Creating advocacy by engaging your audience
– An interview with Dustin Stout – Part 2
We were last talking to Dustin about Social Media Marketing. Traditional marketing is expensive and ineffective. A more powerful and cost efficient way to market is to leverage Social Media and Content Marketing. To do this, first find your target audience. Once you define your target audience, you need grab and hold their attention. The best way to do this is through creating engaging content. He now discusses the importance of creating advocacy by engaging your audience with your content.
Are you leveraging content marketing?
Are you engaging your audience?
Do you know what effective content marketing is?
In this interview learn:
- What Content Marketing is Really about
- Content Marketing Tactics for your Business
- Why Engagement is Key
- Secret to effective Content Marketing
What is Content Marketing and how is it different from traditional marketing?
Traditional marketing is expensive and ineffective. Newspapers, direct mail, TV, radio, etc. These generally try to send a message by talking “At” people. Content Marketing instead talks “with” them.
Content is the building block between you and your target audience or customers. Creating content makes you stand out from the crowd. Helping others with your experience, ideas, and speaking your mind, will quickly put you ahead of everybody else in your busy industry.
At it’s core simplest form, content marketing is making things for people, so that they like and trust you.
With digital content marketing, it’s creating informative media. Written, visual, audio, any sort of consumable media which people can read, watch, or interact with in a way that not only gives them something of value but also gets them to engage and interact with you and your business. It will get them to love your content, trust, and build loyalty to your brand or business.
It also helps build your reputation and image. You can easily establish yourself as an industry expert by sharing information and advice, answering questions about your industry and sharing your perspective. Doing this will build a reputation of trust, mutual respect and position you as valuable resource. When you help someone get from point A to point B, you will become a very important part of their business.
When you connect with your audience, you’ll stay on the top of their mind, nurture customer loyalty, and foster customer advocacy for your business.
With content marketing, you don’t need to know everything or spend a ton of time and resources. All you need is a good solid strategy, and commitment to consistency. It will be a long-term strategy that leads to predictable, sustainable growth.
Here are some Strategies:
- You don’t need to be everywhere, just where it counts.
- Social Listening: Find where your target audience is most active and focus on those channels. At the very most only 2 or 3 platform channels.
- Your goal is not to get a million views and followers. Don’t follow anyone or everyone. Find your audience and consistently engage them on deep levels.
- Be a genuine fan of your audience, make them the hero of your story.
- Mention others. Make sure that they are informed and notified every time you talk about them on social channels.
- Social Proof- Show new visitors that your previous audience finds your content and services valuable and trustworthy.
These things give people a guided way to engage with your content.
When leveraged correctly, social media and content marketing will allow you to scale your marketing efforts beyond you.
So an example of content marketing would be blogging or writing articles on platforms?
Yes. There is no limit to this. If you can write it down, you can deliver it to people as a form of content marketing.
Bottom line definition of content marketing is,
“Earning the trust, attention, and business of your target audience by producing and sharing valuable content that meets their needs.”
So a blog post is an example. A social media post is an example. Social media is a subdivision of content marketing. Ebooks, whitepaper, email newsletters, YouTube and Vine videos.
Discussion Board Forums are another great type of content marketing. It allows you to get involved and attach yourself to relevant conversations as they are going on in real time and getting personal with the audience.
So basically, content marketing is sharing your knowledge and experience to help others solve issues or problems.
Exactly. Perfect example is Marcus Sheridan of the Sales Lion. He had a swimming pool business, and during the recession he had a hard time as people stopped maintaining and cleaning their pools. Nobody is buying or maintaining pools in tough times.
So he needed a way to acquire customers and advertise at zero cost.
He realized his target audience were searching and asking questions on Google regarding swimming pools and the pool industry.
So he started a blog. He created blog posts answering people’s questions regarding swimming pools. That lead to more people visiting his site, more questions, more blog posts, and more sales.
His audience became huge advocates for his brand because he was delivering valuable content to them.
That was a crash course for him on content marketing and delivering value, which worked out great for him.
Social media is merely a channel to deliver and get that content marketing out in front of people. The best forms of content are the ones that help people solve problems.Be useful: Create content that solves problems, then give it awayClick To Tweet
Can you discuss about engaging content and the best way to create it?
Having a million followers does not mean anything unless they’re engaging with your content. What’s the point of having a million eyes on your webpage if they are not leading towards a tangible goal? You need to create and share engaging content in order to retain clients and customers.
Engagement is key. Engagement come in the forms of comments, interactions, exchanges, and importantly, actions taken on your content. People need to respond after seeing your content.
The end goal of businesses and brands on social media is to get people to know, love, and buy from you. The best way to do this is to have them engage and interact with you. Interaction is the most valuable way to measure if you’re attracting the correct target audience.
To attract them, you need to capture your audience’s attention. Are your marketing efforts grabbing attention and driving them to take action? Are they engaged to your creations online? Engage their senses.
You need to provide high retention and immersion. If retention is low, you’re not providing enough value the audience is seeking. You need to create great content people can get immersed in. Make it enjoyable for them to spend time getting lost in your content.
To do this you need to:
- Make it more about them than yourself.
- GIve them an enjoyable reading experience.
- Make it personal. Be a real human, not an information robot.
If you can do this well, success will follow with higher quality shares and followers.
Specific examples of good engaging content?
Depending on which social media, there are certain forms of media you can create and use to form engagement.
Visuals are becoming increasingly important. Do your best to create content that allows viewers to engage in multiple senses. If it’s an article blog post, then you want a few visuals, becoming a combination of written and visual content.
Good use of visuals include: Quote graphics, Infographics, animated GIFs, and Videos.
Video are actually one of the hottest things you can use in social media right now because it’s widely accessible and easy to create. With apps like Periscope, Facebook live video, and SnapChat, anybody can create a video.
Video content is really hot right now for social media and content marketing. If you can, try to create video content.
The notion of email marketing and creating newsletters is not talked about as much anymore because social media has dwarfed it and it’s popularity. But email still remains a good viable option.
Email marketing is still an effective sales channel. If you can get people to open up your email, then there is a greater chance of gaining a customer rather than just sharing a post on social media. Same rules apply for emails. Make it visual, friendly, and personable.
Don’t create robotic sales copies or templates. More and more business do this today and people are now immune to typical marketing tactics. They don’t respond to traditional marketing tactics. Today, people want personable stuff. Real things that allow them to connect with on a human level.Traditional marketing doesn't work. You have to be real and connect with them on a human levelClick To Tweet
This concludes part 2 of our Interview with Dustin. Continue to part 3 on “Viral Growth”
Dustin W. Stout Bio
Dustin Stout is a Digital Media designer, consultant, and speaker who helps others to optimize their websites. He is co founder of Warfare Plugins, One of the top social sharing plugin in its class.
He helps others excel online through social media and design. He is an expert on content marketing and social media strategies.
He currently runs a social media blog and his site has been named one of the best Social Media blogs in the world, 2014. He cuts through digital clutter and optimize website design. He helps business establish brands and effectively promote themselves and their messages through social media.