It’s safe to say that winning over customers through quality content is no longer the next big thing in marketing. In fact, quite the opposite is true.
In the last few years, content marketing has become a popular marketing strategy when it comes to promoting a product or service. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 94 percent of B2C customers are using content marketing to get their message across – and the numbers are steadily rising. Of course, content marketing encompasses a variety of media forms and can include anything from infographics to blog articles and video tutorials. But while the nature of content marketing is in constant flux, and there’s no limit to the creative marketer’s imagination, the written word remains at the core of any successful content marketing campaign.
Indeed, as the Social Media Marketing Industry Report has found, almost half of all marketers consider blogging, rather than visuals or video, to be their most important form of content. Producing quality written content can, of course, mean a number of things. Whether it’s creating an in-depth exploratory essay, producing a snappy listicle full of helpful advice or humorous observations, putting together an e-book guide or carefully preparing a multi-part story for release on your website, the written word is both a versatile and undeniably powerful marketing tool at the same time. Done the right way, written content can turn a company from one of many competitors into an industry thought leader and help businesses flourish.
Why any company should strive to become a thought leader
Thought leadership is more than simply a marketing buzzword. If a company establishes itself as a thought leader in their respective field, it turns from a business into an experienced and competent expert and a trustworthy source of information and guidance. This doesn’t only increase a brand’s visibility and traffic – it also increases the likelihood that customers will feel like they can rely on the company when it comes to making a purchasing decision. But to become thought leaders, brands have to do more than simply produce regular content that shows their interest in their specific field. Rather, they have to provide the audience with a compelling, informed, and original point of view. Any potential customer will have plenty of questions on their mind. A good thought leader anticipates those questions and answers them expertly, even before they are raised.
Thought leadership can never be a marketing strategy in itself, but is merely the intended outcome of any resourceful and creative content strategy. Unsurprisingly, it is specifically high-quality, in-depth, and well-researched written content that can help companies establish themselves as thought leaders.
Why opt for high-quality written content?
Creating written content is a unique opportunity to contribute in a meaningful way to the abundance of information already readily available on the Internet. Producing a convincing blog post or listicle goes beyond the obvious advantages, such as search engine visibility. It’s a chance to present a brand and its voice to an audience, engage with customers and build valuable relationships – all through the written word.
Creating a compelling and entertaining piece of written content doesn’t require a lot in the technical sense. Producing a high-quality video relies way more on technical know-how and expensive equipment that most small businesses might not have at the ready. Writing can be done from anywhere and by anyone who has something to say; while it shouldn’t be underestimated, the art of writing can without any doubt be learned. Any company has fascinating experts whose knowledge and insight have the potential to turn into great and very useful content. Producing high-quality written content means harnessing the resources that a company already has readily available and transforming that expertise into a helpful and engaging piece of content. And companies struggling to find a writer within their team don’t need to worry either – once the content is there, outsourcing the writing process doesn’t have to be expensive.
What kind of written content is the most effective?
Monitoring page views, social media mentions, links, likes, and a variety of other metrics can easily track how effective a piece of written content proves to be. But success isn’t random; a few general rules have proven to be true when it comes to putting effective content out there.
Consistency is key; if users know they can expect two quality articles every Tuesday and Friday, they are more likely to check back to read more. Unsurprisingly, more important than consistency is still the quality of articles – if readers can’t wait for the next piece, they are bound to come back for more. They won’t bother to check back if the quality is mediocre, even if there’s a new post a day. Quality content is also more likely to be linked on other blogs and passed on through WOM.
Here are five types of written content that engage users and can help companies establish their thought leadership.
Guides are detailed, lengthy pieces of content that are helpful to the user while proving the company’s credibility and status as an expert on a particular topic. Guides can be uploaded as a blog post on the company website – this works particularly well for shorter how-to guides. But especially for longer and more detailed pieces, creating a downloadable eBook is a great opportunity to give the reader valuable information in exchange for their email address.
Listicles have exploded in popularity, and it’s no surprise. They are easy to read and even easier to skim in today’s busy world. Listicles allow companies to develop an approachable and humorous tone of voice that engages users. Fun, snappy headlines, and a lighthearted writing style are key to success here.
Brand stories are great to connect with the customer and a valuable opportunity to show what goes on behind the scenes. One important aspect of content marketing is to make a brand human, and nothing works better than to help customers put a face and a story to the company name.
Case studies are popular with both marketing experts and the audience. Customers trust their peers the most and introducing devoted users on your website shows readers that there’s more to your product than engaging copywriting on a website. There’s nothing more valuable than a happy customer sharing how a product or service has made a genuine difference in their life.
Interviews are easy to create, and even easier to read. Most companies have great interview material right under their nose. Interviewing an expert, whether that is someone from inside the company or an established industry expert outside the company, is a great way to create wonderful written content without having to compose a blog post. Giving other people exposure also builds relationships, and they are likely to return the favor; guest posts work the same way.
It’s time to stop hesitating and start writing
Are you not convinced yet? There are thousands of success stories that prove that the power of the written word should never be underestimated when it comes to growing a small business. Buffer, for example, has consistently grown their business by providing readers with a reliable blog full of valuable information on social media, small businesses, and entrepreneurship. They have since invested in their content by hiring professional writers and getting in great guest bloggers. By becoming a reliable source on topics of interest to the user, Buffer has grown their community – and simultaneously grown their business from a small company into a well-established social media service.
Written content is the purest form of content marketing; done the right way, it can attract a devoted web following and grow a company’s customer base. If a company’s marketing strategy doesn’t yet involve producing unique, engaging written content, it’s time to get writing.
This article was co-written by ArticleBunny