Content Marketing Basics

Digital content marketing continues to evolve at an astounding rate as technology companies give marketers a buffet of affordable software products to position companies and products front and center with clients and prospects.  Whether a digital marketing strategy is B2B or B2C, content remains the number one component that drives customers and prospects to engage with a brand and its sales team. Do you have an effective digital content strategy?

Throughout 2018, We'll provide tips for using content as part of a marketing technology strategy.  Although our blog articles are not intended to be a ‘soloed’ approach, each application should play a part in your overall strategy for 2018. 

Before we begin:

Not all markers are savvy content creators, and we want to outline some tips that may help you with content creation in your 2018 digital marketing strategy.  It’s always a good idea to have a ‘team of eyes’ review your content so your message doesn’t become an ‘HR issue’:

Tip #1- Create Ethical Content to Promote Public Trust (of Your Company)

According to the Society of Professional Journalists, there are four main principles to follow that should apply to all forms of media when creating marketing content. They are: seek truth and report it, minimize harm, act independently, and be accountable as well as transparent. Following this necessary code helps to avoid any issues in your digital marketing content strategy.

Tip #2- Give Credit When Credit is Due

Paying close attention when creating content should be the most obvious- don’t copy other people’s work! “An ethical writer ALWAYS acknowledges the contributions of others to his/her work” (The Office of Research Integrity) is an essential rule but an easy one to infringe upon when creating content topics you’re not entirely familiar with and when research is required.  If you do use someone else’s work, give credit! You can do this by including hyperlinks in your text or refer to the exact source in your writing. Including outside sources to support your content helps to boost credibility and gain trust within your audience.

Note:  If you are writing about a complex topic with no evidence of the use of outside research, your audience might be hesitant to believe you (and your company).

Tip #3- Strive to Build and Maintain Relationships for Your Brand and Team

Content marketing should create a relationship with your audience.  Ensure that your content is appropriate and won’t be viewed as excessive and won’t be a ‘turn-off’ to your audience.  Pay attention to imagery that coincides with your content as well as the content language so that both are inviting to all, offensive to none.

Proficient Marketers know that by creating positive messages, your audience has something positive to talk about and share with others.  The content can be services based, helpful information, or even sharing a company initiative to make the world a better place.  But in no way are you trying to ‘sell’ them; you’re engaged in positive ‘relationship building’.

Showcasing community involvement through content can be a great way to create a positive relationship with your audience no matter how small your business is. Volunteering as a company is a great way to get involved in your community, and it shows that you are willing to be a part of something bigger than just your business

Tip #4- Include Other Employees in Your Content Marketing Strategy

Companies that are successful are focused getting not only the company’s message across but giving their sales team and other employees content to share.  Whether it’s a product or a service your company offers, smart marketers know that when they create content that employees and their sales team share, the result is in revenue for the company while maintaining control of the message.  Leaving social media, blog posts, and customer communication up to employees may not produce the positive image your marketing team is looking to accomplish.  Other employees are not marketing professionals; allow them to do their job while you focus on how you can help their individual messaging while making your company’s content marketing strategy successful.

Tip #5- Know your Industry’s Permitted Words and Imagery Policy

Too often free-lancers or in some cases, actual vendor companies, are hired to create content having no experience in the financial services industry.  Care must be taken to ensure there is a compliance overview  of everything produced that the public will see:

Content- Use of the words should, always, guaranteed (and in some instances) money and wealth is NOT allowed.

Imagery- Image(s) of money, gold, anything that depicts currency is NOT permitted by industry regulators (forget using the picture of a bird’s nest with golden eggs…).

Content is king as more companies are developing an on-going content marketing strategy that aligns with other sales and marketing initiatives according to The Content Marketing Institute’s 2017 ReportAn on-going content marketing strategy feeds the sales pipeline.

Content Must:

                  1.  Be ranked for keywords/searches and your industry

                  2.  Be used across all business channels- advisors, management, and support staff

                  3.  Be shared as part of a marketing strategy

This article originally appeared in the Digital Marketing Technology section of Iris