four-stars-content-marketingIt’s become impossible for buyers to sift through the avalanche of marketing information being published today. Unfortunately, these buyers don’t know where to begin their search for a solution. That’s why your content marketing must stand out. It must generate demand (while aligning to your own business objectives), and it has to capture your audience’s attention.

Building an effective content marketing program isn’t easy. Especially since no two organizations or buyers are the same. That’s why it’s critical to start with the basics: Know your buyers and their pain points and know how to implement your solution in a way that works for them. Think about the KPIs you’re going to use to measure the effectiveness of your content.

Once you’ve established this foundation for your content marketing program, supplement your strategy with content based on the four E’s: engage, educate, entertain, empower.

1. Engage

Creating content that engages your audience at the top of the funnel is a non-invasive way to get their attention. Examples of engaging content include webinars and buyer insight surveys, and videos. The latter of which has seen a major influx over the last couple of years.

People appreciate when their time isn’t wasted, so it’s vital your content get to the point sooner rather than later. You can capture a lot in just a one-minute video. And you’d be surprised how much insight a five-question survey can provide. Webinars also allow your audience to engage with you by asking questions and offering comments. Surveys allow you to better understand buyer pain points and open the door for you to do a friendly follow-up (think email nurture).

2. Educate

For your prospects and buyers to believe in your brand, they have to believe you know what you’re doing. The best way to do that is to position your organization as a thought leader, and educate them by using industry benchmarks, data and customer testimonials—they need evidence.

Show them your solution is not only problem solving but also success building. Offer them insight they don’t already have so they can ask the right questions going forward. And give them examples of the success they can expect to see if they use your solutions.

Case studies are a great way to provide examples of how your solutions have worked for others. And though case studies are often used toward the end of the Buyer’s Journey, there’s no rule that says you can’t use them for demand gen. Consider offering your buyers a case study in exchange for taking a buyer insight survey or as a call-to-action at the end of a video.

3. Entertain

Beyond engaging and educating your audience, leverage the opportunity to entertain them, as well. Content in general should be valuable, and people place a high value on entertainment. Not only can entertaining content capture buyer awareness—it can keep it—because people tend to come back for more of what they love.

Our friends at HubSpot also believe in the power of entertainment. In this blog post, they discuss some of the key benefits to using entertainment as a content strategy. For example, this type of content has the ability to quickly go viral online. It also helps humanize your brand and keeps visitors coming back for more.

Visuals like infographics are great ways to implement entertaining content into your strategy. Take this superhero infographic for example; it’s packed with valuable information buyers can read in less than a minute. Not to mention, buyers are probably going to remember the superhero concept—think attention and retention.

If you’re considering infographics, keep these things in mind: accuracy, focus, design, sharing capability and credit (chances are you used information from other sources).

Video marketing is also an effective way to incorporate entertainment into your content. In fact, people who watch videos about products and services are 85 percent more likely to buy.

4. Empower

Before you develop a content marketing program, make sure the strategy and content speaks to your solution and how it empowers buyers. Don’t just try to sell your product or service. Show your buyers how it fits into their business model and how they can leverage it to drive ongoing success.

Showcase what they’re doing right so they feel optimistic about their business future. But keep in mind you want them to believe their marketing budget is necessary and being allocated to the right solutions. So give them specific examples of what needs the most improvement—again—don’t just try to sell your product.

Case studies and customer testimonials can serve as great pieces of empowering content. Because in order for buyers to trust your brand, they need to see how it empowers others to build success. You can write case studies or use videos and infographics to tell the success story. Check out these 15 examples of companies that saw ROI by implementing case studies into their content marketing.

In the End …

By developing content that engages, educates, entertains and empowers your prospects and buyers, you can generate demand and capture leads early on.

Invest your time in getting to know your buyers so you can create content that speaks to them. Stop using your content to sell and start using it to help your buyers solve their problems and build success. And make sure to measure your KPIs, so you know what works and what doesn’t.