How To Reach Customers Online: A Guide To Content Marketing

Struggling to reach new customers online? Then it’s time to take a close look at content marketing. What you share online has a direct impact on your ability to build brand awareness, generate leads, and grow your business.

Why the emphasis on content creation? Because 72% of marketers rely on content marketing to boost user engagement.

When you engage your customers, they’re more likely to make purchases and support your brand. It’s about proving your expertise, gaining trust and building a relationship with prospects.

In the first part of this series, you learned about the importance of knowing your customer. In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into content creation to keep your audience engaged.

If Content Is King, Consistency Is Queen

Ok, you know how important content is, but I’d argue there’s something even more vital, and that’s consistency.

If you post exceptional content without consistency, you’re going to get lost in the algorithms of social media and the internet.

According to Zazzle Media, 60% of marketers struggle to create content consistently. The consequences?

We’ve all witnessed a brand sprout up, flood you with content, and vanish overnight.

In other words, brands ghost us all the time. That’s because consistency is an art and many of us miss the mark.

You don’t want to be that brand. Why? When you come back with your tail between your legs, your audience is no longer invested in your brand, because sadly, they’ve moved on.

I get it. Posting consistent content on all your platforms requires a tremendous amount of work. However, you can save yourself loads of time by creating (and enforcing!) a strategic content strategy.

Tools To Streamline Your Content Strategy

  • Decide how often to post on your blog, social media channels
  • Include monthly outreach initiatives to grow your audience, including free webinars, podcast features, and guest posts to prominent blogs
  • Create engaging content for free with the PosterMyWall editor. Browse thousands of templates and easily customize your blog headers, social graphics, newsletter visuals, and more.
  • Stay on top of deadlines by creating an organized, efficiently planned content calendar. I recommend using a no-fuss software like CoSchedule.
  • Schedule and auto-publish social media posts with PosterMyWall’s affordable Premium subscription plans.
  • Creating content is the first step, but don’t forget the importance of engaging with your audience on all of your channels to keep your community active and engaged. In fact, you can also create a community website to build a loyal and engaged audience on a digital property that you own.

With your content strategy up and running, let’s get to the nuts and bolts of each type of content marketing to help you engage customers online.

Streamline Your Content Strategy

Maintain An Active Blog

Do you need a blog? That’s a hard and fast yes. But here’s the kicker: any old blog won’t do. You’ll need to post informative articles that take a deep dive into the topic.

When readers land on your blog post, you want to ensure you’ve covered every single intricate detail about the topic.

How will you do that? By being as informative, thorough, and detailed as possible.

How to write blog posts your readers (and search engines) will love:

  • Word count: Shoot for 2,000+ words, because longer content is more likely to land in Google’s top 10 results, according to SerpIQ.
  • Topic: Choose subjects relevant to your target audience. For example, if you own a restaurant business, write blog content about easy to make recipes and cooking hacks. Again, cover the subject as thoroughly as possible to ensure no stone is left unturned.
  • Data and research: Whether you’re writing about dog collars or biochemistry, you need to back up your claims with reputable sources, data, research, and statistics. Doing so strengthens your credibility as a thought leader and establishes trust with your audience. Don’t forget to link to those sources so that all of your research is traceable.
  • Include engaging visuals: Walls of texts are a surefire way to skyrocket your bounce rate and send readers running for the hills. Instead, break up text with compelling imagery, videos, and infographics.
  • Add personality to your writing: If your content is difficult to read, no one will read it. Instead, write conversationally, in an engaging tone to keep readers stimulated and craving more of your blog content.
  • Finish with a strong call-to-action: The blog post is only the first step you want your readers to take. At the end of the post, steer them toward your newsletter signup, related blog posts, products, or services.

What can you expect a blog to do for your business? An active business blog can generate 67% more monthly leads, according to HubSpot. Sounds like it’s time to start blogging!

Stay Current With Industry News

Posting to your blog is just one part of your content strategy. You’ll also want to stay up to date on industry news and trends. Why is this important? If you solely share your content, it comes across as spammy.

Instead, find a ratio that works for your audience. For social media, try the 5:3:2 ratio:

  • 5 posts from reputable sources within your niche that help your audience
  • 3 pieces of original content like social media graphics, blog post promotion, or original photos or video
  • 2 offbeat, engaging, fun posts that showcase your brand’s personality

For example, in the field of marketing, I share informative posts from gurus like Neil Patel or HubSpot to my Instagram Stories and Facebook.

If you have a travel-related brand, share articles and posts from colleagues and community members, like the Visit California Facebook page.

The goal is to diversify your content to keep your audience engaged and coming back for more.

