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The need for companies to produce content is growing at an exponential rate; probably faster than ever before.
The reason why is clear: in the digital age, you’re not even in the customer conversation if you’re not publishing high-quality content. And being a part of the conversation is crucial. That’s how you engage customers, cultivate brand devotees, and generate leads. According to the Content Marketing Institute, over 85% of brands use content marketing, but less than half believe they’re good at it. If your company falls into the half with doubts, things may not be as bad as you think. The fact is, public relations, marketing, digital marketing, videos – everything you produce and push out – is really just content creation. So if you have the content, the pressing question becomes: how do you repurpose, manage, and publish content to cut through the clutter? The most successful brands have a strategy in place based on a consistent approach that revolves around quality and variety. Here are some tips to follow their lead:
In our always-on digital world, consistent creation is the key. The more you push out, the louder your voice. You’re probably already publishing press releases, tweets, Facebook updates, white papers, and blog articles. But how often are you doing it? The top brands aren’t pushing content just a few times a month; depending on the platform, they’re publishing a few times a day! Yes, it’s fast-paced. But it’s manageable with a few tactics and tools in place. One of the best is to create monthly content calendars based on a theme or topic. And remember it shouldn’t be purely promotional. Slot in Best Practices articles or other expert articles that would be valuable to your target audience. From one idea you can generate an article, a few blog posts, numerous tweets and Facebook updates, and even a video. And to make publishing easier, check out tools that automate postings according to the schedule you set. Your month of content is done!
Focus on Quality
While you want to continually push out content, it won’t be read if it’s not high-quality and valuable to your target audience. The best brands identify what needs or questions their products answer, and then create content around those topics. The most successful also inject entertaining tidbits, humor, rewards, and/or customer interaction into their content. And going back to the previous point, many create one piece of content and then find creative ways to re-use it across channels. One point of caution here: remember that simply reposting a blog to Facebook is not re-purposing, it’s promotion. For the most part, promotion is not engaging. Let’s take a speaking engagement as an example of how to repurpose one piece into loads of engaging content. First, post a press release announcing your participation. Then make sure you record the event and post it to YouTube (either the entire presentation or interesting tidbits). Then pull out those juicy tidbits for a series of Tweets and Facebook updates. Alternate those with interesting audience questions and answers. For more ideas, check out an excellent Hubspot blog post about how to repurpose content without wasting the leftovers.
You’ve probably noticed that I keep encouraging you to use different engagement channels. There’s a reason for that: search engines and people demand variety in content channels. That’s how you achieve the biggest reach. Think about mobile: experts predict there will be more than 196 million smartphones users in the U.S. by 2016. They want content that is easy to read on the fly. Or consider video: YouTube draws in more than 1 billion unique visitors every month. They want to ingest information in video form. Twitter has over 236 million monthly active users. Tweeting pithy snippets is the way to get their attention. These channels are an effective way to create engagement and draw readers to your website, where whitepapers, blog posts, and sales sheets deliver more in-depth information about your offerings.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you hear people talk about “content marketing” or see content popping up all over the place. But when you remember that everything you’re already producing is content, you may see you’re further along in the game than you initially thought. If you are feeling overwhelmed, consider pulling in a partner to review the content you already have and help you organize and amplify it across channels. A few tweaks and you’ll be on the road to content marketing success.
Laurie Halter is the President of Charisma! Communications, a boutique communications agency that specializes in the needs of the automotive industry. You can reach her at Laurie@charismacommunications.com.