Think about the brands to which you feel strongly connected. The brands that really seem to get you. These are the ones whose newsletter you look forward to and from which you’d never entertain the idea of unsubscribing. The ones with the social media presence you instantly navigate to each time you sign on to your favorite channel.
Now think of those annoying brands that leave a bad taste in your mouth. The ones you run from rather than to. The ones that leave you pondering how you even wound up subscribed to their newsletter in the first place. The ones whose posts you banned from appearing in your social media feeds years ago.
Every marketer strives to elicit the former of these two reactions from their target audience and avoid the latter at all costs. One major key to achieving this sought-after reaction is properly executed content marketing that builds relationships and adds value to your audience’s life.
The first step in creating a truly impactful content marketing plan that leads to lasting relationships with your target audience is really understanding who they are and what makes them tick.
Develop Target Personas
This is where many content marketing efforts fail. Companies neglect to do their research and never really understand the wants and needs of their target audience. Just because your team thinks a piece of content is great doesn’t mean the audience for whom it’s intended feels the same.
Before creating any piece of content, your team needs to consider the following:
- Who is our target audience?
- What challenges do they face at their companies?
- Is this piece of content relevant to them?
- Would this add value, and would they even want it?
If the answers to questions two through four are “no,” then you should ditch the project and move on.
Take your understanding of your audience, their wants and needs, their lifestyle and other factors and create personas for each type of audience member. You team should then use these personas as the framework for building out content that really engages and makes a lasting connection.
Add Value for Your Audience
Once you understand your audience, the real key to implementing a content marketing plan that helps create lasting relationships is the value your content adds. After creating your target personas, you should have a better grasp of the problems your audience members face. Any content you create should be designed to help them face those issues. The occasional piece of comic relief (depending on your interests and brand image) is ok, but mostly your content should be useful and helpful.
If your content helps solve a problem or makes someone’s life easier, there’s a pretty solid chance that person will be thankful and will continue to follow your brand. A positive image of your brand will form in their brain, and they’ll likely even recommend your company to their colleagues. Word-of-mouth is a powerful tool, and by adding value through your content you can really begin to build positive vibes around your brand.
Be Consistent Without Being Pushy
Those positive vibes need to be nurtured with the right consistency of communication. In relationships, spending consistent, quality time together is critical in maintaining a close, positive connection. This goes for content marketing as well. On the contrary, being clingy and never offering room to breathe are frowned upon and can lead to a split.
Try running a survey to determine what types of content your audience wants to see, when they want to see it and how often. This can help you stay on the right side of the line and keep your relationship on track. If you want to avoid your target audience members breaking up with you, be sure to provide enough content, but don’t cross the line. Too many emails, an excess of social media posts or any overload of content and communication can drive people away.
A commonly cited stat shows that it costs five times more to attract a new customer than it does to keep an existing one. Based on that stat alone, you don’t need to be a math whiz to see the value in making a conscious effort to constantly seek to strengthen your relationships with existing customers. Content marketing, if used wisely, can have a huge impact on your company’s ability to build lasting relationships that lead to repeat business and can cost far less than your marketing campaigns to attract new customers.