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Engaging Your Audience Through Smart Content Marketing

Corinne Balicki

Communications Strategist, Forum One

Content marketing is the creation and distribution of useful, valuable, and consistent content. Online content marketing can come in the form of blogs, email, social media, and longform content, such as original research and whitepapers. The goal is to build a deeper level of engagement by speaking to your audience’s interests, needs, and pain points.

As you plan your digital outreach and content this year, here are some noteworthy trends you’ll want to keep top-of-mind to ensure you provide value to your target audience base.

1. The rise of social videos and in-the-moment storytelling

While online privacy remains a concern for many, social media continues to play an important storytelling role for many brands. We have seen a major increase in engagement with video content, such as bite-sized videos trumping traditional still photos on platforms like Instagram and Twitter. A wide variety of demographics use YouTube for both entertainment and education, making videos a great opportunity for engaging storytelling. Meaningful and captivating videos quickly become effective marketing material as they attract audiences and make them feel a part of the story. Another way to approach this is by making in-the-moment updates that feel authentic and engaging to your audience. The best tool for this is Instagram TV and stories. These video moments could take the form of “behind-the-scenes” previews, interviews with your staff, or even a quick tip or fun fact relating to your organization’s goals.

2. Quality longform content

Search results favor longform and comprehensive content because the text provides rich keywords that support users’ searches. Longform content is defined as content with 2,000 words or more. The quality of the content is just as significant as the length. One of the most searchable forms of content are blogs that offer clear, comprehensive, and practical information for your readers delivered on a consistent basis. Creating this trustworthy, and valuable content is proven to get you more shares and traction online.

This may seem like a massive undertaking. One important tip is to be clear on your unique value proposition: what is your unique voice and contribution and what do you offer to your audience that isn’t being addressed by your competitors? This strategy helps your organization create an authoritative tone and positions you as a thought leader in your field. In the era of “fake news” and misinformation, your audience needs to have confidence in your organization. Longform content will get you to the first page of Google results and improve your reputation for your target audience.

3. Micro-moments

Seemingly the opposite of longform content, micro-moments lead to short, concise content. Micro-moments are a new way to search for valuable content, for example, as a way of getting instant answers for instant decisions. These are the “I want to” or “how to know/go/do/support” questions consumers are typing into Google every day. Leverage these moments to create a user path through your content. You can no longer rely on one piece of content to anchor your strategy. To be successful, you will need to create a web of interconnected content, so a consumer is always met where, when, and how they are searching.

Micro-moments come down to tailoring your content to reach people in that moment of need. For example, you can make your FAQs stand out with this approach by pulling in your audience with short, definitive, answers that then lead them to a second action that benefits your goals and leaves them satisfied with the interaction.

4. Google wants users to stay on Google

Google’s primary goal is to show users the best answer; however, Google wants to do it directly on their results page, not your webpage. This means your content needs to be optimized to fit Google’s own format. Their search page is changing to provide users with snippets, or meta descriptions, of information to answer inquiries. You may be familiar with the Knowledge Panel, but have you thought about how your content could fit a featured snippet in search? Keeping up with and understanding search engine formats will inform your content strategy in the new year.

5. Personalized marketing content

While the last four trends will help your organization reach your target audiences, how do you keep that relationship going? Part of that answer is through personalized marketing content, which gives your audience a more curated, relevant experience. In particular, applying this tactic to your email strategy may help you boost your open, click, and conversion rates.

Consider segmenting your existing email lists and providing personalized experiences to new subscribers depending on the action they took to join your list. For example, if a new user donates to your organization through a specific initiative you are running, keep them informed about how their gift is helping your organization reach its goal. They will gain a better understanding of how they are making a difference and will feel more connected with your work.    

Online content marketing, in its various forms, continues to grow in relevance because it focuses your marketing strategy on developing content that meets your audience where they are. Creating content that’s personalized and practical, but also accessible, is the key to successful content marketing.

Written By

Corinne Balicki

Communications Strategist, Forum One

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