Content Marketing: Riding the Wave

7 Ways To Build Sales Momentum

riding the waveSummer is peak season for riding the waves. While surfers consider riding the wave an integral part of their sport, the term also means to take advantage of an opportunity.

Content marketing continues to attract attention and budget because it’s trustworthy and authentic. This is the wave marketers must ride now to build their audience and generate sales.  

To ride the content marketing wave, here are seven steps you need to follow.

  1. Provide value in a fragmented sea of content. Understand that as media options expand, customers will seek useful information from a limited number of trusted sources based on their interests. Further, target audiences have been conditioned to filter out advertising and corporate speak. Therefore it’s critical to provide useful information without extraneous fluff.
  2. Answer every customer question. While Marcus Sheridan of The Sales Lion and Jay Baer of Convince and Convert have been preaching this approach for a while, it’s hard to believe that every marketer doesn’t use it. It’s easy-to-implement, supports search optimization and drives sales. Provide in-depth information by gathering every question that your sales and customer service department tell you about. Be specific in your response. While you may loose some prospects, it will ensure that you qualify and shorten your sales cycle for others.
  3. Offer real time relevant content. Don’t just follow the crowd. Your target audience doesn’t care about another me-too piece of content or product. Change from promoting product to providing solutions to real-time problems. Examine every step of your product use. A mobile device within arm’s reach means your prospect or customer needs answers to the problems he or she has now and you can offer the information 24/7. Therefore, give them information now to start selling them on your brand when they are ready to buy.
  4. Take a page from Steve Jobs and think different. Realize that prospects gather product information before you know that they’re in purchase mode (aka the zero moment of truth). Therefore make your product a star, even if you sell a boring product! Sexy information is in the eyes of the beholder. Get photographers and customers to help you to strut your content’s stuff. Think of GE’s Instagram, Target’s Tumblr and IBM’s Pinterest offerings.
  5. Speak human. Your content needs to be able to reach out and pull your audience in. It needs a personality. This has to incorporate the various elements of your brand so that it contributes to building your name at the same time. Your content must be recognizable based on it’s presentation and attributes.
  6. Be findable across platforms and devices. This means that a website by itself is no longer sufficient. Mobile devices are quickly overtaking computers and PCs so that your content must be readable across devices. Think responsive design so that your information renders correctly. Also, don’t overlook the fact that consumers spend one fifth of their time on social media so that you need to be present there, especially if a connection puts out a product request on social media for a last minute recommendation. If you’re not there, you may be left out of the consideration set.
  7. Give prospects a choice of formats. Not only do you need to think beyond text, but also you must think beyond just having a mobile website. You need to provide information in a range of easy-to-consume formats including video, photographs and presentations. Additionally, you must give mobile owners a choice of mobile web, mobile apps and mobile search.

As you ride the content marketing wave, you need to ensure that your target audience can find and consume your content easily. But it’s also critical to keep an eye out for sharks in terms of competitors and customers on social media and other platforms who may want to detract from your content.

What else would you add to this content marketing list and why?

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

PS- This column is dedicated to my California nephews who are avid surfers.

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