Content marketing is getting competitive – what’s the next line of innovation?
As buyer decision cycles become more complex and markets become more fragmented, companies are investing more in establishing meaningful connections. It’s getting harder and harder to stand out from conversational clutter, no matter how good content is.
Unless there’s a good-sized budget for distribution, a creative solution may be the only option for audience building. It’s an opportunity to explore new terrain rather than following the played-out herd.
If there’s a stagnancy in traffic acquisition on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, it could be the case of casting too wide a net.
Instead of going mass-market (and competing with CPG giants who have the strongest ad budgets on the planet), focus on smaller communities that cater to a select group of individuals.
One example is Skift, a media company for brands in the travel space. Rather than aiming to reach mass market consumers, Skift focuses heavily on one industry, in depth. The company regularly runs ads that are targeted to leaders in the travel industry. Because the company targets a very distinct audience, the value of every eyeball is higher than the reach of an average display ad network.
Other examples of niche communities: discussion forums, Facebook groups, professional associations, and social networks devoted to particular skills or interests.
The term “influencer” may generate thoughts of celebrities with millions of dedicated fans, or perhaps noteworthy bloggers or media personalities.
Look beneath the surface of these conversations, however, and there’s a completely different perspective. Thanks to digital media, anyone can be an influencer. Many subject matter experts and educators find success in building online platforms around their knowledge. They’re also unlikely to receive a barrage of promotion requests.
Not sure where to find the right everyday influencers in an industry? Here are a few ideas:
- Research what blogs the target audience is reading. Find out who’s running them.
- Find out what discussion forums and Facebook groups they’re monitoring.
- Browse MeetUp.com to figure out where they’re spending time.
- Look on Twitter so see if they’re following any hashtags.
- Find out if there are any professional associations or directories.
- Look at online education portals, which are goldmines for finding instructors and experts who have their own followers.
- Similarly, reach out to professors at universities who often teach classrooms of people.
Keep track of these individuals and monitor their career trajectories over time. Keep in touch with them by creating amazing content and inviting them to subscribe to content like a newsletter.
Content marketing is more than a tool for attracting top-of-funnel audiences. Focusing on existing customers makes sense for two reasons:
- Happy customers are more likely to refer a product or company to other soon-to-be happy customers.
- Customer churn is a major pain point for companies, and brands that don’t engage their audiences run the risk of becoming obsolete.
When it comes to marketing, work smarter, not harder. Stop trying to ‘push audiences through the funnel,’ and instead, focus on engaging the existing set of users.
If customers already know about company, are working with its team members, or are emotionally invested in the product, it’s an opportunity to keep them engaged. This is an opportunity to expand content marketing efforts into an existing support platform, so that customers can discover compelling material after addressing a pain point.
Customer support reps are a good way to share content and simultaneously build employee advocacy. Likewise, account managers can get in on the game, sharing content in their outreach emails rather than using a cold open.