Is Your Content Marketing Just Empty Calories?

5 Ways to Ensure Your Content Marketing Delivers Protein

First Lady Michelle Obama isn’t the only one campaigning against sugary content. As a marketer, your content must provide your target market with solid information – not just empty calories of marketing-speak.

To cut the fat from your content marketing, here are five tips to help you supply your audience with high protein information. Of course, it helps to incorporate your firm’s stories and products into this content.

  1. Provide easy-to-follow directions. Go beyond tiny, crammed instructions printed on flimsy paper. Use color photographs or videos to show customers how to put your products together and actually use them safely. What parent hasn’t had a disastrous Christmas when they couldn’t assemble the one gift their children really wanted? This approach can even be used for products that don’t appear to need instructions. For example, clothing retailers can take a page from fashion magazines and show shoppers how to put together a mix and match set of ten-piece wardrobe.
  2. Offer customers blueprints to extend product value. Supply instructions to help customers maximize your products’ usefulness. Your goal is to provide information that gets customers to buy more of your product and to have fun using it. Don’t restrict your content only to text. For example, supply recipes for cookware or food products or patterns for hobbies such as knitting and scrapbooking. Provide links to your product with a call-to-action where appropriate.
  3. Teach customers “How To”. Present product-related education that’s fun, useful and related to your products. You can use a variety of different content formats such as videos, e-books, webinars, Meetups and Twitter chats. Not sure what information your customers would find helpful? Ask for their suggestions. Need help creating this content, perhaps one or more of your customers is an expert. Offer them free product in return for help developing the content.
  4. Answer customers’ questions. Involve customer service in your content marketing. Ask them for the most frequently asked customer inquiries. Think that’s boring? Create an “Ask The Expert” column on your blog or website. Get your customers involved by offering them an incentive in return for their questions. This is great for a variety of services from hairdressers to veterinarians. Consider the potential for extending your reach by supplying this information to a local print newspaper or collect your columns into an e-book.
  5. Give them a stage for show and tell.  Everyone wants their fifteen seconds of fame. Why not give your customers a platform to show how they’ve used your products. While crafts are often at the top of this list, don’t reject this option for other product types. For example, Oreos and Baby Gap have made this work on Facebook while Stew Leonard’s, a grocery chain in metro New York, has an offline version showing people carrying their plastic bags around the world. All you need is a little creativity.

To get your content marketing on a protein diet, examine your products and customer needs to determine how you can create engaging information that draws your customers in.  While you’re developing this content, make sure you incorporate links to relevant products, such as related products, supplies or refills. Lion Brand Yarn’s content marketing is coordinated to meet several of these points.

Do you have other meaty content suggestions? If so, please add them in the comment section below.

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen


Here are some related content marketing articles that you may find useful.

Photo credit: Heidi Cohen (c) 2011

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  • Mike

    I’ve been struggling for a long time with “content marketing”. I have an ecommerce site, but hundreds of articles and a blog, but getting the right combination of page layout to show the helpful content, AND have a call to action has been a struggle. I really believe in the content model online, even for us, small ecommerce sites. Just need to figure out how to do it better.

    Cheers,
    Mike

    • http://riversidemarketingstrategies.com/ Heidi Cohen

      Mike–I appreciate your challenge. Content marketing like other forms of marketing requires a strategy rather than a throw it at the wall and hope something works. Use your content to draw prospects and customers into your site. Make sure that it’s linked to the appropriate shopping information. Happy marketing, Heidi Cohen

      • Mike

        Will try to do it better, as it is not working at the moment :-(