There are some commodities that practically sell themselves. And then there are those that…don’t. When it comes to content marketing, it may seem like an impossible feat to put together a creative, effective strategy when you’re attempting to market an invisible commodity or a less-than-exciting necessity. But even if you’re selling natural gas or pest control, there’s an audience for that — and a way to tell a relevant story. We would know: we do both here at Jackson Spalding agency.
In 2019, we won the Content Marketing Institute award for Best Use of Facebook for Content Marketing and the PRSA Phoenix Award for Facebook Engagement for our client, SCANA Energy, a natural gas provider in Georgia. Not bad when you’re competing with marketers from Tinder, IBM, and the Canadian Olympic Committee — especially when you’re working with a product that you can neither see, touch, nor smell.
So, how can you put together a compelling tale for what may appear untellable? These 5 content marketing secrets are key to success in any industry:
1. Know Your Audience
Understanding your ideal audience, from their location to the way they digest their media, is critical. After all, 87% of consumers agree that personalized branded content will positively impact how they view a brand.
Take a walk in your consumers’ virtual shoes, understanding the type of content that would be most relevant to them and why. We use a variety of tools to dig deep into these data points, including surveys, platform insights, and keyword research. After all, if consumers are searching how to relight their pilot light, we want to be the trusted resource on providing that information. Here, being niche can work to your advantage, elevating your brand to become a subject matter expert.
2. Use More Than Words
Never forget that content is more than text. Telling stories through compelling visuals, including videos, infographics, and GIFs, can help communicate your message and drive additional traffic to and conversions on your website. In fact, on average, video has 135% more engagement on Facebook than images, and video on a landing page can increase conversions by 80%.
3. Do Your Keyword Research
You may think you have a great idea for content — but is that what your audience wants to read? Acknowledging that you may not be your product’s audience is an instrumental first step to effective content planning. The second? Research. Use tools like answerthepublic.com to understand the different questions that may be asked in your content category. Bring multiple perspectives to content planning sessions. Dive into your audience’s search habits through keyword research.
While Google’s algorithm is ever-changing (and ever-mysterious), there’s no question that using a combination of both high-volume search terms and long-tailed keywords (keyword strings with 4+ words) can help content organically rank in search.
An additional consideration is that voice search is rising in popularity and is expected to dominate over 50% of search queries by 2020. Ask yourself: “How would I find this blog if I were asking my Alexa?” You probably wouldn’t say, “Winter thermostat settings.” Instead, you might be more likely to ask: “Hey Alexa, what temperature should I keep my household in the winter?”
4. Amplify on the Right Channels
Your blog content is only as good as your blog’s viewership. We always recommend allocating budget — even if it’s minimal — to content amplification, which will help ensure that it is viewed by a larger (and ideally more qualified) audience.
Choose your promotional platforms with care, paying particular attention to your audience’s demographics and then layering on additional interest-level targeting. Looking to showcase your natural gas grill recipes to local homeowners? Pinterest may be a great option. Have great imagery to share and want to reach a younger audience? Instagram could be the ideal choice.
5. Optimize — then Optimize Again
The greatest part about digital marketing is that content can be adjusted in real-time, optimized with the toggle of a button. If something isn’t working, turn it off and allocate your budget elsewhere. Conversely, if something is performing extremely well, keep running with the campaign. A/B test wherever possible, playing with variables from copy to imagery to audience.
This has always been the key behind our success: the ability to adjust campaigns as needed, constantly looking for the better way. We’re now able to target our ads with absolute precision, knowing which audiences are most likely to convert at each stage of our content marketing funnel. And if that ever changes? We’ll continue testing our way in to future success.
Are you ready to start cooking (or…content marketing) with gas? We’re here to help.