example. At first, it started off as a blog called Into The Gloss that gave readers insights into natural makeup looks and healthy skincare. Founder and CEO Emily Weiss waited four years after her blog’s launch to start her makeup and skincare line, using feedback from her current audience as well as analytical information to access the market’s gaps and provide her audience with what they needed.
Glossier is now a one billion dollar business and continues growing thanks to its impeccable content. This is just one example of how marketers use content marketing to build an audience and prove their credibility. Offering them free, useful content in exchange for their loyalty works like a charm and Glossier is a big, bountiful brand because of it.
2. Leverage popular influencers
Influencer marketing isn’t a brand new strategy that brands are using to promote their content and products, but it’s still just as effective as it was in the beginning. Recent studies show that 49 percent of shoppers rely on influencer recommendations when making buying decisions while 40 percent make a purchase after seeing an influencer endorse a product.
Makeup brand Beauty Bakerie launched in 2011 and has since grown to amass more than one million Instagram followers. They feature influencers on their social media with photos of them using the products to create brand credibility and convince their audience to make a purchase. Doing so gets the influencer paid and boosts visibility for the brand to its target market so they can increase eCommerce sales and expand. As of today, Beauty Bakerie has more than one million followers on Instagram.
When users see a well-known influencer they like and follow using a product or service, it intrigues them to learn more and perhaps buy into the brand themselves, which is why influencer marketing is a solid strategy to use to build your following. It makes people feel confident about their buying decisions since someone they trust and adore backs it up and uses the products themselves.
Enhance your content marketing strategy by adding influencers into the mix. Write blog posts featuring influencers who have tried and tested your products and can give an honest, and hopefully positive, review. You can even turn it into an interview you publish on your website so users get the full story of how influencers feel about your brand, which will further encourage them to purchase.
Although content marketing and social media marketing are two different strategies that have different requirements, you can mesh them together to make the most out of your conversion strategy. Social media is a tool you can use to promote your content in a way that excites your audience and encourages them to align with your brand. There’s more to promoting your content through social media than to simply post about new blog content when it’s published.
You can use social media to further your content marketing efforts in several ways:
- Create branded hashtags that lead back to your business
- Create content specifically for social platforms
- Engage and interact with your followers and those in your target audience
- Answer user questions and address their concerns
- Collaborate with other brands in the same industry
Take Pepsi for example. They set a goal to increase their sales among millennial shoppers with the #SayItWithPepsi hashtag by creating brand-specific emojis and using them on their packaging. In the U.S. alone, 88 percent of millennials use social media, and since that was their target market for this specific campaign, Pepsi decided to market through social. The brand used these emojis in their content and promoted across social media and on television.
The campaign proved successful, with the #SayItWithPepsi campaign garnering more than 46 million impressions and 50 thousand measurable engagements. Their branded hashtag helped Pepsi spread the word about their campaign and overtake their biggest competitor, Coca Cola.
4. Switch up content types
If you’re going to grow your brand, you need to think of ways to spice up your content to keep users engaged, focused, and enticed by it. Few people want to scroll through text post after text post of information. Instead, you need to switch it up by incorporating different types of media into your content marketing, such as video, live stream, images, and more.
Whether you have new products on the line or an important brand-focused event, using different types of media to promote these parts of your business is essential because it includes your audience in the process. Giving users a behind-the-scenes look into what’s happening with your business is a great way to freshen up your content marketing strategy and give them something else to look at.
Dunkin Donuts decided to try streaming through Facebook Live to engage with their audience and give them a behind-the-scenes look at their kitchen for Valentine’s Day. Users saw the process of making heart-shaped donuts and had the opportunity to enter the brand’s contest where they could win $10 thousand dollars.
This strategy to promote their contest and connect with their audience proved successful. Within 13 minutes, the live stream garnered 21 thousand views, which urged customers to watch as long as possible so they could see what was to come.
Wrapping it up
There are tons of lessons marketers can learn from brands about their strategies and how to expand their businesses so they reach their goals. The core of any business is in its content, so if you refine this part of your strategy, you’re sure to see improved conversions. Focus on creating content with value, leveraging popular influencers, using social media to reach all parts of your audience, and try different types of visual content to engage users.