Hook your audience with ‘content candy’

Content marketing is an umbrella term for anything a business might produce in the way of text, video, audio or visuals, to give away online so that it is engaging and is shared widely.

I think of it as “fodder,” which is defined as: “readily available material used to supply a heavy demand.” Think articles, white papers, webcasts, podcasts, apps, a research study, infographics, even branded entertainment, like a custom game or virtual event.

Places where this type of fodder could appear include: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs, article sites, YouTube, podcasts, newsletters or relevant websites.

You might want to be a generous supplier of proprietary content by giving wide permission to re-publish your material as long as the source is referenced and the re-publisher provides a link back to your website.

This would result in a number of backlinks to your website, which makes Google stand up and take notice, and thereafter likely rank your website higher in the search-engine results pages.

And people would be driven back to your website in addition to Google’s robots – which could increase your visits and potentially your conversion rates (people taking a desired action there.)

Benefits beyond backlinks and site-visit increases include: becoming an authority in your industry by virtue of what you disseminate; establishing your company as a thought leader; improving your brand position vs. competitors who are less prolific; persuading decision-makers to choose your services and solutions; increasing “likes” on Facebook; and requiring completion of a short registration form to acquire the unique content offered. In short, content becomes a strategic way to generate leads.

Providing content to other web publishers to indirectly promote your business can short-circuit the need for Google in the first place. Say your study of people’s preferences for pepperoni on their pizza gets gobbled up by bloggers and online trade publications. Who needs Google then? Cut out the middleman and go right for the people who have wide audiences themselves.

Here’s my top-five list of great content-marketing ideas:

• A local newspaper’s list of best of everything in a given town;

• an infographic that shows easy-to-understand visuals of something complicated like the internal combustion engine as a metaphor for dating;

• a survey in your industry about consumer preferences;

• a physical therapist’s exercise guide to healing a frozen shoulder or plantar fasciitis;

• an “A to Z” glossary of terms in your particular field.

Today, a marketing job at a company could include the role of content engineer. That’s someone who has responsibility for generating and distributing the valuable materials that become, hopefully, wedges into the minds of his/her target audience.

It’s a new breed of marketer, for sure. No longer do companies keep their erudition to themselves — they purposefully “spill content candy” for specific audiences to enjoy. They hope they’ll get them hooked.

Laurie Macomber, owner of Fort Collins-based Blue Skies Marketing, can be reached at laurie@blueskiesmktg.com or 970-689-3000.


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