I am sure by now you have realized the value of content marketing. You have developed and written a strategy. You have created your website and blog, and optimized it, populating it with long form linkable content, shorter news type items, and well designed conversion pages.
You’re even accepting guest posts from industry influences and others, and your web traffic is growing as a result. You are ranking in Google for keywords and long-tail queries, and things are going well. In short, you have embraced your brand as a publisher and created your own content kingdom.
As you survey your newly created kingdom, you realize you need to do something more. Like all good kingdoms, you want to expand your influence.You need to turn as many of the followers of your content, the subjects in your content kingdom, into conversions. But you need to ask yourself some questions. Where are they and what do they care about? Now that you have their attention, what is it they want and need to hear from you?
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Location, Location, Location
Even if your business is entirely web based, your kingdom has a geography, and it is useful to know what that is for a number of reasons. Location has resurfaced as a marketing buzzword of late because of Location Based Marketing.
Customers are constantly sharing their location through smartphones, fitness devices, and an number of other ways. This information can be leveraged to customize marketing messages related to where the customer is at that particular moment in time. Apps customers use to connect with you are a part of your content. But it can go deeper than presenting them with a local deal or coupon.
More often than not, you customer is accessing your website on a mobile device, whether that is a phone, tablet, or laptop. The location data that device provides enables you to customize what content that user sees first.
Having enough rich content to present them with something relevant to their location lets them know you are engaged, and interested in developing a relationship with them.
Content Related to Interests
It is more than where you customer is geographically, but rather what they are actually doing. Is your customer at a restaurant, a sporting event, or attending a movie? Do you have content related to those interests?
Not only is content presented to customers in a timely and relevant manner more likely to get a positive response, but it also shows them you are listening.
In order to respond to customers in this way, you need to know what areas and interests to create content for. The way to learn this information is to engage in social listening. This is the practice of hearing and acting on what your customers are saying and doing on social media, even if it is unrelated to your brand.
Use Social Mapping Tools
There are tools to help you figure out where your customers live. This gives you the first clue of where to prioritize and focus your geographic efforts.
Apps like Tweetsmap let you see where your Twitter followers are. Below is the Tweetmap for @tlambertwrites. As you can see, most of my followers are from the United States. But I do have followers scattered all over the world.
However, it is not quite enough to just know where they are. Who is actually mentioning you in their tweets? This is one of many ways to analyze who is engaging with your content and sharing it.
You can go even deeper, looking at percentages by state and even city.
This is just an example of the kind of social mapping you can do to analyze your audience. Twitter analytics itself offers some great insights which, when combined with the information from Tweetsmap, gives you a better picture of your Twitter followers.
This data allows you to look at everything from gender and household income to occupation and interests. You can even look at what they are sharing, and what your most popular content with them has been.
Of course, Twitter is only one of the multiple social media networks, and you can analyze them all using different tools. But don’t get too caught up in analytics. Instead, look at general trends and set targeted content goals based on what you find.
For instance, a sudden spike in interest from my Twitter followers who are in the Western United States regarding an article I wrote about outsourcing content marketing shared with the hashtag #contentmarketing tells me I need to focus more on that topic, and if I can make it relevant to where they live or things they enjoy, that’s even better.
For instance,in Washington and Oregon, an article on content marketing for the new marijuana industry will not only go over well because it is relevant and timely, but may also result in conversions since customers will see that I understand their industry and the challenges they face.
You have now determined something about at least some of the subjects of your content kingdom. There are now some questions you need to ask of the data to determine which direction to take your content going forward.
Do your followers look like your marketing persona?
At some point in the business process, you likely developed an ideal customer, or persona. This defined what you thought your customer looked like and was interested in, perhaps even where they were from.
If your followers do not line up with that persona, you need to adjust your marketing strategy to align with who your customers actually are. The good news is, your content already appeals to them, and you can use this information to inform future decisions.
However, use caution. Any analysis of social data is only a snapshot of that moment in time, so look for overall trends. Don’t make major adjustments based on what might be a passing anomaly.
Can you leverage their other interests?
Your customers likely have more things in common than just an interest in your business. What are those things, and can you structure content to relate what you do to to those interests? The likelihood is that you can.
Leveraging this interest not only solidifies your relationship with your customer base, but also allows you to reach beyond them to a new audience.
What are the causes your audience is passionate about?
Are your customers driven to do business with companies dedicated to sustainability? According to a 2014 study, a whopping 55 percent of them are. Not only should your company adopt sustainable practices, you should tell your customers about them through your content.
As concern for the environment grows, balancing sustainability and profitability becomes even more important. Customer bias toward green-thinking companies means it may be more expensive to ignore environmental concerns than to invest in more sustainable practices even if they cost more initially.
Can you sponsor events related to their charitable interests? Not only is this good for your image with your customer, but it shows another level of corporate responsibility, another thing customers are increasingly looking at before doing business with a company.
Any event you sponsor is news, which should be a part of your content strategy. But be sincere. Users can spot a corporate ploy a mile away, so be sure whatever you sponsor lines up with the rest of what your company is doing. Don’t be hypocritical, or the results could be disastrous.
Once you have created a content kingdom, it’s time to determine who the subjects of that kingdom are, and how you can best serve them to earn their loyalty and respect. Social mapping, social listening, and analyzing the information you get from those two sources can help you turn your kingdom into an empire.