Use Infographics To Support Your Claims

Want to know why people love infographics? Because it’s rooted in our brain chemistry.

According to NeoMam Studios, we’re wired visually to process information. That’s right, readers are more likely to remember 80% of an infographic, as opposed to 20% of written text.

It’s easy to see why: visuals create an association to the content and stick in our minds longer than plain, simple text we’d otherwise likely forget.

What does that mean for you?

That infographics are an integral spoke in the content marketing wheel. So, how can you use them?

How to retain and engage readers with infographics

  • Research relevant infographics that support your claims
  • Create your own infographics to establish your brand as an industry authority
  • Include branded colors and stimulating visuals to keep people engaged
  • Share to your social channels, blog, and newsletter

Infographics are digestible, bite-sized, and memorable. Want to know about another medium that shares those same qualities? If you guessed video content, you’re right, and 87% of marketers are using it to engage their customers online.

Get Serious About Video Content

Video content is a buzzword in the marketing world, and for a good reason. When text and images don’t cut it, people seek out videos. Whether someone’s looking to beef up their resume or learn how to tie a slip knot, videos are the most direct way to find a solution.

Why are videos so helpful? Because 65% of people learn visually.

If content serves to inform, educate, and entertain, then videos deliver in spades.

Video marketing rocks, so how can you use it?

Here’s Wyzowl’s breakdown of the most popular types of video content:

  • 72% of videos are explainers like how-to’s and tutorials
  • 49% of video content are slideshows, brand profiles, and presentations
  • 48% are client testimonials
  • 42% are sales and video ads

Want to know the best part about video content? You can share it on every platform you have, including your social channels, blog posts, newsletter, and ads.

Find Insights On Knowledge Sharing Platforms

Want an invitation to the patterns and behaviors of your customers? Then it’s a great idea to join knowledge sharing platforms. Platforms like Quora and Facebook groups have a wealth of information, questions and answers to help you better understand your audience.

That’s because real people are asking legitimate questions on these platforms. From simple things like “how to poach an egg” to “which homeowners insurance plan should I choose?”

For marketers and business owners, this is a great way to be a fly on the wall of your customer’s everyday problems.

Let’s say you own a hardware business. There are dozens of Quora forums about home improvement topics.

In one Quora forum, a user asks, “How do you change a doorknob?” As you scroll past the answers, you’ll see a series of “Related Questions” that expand on the initial one. Consider this section a content creation goldmine. 

From this one question, you can create and repurpose content for all of your channels and drop them into your content calendar.

Here’s how:

  • Write a blog post about how to change a doorknob
  • Share the blog post on all of your social channels
  • Create an Instagram graphic promoting the blog post
  • Schedule another Instagram carousel post explaining the different types of doorknobs
  • Make a simple how-to video showing the process (you can seriously do this with your phone camera)
  • Share the video to your Facebook, YouTube, and IGTV
  • Post the IGTV clip to your Instagram feed
  • Share the blog post to your Pinterest account
  • Go Live on Facebook or Instagram for a Q&A from your customers

create and repurpose content for all of your channels

You don’t necessarily have to create all this content from one post, but the opportunities are abundant. Moreover, these forums are a direct route to your customers’ most common problems. With that information, you can better tailor your content to help them.

And when you do? They’ll be singing your praises!

Use Social Proof And Testimonials To Build Trust

What’s the single best way to build credibility? Referral marketing. Hands down, people trust their own network.

That’s why people referred to your site are 4x more likely to buy from you.

How can you beef up your credibility? With social proof and testimonials. When you need to find a mechanic, what’s the safest way to find a reputable one? By asking your friends and family, right?

Otherwise, there’s always a looming risk of getting taken advantage of or overpaying.

Social proof works because it instantly endorses your brand. Testimonials are another great way to build trust, which is important to 81% of consumers.

When hunger hits, customers take to Yelp to find the best restaurants nearby, and you bet they are reading the reviews!

Fact is, reviews and testimonials provide buyer assurance. When buyers feel safe with your brand, they’re more likely to make a purchase.

Here’s how to solidify your credibility as a trustworthy brand:

  • Reach out to existing customers or clients and ask them to write a short and sweet testimonial. Even better if their testimonial includes a picture to put a face to their words.
  • Put these testimonials on your website’s landing pages, but don’t stop there.
  • Create custom graphics with customer testimonials and share them on social media
  • Implement a referral program. Ask customers to refer a friend and reward them with a discount for every referral.

Need further support? Partner with influencers in your niche to advocate for your brand. Doing so will build brand awareness, reach a broader audience, and increase sales conversions. Let’s break it down.

