On 25th February Zanzi ran our very first Content Marketing workshop.

We invited some of our clients and partners to the Clarendon Business Centre in Oxford for a morning of activities and presentations about the power of content and social media in digital marketing.

1. What is content marketing?

Ned WellsNed opened by throwing this up to the floor. In fact some of our guests had a fairly good grip on content and were already integrating it into their general marketing activity. Others, however, were newer to the concept, but knew that it was something they should be doing.

Ned summarised that:

“Content marketing is creating content that’s helpful for a specific person at a particular stage of their research, to persuade them to take a profitable action. The marketing bit is about making content easier to find.”

Digital marketing, after all, is ever-evolving, and whilst traditional marketing would focus around ME, the supplier; it has long been moving towards a focus on YOU the customer. Content marketing is now an extension of the YOU approach to marketing.

There’s also been a shift away from assuming that everyone who lands on your site is ready to make a purchase. The trick is to engage with your target audience wherever they are in their purchasing journey.

2. How do you do content marketing?

Ned identified the kind of content you can produce at each of the 4 main stages in the buying process:

  • buyer-funnelResearch – when people are doing their research, then surveys and trend reports are a good way of demonstrating that you know the industry and you’re a credible outfit.
  • Short listing – when you demonstrate they can trust the quality of what you offer.
  • Ready to buy – content should be focused on the benefits and unique qualities of your products, whatever that may be.
  • Repeat purchase – Once people have bought something from you, then don’t stop with the content. Build loyalty by offering helpful material through social media and emails. And maybe ask for something back, such as a review.

He also discussed how content isn’t useful if nobody knows about it. What it needs is both promoting and sign-posting customers into making profitable action.

This is where calls-to-action come in. Writing a blog post is great, but almost pointless without a call-to-action to click through to a download, sign-up form, or even a product.

3. What do I write about?

content gameTo help answer this question, we looked at ways to produce content (written, visual, audio and interactive) that speaks to your clients’ needs.

We began a group task. Remember the old game of “Consequences” we would keep ourselves occupied with before the days of the internet? No? Check it out here.

We adapted this game to demonstrate the kinds of questions ordinary people might ask about a business.

Our friend from Greenpoint, Will Pribyl, for example, summarised his business as “we recondition compressors and sell them to contractors in the UK”.

What people really wanted to know, it turned out, was the human side of the business:

  • who is your main customer?
  • what kinds of organisations do you supply?

As a result of these questions, Will told us some interesting stories about his clients. Helping, for example, the Royal Navy hospital ship RFA Argus deliver treatment to Ebola-affected people.

4. Make a start!

Jayne Reddyhoff went on to discuss practical ways to get started with content marketing.

Twitter-iconContent marketing isn’t content marketing if it’s not promoted. So Jayne’s advice:

  • start sharing your own and others’ content
  • avoid too much self-promotion and join in the conversation
  • share people’s tweets, know who the influencers are on social media, and become part of the conversation
  • for every 1 of your sales pages that you share socially, you should be sharing 4 of your own blog posts, and 10 of other people’s posts.

Jayne shared her own experience of setting up and using simple social media management tools.

There are so many content marketing tools out there, however, and Jayne’s advice was to experiment, and learn what works for you. Once you’ve gained confidence and worked out a rhythm then you can begin to experiment some more, and expand your content marketing strategy.

5. Can content and paid search work together?

Jayne argues that the two are mutually supportive, and should be used in tandem. Paid search can help with your research into what kind of keywords people are searching for, and inform your content production. In return, the kind of content you produce can help to increase your quality score as the number of landing pages and inbound links increase.