Creating Better Content in the Name of Love

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It’s the marketing season of love and the financial stakes are massive. The National Retail Foundation (NRF) estimates consumers will spend $18.9 billion this year on Valentine’s Day. This is great news for retailers, but challenging when one considers how fierce the competition is. From candy to jewelry to personal services, there are only a few categories, which will seize the bulk of that predicted revenue.

Brands with the best content marketing campaigns will come out on top when the glittery pink dust settles – but how exactly do successful content marketing campaigns happen? In short – they don’t just happen. To write better content, you need to understand your audience on multiple levels. How do they communicate with one another and via what platforms? What are they looking for and how are they shopping this time of year? It’s all about using relevant and insightful information to heighten the impact of your content. Without this knowledge, your company could be among the 38% who find their content marketing strategy is ineffective, according to the IAB’s 2014 B2B Content Marketing Report.

A successful content marketing campaign is entirely dependent on the value of its content, but content has no value unless it is truly aligned with your customers and their conversations. To achieve this alignment, you must understand your customers by obtaining content strategy insights.

Here are some tips to help you create the most effective content during this short, albeit lucrative holiday shopping season.

Find Customer Hot Spots

You need to understand who your customers are and where they spend their time online. What social networking channels do they use? Your audience might use LinkedIn as its primary social channel, but your competitor’s audience might be more inclined to use Facebook.

For example, if your audience consists of 18-24 year old females, you will probably find them on Facebook and Twitter, but if your audience consists of 35-50 year old businessmen – you are more likely to find them on LinkedIn. To get more information about where certain demographics spend their time on social media, check out studies from organizations like Pew Research Center.

Be a Good Listener

The next step is to examine and understand how your target audience speaks. Do they use slang? Are they buttoned up? Does your language reflect their interest and support your brand? When you develop content in the customer’s voice it resonates more powerfully and results in better engagement.

Get to The Heart of the Conversation

Next, you need to understand what customers are talking about, whether it’s positive or negative and why they feel that way. While researching customer conversations, begin to break them up into the following categories:

• Sentiment Flags – words like “love,” “hate,” “best,” and “worst”, which identify how customers feel and whether they like or dislike something.
• Topic Identifiers – these are things like brand names, product names and locations; essentially, what it is customers are talking about.
• Triggers – this is the “why” of the conversation and requires further examination than the other two qualifiers to determine causality of customer sentiment.

Move Towards Engagement

Once you’ve gained a deeper understanding of the three key elements of your customers’ conversations, you can begin to craft the focus of your content. Based on your conversation deconstruction, you can develop content to reflect customer language, interests and sentiment. A recommended formula for content success is development: (Sentiment) + (Topic) + (Trigger) = Tactical Content Focus.

Since the Valentine’s Day buying season is short, with most purchases being made just a few days before February 14 and some occurring on that very day, marketers need to be on top of their game. Luckily for you, you now know how to better understand your customers and how to reach them. When you create content that speaks to them, in their language, with sentiment and subject matter they can relate to on multiple levels, they’ll be smitten in no time.

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