A well-developed approach to content marketing is what separates your company from your pack of competitors and attracts an engaged community as opposed to stagnant followers. Communities bring with them a long list of advantages to companies who cultivate them. Your sales and marketing, customer service department, product development and other divisions all reap the benefits from your customer community.
Your content strategy will vary depending on the community, but the overall objective to present membership with a spectacular experience remains the same. Here are some tips on developing a winning content approach for any chosen target audience.
1. Formulate a set of goals for your community. You need to figure out how you want to address your community by looking at how they interact with you. If they’re mainly transactional in nature as opposed to regular interacting, you need to analyze how you can continually build relationships.
Also, determine why they turn to your content, whether to solve problems or because they share common interests with other members. Once you know the reasons they interact with your company, you’ll see the road map that will help guide your content along. Develop your goals around what your community wants instead of what you think they need.
2. Bring in community managers that excel at storytelling. Making your point through content marketing requires you to tell a story that engages your community and encourages them to interact with your company. Therefore, your community manager must have excellent storytelling skills due to their visibility among prospects. At the same time, you should be drawing from other community members who demonstrate talent. Compelling topics, a dynamic style and quality delivery are all important skills in this respect. The best storytelling is simple in conveying the intended message because, along with visuals, it’s the most effective way to make the information memorable.
3. Know what types of content your community wants to see. Your website analytics are everything when it comes to figuring out what your community wants to consume and how they want to consume it. If you don’t already have a content marketing platform, now is the time to invest. This technology is immensely valuable in making sense of your analytics and providing critical insights as far as community trends. Content marketing software can help you isolate the most popular content types and identify the themes that they correlate to. These solutions are helpful if one of the goals you identify in #1 above is to build a community around members’ passions or interests.
4. Implement an easy-to-navigate, thoughtful layout. The last thing your community needs is to be distracted by navigational issues or disorganization in terms of text, video and other types of content. Your prospects’ experience should be clean and concise, with clear titles and subheadings. You want them to know exactly what information they will gain from reading your blog post or watching the video, as this demonstrates that you value their time. If you intend to curate content, condense it in to smaller, more manageable pieces, as opposed to massive articles of disorganized content. Even on-point, compelling content can lose value if the presentation results in a less-than-desirable user experience.
5. Go above and beyond when recycling content. While it’s important to create new content as much as possible, most marketers will admit that they need to recycle material at times. This is where community managers can be effective in focusing on evergreen topics where applicable and drawing from a carefully organized cache of older material. There are infinite ways to repurpose what you’ve already done, whether through infographics, videos, podcasts, images and eBooks. It’s also quite simple to determine what you should recycle and when. Use your content marketing platform to crunch the numbers you track through your website analytics.
6. Don’t forget your support community content strategy. Many companies disregard a customer’s encounter with their own service or support department. However, much emphasis should be placed on the support community content strategy, even though it differs in intent with the marketing community content strategy. It makes sense when you think about it. Marketers should be learning from what the support department deals with, why customers call in and why they need help. There’s no reason the content aimed at the support community should be any less awesome than that which is delivered to the marketing community.
Of course, you might have other tricks on how to create compelling content for your online communities. As today’s content marketing software automates some of the mundane tasks, you’ll have more free time to concentrate on producing material that speaks to your community. What other tips would you offer? Please share your thoughts in the comments.