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Creating content is only half the battle

Posted by Lauren Ruckheim on September 15, 2015

finger-769300_1280Today the average B2B organization spends 28% of its marketing budget on content, while the average B2C business spends 25%, according to the Content Marketing Institute. Therefore, more content is being created than in previous years.

With that said, creating content is not a simple task. It involves a tremendous amount of thought, research and time. Most professionals who have created any form of content are familiar with the process. You can spend hours slaving over a piece ensuring that each element of content is perfectly presented, but after you finally hit “publish” the mass of consumers you envisioned reading your work is nowhere to be found.

The truth is, creating content is only half the battle. Once content has been published, the real challenge is ensuring that it actually engages consumers and generates leads.

The 3 Cs: Create custom content

When creating content, it is important to specify a target audience that content can be customized to in order to ensure that content successfully targets the consumer’s interest. Creating content without a target audience in mind is like attempting to teach yoga to a Cross Fit class. There is no way the audience is going to be satisfied with the information presented when they expected something completely different. So instead of angering an entire class of fitness junkies by presenting downward dog techniques, the best way to ensure consumer engagement is to first understand the audience.

According to Demand Metric, 82% of consumers feel more positive about a company after reading custom content, and 90% find custom content useful. When personalizing content, one of the easiest places to begin is to choose a buyer persona to target.

Companies can create multiple buyer personas to represent different segments of their overall customer base. Each persona details various traits and characteristics that represent the specific audience. Such traits can include demographic, pain points, interests, wants, needs, goals, buying habits, income and more.

By determining these details of the audience before creating content, companies can make sure that topics and information presented are within the interests of the target audience. This ensures that content is customized to the interests of the consumer.

Creating content that engages for longer than a few seconds
According to data by Chartbeat, 55% of visitors spend fewer than 15 seconds on a website. With that in mind, gaining consumers’ attention and holding their attention are huge challenges facing businesses today.

Most consumers read content in hopes of answering a question, learning something new or gaining insight into a topic. Because consumers spend seconds glancing at a piece before determining if they should read on, it is vital to make sure content provides value to the consumer. If content is not in line with the topics that the consumers are looking for, there is no reason for them to engage with it further, which results in them abandoning the piece.

After a target audience is determined, a simple way to ensure that the topic engages the consumer is to ask what the audience would search for online.

Looking at the energy industry as an example, one such question the audience could propose is how to save money with more energy efficient utilities. After determining this topic, content can be created with solutions to that topic in an ebook on “5 energy efficient utilities to save you money.” This piece of content would not only answer the question of the consumer but offer additional insight into the topic.

In addition to customizing the topic for the audience, adding visuals has been proven to significantly increase consumer engagement. In a recent study by Demand Gen Report, 86% of buyers expressed some level of desire to access interactive/visual content on demand, and a report by MDG Advertising showed that adding visual content can generate up to 94% more views. Therefore, adding a visual element such as an image, video or infographic significantly increases customer views.

Looking at popular sites like BuzzFeed and Instagram, which base the foundation of their content on visuals, it is becoming more and more evident that as consumers’ attention span lowers to seconds interacting with content, utilizing images is a great way to grab their attention quickly.

Utilize multichannel promotions

Promoting content on multiple platforms extends the reach of any piece of content. For this reason, businesses should utilize additional marketing platforms in order to effectively promote content. Four easy channels to promote content on are social media, email, blogs and banner ads.

According to the SocialMedia Examiner, 92% of all marketers indicated that their social media efforts generated more exposure for their businesses. Therefore, posting content on social media is an easy way to gain additional customer views and increase engagement.

In addition to social media, email marketing is an efficient channel to use in order to reach a bigger audience. Today, there are over 4 billion email accounts with most users averaging 1.7 accounts according to the Radicati Group. With so many email users, building an email database and utilizing regular email marketing activities are great ways to keep consumers up to date on company news.

Beyond regularly interacting with consumers on social media and email, publishing content on blogs has been proven to increase lead generation. According to Kapost Marketing Content, B2B marketers who use blogs receive 67% more leads than those who do not.

Lastly, utilizing in-site promotional content such as inbound banner ads within a piece of content can significantly expand the reach. Banner ads enable businesses to promote different company pages within a given piece of content and with that offer businesses the opportunity to introduce new ideas to customers and increase the time a user spends on a company website.

Using multiple channels to promote content is a great way to extend the reach to a wider audience and increase customer engagement.

Make landing pages easily accessible

Whether a company is promoting an ebook, a free download or a webinar, it is vital that the consumer can easily find the landing page associated with the piece of content, as the landing page acts as the link between the consumer and the given piece of content.

Optimizing landing pages helps guarantee that the user finds the page. A few easy tips to improve landing page optimization include:

  • Implement keywords into titles, headlines, URLs and meta description
  • Provide an introduction that explains the content on the landing page
  •  Include highlights from the piece of content on the landing page to give the user a better idea as to what is included in the content
  • Keep form submissions simple. If a form asks for too much information, the consumer will be more likely to ignore the page and not complete the form.

Implement calls to action

According to HubSpot, 99% of first-time site visitors will not make a purchase. For this reason, it is important to make sure that the user has a reason to continue engaging with company content. Implementing calls to action in a piece of content is a great way to keep the consumer interested.

Calls to action act as a guide providing consumers with additional links to content that may be of interest to them. For example, a call to action could provide readers with a link to a blog article, download, ebook or case study. The most effective calls to action provide the reader with information that is targeted at their interests.

Creating content does not ensure customer engagement. In order to create successful content, businesses need to customize content as well as promote content in the necessary marketing channels and to the appropriate target audience. To learn more about improving customer engagement and building relationships, sign up for Jacobs & Clevenger’s free assessment. Our inbound marketing assessment will provide your company with the tools to leverage content marketing for customer relationship management.
Learn how to drive customer engagement and build relationships. FREE Inbound CRM Assesment. Sign up now.

Topics: Inbound Marketing

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