Back in the day, we "write" content to game the search engines. We stuff keywords into our texts, take note of our keyword density, optimize meta tags, use anchor texts, acquire links, build blog networks, and viola, instant Search Engine visibility.
Today, the strategy has become more real and more authentic than ever. There are technical ways to make your online marketing process more strategic. Disciplines such as SEO, Analytics, PPC management services and Remarketing exist to maximize your content's reach. But the whole process rises and falls on how well you do your Content Marketing strategy. This levels the playing field, giving both big and small players equal chances at winning.
In a nutshell, Content Marketing goals are simple:
- Create content that's relevant to your niche
- Bring the content in front of your target market
- Collaborate and expand your network
- Keep creating content that will inspire visitors and encourage them to make a move (purchase!)
The thing is, if you're a small business owner who's thriving online, you're most likely doing Content Marketing already, you just don't call it "Content Marketing". Here in Manila, we've seen a lot of independent businesses who are doing an awesome job at bringing themselves right in front of their target market in natural, authentic, and creative ways.
We can pick up a lesson or two from these local brands and how they're successfully winning at Content Marketing in their specific niches. Here are some of them:
1. Tell your story well.
Rags to Riches is a for-profit social enterprise who create fashion and home accessories out of upcycled scrap cloth, organic materials and indigenous fabrics, through artisans living in the poor communities. If you're familiar with R2R, you'll know that every piece of item you buy from them is intricately handcrafted by one of their artisans; therefore, you're helping a family in the urban poor community through your purchase.
Their story is well received, not only here in the Philippines but also globally.
Which brings us to the second tip:
2. Focus on being awesome, not on marketing.
Rags to Riches has earned worthy mentions from local dailies like Rappler and PhilStar, as well as international online magazines like Vogue UK. In fact, Reese Ruiz, founder of R2R, even made it to Forbes's "30 under 30"—game changers, movers and makers around the world who are under the age of 30—and listed under the "Social Entrepreneur" category.
If you're a Content Marketer, you know that a mention from a high-authority site is a gem. Then again, if you're focused on being awesome and making a difference in this world, who cares about links?
3. Do Instagram well.
Posh Pocket Shoes is one of the local pioneers of foldable comfort shoes, as such the name "pocket shoes". But not only does Posh have a unique product, they're also doing an awesome job at creating visual content on their social media accounts. Specifically, Instagram.
I personally follow Posh Pocket Shoes because of how well they curate and style their products. That's not to mention that I love their products too and have owned a couple of pairs. But the FREE inspiration I get daily is keeping me on loop on what's going on in their business, and updated on their new products as well.
So how do you make the most out of your Instagram account?
- Take beautiful pictures, style your shots well, be consistent with your branding.
- Come up with unique hashtags, and take advantage also of hash tags that are already trending.
- Don't hard sell. Focus on creating visual content that will inspire people.
- Make sure you have your site's link on your IG profile. This is the only way you can direct your Instagram traffic to your site.
The Craft Central is a local supplier of calligraphy pens, inks, and other art materials. An online shop that sells highly specialized art products can only thrive with a network of artists, and The Craft Central does an amazing job at placing themselves where they're needed. They collaborate with calligraphers and artists and provide materials that they can use for their workshops and art projects. They're very visible in the local art and craft scene, and have become one of the go-to calligraphy shop both for new calligraphy enthusiasts and experts.
In Content Marketing we call this "influencer outreach." You get to know the influencers in your niche and see how you can provide something that's of value to them. By networking and collaborating with influencers, your network grows with them in a mutually beneficial relationship, allowing you to hit your own business goals in the process.
4. Build a community.
Heima Store is known for its colorful home accessories and unique interior design services. But Heima goes beyond offering just their products and services. They get out of their way to help build communities by offering their space for other artists and collaborators. They open their space to showcase other artists and talents, and they accommodate events and gatherings in their space. This doesn't only bring people to their shop and more opportunities to showcase their products, it also generates a lot of buzz within various creative communities.
Heima uses hashtags pretty well too, allowing for other like-minded people to contribute and connect with each other online.
5. Be passionate. Be personal.
You can't fake passion. These days, we know and feel passion when we see it. Many buyers will "get to know" the brands first before trusting them. Because of this, many independent sellers have sprouted locally, their passion and personality as their main weapon, allowing them to compete with big brands that have been in the market for years.
In the past, when we mean business, we become too formal or uptight with potential customers. These days, it's okay to loosen up, tell your story, be personal, and wear your heart on your sleeve. So do just that.
Here at Spiralytics,
our team is made up of goofy people who are great at what they do. We're not afraid to say that some of our writers are Moms who work from home, or that we work with expats who love the Philippines and have learned to adjust to the overflow of food, extra calories, and cold offices. We're not ashamed to talk about our obsession with Game of Thrones or Kevin Spacey. We're proud to have years of experience from multi-national companies, and yet we keep learning and growing and adapting as we go.
Let your audience know who they're working with. You want them to trust you, and the way to do this is to let your passion shine through and show them that you know what you're doing.
But wait, there's more.
Content Marketing is both an art form, and a science. What I've discussed above are mostly within the art or the creative side of the equation. The science part is tracking your initiatives and finding out what works. This includes sifting through data, profiling your readers, and identifying opportunities to improve your content strategy.
Content Marketing may already work for you even though you don't have an elaborate means to collect and track data. But if you want to get ahead of your game and maximize your initiatives, you have to begin identifying Key Performance Indicators, collecting accurate data, and creating a data-driven, performance-based content strategy.
In the next couple of weeks we’ll be talking about a project we’re doing that we hope will help YOU be better at your Content Marketing strategy. Watch out for it. :)