New Zealand companies keen to implement an effective online content marketing programme should be wary of confusing strategy with process. By this I mean the act of having 'articles on your website, perhaps having a blog, being 'on' Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn… is not strategy, it's merely process.
I hear so many social media experts urging companies to get on Facebook and Twitter, but there’s very little on how, where and why – which are both strategic questions.
Key to engaging with modern day customers / consumers / clients online, on social media and through traditional channels like mainstream media and newsletters, is…
1. Actually offering information and functionality that is relevant to their lives or business
2. Understanding what positioning you want to occupy in the mind of your various personas (target markets)
3. Having a clear set of objectives about what you want to achieve
4. Knowing what your key messages are
5. Understanding what motivates your buying personas, their needs, concerns, and problems…
There are a number of other questions to answer, but I’m sure you get the gist.
To engage with customers and prospects today, you must add value with information (content) that is informative, educational, functional or entertaining.
Research by customer service training providers KiwiHost, into what New Zealanders want, reveals that customers want businesses to show a willingness to help. Secondly, to listen and understand what their needs are and thirdly, and most importantly, to take responsibility and ensure those needs are met.
Does your website talk about yourself, or does it offer content (news, 'how to' articles, video, podcasts, apps, white papers, eBooks) that helps your audience solve their own problems or enhance their lives and or businesses in some way?
If you are not answering the ‘what’s in it for me?’ question your readers will ask, then you might need to reconsider your strategy.
Once you know what your customers want to hear and how you're going to say it, then and only then is it time to look at how you can distribute that content via social media (i.e. Twitter, YouTube), blogs, mainstream media (i.e. NZBusiness), content directories (ezine.com), social news sites (DIGG), newsletters and the myriad other places available to publish content.