Partner With Influencers

In the last five years, the concept of influencers has exploded into a full-fledged advertising tool. We often see our favorite influencers sporting regalia from their favorite brands, staying at boutique hotels, or doing giveaways.

But does it work?

Sponsored blog posts yield 11x the ROI than blog ads, according to Influencer Marketing Hub. So I’d say the answer is yes. But how will you find the right influencers?

Browse hashtags in your niche on Instagram. For example, if you own a cosmetics line, search #makeuptutorial, and focus on the top nine posts.

Check out the stats. Does the influencer have a large audience? More importantly, are people genuinely engaging with them? Do they partner with other brands?

Conduct research to find influencers that align with your brand, product, and beliefs, and reach out to them.

Alternatively, do some digging on Google to see which blog posts are trending. Most bloggers will have a “Work With Me” section on their website, and you can request their media kit, or reach out to discuss an arrangement.

Influencer marketing can be costly, but there are plenty of affordable ways to engage new customers that don’t cost you a dime.

Host Free Webinars

Why will people follow or buy from your brand? For 77% of consumers, it’s all about building a connection based on shared values.

A great way to share your values is face to face. However, you don’t have the time to chat face to face with every one of your customers. Time to host a free webinar!

In this webinar, David Woodman offers industry expertise and marketing advice for reopening a restaurant amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Video

Webinars are an excellent opportunity to build awareness, share insight into your brand identity, and offer free resources to your community.

Plus, you’ll bring in new attendees who will likely convert into followers, subscribers, and customers.

So, how do webinars work?

Think of your expertise as a free public resource. You have information that’s helpful to your target audience, and it’s time to share the wealth.

Entrepreneur and blogging guru, Melyssa Griffin, is a pro at hosting webinars. The key to making them successful?

  • Know your target audience, which I discussed in depth in part one of this series
  • Create a landing page for people to learn what to expect from the webinar and sign up
  • Leading up to the webinar, promote like crazy on your website and social media accounts
  • Incentivize people with freebies, discounts, and rewards for showing up
  • Offer 2-3 valuable, actionable tips your attendees can take away and put to work
  • Offer a replay to no-shows, because, life happens, but that doesn’t mean your content should get left behind

Flex The Vocal Cords With A Podcast

The internet is massive, and the key to online success is to be in multiple places. The more content streams you have, the more your audience will grow.

Time to warm up the vocal cords, because podcasts are the hottest new media trend.

According to the latest stats from Statista, 74% of U.S. consumers listened to podcasts in 2019.

Ready to clear your throat and step up to the mic? You have two options here: start a podcast or be featured on podcasts.

Start A Podcast

A podcast is a great way to build authority in your niche. Just like a webinar or blog, you’ll use this platform to offer industry insights to your audience. However, you can expand your network by interviewing prominent figures in your niche.

HubSpot’s “The Growth Show” is an excellent example. Each episode highlights an inspiring business owner and offers insights into the fundamentals of starting, running, and growing a successful business.

When you have guests on your podcast, not only will you attract your audience, but you also tap into your guest’s audience.

It’s a win-win for both parties because you converge your collective communities. However, if you’re not ready to start a podcast, consider being a guest on one!

Be A Guest On Podcasts

Reach out to podcasts in your niche about being a guest. I’ve done this a few times, and it’s always a blast! Although I have to calm my nerves and fight a shaky voice for the first five minutes, it’s ultimately beneficial to both the host and myself.

We’re each sharing and promoting the episode with our audiences, and there’s a lot of crossover following happening there.

If you’re a food blogger, reach out to podcasts like The Splendid Table or Table Talk about being a guest. You’ll get your brand in front of an entirely new audience and gain some new followers while you’re at it! Plus, I’m willing to bet you’ll have a blast.

Time To Level Up Your Content!

Building a devoted, engaged audience online isn’t easy, but if you’re consistent with your content marketing strategy, you can (and will!) succeed.

Here are key takeaways to keep your content on track:

  • Focus on creating high-quality content that resonates with your audience
  • Remain authentic and transparent with all content, because people crave authenticity
  • Consistency is Queen — keep her happy with an organized, effective content strategy
  • Diversify your presence to enhance brand visibility online
  • Visuals remain vital, so ensure every piece of content is visually stimulating
  • Have fun with it! You can easily personalize these 10 strategies to best reflect your unique brand and attract quality leads

Now, time to level up your content!

PRmention is a digital PR agency for startups & SaaS businesses. Occasionally, we accept high quality contributed content and we’d love to hear any ideas you may have. Feel free to email us on guestcolumn@prmention.com if you are interested in contributing.